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    Airfare and Intervals

    K6_after_the_storm You’re truly committed once you buy the plane ticket. And Friday (5/18) I bought my ticket for this summer's expedition to K6 in north-eastern Pakistan and my mental state instantly changed. Commitment always precipitates realizations. I have a lot of things I want to do before I go; not the least of which is to be trained and fit. So while I have been training Long-Slow-Distance (LSD refers to this type of training rather that the tabs someone is taking in order to name our color palette. Jackaranda? WTF?), before this past weekend I had yet to incorporate interval training into this year’s fitness program.

    [K6 after a storm. Masherbrum Mountains, Pakistan. Photo: Steve House]

    For those of you who think serious athletes are simply obsessive-compulsives waiting for a diagnosis, here is a bit of training theory. Eight-twelve months before you want to hit your performance peak start doing a lot of volume (read: time) and then, as you approach your d-day, incorporate shorter bursts of high-output work. These short bursts, intervals, cause your aerobic capacity to skyrocket. The catch is that the benefit you realize from the intervals is directly proportional to the quality and volume of your LSD. So in the course of my typical 10-month training cycle I do 6-7 months of LSD-only then 3-4 months of diminishing LSD and increasing interval work.

    Anyone who has ever sprinted until their legs burst into flames and their lungs felt like they were about to invert onto their handlebars knows what interval training feels like. It hurts. It burns. It rules you. It breaks you down until you feel like crumpling to the ground and crying for your mama. Sweet, sweet pain. Saturday did not disappoint...

    Continue reading "Airfare and Intervals" »

    Beyond and Back: Artist, Emilie Lee

    by Jeff Johnson


    The first time I met Emilie was a few years ago in Joshua Tree. She was living in a van with her boyfriend; painting, climbing, dumpster-diving, and working evenings at the Crossroads Café. There was this unique air about her. She seemed very calm and her movements were smooth, as if she were perpetually on run-out slabs. But I could see in her eyes that her mind was full of continuous thought. It wasn’t till a few months later, when I saw her beautiful journals published in Alpinist magazine, that I realized she was an artist. This explained what I saw in her eyes.

    Recently, I was shooting photos in Colorado. I ran into Emilie and her friends in Boulder. After a short day of climbing I asked if I could shoot photos of her in her studio. She said it was a mess because she was in the middle of moving to Utah. We went anyway.

    Situated on the flat outskirts of Boulder, Emilie’s studio was a small, non-descript room in a non-descript building. The surroundings were cold, faceless. Inside were piles of clothes, climbing gear, her dog, and hovering over the clutter like a bright sun rising from clouds, was her art. She handled her work like it was someone’s life -- if she dropped a piece the memory would be gone forever...

    Continue reading "Beyond and Back: Artist, Emilie Lee" »

    Montana Officials Lied about Buffalo - Take Action...Again

    Last week, word came out from our friends at the Buffalo Field Campaign in West Yellowstone, Montana, that the state Dept. of Livestock decided not to round up and exterminate 300 wild buffalo (including calves less than a month old). Well, their compassion appears to have been short lived. We received word from the BFC today, that despite Gov. Schweizter's calming assurances, the Dept. of Livestock have trapped 50 buffalo, and the bull bison among them will soon be heading for the slaughterhouse.

    Don't know about you, but I'm not feeling real positive about being lied to. Especially after I called Schweitzer's office the day of his much heralded buffalo pardon to thank him for doing the right thing.

    Long story short, if you care about wild animals and don't like being lied to, take action now.


    You can read the email we received from the Buffalo Field Campaign after the jump.

    Continue reading "Montana Officials Lied about Buffalo - Take Action...Again" »

    Patagonia Speaker Series: Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism Solutions

    On May 11, Patagonia Ventura employees were treated to an hour-long presentation from Hunter Lovins. Hunter is the president and founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions and co- creator of the Natural Capitalism concept – a whole-system framework that promotes the economic advantages of sustainability. She was also noted by Time magazine as a "Hero for the Planet," and is currently a founding professor of business at Presidio School of Management, which offers the first accredited MBA in Sustainable Management.

    In this interview, Hunter recaps her talk at Patagonia and offers real-world suggestions for each of us to help combat global warming. Politicians, business owners, investors and everyday people can all learn something from Hunter Lovins.

    Check out the Climate Protection Manual for Cities Hunter mentioned in the video.

    Previous Patagonia Speaker Series posts: Doug Peacock, Dr. Enric Sala.

    [Many thanks to Hunter and the Patagonia Video Team for this interview.]

