Keen for Spring

first_imgKeen has you covered as you transition from the heavy trappings of winter footwear to the carefree days that lay ahead. Keen has launched a new line of footwear known as CNX, which are ultra lightweight. Since the weather turned warmer recently I have been sporting a pair of the Keen Mercer Mary Jane, which weigh in at just over 7.5 ounces.  These adorable flats offer all the styling of a traditional mary jane flat, with the toe protection and arch support that we have come to expect from Keen. This past Saturday, my Mercer Mary Janes kept me feet feeling and looking good on an inshore fishing trip, to a dockside lunch and then on to running errands for that evening’s dinner party.  I love the fit and style of these flats. If you are looking for the perfect pair of shoes to pair with shorts, skits and other warm weather outfits, look no further than the Keen Mercer Mary Jane CNX.  They come in  eye catching colors.MSRP $90.00.Keen2My other go-to shoe for the warmer days is the Keen Maderas Oxford.  Think Ked’s but grown up, more stylish, and much more comfortable.  The Maderas Oxford is a canvas shoe with a white rubber sole that offers a touch of hipster style. The sole is perfect if you need a shoe that does not scuff. They provide the expected Keen toe protection and a surprisingly comfortable fit.  They also pair wonderfully with a pair of jeans for a day of brewery tours or festival going.  The Maderas Oxford fits true to size and weighs in at under 11 ounces.  They are available in six colors, from bright to neutral.MSRP $60.00.last_img read more


Boston Marathon Report: There Is No Finish Line

first_imgThe finish line the day before the bombing.The international Boston Marathon and joyous celebration of Patriot’s Day suddenly turned catastrophic at 2:50 p.m. on Monday. The fabled finish down Boylston St. dreadfully shifted from personal victories to a shocking war zone, with 3 deaths and over 200 innocent bystanders injured.I was one of the fortunate ones. I finished nearly an hour before the blasts. I lingered around the finish-line station for thirty minutes while I rehydrated, recovered and waited for my wife, Candace. Once out of the family meeting station, we slowly walked a couple of blocks and stopped at a café to get off my feet and refuel my body. While walking back to our hotel, we heard the sirens of several EMS crews but didn’t pay much attention. As we entered our room and turned on the TV to view the final coverage, the traditional camera view of the finish line revealed a bizarre, unimaginable, and bloody scene. We were stunned.I’ve been running marathons for 33 years. The last time I’d run Boston was in 1993, so I was excited to celebrate my 20-year Boston reunion with my wife at the 117th edition. The celebration included a nod to all my running companions, mentors, and family who have inspired me over the years. My quest was to run ‘26 miles for 26 pals’ and take the precious time to reflect on each of them as I ran from Hopkinton to Boston.The plan worked perfectly as I navigated the historic course, negotiated the Newton Hills and finished strong down Boylston St. amid thousands of cheering spectators. I had set a conservative time goal – one to run a respectable time but also conserve my energy so that we could enjoy the historic sites surrounding Boston after the race. Mission accomplished.medalThen the explosions went off. Due to a horrific and cowardly act of terrorism, tragedy suspended the international event and approximately 5,742 competitors were diverted from the course then dispersed into various locations short of the historic finish line. Boston Police abruptly replaced Boston Athletic Association officials and volunteers monitoring the course in an attempt to maintain a safe and controlled environment surrounding the violent explosions that occurred along the finishing stretch on Boylston St.The aftermath created an uncomfortable numbness and somber environment around Boston. Runners and their families appeared in shock. What should have been a festive occasion was now one of dazed and confused. News started trickling in and police bulletins warned citizens to stay at home, avoid congregating in large masses and announced transit system closings. Cell phones were erratic because of the high traffic. The FAA declared a temporary ground stop at Logan International Airport.  