Archive for the ‘… other extreme threads’ Category

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The route for the Tour de France 2009

July 4, 2009

Carte du Tour 2009

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Indiana ladies triumph in collegiate division of air race

July 1, 2009

Indiana State University pilots Jessica Campbell and Victoria Dunbar returned to campus victorious after capturing top collegiate honors in the annual Air Race Classic, a transcontinental air race for women.

The pair of pilots competed against 34 teams, winning first place in the collegiate category and finishing second overall. The race across the mid-section of the U.S. covered 2,715 miles, starting June 23 at Centennial Airport near Denver and ending June 26 in Atlantic, Iowa. The ISU aviators flew in a Diamond DA40 plane, owned by Dixie Chopper Air based at Putnam County Airport.

“Our goal going into this was to take home the collegiate trophy, so to win second place is just icing on the cake,” Campbell said.

Strategy was a major factor throughout the race. Each plane was assigned a handicap speed, with the goal to have the actual ground speed as far over the handicap speed as possible. That meant judging weather patterns, wind speeds and other elements in order to make the most of each day’s flight.

Two students in Purdue University’s Department of Aviation Technology also competed in the 33rd annual all-female Air Race Classic. Juliana Lindner, a senior from Hanover Park, Ill., was captain of the team, and Lauren Steele, a junior from Lapel, Ind., was co-pilot.  Purdue University presented this video of their hopes and aspirations.

It was without doubt a great race presenting many different challenges to all the competitors.

“The biggest challenge was figuring out when to fly and when not to fly,” Dunbar said, “The altitude starting out in Denver was different from anything I was used to,” she said. “That’s something they teach you in class, but something I have a lot more respect for now that I’ve experienced it.”

Women’s air racing starting in 1929 with the first Women’s Air Derby. Since then the race has served as a way to for women in the aviation industry to connect with one another and expand their skill sets.

There is no doubt that all the participants learnt a great deal from their experience.

Below: Jessica Campbell (left) and Victoria Dunbar stand next to the Diamond DA40 airplane with their trophy after winning top honors in the collegiate division of the Air Race Classic

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Extreme manufacturing from VW in Germany

June 26, 2009

This extraordinary video from CristianS75 was brought to our attention by a friend – now we understand this is not excactly an extreme sport but the technology, robotics and concept for the VW car manufacturing plant in Dresden, Germany certainly is extreme and we think it will have you catching flies as your jaw drops open with amazement.

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What to do today … extreme kayaking perhaps?

June 25, 2009

https://i1.wp.com/thepirata.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/extreme_kayaking04.jpg

It was this picture that set me off…

Isn’t it fantastically extreme?  WOW – what more can you say…

Extreme kayaking seems to be all about making the biggest drop and beating your compatriots to finding the next big drop.

Ben Stookesberry, a 30-year old professional kayaker,  seeks out big drops all over the world. He has made 51 first descents in 11 countries so far.

Pedro Oliva and Tyler Bradt have both set world record drops this year. Oliva first made headlines when he went over a 127 foot water fall in Brazil, and just weeks later Bradt shattered that record by dropping 186 feet over Palouse Falls in Washington State.

It is these sort of antics that has brought extreme kayaking to our attention.

Technology continues to evolve, offering better, more stable, boats, paddles, and other gear, which is allowing the top kayakers to challenge some impressive runs, such as the Rio Santo Domingo in Chiapas in Mexico, which drops 480 feet in just an eighth of a mile and has two waterfalls of 90 feet or more. It is just one of several extreme runs that Stookesberry is hoping to conquer in the months ahead.

Interesting little video this one from solesupfront :

And here’s Tyler Bradt’s record breaking drop (Fauxlaf ).

Bradt, Stookesberry and Oliva are one of about half a dozen professional kayakers who tackle waterfalls above 100 feet.

A little over a decade ago, a 50- or 60-foot waterfall was thought to be the biggest drop a kayaker could survive. But sturdier boats and new techniques have allowed daredevils to push the outer limits of the sport.

It’s not all about being the one to do the biggest drop, it also allows the extreme kayakers to venture into unexplored river gorges and uncharted rapids that were previously deemed out of reach, sealed off by fortress-like waterfalls where portaging is impossible.

