Posts Tagged ‘Spain’

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In praise of Chris Sharma – one of climbing’s most extreme talents

July 6, 2009

“I’m still a bit confused over the grade. It’s definitely harder than Papichulo and all the other F9a+ routes I’ve done in Spain but I’m not sure if it’s F9b… the resistant style of climbing on the route isn’t quite the best style for me and I can imagine other people being better suited… For now I’d say it’s hard F9a+”

Chris Sharma

Chris Sharma climbing Pachamama F9a+, 195 kb

I love rock climbing, and I love writing about it. Today I thought I’d draw your attention to, if you don’t already know, a really extreme rock climber – CHRIS SHARMA.

Here’s a weird upside-down video of a veritable spiderman redpointing La Rambla, brought to us by ezsraism

Sharma started rock climbing when he was 12 years old. At age 14 he won the Bouldering nationals. A year later, he completed a 5.14c climb, which was the highest-rated climb in the American rating system at the time.  He has since established or completed a few routes thought to be 5.15, including La Rambla and Es Pontas (a deep water soloing project in Mallorca). In 2008 Sharma climbed the 250 ft line, Jumbo Love, at Clark Mountain in California, claiming 5.15b for the grade. He has just completed a new 9a+/5.15a project in Oliana, Spain called Pachamama.

Picking projects at your physical and mental limits means constant exposure to the reality of failure. But failure is a word that has no place in Sharma’s vocabulary.

In professional climbing talent burns hot and fast and a decade is a long time. The physical damage to the body can be huge – ankles snap, shoulders pop from sockets and fingers calcify. And if nagging injuries weren’t enough, climbers often falter beneath the mental pressure. But not Chris Sharma.

At 26, he is an athlete endowed with unparalleled physical strength and mental tenacity, dominating world sport climbing and bouldering for the last dozen years.

In his own words, Chris Sharma about himself (bigupproductions)

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Time to dust off your mountain bike

April 16, 2009

As we move into mid April it is time to be thinking of putting away the skis and snowboards and at the same time dusting off the mountain bike. A little time spent at this time of year ensuring you have the right kit will help you to avoid disappointment when you get a sudden call from a mate to go out to the mountains only to find you never had the brake fixed on your bike. So here are a few reminders.

Body protection and your helmet

You may well have grown an inch or so since last year so it is as well to check out the kit you wear. 

The single most important item of personal clothing for downhill mountain biking your helmet –  ensure you always wear a helmet to protect your head against accidental falls. It is not enough to assume that you are talented and very competent to perform downhill mountain biking because safety is a very important issue as well. On no account must you put your life in peril and so wearing a helmet at all times is the best downhill mountain biking tips that you can get. 

Other kit will include shoes, gloves and knee and elbow protectors – again you will have probably grown and there is nothing more uncomfortable than forcing your feet into a pair of shoes half a size too small. We also recommend that you take a light weight back pack – so important for carrying that Mars Bar or other essential sustenance which is so appreciated after an hours biking. We also recommend you ensure your body is well hydrated whilst mountain biking so take along enough liquids and water to ensure that you don’t get thirsty.

Your bike

Maybe Santa crammed a brand new mountain bike down the chimney but whatever the situation and this applies to new bikes as well it is very well worth your while giving your bike the once over. Check nothing is loose, the saddle, the handle bars, the chain – check the brakes are working properly and the gears are sliding from one to another in the right manner. Oil the chain, check the pedals, make sure the tyres are in good order and you have no punctures, check the tyre pressure. Nothing too onerous here – just some basic common sense.

Where to go

It pays to search for relevant downhill mountain biking tips. One place where you can find useful downhill mountain biking tips of where to go is through online sources and via mountain biking forums. We also suggest (if you are not already) that you become a member of a downhill mountain biking club. Never be afraid of asking a question: mountain bikers are on the whole a friendly crowd and always willing to share their tips and experiences

So get ready for what will be a wonderful summer of mountain biking and we thought you would like to see the video below from XTremeVideo of some great action shot in South Africa, Andorra, Spain, the UK , France and Italy.