My wife and I continued to watch the raw, local footage recording in real time the emergency efforts of police, first responders, medical professionals, EMS, runners and volunteers.Heightening the fear and confusion, a third event was reported at the JFK Presidential Library. A fire broke out at the library located miles away from the marathon explosions. My wife and I kept looking at each other trying to find comfort but instead, our eyes revealed terror and confusion.Hours later, we went down to the hotel lobby. Runners and their families were gathered around. There was an uncomfortable cheerless about the room. Outside, downtown Boston was a ghost town, Boston Commons vacant. We walked a block. A bomb squad followed a speeding police escort down Washington St. It was 5 p.m. and most businesses are closed. I had read that the Boston Marathon brings in $1.5 million of revenue into the area. Walking around the urban landscape without the vibe of human activity was surreal. There would not be any victory celebration this marathon.Three days later, things aren’t much better. Many of the people that I talk with feel the same way. On the T-Line to the airport, I talk to a woman who wasn’t allowed to finish. She had a hard time trying to put her emotions in words. We all feel guilty talking about our marathon in the context of things. We are angry, confused, selfish, and uneasy. Every time friends ask me about the race, I can’t really go into the details of my personal experience. Since I wasn’t directly at the explosion site, I can’t report on that incident either. Out of respect for the victims and their families, I find myself having a difficult time communicating my own trivial experiences at Boston. But hope begins to filter in. I look for anything positive. I hear about remarkable recovery efforts from some of the survivors. Boston firefighters say that we’ll be back next year. Bostonians are a resilient breed. So are marathoners.I heard from family, friends, friends-of-friends, co-workers and hometown media. Our local running community networked to ensure every one was safe. Once I’m at home and start the routine again, the people and friends that I generally interact with are extremely caring and comforting. The numbness slowly begins to wear off even though I can’t seem to get away from the news of the Boston Marathon terror. Yesterday, I hear a Fresh Air interview with Amby Burfoot, editor-in-chief of Runners World Magazine and the 1968 Boston Marathon Champion. He has run the event every five years since to commemorate his victory. This year, he was not allowed to finish and came .7 of mile short of completing his marathon. His comment about running being a “gift” hits home and helps put things in perspective.This morning, I realize that my plan to commemorate my 26 running companions now includes a much larger community. After the 2013 Boston Marathon, I now have 23,336 brave companions to honor along with hundreds of first responders. And I extend my deepest condolences and sympathies to the friends, loved ones, and family of all those killed and injured.sam-photoWant to help the victims? Visit onefundboston.org to assist the people most affected by the tragedy.Sammy Cox is the Asheville circulation manager for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and a pillar of Western North Carolina’s running community.last_img read more


