The Cleanest Line

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    « May 2012 | Main | July 2012 »

    Training for the Bike Ride I’m Not Training For

    by Brittany Griffith

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    Bleeding sunburns and limping – those were my earliest memories of people returning from RAGBRAI. What’s that? You don’t know what RAGBRAI is? (I’m just as shocked when people don’t know what RAGBRAI is as the Canadian who realizes that Americans don’t know who Terry Fox is.) RAGRBRAI is an acronym for Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Yes, that’s right – a bike across the entire state of Iowa. RAGBRAI is a non-competitive bike ride that starts on Iowa’s western border by dipping a rear tire in the Missouri, and ends, approximately 475 miles later, on the eastern border, after dipping a front tire in the Mississippi. The ride averages around 70 miles a day. Currently, close to 10,000 riders participate in this every year. If you are from Iowa, you have to do it at least once in your life to be considered a true Iowan. Or at least house, feed, shower, or cheer on a rider.

    RAGBRAI stops at eight host communities along the way with the route changing every year. The whole state awaits the announcing of the route, which happens in March. Trust me, it’s a BIG deal in Iowa if RAGBRAI stops in your town. The whole town goes ape shit and it’s all anybody talks about for months.

    [Above: If you don't like the way I ride, stay off the sidewalk! All photos: Brittany Griffith Collection]

    Continue reading "Training for the Bike Ride I’m Not Training For" »

    Ghost Ship: A Lost Skiff 1500 Miles Off the Coast of Japan

    by Stiv Wilson

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    Position: 29°11.9 North, 170°35.2 East

    “It’s a whale,” yells Tracey from above deck. I’m eating humus below in the salon with Dani, after forgoing Kelvin’s lunch of fried Kim Chi with rice and seaweed. Wildlife sightings are like breaking news aboard Sea Dragon, sometimes the only demarcation from one day to the next. Dani and I both grabbed our cameras and went on deck. Tracey was peering far off in the distance, tracking some object with binoculars. The day before we had had a Sperm Whale breach within a 100 meters of the ship to the bow and we hoped our luck would give us something similar. But there was no breaching and no blowhole spouting from the object in the distance. “Is its fin just sticking out of the water? What is that? It’s white… is it a white whale?” says someone on deck. I move to the bowsprit, start snapping photos. There is no color in this day—a gray sky meets a gray ocean at the horizon, it’s as if we’re traveling through a monotone void.

    Continue reading "Ghost Ship: A Lost Skiff 1500 Miles Off the Coast of Japan" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: Stepping Stones

    by Fitz & Becca Cahall

    DBD_Ep58Jessie Stone has a resume that would make any dirtbag proud -- raft guide, pro whitewater kayaker and member of the US freestyle kayak team. At the end of that list is medical doctor. And the director of the Soft Power Health Clinic in Uganda. She is a career shape shifter. who followed her passions and ended up in an unexpected place. How do you know when it's time to step out of the current and follow an alternative path? Trevor Clark traveled to Uganda to tell Jessie's story.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Stepping Stones"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)


    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to download the music from "Stepping Stones" or to hear past episodes of the podcast. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter.

    [Graphic by Walker Cahall]

     

    Misty Fjords and Whales - An Excerpt from "Paddling North" by Audrey Sutherland

    by Audrey Sutherland

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    Patagonia Books is proud to announce our latest release, Audrey Sutherland’s new book
    Paddling North, which describes her solo voyages along Alaska’s southeast coast in a nine-foot inflatable kayak. The book includes maps by Compass Projections and illustrations by Yoshiko Yamamoto and recipes by the author. Enjoy an excerpt from Chapter 3, "Misty Fjords and Whales."

    “Suddenly there was a big water sound ahead. It was not the sound of a salmon jumping. It was not a seal spotting me and doing an instant up-and-over dive. This was a huge volume of water. Coming toward me were two whales, heading south down the channel. Not the humpbacks that I knew from Hawai‘i, these were pure black, with a high narrow dorsal fin and a 10-foot span between spout and fin. Killer whales! I spun away and paddled fast toward the cliff, but there was no place to get ashore. The critic on my shoulder scolded the yellow-bellied paddler. “You don’t have to carry the yellow color scheme that far.” I turned and stroked parallel to them, but they had already passed.

