Here's a question that often comes up in endurance events: Is it fun? One writer tries to figure that out while bicycling the 5,000-foot climb up Pike's Peak, one of Colorado's 14ers.
I will not fail.I will not fail.I cling to that phrase, that monosyllabic mantra, at 12,000 feet, where the sign reads Timberline. I am above Glen Cove but still below something called the Devil's Playground, and up here where the boulders are red like Mars and even the brown grass can't catch enough of a breath to grow, I'm flailing. I'm doing everything you're not supposed to do when you climb hills on a bike: swaying back and forth like a heavy mast, straining to maintain a cadence in the upper 40s, feeling my heart jackhammer in my ears, all while going a mere 3 miles per hour. Over my left shoulder, down below and foreshortened the way only enormous mountains can foreshorten things, are switchbacks piled on top of each other like the coils of a snake. Ahead of me, a man stopped on the shoulder rests his head on his handlebar, his body heaving. Just beyond him, where pewter storm clouds smudge the sky, the road turns and becomes steeper.
Climber Alex Honnold has been getting all kinds of attention lately for his willingness to scale vertical rock faces without letting those pesky ropes get in the way of the experience. His latest feat is soloing El Capitan, Half Dome, and Mount Watkins--all at Yosemite--in under 24 hours. His sponsor, North Face, posted an interview with Honnold, revealing Honnold's disdain for boredom and love of pizza.
The relationship between shaving and performance seem to be on people's minds. Outside answers the timeless question, will shaving my legs make me a faster cyclist, or just make sure everyone knows I'm a cyclist? And ultrarunner Ian Sharman examines whether beards are a help or hindrance to ultramarathon success.