Ok so that was rather extreme, but that is what we are all about – whatever you skill levels we hope you have a great time.

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Extreme Ocean Racing

March 29, 2009

We received many comments from both race organisers and individuals interested in the Vendee Globe in which the last competitor finished on March 15th and therefore thought it only right to mention another mighty world circumnavigation that is currently underway. The Volvo Ocean Race is an exceptional test of sailing prowess and human endeavour which has been built on the spirit of great seafarers – fearless men who sailed the world’s oceans aboard square rigged clipper ships more than a century ago.

Their challenge back then was not a race as such, but recording the fastest time between ports. This meant new levels of pride for themselves and great recognition for their vessel.

The spirit that drove those commercial sailors along the web of trade routes, deep into the bleak latitudes of the Southern Ocean and around the world’s most dangerous capes, emerges today in the form of the Volvo Ocean Race, a contest now seen as the pinnacle of achievement in the sport.

We are extremely grateful to the Volvo Ocean Race website www.volvooceanrace.org for this historical information. 

The first edition of this sporting adventure came in the wake of two remarkable sailors of the last century, Sir Francis Chichester and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, men who drew worldwide acclaim for amazing solo voyages around the planet. Inevitably their success led to talk in international sailing circles of a race around the world for fully crewed yachts. It became a reality in 1973 with The Whitbread round the World Race, the longest, most demanding and perilous sporting contest the world had known.

Dangerous it was. In that very first race three competing sailors were lost after being washed overboard during storms. This led to the inevitable call for that inaugural contest to be the last, but the desire for unbridled adventure and great competition led to the race being staged every four years.

The re-badged Volvo Ocean Race was run for the first time in 2001-02. Today it is, quite simply, the ‘Everest of Sailing’.

During the nine months of the 2008-09 Volvo, which starts in Alicante, Spain in October 2008 and concludes in St Petersburg, Russia, during late June 2009, the teams will sail over 37,000 nautical miles of the world’s most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Kochi, Singapore, Qingdao, around Cape Horn to Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Galway, Goteborg and Stockholm.

Each of the seven entries has a sailing team of 11 professional crew, and the race requires their utmost skills, physical endurance and competitive spirit as they race day and night for more than 30 days at a time on some of the legs. They will each take on different jobs onboard the boat and on top of these sailing roles, there will be two sailors that have had medical training, as well as a sailmaker, an engineer and a media specialist.

During the race the crews will experience life at the extreme: no fresh food is taken onboard so they live off freeze dried fare, they will experience temperature variations from -5 to +40 degrees Celsius and will only take one change of clothes. They will trust their lives to the boat and the skipper and experience hunger and sleep deprivation.

The race is the ultimate mix of world class sporting competition and on the edge adventure, a unique blend of onshore glamour with offshore drama and endurance.

It is undeniably the world’s premier global race and one of the most demanding team sporting events in the world.

Ports of call for the Volvo World Ocean Race

Ports of call for the Volvo World Ocean Race

The promotional video below from Darkxtremheb will give you a better idea of what is involved in this extreme test of stamina, sailing skill, nerve and team effort.

The race is now well under way and the boats having rounded Cape Horn are heading north for their next port of call which is Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. That will mark the end of leg 5 whereupon the teams will have to ready themselves for the 6th leg from Rio to Boston which starts on  April 11th at 13.00 hours local time.

At the time of writing Ericsson 4 leads the 8 teams overall with Puma in second place and Telefonica Blue in third place.  But it is likely to be Ericsson 3 that is the first boat to arrive into Rio with Ericsson 4, Puma and Green Gragon making the most of some difficult sailing conditions – high pressure. 

However with another 5 legs to be completed it is not unreasonable to say that anything could happen. For up to date information we suggest you log onto the official race website – the link for which follows: www.volvooceanrace.org

This is without doubt one of the most extreme sporting events happening in the world today.