Clips of the Week: Pond Skimming and Big Wave Shredding

first_imgThis week’s CLIPS OF THE WEEK features some end-of-season pond skimming and big wave surfing to transition you into a summer full of grand adventuring. Check out these excellent edits as we ease ourselves into the weekend.Crowds gather in Slovenia for some high quality pond skimming action.Some of the best surfers in the world tearing it up before the ASP World Tour kicks off.This is awesome.last_img


Mystery Moves

first_imgOn a rocky, mid-river island on Tennessee’s Nolichucky River, thirty-three squirt boaters gathered on May 31 to compete in the annual World Mystery Championship, where each paddler performed underwater moves beneath Cowbell rapid for nearly a half-minute.It is an inadvertently clandestine sport that drives each participant to descend deeper and remain longer underwater in a long thin boat. Methods of sinking are difficult to teach because the interaction varies between current and boater. The only thing spectators can see is the focused final inhalation of the boater before the paddler sinks, and then the helmet of the boater as it emerges from the murkiness around 20 feet downstream. All the action is unseen personalized mystique.“Commentators would have trouble describing what people are doing,” said squirt boat designer Jim Snyder. “You have to do it your own way.”Perhaps because it is so strangely individualistic, it has received little mention worldwide, no sponsorships, and little growth in popularity, despite its birth and development in the early 1980s. The three largest hubs of squirt boaters are in East Tennessee, Oregon and Japan.DSC_9030Bryce Evans, 37, of Chattanooga, Tenn. captured the size of the sport saying, “When you win the world championship, you’re the best in the world out of the 30 people in the world who know what it is.”Some suggest that the sport is concentrated in small circles of enthusiasts because people are scared to release themselves to an unpredictable current. Another cause that makes the sport difficult to get into is that very few people do it, making it nearly impossible for many to try it out in a friend’s boat. Interested boaters cannot rent squirt boats, and the steep cost of the boats (around $1,600) is also a deterrent.Andrew Grizzell, 34, of Columbia, South Carolina, won his first world championship this year with a final heat time of 28.05 seconds. He was followed closely by twenty-eight-year-old, three-time world champion Taft Sibly of Chattanooga, Tenn., with a time of 21 seconds and John Bell at 20.7 seconds.The longest recorded squirt boater’s time in a competition was 47 seconds, but Snyder said he sat 12 feet away from a guy who was under for 59. Sub-surface time is dependent upon the rapid, experience level, the “charging arc” (angle of entry), the appropriateness of the boat and the performance of the boater.The boats are molded uniquely to each boater’s body. The shape of the bottom mimics the shape of an airplane wing, and they catch currents in exactly the same way. Participants wear helmets and use hand paddles or paddles similar to those used by kayakers. No personal flotation device is worn because it inhibits the ability to sink.DSC_8991Snyder, now 61, of West Virginia, has designed nearly every modern squirt boat since he modified the existing model in 1983. He said that if a particular design was a quarter-inch too thick, it would be a big deal, so he takes great care measuring and modifying a design to be perfectly in tune with its operator.Mystery squirt boaters refer to themselves as zombies because after a day of mystery maneuvers and holding their breath for up to 40 seconds, their legs and feet are numb, eyes are glazed and bodies are in an exhausted trance. It’s no wonder such a daring sport has remained so obscure.“You got to have the appetite for this,” said Snyder. “We are the undead, the underworld bosses.”last_img read more


Wrong Bear Euthanized after Smoky Mountain Attack

first_imgNOTE: This is an update from the original story published on May, 12 2016. See original details below.Last week a 400-pound male black bear suspected of biting an A.T. thru-hiker was euthanized by wildlife technicians in Great Smoky Mountains National.Today, park officials are saying that the wrong bear was killed.They know because DNA testing has confirmed that the bear that bit 49 year-old Bradley Veeder of Las Vegas, NV as he slept in his tent during an AT thru hike was indeed a different animal.Today’s news comes after similar botching with bear euthanasia in recent years—another in the Smokies last summer, and one in Virginia’s Douthat State Park last August.Dana Soehn is a spokeswoman for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Shortly after the bear was put down she acknowledged the chance it could be the wrong animal.“We recognized there is a risk of an uninvolved bear being euthanized while we wait for DNA confirmation,” she told the Asheville Citizen Times. “The decision to euthanize an animal of any kind, especially a bear, is never made lightly.”According to Soehn the decision to kill the bear was based largely on the it’s size and gender—both of which were consistent with eye witness descriptions of the animal—as well as an injury on its canine tooth that was likely sustained during the attack.In a recent news release park officials said that wildlife biologists attempted to radio collar the 400-pound male before it was euthanized, but the collar would not fit around its neck.ORINGINAL STORY: A backcountry shelter in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed today after an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker was reportedly bitten by a black bear as he slept in the area on Tuesday night.According to park spokesperson Dana Soehn, the hiker—a 49 year-old Bradley Veeder of Las Vegas, NV—sustained minor injuries to his lower leg before he was finally able to scare the bear away.Soehn said the bear returned after the initial attack and ransacked two empty tents, one of which was Veeder’s, as he and other hikers sought refuge in the now-closed Spence Field Backcountry Shelter.Veeder was transported out of the backcountry this morning by horse to Blount Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released.Last June a sixteen year-old camper was attacked by a black bear in the Hazel Creek section of the Smoky Mountains National Park at backcountry campsite 84.Related Articles:last_img read more


