Archive for November, 2008

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Mountain Biker’s Beware – your better half WILL get pissed off!

November 30, 2008

Guys, take note, this is seriously NOT cool……

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!!!!

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What exactly IS Slacklining?

November 28, 2008

It’s been a while since we talked about slacklining (some call it baselining or highlining), and to remind you what the more extreme slacklining is about I show here, again, Dean Potter highlining across Hellroaring Canyon near Moab, UT:

Dean Potter

Dean is one of the forerunners of this sport and has pushed his skills to the limit. He slacklines with a parachute rather than a safety harness!

However, slacklining has received some bad press and a fair amount of intolerance in some circles.

Most people slackline no more than a few feet off the ground. It is all about balance and control and that is what satisfies a lot of people. “It’s almost like meditation. You get on a slackline, all you think about is the next step,” Kate Vander Wiede, an engineering student at the University of Colorado said. However the university itself takes a more dim view of the sport. Citing safety concerns and possible harm to trees, they have banned slacklining on campus this year after dozens of students started showing up at slacklines strung across campus quads.

“Look, we’re not trying to be killjoys here,” said CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard . “You simply, as an institution, can’t accommodate every single fun thing kids want to do when safety and environmental factors come into play.” Which I suppose is true, although when the pastime is relatively harmless one would think it would be encouraged, or at least tolerated, rather than banned. Slackliners insist the activity is no more dangerous than skateboarding or bicycling, and that properly attached slacklines, which include pads, don’t hurt tree trunks.

So, what exactly is slacklining?

Thanks to DamianRoyce for the video.

It is a balance sport which utilizes nylon webbing stretched tight between two anchor points. Slacklining is distinct from tightrope walking in that the line is not held rigidly taut; it is instead dynamic, stretching and bouncing like a long and narrow trampoline. The line’s tension can be adjusted to suit the user and different types of dynamic webbing can be used to achieve a variety of feats. The line itself is flat, due to the nature of webbing, thus keeping the slacker’s footing from rolling as would be the case with an ordinary rope. The dynamic nature of the line allows for impressive tricks and stunts.

Thanks to Wikipedia for that succinct explanation.

There are two main mediums to slacklining:

  • Tricklining or lowlining: this is the most common as it can be strung up between any two secure points and is low to the ground. A great number of tricks can be done on the line, and because the sport is fairly new, there is plenty of room for new ones
  • Highlining: this is slacklining at large distances above the ground or water. When rigging highlines, experienced slackers take measures to ensure that solid, redundant and equalized anchors are used to secure the line into position. To ensure safety, most highliners wear a climbing harness or swami belt with a leash attached to the slackline itself; however, unleashed walks of highlines are not unheard of.

Long slackline walking was pioneered most notably by Dean Potter, Larry Harpe, Ammon McNeely, and Braden Mayfield. Rumors of 200–300 foot slacklines were talked about, however there is no known official line length record from this period.

As http://www.slackline.com says: Slacklining is the sport of walking a small, flat nylon rope between two points. It is practiced in the backyard, on college campuses and city parks, and even 3000 feet above the ground. Some people do it for fun, others for the obvious athletic benefits, and others still for meditative purpose, in seeking a higher state of mind. Since slacklining’s development in the late 1970s, it has grown into an international craze, and is a common and popular pastime with the outdoor community.

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And here’s a slightly more extreme slacklining/highlining video to really get the pulses racing, thanks to virtualPublishing for sharing it.

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Extreme Marathon des Sables

November 28, 2008

Yesterday we wrote about an extreme marathon in temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees celsius – well today we have gone to the other extreme, plus 42 degrees celsius.

In a strict sense this is not s true marathon of 26.2 miles – no this is the Marathon des Sables, an ultra marathon and here there seems to be some dispute about the actual distance. When you look at the video below they refer to 212 kms, whereas Wikipedia talks of the race being 254 kms, but the official website says it is 243 kms!! Lets just agree it is a long way, an ultra marathon, an extreme marathon.