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Bull running in Pamplona, Spain – kind of extreme

March 17, 2009

Its weird how folk get their fixes: there are those who jump out of planes, ski/surf down mountains, dive under the water and test themselves to their physical limit – but would you run in front of a charging bull whose only intention is to gore you with his sharp horns! Well thats what they do in July every year in a place called Pamplona which is in northern Spain, just south of the border with France and San Sebastian on the northern coast.

Actually the festival, for that is what it is, is celebrated in many towns and villages in both Spain and in southern France – but it is Pamplona which is the most famous. It is the San Fermin festival which is held annually between July 7th and 14th and there is bull running on each day of the festival which starts at 8.00 in the morning. The bull running celebrates the movement of bulls from the farms to the cities where they were to fight in the bull fights 

Running with the bulls - Pamplona, Spain
Running with the bulls – Pamplona, Spain

It is a dangerous and extreme activity in which to partake but it is open to all comers who are over 18 years of age. Every year between 200 and 300 people are injured during the run although most injuries are due to falls on the streets and are not serious. The length of the run is around 840 meters and goes through 4 streets of the old part of the village – Santo Domingo, Town Hall Square, Mercaderes and Estafeta – and a section called “Telefónica” before entering into the bullring. It takes about 4 minutes from start to finish.

Since 1910, 14 people have been killed in Pamplona, the last person to be killed in the Pamplona’s bull run was Fermín Etxeberria Iraneta a 63-year-old veteran runner from Pamplona who died in 2003 from a head injury. The last person to be directly killed by the bull’s horns was Matthew Tassio, an American tourist from Illinois who was gored in 1995.

So there you have it – check out the action in the video below from Travelsite – as you will see it can get more than a little hairy!

 Not surprisingly the bull running attracts a lot of negative comment from animal rights groups including one group who run naked along the route of the bull run on the day before the actual bull runs themselves start.

All things considered it might be worth a trip to Pamplona this summer!

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Latest round of IFWA Jet Ski World Championship announced

August 13, 2008

Here’s a sport we haven’t talked about before – Jet Ski racing and from what we hear it is gaining in popularity and interest. Now with a world wide audience and IFWA world championship recognition it seems that Jet Ski racing has definitely taken its place alonside the other mainstream extreme sports that we write about. The article below comes from the JetSki.com website and the video, which is an encouraging and useful introduction to the jet ski racing world, comes from 937NM – thanks guys.

In an effort to offer another round after the cancellation of the USA event, the IFWA has determined to run an additional event, the 2008 IFWA Championship Challenge, following the Jet Waves competition in Brazil. The top 8 riders after France, Spain and Brazil will compete in this additional event and final points after France, Spain, Brazil and Championship Challenge will determine the 2008 IFWA World Champion.
The Jet Waves competition will begin on Friday September 5th with pre-qualifying, qualifying and consolation rounds. The majority of the Jet Waves competition will be held on Saturday September 6th. The Jet Waves Semi-final and Final rounds will be run on Sunday September 7th morning.
The Championship Challenge will follow the Jet Waves after Sunday September 7th lunch. It will feature the 8 IFWA points riders based upon the results of the 3 events: France, Spain and Brazil. These top 8 riders (present at the moment in Brazil) will compete in head to head 1/4 final, 1/2 final and final rounds. The event points given will be as usual: 1st: 23 points; 2nd:20 pts; 3rd: 17 pts; 4th:15 pts; losers of 1/4 finals: 12 pts.
Awards will be presented after the Champhionship Challenge on Sunday September 7th at 4:00 pm. Prize money and trophies will be given for Jet Waves. No prize money and no trophies will be given for the Championship Challenge. Trophies for top riders of 2008 IFWA Free Ride World Championship (5 in Stand-up class; 2 in Sit-Down class) will be presented by Tchello Brandão IFWA President.