They are becoming the equivalent of 19th century explorers risking their lives to claim a “first descent” of a waterfall or a long, treacherous stretch of river!

The most extreme kayakers have also developed new techniques to control their descents over massive falls. Boaters tuck forward like high divers, laying flat across the bow and angling their boats nose first, which reduces the surface area hitting the water and softens the impact. Some even attach fins to the back of the boats so that they drop straight down, like a dart. The most common injury, kayakers say, is a broken nose.

“Approaching the lip, there’s this feeling of being completely out of control, completely in the hands of the river,” Ben Stookesberry says. “You lose all that fear and all that anticipation, because there’s no turning back.”

Rather them than me, tho’ I have to admire their courage.

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WOW – extreme surfing

June 20, 2009

This is taking extreme sports to the limits – surfing a tsunami wave! What a wave, thanks to pads316 for posting it:

and since it’s Saturday and I don’t have much time… I couldn’t resist posting this video from mobscene1003 of other strange occurrences following a tsunami. Bare with the German write-up (unless of course you understand German in which case I apologise!), the fish are worth having a look at.

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Your help is needed now – the extreme condition of our oceans

June 18, 2009

You might have noticed something new on our sidebar. SocialVibe has created a way of helping good causes and charities, and we have chosen to support a project that is close to our hearts – the protection of our oceans.

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit, grassroots, environmental organisation dedicated to protection and enjoyment of our oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of surfers in Malibu, California, the organisation has grown exponentially.

So you see, surfers are not just beachbums!

Apart from being avid followers of the surfing life, why choose this particular project?

Well, this is something we’ve ranted about before – but did you know that there is a plastic soup in the middle of the Pacific Ocean –  known as the dead zone? Here’s a depressing, but important short video from StrangeDaysAction spelling out a few facts for us:

Marine scientist Captain Charles Moore of the Agalita Marine Research Foundation describes a dead zone, an oceanic desert, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean which he calls: Plastic Soup. This trashbin is a huge – I mean seriously HUGE – deep churning cesspool of plastic bits definitely bigger than the state of Texas, and, some say, even bigger, possibly, than AFRICA ! These plastic bits are ingested daily by marine life. And guess what? Who eats marine life? We do.

Scary stuff hmmm?

Captain Moore has measured 6 pounds of plastic for every 1 pound of plankton. He predicts that, unless we do something, in 30 years there will be 60 pounds of plastic particles for every pound of plankton.

And what eats plankton? Plankton is literally the food of life. It is vitally important in the food chain of all marine life.

And lest you are a bit casual about this topic and shrug your shoulders and say, “well, it’s only the Pacific. It’s not our problem, someone will be able to sort it out in due course…” Don’t be misled – there is a similar cesspool in the Atlantic.

Here’s a photograph from National Geographic of an open-air garbage dump which tarnishes the sapphire coast of Barrow, Alaska. Disgusting, isn’t it.

Photo: Open-air garbage dump along the coast of Barrow, Alaska

And why should we get personally involved? Well, if you windsurf, kitesurf, scuba dive, snorkel, surf, sail, kayak, freedive, deep water solo to name but a few – you should be concerned. It concerns you directly.

This problem is very nearly out of control. We seriously need to do something about it. And we need to do something NOW.

So click on the sidebar please!

Thank you.

And I’ll leave you on an equally miserable note. Here’s a video from seareport01 on the problem in the Pacific…

So come on guys, let’s do our bit to save our oceans…

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Extreme Dreams, extreme people, extreme challenge – what else could we be talking about but Ben Fogle and the Mongol Derby

June 17, 2009

Ben Fogle is atypical of our site. He challenges every aspect of life and seems to have a lot of fun doing it. As far as extreme sports go – he pretty well does them all…

So who exactly is he? He is a Presenter, Writer and Adventurer. His achievements include racing 160 miles across the Sahara desert in the notorious Marathon Des Sables. He has rowed the Atlantic Ocean in 49 days and crossed Antarctica in a foot race to the South Pole. That’s just for starters…

Rowing 2006 (001)

He has presented numerous television programmes including Extreme Dreams and as well as writing regularly for the Sunday Telegraph and The Independent, he has written four best-selling books.

He is also an ambassador for WWF, Medecins Sans Frontier and Tusk. He’s a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the President of the Campaign for National Park’s.