Here are some other facts about the race scheduled for the end of March 2009 and ending April 6th;

  • it is run in the Moroccan part of the Sahara desert;
  • approximately 700 competitors from as many as 32 nations;
  • all personal food must be carried by the competitor;
  • water is provided but rationed;
  • a six day race with daily distances of 24, 34, 38, 82, 42 and 22 kms;
  • registration cost about 2,550 euros;
  • extreme mental stamina required;
  • considered to be the toughest foot race in the world;
  • to date two deaths recorded.

That should whet your appetite but don’t worry, you have plenty of time to prepare – the 2009 race is already fully booked. For further details the official website is www.darbaround.com

Below is a video of the 2006 Marathon des Sables from ohara7

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Flight of fancy for those down under

November 27, 2008

First things first – today is Thanksgiving day in the United States of America so happy Thanksgiving Day to all our US readers – it is a time to give thanks for the harvest, and in general, although this year many Americans will wonder what they should be thankful for. It is also celebrated in Canada, but rather than the 4th Thursday of November the Canadians give thanks on the 2nd Monday of October. And let us not forget the Grenadans, whose Thanksgiving Day is on the 25th October, when they celebrate the removal from office and execution of their Prime Minister Maurice Bishop! Oh well – it takes all sorts, something we should never forget.

And now we turn to Australia – I don’t know about you but its darn cold in the south of France at the moment – snow is forecast – and so we thought it would be good to cheer us up by finding some sunshine – down under here we go, beam me up Scotty!

This sounds fun – have you ever heard of a Tiger Moth? No…..well its an aeroplane – a biplane to be more precise, designed by Geoffrey de Havilland for the Royal Air Force in the 1930s and primarily used as an aircraft for training pilots. It can cruise at about 100mph and is a two seater with an open cockpit – over 8,800 were built and it has been used by airforces in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, India, Persia, Iraq, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Poland, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Spain, Spanish State, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom and Uruguay – they got around a bit as they say.

Well nowadays they are primarily used as air ambulances, aerial advertising, crop dusting, glider tugs and for recreational and aerobatic use. Finally we get there…… for it is this last purpose that would be a lot of fun, kind of extreme, a very nice birthday present perhaps and if you find yourself in Melborne, in the state of Victoria, in southern Australia you have a great opportunity to fly around the city for 30 minutes and even do some gentle loops, rolls and spins – the cost $275 – and I presume thats Aussie dollars.

If you want to find out more go to the companies website which is www.godo.ninemsn.com.au and check it out and watch the video below from schlutorflyer – it makes you want to reach for your goggles, feel the air rush past in the open cockpit, just imagine you are Ralph Fiennes or the beautiful Kristin Scott Thomas – yes this is the plane they used in The English Patient, an extreme classic – have a great Thanksgiving Day wherever you are.

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Extreme Marathon

November 27, 2008

Surely this must be the most extreme marathon on earth – and the use of the word ‘earth’ is meant in the sense that earth is a planet. For understand that this marathon is not run on terra firma – no it is run on between 6 and 12 feet of ice aabove 12,000 feet of Arctic Ocean.

The 2009 North Pole Marathon  will be held in early April – runners will rendez vous at Spitzbergen in northern Norway on April 6th and then be flown to the North Pole for the race which is somewhat weather dependent, in terms of the actual start time, but is scheduled for April 7th to 9th.

Competitors are then flown back to Spitbergen – and the cost for this extreme experience – a cool 11,900 euros. The race is organised by Richard Donovan and is recognised by the Association of International Marathons and Road races and has in the past attracted such luminaries as Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

The 2008  men’s race was won by a Korean – Byeung Sik Ahn in a time of 4:02:37 and the ladies race was won dy Cathrine Due from Denmark in a time of 5:37:14.

So if you want to do something incredibly extreme, something you could talk about at many a party to come, and you like running (note in snow shoes) then get on down to www.npmarathon.com and fill out the entry form. At this stage there are 15 nations represented in the 2009 race – there is also a team competition.

Below is a video of the 2007 event from polarmarathon – it will give you a good idea of what the race is about even if you cannot not feel the -30 degree celsius temperatures!