Quick Hits: Atlantic Coast Pipeline hits more setbacks

first_imgSeven federal permits required for pipeline construction are now in question and in the fall of 2019 a D.C. circuit court of appeals will hear a challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) certificate of the project and decide if the pipeline is even needed. So far, Dominion has also been unsuccessful in persuading Congress to remove federal protections for the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway, both of which the company would like the 604-mile natural gas pipeline to cross. Click here for more on this story. An investigation into Stritzke’s relationship with the unnamed outdoor industry leader found that Stritzke should have disclosed the “personal and consensual” relationship under REI’s conflict of interest policy. REI President and CEO resigns over “perceived conflict of interest” The Atlantic Coast Pipeline continues to face major setbacks Nearly five years after Dominion’s announcement of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, the proposed pipeline is two years behind schedule and 50 percent over budget, which is now projected at $7.5 billion or more. Stritzke has led the co-op since October 2013 and says he regrets his decision to not be more transparent. Eric Artz, executive vice president and chief operating officer will serve as interim CEO, effective immediately. Jerry Stritzke, REI President and CEO, will resign from his position on March 15 after he and the Board of Directors agreed that his relationship with another outdoor industry leader is a perceived conflict of interest. last_img read more


Forty-Fifth Annual Assaults on Mt. Mitchell and Marion: Registration Now Open!

first_img“We are excited for the forty-fifth year of The Assaults’,” said Jenn Chew, this year’s new Ride Director for The Assaults. “The Assaults was a tremendous success last year and because of the help of our generous sponsors, we were able to give back to organizations in and around Spartanburg. We look forward to our forty-fifth year and being able to further benefit the Spartanburg community.” Cyclists can register for the Assault on Marion, which is the shorter, 74.2-mile sister ride from downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the Tom Johnson Campground in Marion, North Carolina, now through December 31 for $50. The registration fee for Marion will be $55 from January 1 to March 31 and will increase to $65 from April 1 through May 16. Registration will be $75 at Packet Pick-up.  To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact Caroline Gross at 864-360-1015 or visit www.theassaults.com. To register, riders may visit The Assaults website – www.theassaults.com. Registration closes Friday, May 15 at 5 p.m., however, participants may register in person at Packet Pick-Up on Sunday, May 17. Seth Jones was the fastest rider in 2019, completing The Assault on Mt. Mitchell with a 05:06:13 time. About The Freewheelers The Freewheelers Cycling Association of Spartanburg is pleased to announce the 2020 Assaults on Mt. Mitchell and Marion is set for Monday, May 18, 2020. This one-day century ride, known as the Southeast’s Premier Cycling Experience, attracts cyclists from around the world each year, with a climb of more than 10,000 vertical feet over the course of the ride, dubbing it the “the Beast of the East,” as the ride has come to be known. Michael Davis completed his 39th time riding the Assault on Mt. Mitchell with a time of 09:59:40. About The Assaults A bucket list ride for serious cyclists, The Assaults is one of the most intense, premier cycling experiences in the Southeast with cyclists participating from across the nation and world each spring to ride from Spartanburg, S.C. to either Marion, N.C. (74.2 miles) or the top of Mount Mitchell (102.7 miles). To learn more, register, sponsor or volunteer, visit www.theassaults.com or email director@theassaults.com. Of the cyclists participating in The Assaults each year, 30 percent live within a 100-mile radius of Spartanburg, S.C. Seventy percent of those who participate in The Assaults come from outside this radius, and support the local economy through the hotel, restaurant, and retail patronage. Call for Sponsors Cyclists can register for the Assault on Mt. Mitchell, a 102.7-mile climb from downtown Spartanburg to the summit of Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi, now through December 31 for the price of $150. The registration fee from January 1 through May 16th will be $175 and will increase to $200 at Packet Pick-up on May 17.  The caliber of The Assaults as one of the nation’s most beloved public cycling experiences provides incredible exposure opportunities for sponsors and event partners. Together with sponsors, The Freewheelers invests more than $165,000 annually to ensure that The Assaults will be a professional, safe and exciting ride for all. The organization behind The Assaults, The Freewheelers Cycling Association is a Spartanburg, S.C.-based, 501 (c)(3) nonprofit community service organization founded in 1973. The Freewheelers’ mission is to provide education and promotion of bicycle safety and a forum for amateur sports competition and touring. To learn more about The Freewheelers, visit their website at www.freewheelers.info.last_img read more