    Disappointed, I turned back to the search for a hot spring. Five miles south of Saks Cove, said the USGS thermal springs book, and 200 feet inland. I came to a cove and landed. The major stream was farther south than the map indicated, but I found a smaller one that seemed possible, of a size that might have bubbled from just one spring. Its water was icy, but it would chill fast on this ground, so I crawled upstream, through the spiny devil’s club, under logs, through the water. Finally I stopped; 300 feet in half an hour. No steaming vapor showed ahead, no sign of the red algae that often grows near hot springs. I had no assurance a hot spring was still bubbling. The Geological Survey report was from a 1917 observation, and the 1980 NOAA report on hot springs of Alaska didn’t mention it. Until further reconnaissance, it will remain a mystery. I paddled on.

    Continue reading "Misty Fjords and Whales - An Excerpt from "Paddling North" by Audrey Sutherland" »

    One Planet, One Vote – Patagonia Teams Up with Wilco, HeadCount and League of Conservation Voters

    Hans LIsa M 2“The environment is where we live, where we work, and where we play,” said Dana Alston, a pioneer in the environmental movement. It is also, we think, any place you love.

    Your special place might be Yosemite Valley. Or it might be the smallest pocket park in your neighborhood. The place you work might need cleaner air or more trees; the place you live might need better transportation.

    We need leaders committed to the places we live, work, and play – and the places we love.
    The “environment” is abstract, and, sometimes, at the polls, it’s ignored. During elections, the “environment” is cast in opposition to other needs, as if “the environment” were a luxury we could put aside.

    But, the environment is not abstract: it’s where we live. It’s the air we breathe. It’s the water we drink. It’s the places we go to relax and refresh. It’s the beauty and diversity of our one planet Earth.

    A healthy planet is necessary for a healthy business and Patagonia wants to be in business for a good long time. We want to act responsibly, live within our means, and leave behind not only a habitable planet but an Earth whose beauty and biodiversity are protected for our children and grandchildren.

    That’s the reason Patagonia has a stake in this election. We plan to bring our deepest values with us into the voting booth in November and elect responsible leaders. We hope you’ll join us.

    Continue reading "One Planet, One Vote – Patagonia Teams Up with Wilco, HeadCount and League of Conservation Voters" »

    70 Degrees West - Telling the Stories that Matter

    By Ethan Stewart

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    They say journalism is dead and, well, who can blame them. More and more of us are content to find out about the world via half-cooked news stories pulled from the fires of research way too soon in the name of feeding the beast of this brave new world’s 24-hour news cycle. The masses prefer cable news that echoes the voices in their head rather than unbiased source reporting that forces you to think and think critically. 140-character transmissions are the new black in this “information” age and, as welcome as this may be to our rapidly emerging ADD-tendencies, I am not sure it is a good thing when it comes to saving the world.

    [All photos by Justin Lewis]

    Continue reading "70 Degrees West - Telling the Stories that Matter" »

    San Diego 100 Race Report: Course Record Run

    by Jeff Browning

    Two weekends ago, I had the ridiculously good fortune to watch Patagonia Ultra Runner Jeff Browning put on a display of trail running zen mastery at the San Diego 100. One could not ask for a better experience and the fact that so many friends had gathered for the event made it all the sweeter. Patagonia runners Krissy Moehl, Luke Nelson, Roch Horton, and Ty Draney joined Jeff and the other 150 souls brave enough to toe the line for 100 miles of dessert scrub, buff pine forests, intense heat, dust, wind, poisonous snakes, technical down hills and endless grueling climbs that make this a five-star, class-A event. A special thank you is definitely due to Scott Mills, the Race Director, and the dedicated crew of San Diego Rats who know how to put on a great old-school race that should definitely be on every serious runner’s list. Read on to hear the story of Jeff’s record-breaking journey in his own words. I guarantee you’ll be inspired. –George Plomarity, Patagonia Grassroots Sales and Marketing Rep

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    Stonewall Peak at mile 60ish of the course. We went up and over this bad boy. Photo: Jeff Browning Collection

    Where do I start. Wow. What a day. I truly had “one of those days” where it all clicked. I’m SO pumped to have PR’d on a technical course for 100 miles. I can’t say enough about the race itself. Super-well organized, well-stocked, well-marked and hot and technical. Fun course.