And he’s only 35 years old…

His next testing task is going to be the Mongol Derby – the longest, toughest horse race on earth. He’ll ride 1,000 kms accompanied by 25 horses, for which he will be personally responsible. “It’s already giving me sleepless nights,” he says with a grin,but if I didn’t do what I do, I’d be like a caged animal.”

So, what exactly is the Mongol Derby?

It’s “a race so big it would make Roman Emperors go weak at the knees.”

Great description that isn’t it. But I’ll give you more… including one of the rider’s introductory video on the Derby – Charles van Wyk (CvWMD ):

The idea for “the race” comes from Genghis Khan’s  incredible postal system – and we’re talking many many years ago, somewhere around the turn of the 12th century.

When he ‘ruled the world’ he realised the importance of being in touch, and knowing exactly what was happening and where. So he took the existing ancient and rather small network of horse messengers and supercharged it, creating a mind-bendingly efficient relay system of horse-stations that enabled his messengers to go faster than the speed of light itself. With horses stationed every 30 to 40 km it’s said he could get a message from Mongolia to Eastern Europe in just fourteen days. That would probably beat today’s postal system!

This year, 2009, some bold adventurists have decided to emulate this great but forgotten postal service,  resurrect the horse-stations and gather 800 horses to create the mother of all races.

The Mongol Derby will tackle the challenge of semi-wild horses and surviving alone in the wild steppes of Mongolia. There’s no carefully marked course, no catering tent and no support; this is horse racing on a whole new scale. You will change steed every 40 km so the horses will be fresh.

The nature of the Mongol Derby means it is the rider under stress not the horse. Traditional Mongolian horses are an extremely tough breed that has changed little since the Mongol Hordes swept across Asia on their backs in the early thirteenth century. They range in size from 12 to 14 hands high and roam the vast Mongolian steppe all year round. As the Mongol Derby will be run across wild terrain, not roads, the horses will be unshod as they always are.

A Mongolian horse (with trimmed mane) in traditional riding gear

Humans are not so tough. Bleeding kidneys, broken limbs, open sores, sun stroke, moon stroke and a list of dangers longer than your arm stand between the you and victory!

Now, for some of you who might be yearning to take part in this race, when does it happen?

The warm up

Pre-race Meeting, UK
Date and location to be confirmed Afternoon tea and talk with a renowned explorer.

Pre-race Training, Mongolia
20 & 21 August 2009
Two-day training extravaganza with former champion jockey Richard Dunwoody.

Launch Party
21 August 2009
Mighty send-off from Kharkhorin, the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire. Feasting, dancing, fermented mare’s milk and Mongolian merry-making galore.

The race

Race Start
22 August 2009
Riders gallop forth into the wilderness.

Midway Party
29 August 2009
Catch up with your fellow racers and spin yarns of wrestles with wolves.

Closing Ceremonies
5 September 2009
Bathe in the glory of completing the world’s longest and toughest horse race. Riders will be lauded as pioneers and their names etched in adventuring history.

It costs  US$4,550 in total. However, don’t despair – you could always try for sponsorship and raise money for your favourite charity at the same time.

Additional costs will be the airfare to Mongolia, a single-entry Mongolian visa, and hotel costs before and after the race.

As the race approaches you will be able to track the riders live through an interactive map. The route starts in the Khentii Aimag, at Delgerhaan and ends at Kharkhorin, Chinggis Khaan’s capital, 1000km later.

The organisers of The Mongol Derby, in partnership wtih Tengri, have issued the following warning:

WARNING WARNING WARNING

Before you even consider applying for this race we want to point out how dangerous the Mongol Derby is, and how dangerous the sport of horse riding is.

And when we talk about horse riding, we don’t just mean getting on a horse you are familiar with at home. We mean riding a series of unfamiliar horses across wild Mongolian terrain. By taking part in this race you are greatly increasing your risk of severe physical damage. You could break limbs, suffer internal injuries, become paralysed or even die. Please do not underestimate the extreme nature of the Mongol Derby.

I am afraid that, having given you details of costs etc, entrance to this race is now closed for 2009. However, just around the corner is 2010 and with some planning you could be one of the handful of riders in the next race…

Watch this space – I’ll keep you updated on this fantastic and extreme endurance race.