The Brazilian Army’s Presence at the Western Edge of the Amazon

first_img The article on the interception of boats on the banks of the Javari was interesting, but there was no conclusion… Was it supposed to be left to the imagination, or did the editor just forget to provide a conclusion? Utter nonsense, a bunch of men who have nothing to do, parading around for the ego of another man. In the channel of the Javari River, near the border with Peru, approximately 150 kilometers south of Tabatinga (Amazonas), a fleet of three tactical vessels belonging to the Brazilian Army sailed slowly on a routine river patrol. Each boat was crewed by 11 Soldiers armed with Para-FAL 7.62 rifles. At each boat’s prow, the operator of a MAG 7.62 machine gun searched the area ahead, while his colleagues observed the sinuous riverbed. On the opposite shore, a suspicious presence caught the Military personnel’s attention. A small boat without the Brazilian flag was stopped and being loaded. Armed men wearing camouflage clothes and civilians were in the area. The fleet’s outboard motors were disengaged. A jungle warrior learns from the animals that approach must be silent and stealthy, and if necessary, lethal. The tension increased, and the boats separated. Five hundred meters ahead of the location, two of the boats put in to shore, and in a matter of seconds all the Soldiers disembarked, while the other boat acted as the rearguard, ready to intercept the suspicious vessel in the event that it tried to escape. The approach was made along two flanks, by land and by water. Their faces painted, the Military personnel reached the location without being noticed. It was a cocaine refining laboratory operated by guerrillas and drug traffickers. As they were heavily armed, the possibility of resistance had to be avoided. The action had to be quick and lethal. It was Brazilian territory, and as happens in nature, those who enter someone else’s territory run the risk of being attacked. Tabatinga is a city of approximately 40,000 inhabitants across the border from the Colombian city of Leticia. It is the port of entry for much of the cocaine that enters Brazil. The Military presence in the region goes back to 1776, when the Portuguese established St. Francis Xavier of Tabatinga Fort (Forte São Francisco Xavier de Tabatinga), since they understood the strategic importance of the Solimoes River entrance. In 1932, the fury of the waters destroyed the fortification, which was replaced by another that was again taken by the waters in 1950. Subsequently, the Brazilian Army established a presence with the 1st Special Border Battalion, currently known as the 8th Jungle Infantry Battalion (BIS) – Solimoes Border Command. The 8th BIS has a roster of one thousand Soldiers and is subordinate to the 16th Jungle Infantry Brigade, located in Tefe. Its area of responsibility is a 1,632-km strip along the border, where four Special Border Squads (PEF) are installed. To the north, near La Pedrera, in Colombia, the 3rd PEF – Vila Bittencourt, is installed at the entrance of the Japura River. The 2nd PEF – Ipiranga is located just below, at the mouth of the Iça River. The 1st PEF – Palmeiras do Javari and the 4th PEF – Estirao do Equador are on the border with Peru, on the banks of the Javari River. In the Amazon, every mission is real. That is why the 8th Jungle Infantry Battalion conducts surveillance of the border strip, where it has police powers; river patrol, using special speedboats for river operations; and foot patrol in the jungle environment. Its four PEFs carry out the same missions and regularly confront biopiracy, illegal mining, environmental crimes, and the cultivation and international trafficking of drugs, as well as doing intelligence work with the aim of identifying FARC cells still present in the region. The last known confrontation with members of the FARC was in 2002, to the north of the 3rd Special Border Squad, in Vila Bittencourt, along the channel of the Japura River, almost in the area of the 5th BIS, and resulted in deaths among the guerrillas. War in the jungle requires taking maximum advantage of the region’s network of waterways. For that reason, the troops do not consider using vehicles. All transportation must be done along the rivers or by air, with the assistance of the Brazilian Air Force and the support of the 4th Army Aviation Battalion. By land, a jungle march has a speed of one kilometer per hour. It is important for a fighter to be capable of covering distances by swimming and of operating motorboats and rowboats. The region’s warm and humid climate facilitates fungal and bacterial infections, and fighters also face the risk of tropical diseases. Tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, and malaria are endemic in the area. For that reason, the Military personnel must be in very good health. The jungle warrior’s toughness is essential to his full operational capability in this unique theater of operations. The 8th BIS is provided with standard Brazilian Army equipment, but with the necessary adjustments for use in the Amazonian theater of operations. The weapons used are Para-FAL 7.62 rifles, heavy automatic rifles, and MAG 7.62 and .50 machine guns. These last can be installed in mountings on the boats, supplying greater combat power during a river approach or disembarkation. Carl Gustav anti-tank cannons are also beginning to be incorporated. A new addition to jungle operations is the use of buffaloes as a means of transportation. These animals are extremely hardy. They like humidity, can easily cross rivers, and are capable of climbing hills while carrying up to 400 kg of ammunition and weapons. They feed on any leaves they find in the forest and remain calm during combat, not getting frightened like other animals, and they are the only means of transportation the troops can use in the jungle environment. By Dialogo September 19, 2011last_img read more