    The Course

    The course is held 40 miles inland in the mountains east of San Diego. There is 15,800 feet of elevation gain. The course is known for being pretty technical, exposed (no trees) and windy. June is usually hot, typically in the 80s and windy on the ridge, and 90s in the canyons. The hardest part is that, after mile 15, you NEVER, ever have shade until 72 miles into the race. The course starts and finishes at Al Bahr Campground on Sunset Highway and does a loop SW and then connects to the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) and runs north hovering on a ridgeline between 4,500 and 6,000 feet overlooking the Anza Borrego desert to the east. The course then heads west and down into Noble Canyon (the hot part of the course) for a figure eight loop and back up Green Valley to the ridgeline and the PCT. Then a northern loop along the shore of Lake Cuyamaca, over Stonewall Peak and then down the drainage paralleling Hwy 79 as it descends toward San Diego, then back up to gain the ridge (at mile 51/80) and take the PCT back 20 miles south to finish at Al Bahr.

    Continue reading "San Diego 100 Race Report: Course Record Run" »

    A Sort of Homecoming

    by Kelly Cordes

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    Dude at curbside didn't budge from his chair. Gave me a bored look.

    "Can you take my bags?" I asked.

    He sighed. "How much they weigh?"

    "'Bout 65 pounds each. I already checked 'em in online."

    "Still gotta take 'em inside," he said, barely moving. "They're too heavy."

    "You sure? Because I'm allowed three 70-pound bags and I only have two," I said, with a hint of smug pride at coming in light for a climbing trip – a lifetime first. His boredom shifted to confusion, like he knew what this meant but it didn't jibe with what stood before him: a scarred and scraggly dude in a baggy T-shirt who limped from the car in a bad mullet. Side note: in a case of mistaken brilliance, I gave my mullet a homemade trim before leaving for the airport. I botched it. Bad. It now looks terrible.

    Dude stood up. Looked at his printout.

    "First class, Premier Status," I said, flashing a nonchalant sideways glance. 

    "I'd be happy to help you with that, Mr. Cordes! Going to Anchorage, correct?"

    [Above: Kelly Cordes descending London Tower after the first ascent of the Trailer Park. Photo: Scott DeCapio]

    Continue reading "A Sort of Homecoming" »

    Hitching to Oz

    by Patch Wilson

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    Recently, I had the opportunity to hitch a ride from Indonesia to Australia on a sailing yacht my friend owns. I had been working at home for a good while, and was starting to get itchy feet, and this seemed like the perfect way to get back on the road and go exploring again.

    So I tied up the loose ends at home and flew from the UK out to Bali and timed it perfectly to walk into the first solid swell of the year – pumping Sanur and Bukit Peninsula. I spent three weeks in Bali, surfing all over the place and getting back into the rhythm, and scored really fun waves before it was time for me to go and meet up with the boat.

    [Above: Getting back into the rhythm in Bali. All photos by Patch Wilson.]

    Continue reading "Hitching to Oz" »

    Trevor Gordon’s Artful Life

    by Michael Kew

    Natural_light

    Patagonia Surf ambassador Trevor Gordon, 22, is not just a guy who, in the words of Dan Malloy, “surfs just like Curren.” Here we take a closer look at Trevor’s land-based talents.

    Michael Kew: How would you describe your art?
    Trevor Gordon: A bit folksy. Colorful, textured, simple. I try to paint or draw people in ordinary moments and natural situations, like a man sitting on a porch, playing guitar, or a lady stoking a campfire.

    What's your process like when you create art? Do you ever sketch stuff and then make it, or do you work more spontaneously and build as you go? How does it happen for you?
    I usually start painting spontaneously. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the night and have to start a painting so I don’t forget it by morning. Other times I will be listening to a song and something will pop into my head, and if I can, I will start painting something right then. More often than not, I’ll end up painting over the original idea, but it’s the initial moment of starting the painting that is hardest. My style is very quick — I can’t stand waiting for the paint to dry or washing the brushes, so I end up painting with my fingers on top of wet paint. I guess that can add to it, sometimes, but it can also screw it up.

    Continue reading "Trevor Gordon’s Artful Life" »

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