Another year has blown by at warp speed and the biggest bike race on Earth is about to start all over again. Once more a lot of the coverage is going to be about whether one man can set history yet again, but in terms of a broader picture, as well as Armstrong there are a lot of other riders who will be keep to make sure that they get to Paris in three weeks time. Check out Le Tour.
It’s likely that the start of the race will be over shadowed by one major event: Live 8. I’ve been watching a bit of it and some of the guests who have joined the BBC as part of the coverage have adequately summed up the situation. No one know is what Geldof if fighting for is the solution, but if we don’t do anything then one thing for sure there will be no change and people will go on living in a situation that is totally unacceptable. It’s easy to turn it off if you want to because it’s happening on another continent and doesn’t affect your daily life, but it shouldnâ€™t be like it is so the fact that someone is prepared to take a stand and do something about it is a fantastic thing. Check out the site and add your name to the list.
Ibis are returning. Yep, like Swobo it shows that you can’t keep a good brand down, so I’m sure there are a few people out there who will be quite excited about the fact that Scot Nicol is going back into production. The Red Bull Divide and Conquer Event is a gruelling all mountain sports competition that is set in te area surrounding Durango. With the snowcapped peaks of the San Juan Mountain Range in the background, the grueling race kicked off at sunrise with 7.5 miles of rigorous trail running ascending 6,000 feet up the rocky Kendall Mountain. Trekking through snow-packed fields and craggy mining roads, the runners tagged their paraglide teammates.
From the 12,200 foot Kendall Mountain start, the paragliders hiked 900 feet to the 13,100 foot launch point where they then quite literally flew against turbulent winds to Silverton at 9200 feet, passing the torch on to the kayakers who entered the frigid water through a narrow chute, before tackling 24-miles of class IV and V rapids down the legendary Animas River to transfer the baton to the Mountain bikers. They faced a daunting uphill battle, climbing over 7000 feet of vertical trails before the 28 mile course bought them safely across the finish line of the Durango Mountain Resort.
“The bike leg is about three hours long but starts with a 3000 foot climb in 4 miles–a super steep climb–so it kind of sets the tone for the whole ride because your legs are blown after that,” said returning athlete Ned Overend, who won the fastest mountain biking split time two years running. Ned’s team, Specialized-Riversports, won in a total elapsed time of 7:37:34. There’s more information here.
Tom Ritchey who is another old school rider who refuses to stop riding, hasn’t had much choice recently since some one stole his ride. Tom isn’t a happy bunny and who can blame him. Maybe titanium supremo Matt Chester could build something up for him?
My main man Mr. Thorne isn’t spending this summer in the mountains, preferring to pursue a slightly more entertaining sideline in the warm waters of Lake Como:
Firstly, my apologies to anyone who hasn’t heard from me for ages – I am officially a slacker when it comes to staying in touch! I’d love to be able to make some plausible excuse for it but I genuinely can’t think of a single one. For anyone I really haven’t spoken to, I’ve been knocking about in Zermatt for the last few seasons concentrating on my skiing and managing a big group of tour operators throughout Switzerland. It has been a cool couple of years with loads of awesome skiing; traveling to various resorts in Europe in winter and training in the park in summer. Life could have been a lot worse…
Anyway, I decided it was time to move onto pastures new after this winter and start something of my own. A great opportunity came up earlier this year to start a kitesurf school in Italy on Lake Como. Myself and a friend Jorg have set ourselves up with a cool little kiting center down here in a place called Sorico, at the north end of the lake. It is an amazing spot with a real Mediterranean climate, but there are mountains that rise straight from the lake to nearly 3000m. The wind is a super-consistent thermal wind that blows most days making it a great place to learn to kite. On top of that, it isn’t so far from Switzerland so I can still coach on some of the summer freestyle camps in Zermatt and get some skiing in. Result.
We’ve been down here a month now and I reckon you are all more than overdue an invite to come have a go at this kiting thing (we’re doing mates’ rates!), or just come have a chilled-out time at the lake and enjoy the sunshine… I realise it might not be particularly easy to get here for some (Si & Marlboro – Japan aint that convenient, but its even further for Mark in NZ!), but it’d be great to see you. For anyone base in the UK, Ryanair are doing cheap deals from from Stansted and Luton to Bergamo airport which is just an hour away.
We are also moving the kiting operation out to Brazil for October if anyone fancies a real adventure!