Embraer Conducts First A-1M Flight

first_img Brazilian giant Embraer successfully flew the prototype of the A-1M for the first time at its Gavião Peixoto industrial facility. General Juniti Saito, commander of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), and officers from the FAB high command participated in the ceremony. The A-1M program foresees the refurbishment and modernization of 43 subsonic AMX fighters belonging to the Air Force. Ten aircraft are already at the company’s facilities, and the first deliveries are expected in 2013. The same ceremony also marked the delivery to the FAB of its 99th and last A-29 Super Tucano light attack turboprop plane, as well as the last two F-5M fighters in the first batch to be modernized. Through the AL-X program, the Air Force became the initial customer for the launch of the Super Tucano in December 2003. Currently, this aircraft is used in advanced fighter pilot training and plays a significant role in the Amazon Surveillance System. The Super Tucano has been chosen by ten customers from Africa, South America, and the Asia-Pacific region. The F-5M program covers the modernization and refurbishment of 46 supersonic fighters. Each modernized plane received new navigation systems, weapons, computers, and multimode radar. “The A-1Ms are receiving modern systems similar to those that are already part of the equipment of the F-5M and A-29. All the updates and acquisitions are related to the objectives that are part of the Air Force Military Strategic Plan, which seeks to position the Air Force over the medium and long term, within the conditions set by the Military Defense Policy and the National Defense Strategy. A premise of this process is the search for commercial, industrial, and technological benefits, with a view toward the development of defense material and the strengthening of domestic industry,” Gen. Saito said. “This being the case, our equipment takes advantage of the similarity between the avionics of these aircraft, which helps our pilots to adapt and represents a standardization that offers countless operational advantages, such as the priority of Air Force deployment doctrine and better performance in terms of flight hours. This technical capacity of Embraer to meet our needs strengthens the Air Force and as a consequence, strengthens Brazil, to the degree that it leaves us ready to respond to a threat against the sovereignty of our airspace,” the general stated. By Dialogo June 22, 2012last_img read more


Mexico Captures One of FBI’s 10 Most Wanted

first_img García explained that the Williams was arrested on June 18 in a public park at 8:30 pm, local time, and “he was unable to prove his legal stay in the country when he was questioned.” By Dialogo June 20, 2013 The capture was made in the tourist town of Playa del Carmen, since the U.S. national “was wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for being involved with sexual exploitation of children,” Gaspar Armando García, prosecutor for Quintana Roo, stated, adding that the detainee was “extremely dangerous.” “He is being held under strict custody,” he stated. On June 18, the FBI announced that Williams had been added to the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. He is a 65-year-old former university professor who is facing a federal arrest warrant for sexual exploitation of children since April 30. “Williams has a long history of trips to the South East of Asia, particularly to the Philippines. He is said to have resided in Indonesia, Polynesia and Thailand,” as well as in Peru, according to the FBI website, which offered up to $100,000 for information leading to his capture. When authorities confirmed that his description matched the description of a person wanted by the FBI, he was arrested and “made available to the Immigration Office,” the official added. Williams is under the custody of Quintana Roo’s judicial agents, while Mexican authorities are coordinating with their U.S. counterparts to continue with the process. U.S. citizen Walter Lee Williams, an alleged child molester who was in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo and who was on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives,” was captured by Mexican authorities on June 18. The Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list was established by the FBI in March 1950. Since then, 469 fugitives have been arrested or found, 155 of which were spotted due to citizen cooperation.last_img read more