  Unique Attributes of the Race

  • Certified 26.2 mile marathon distance (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races)
  • Only certified marathon that is run entirely ‘on’ water, the frozen water of the Arctic Ocean
  • Recognised by Guinness World Records as the Northernmost Marathon on Earth
  • Participants are eligible to join the exclusive North Pole Marathon Grand Slam Club by finishing a marathon on each of the seven continents and this race on the Arctic Ocean.

SCHEDULE FOR 2009


 
  April 5     Arrive at Spitsbergen (Norway)
April 6     Fly to North Pole Camp & 90N
April 7     2009 North Pole Marathon
April 8     Return to Spitsbergen (Norway)
April 9     Return to Homeland
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Marathon history and one extreme marathon

November 26, 2008

Marathons – a subject close to the hearts of many people – those who have pitted themselves over distances from as short as 13.1 miles, a half marathon, to a full marathon of 26.2 miles and beyond to much greater distances. We give the history and will then present some of the more extreme marathons – just in case you feel so inclined.

History: The marathon  race  commemorates the run of the Athenian soldier Pheidippides who legend tells us ran from a battlefield near Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C., a distance of approximately 25 miles, bringing news of a Greek victory over the  Persians. Pheidippides collapsed  and died at the end of his historic run.

However there has long been debate about the accuracy of this story which we will not discuss here – save it to say that when the modern Olympic games were started in 1896 the marathon was the last event of the games and was fittingly won by a Greek named Spiridos ‘Spiros’ Louis in a time of 2:58:50 hours. The distance was not standardised until the 1924 games when atletes ran 26.22 miles, or 42.196 kms.

Extreme marathons: with over 800 marathons run every year there are a number of extreme versions. Most marathons come under the jurisdiction of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Runners. We will over the next few days give some examples of some of the more extreme marathons.

The Addo Elephant Trail runs: not strictly a marathon in the sense of distance as you can run a 100 mile, 50 mile or 25 mile route. The fifth running of this race will be held on Saturday 2nd May 2009. The 100 miler is run through the Addo Elephant Park, about 50 miles from Port Elizabeth, South Africa and winds its way over the mountains into the Sundays River Valley before crossing the escarpment of the Zuurberg Mountains to finish at the Addo Elephant Park main rest camp.You have to complete the race in 30 hours. The 50 miler and 25 miler routes are run in the same location.

The cost of entering the races varies – the 100 miler is 950 rand, the 50 miler is 550 rand and the 25 miler is 350 rand. For further details go to the website www.extrememarathons.com

Below is the schedule and we have included a vdeo from bradke – not of the race but of some of the ‘traffic’ you might meet as you run!

Schedule

Friday, 01 May 2009

From 14h00:  Registration for at the Lapa, Addo Elephant National Park, Main Rest Camp.  Drop off bags to be taken to registration by 17h00 for distribution to the Checkpoint Captains. (Drop bags will not be accepted after 17h00)

Saturday, 02 May 2009

05h30:  Complimentary coffee/tea at the Kirkwood Hotel

06h00:  Start of the 100 Miler, 50Miler and 25Miler in front of the Kirkwood Hotel.

Sunday, 03 May 2009

06h00:  Cut-off of Silver Buckle, 100Miler.

12h00:  Cut-off of Bronze Buckle, 100Miler.  Finish of the 100Miler, 50Miler and 25Miler at Addo Elephant National Park Rest Camp.

14h00:  Prize Giving.

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The drive to impress women with acts of sheer stupidity is universal

November 26, 2008

This comment amused me – the author had been reading our blog on “is this the world’s tallest bungee jump” and in her various comments made this one:

The drive to impress women with acts of sheer stupidity is universal.

The episode I saw? All about land jumping. That’s the ORIGINAL version of bungee jumping. Only it’s done from vines with very little spring. And the men jump from an eight-foot bamboo tower. Their heads actually hit the ground. Total Penis Contest. If someone plucked these guys out of the jungle, dropped them in the middle of a car dealership, and told them they could have whatever make they’d like … they’d totally choose Monster Trucks and Hummers. The winner of THIS particular contest won a handful of grass, which, judging from the looks on everyone’s faces, seemed just as impressive.

If you want to read more please follow the link below:

All the world’s a jungle. Some places just require less clothing <b>…</b>

Good for a chuckle…