    Nightline Interviews Doug & Kris Tompkins, Tours Parque Pumalin

    Doug and Kris Tompkins were interviewed and Parque Pumalin toured last night on ABC's Nightline. You can read a nice written recap of the story, with plenty of choice quotes from Doug and Kris, at the ABC News website. There's also a streaming video about Parque Pumalin as a vacation destination.

    Millionaires With a Mission

    [With thanks to Mike D. and Nora]

    Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest

    Fid3 When I think about Malibu, its usually on the order of Moonshadows, Surfrider Beach or expensive real estate listings. So, a few weeks ago while reading up on the Santa Monica National Recreation Area, I was surprised to discover a listing about a banjo and fiddle contest being held at the Paramount Ranch. It turns out, this wasn't just any contest but rather...

    Continue reading "Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest" »

    Keeping the Commuting Spirit Alive

    They say it takes about 30 days to form a new habit. It's been about 30 days since we got rollingBike_sign with our Bike to Work Week festivities, so it's time to check in: How y'all doing with that new habit of rolling through the sunny summer mornings on your way to the daily grind? 

    Having trouble staying motivated? A friend recently sent us a link to a very handy little tool that just might help keep the stoke alive. Check out the Gas Savings Calculator at Living overseas? Complementary Brit site offers the calculator with appropriate calibratrions for litres and displays cost savings in pounds sterling. Fancy that.

    The best part: this little tool breaks your savings down to daily, weekly, and yearly levels. By my calculations, each day of riding to work is worth TWO day's worth of free coffee. Ride on.

    When Plastic is Not So Fantastic

    Plastic bags make me cringe. They're given away excessively at grocery stores and markets with barely a thought as to how they'll be disposed or where they might end up. One gallon of milk? Two plastic bags. Greeting card? Plastic bag. Fresh produce? One plastic bag for each variety please. Plastic, plastic, everywhere. And none of it (practically) is biodegradable.

    Please friends, say no to plastic bags whenever possible. Bring your own cloth bags instead. Keep 'em in the car or near your bike. Take 'em everywhere. If you're a business owner, give a discount to customers who bring their own bags. Some stores already do it. And some towns will even force you to switch.

    If you're already bringing your own bag, but would like something saucier than the typical canvas tote, check out Like Patagonia, they're a member of 1% For The Planet and their site provides valuable resources.

    Of course, plastic does have its place and one solution is to support the growing biodegradable plastics industry -- bags and utensils are already available. More recycling options and awareness campaigns would certainly be helpful too.

    Action Alert: If you live in California please help support a legislative package of five bills (SB 898, SB 899, AB 258, AB 820, and AB 904) that target the growing amount of plastic trash that is fouling the Pacific Ocean and threatening marine life. Take action here.

    [Video courtesy of Algalita Marine Research Foundation. With thanks to for the link ideas.]

    Anatomy of an Accident

    Episode6 Gather 'round the campfire one and all; embrace a loved one or grab a cold one; smoke 'em if you got 'em and leave your troubles behind. It's time for another episode of The Dirtbag Diaries with Fitz Cahall:

    In May of 2007, I made a mistake that should have cost me my life when I slipped high on a Central Oregon volcano. I fell between 250-300 feet, over a cliff, through rock bands before grabbing a rock out cropping and stopping my fall. I'm still not sure how I stopped myself. Amazingly, I walked away with a sprained thumb. This week the Dirtbag Diaries presents the Anatomy of an Accident. What do you take away from a near-death experience? Is there meaning in it? If so, what does it say about our relationships with these mountains, these rivers and these oceans.

    Episode Six - Anatomy of an Accident (click to listen; right-click to download)

    Music from Episode Six:
    Birdy Nam Nam -- "Engineer Fear" from the album Birdy Nam Nam
    Elliot Smith -- "Needle in the Hay" from the album Elliot Smith

    Additional music provided by Patagonia's very own Sus Corez. Check out more music from Sus at her myspace page.

    Subscribe to The Dirtbag Diaries in iTunes.


    Buffalo Get a Break

    Bfc1 Just last week, Montana's Department of Livestock had plans to round up 300 wild buffalo (including babies) and ship them off this morning, June 4, to slaughter, because they'd wandered outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. Thanks to the efforts of the Buffalo Field Campaign, their supporters and all of the media that picked up the story, the parties responsible for the impending slaughter heard loud and clear that the world was watching and that a public relations disaster was in the making. As a result, they relented and the buffalo got a reprieve.

    Check out this update from the Buffalo Field Campaign. And if you have a moment and the inclination to encourage good acts, please call the numbers listed in the update to thank Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (ph: 406-444-3111) and Yellowstone Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis (ph: 307-344-2002) for doing the right thing.

    *VICTORY! Buffalo Advocates Stop the Slaughter!!!

    [The buffalo you helped save. Photo courtesy of The Buffalo Field Campaign]

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