The Tough Mudder obstacle course events have become very popular in a relatively short period of time, and they are attracting a wide variety of participants who strive to test themselves in a military style course designed by the British Special Forces.
"But Tough Mudder is more than an event, itís a way of thinking," explains the event's website. "By running a Tough Mudder challenge, youíll unlock a true sense of accomplishment, have a great time, and discover a camaraderie with your fellow participants thatís experienced all too rarely these days."
Edging the Xtreme recently caught up with Kelly Ross a mother of two, who holds down a full time job and firmly believes that when you're in your mid-40s, it's never to late to be a "Tough Mudder." She completed the event at Gunstock, NH.
Listen to me chat with Kelly, on Edging the Xtreme:
Boasting over 700,000 participants world-wide, Tough Mudder raises money for the "Wounded Worrier Project" and promotes team work, as the course is nearly impossible to do alone and requires teams to complete many of the obstacles. These events also follow the recent fitness craze beyond aerobics, yoga, weight training and Triathlons. These events promote attitude, fun, and total body fitness Ė they are not competitions.
The next up-coming Tough Mudder is at Mount Snow Resort in Vermont August 1and 2.
Joseph Campbell famously once said, ďThe best things in life can not be described, the second best thing in life are the things we attempt to describe and the third best things in life are the ones we talk about.Ē
One thing is for sure: sailing the open ocean at night canít be described, and in the spirit of Joseph Campbell, I will not attempt to do so here.
Listen to my most recent Edging the Xtreme update:
But what I can tell you is that Marion, Mattapoisett and Padanaram, Massachusetts are towns where sailing reigns. Located in those towns are some of the most respected boat yards, boat wrights, and sailors in the world.
The annual Marion to Bermuda Race is a rite of passage in this part of New England, and the scene at the dock with generations of families ranging in age from four months to 80 plus years old, wishing us luck is equally hard to describe.
On the boat I sailed on, ages ranged from 18 year-olds to seasoned sailors, many of whom had done this race as many as 13 times. The largest boat in the race, Shindig, had a father-son team on board. Mark Riley and his son kept a blog with that is very moving and both the father and son are sailing the boat back later this week.
Listen to me talk to Adam 12 on my way into Bermuda:
I sailed on the boat August West. We had an amazing start, only to blow out the spinnaker three miles into the race. We eventually sewed it back and referred to it as Frankenkite, but by then the leaders were too far out in front to catch. This photo was taken by Hew Russell of our kite ripping away from the boat.
Racing these sailboats is a mix of mental endurance and physical grind, with three-hour watches at night and four hour watches during the day. The hardest part of sailing in general is staying focused on making the boat go fast and in a 650 mile race like this, that often can be a tall order. We had eight crew members to motivate each other, and the winner of the race (on the boat Alibi) was a double-handed entry. I can only imagine that their challenges during sail changes and rough seas were greater than ours.
Our crew consisted of boat owner and skipper Jamey Shachoy, Ed VanKeuen (who spent five years sailing around the world), Jon Pope (who has raced to Bermuda 13 times), Will Godfrey (who sails for Hobart College), Sam Schafer (who had sailed the Trans Atlantic leg of the 1997 BT Global Challenge around the world race in 1997), Barrett Levenson (a sailing whizz kid), sailing industry professional Dan Cooney (who is a life-long sailor and did his first Marion to Bermuda race as a teenager), and myself.
The Bermuda one-two race is also currently going on. In this race sailboats are single handed on the way down and double handed on the way back. These boats leave today and will start returning to Newport RI over the weekend.
The following quote by Joseph Campbell sums up my not only my overall experience of this race but also of life: ďThe big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure Ē
Thanks to my sailing partners who made this trip possible, Sperry Top-Sider, Gowire Insurance, Atlantis Weather Gear, Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association, Uncle Jon's Coffee and Buzzards Bay Yacht Services
Well, the ski bum is going to sea!
That's right: Iím sailing to Bermuda this weekend in the Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race. Since 1977, the Marion-Bermuda Race has been a premier 645-mile ocean race and sailing event that appeals to a broad range of cruising and racing enthusiasts.
The Marion Bermuda Race is organized and run entirely by hundreds of volunteering members of The Beverly Yacht Club (BYC), The Blue Water Sailing Club (BWSC) and The Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) for the Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race Association.
Iíll be sailing on a J 122 sailboat named August West, and you can track us and all the boats on the Marion to Bermuda website. Here is a great video on what a J 122 looks like:
I'll be sending updates from the trip via satellite phone. Tune into RadioBDC and Boston.com on Edging the Xtreme for video, images and updates with Adam 12 and I all weekend.
Here are some more pictures, to keep you on your toes:
The best mountain bike freeriders in the world are gathering this weekend for the annual "Spring Training" at Highland Mountain Bike Park in Northfield, New Hampshire. The pros come from all over the world to train in the one-of-a-kind indoor facility that includes both foam pits and rubber ramps, as well as outside airbags to jump into.
Highland Mountain Bike Park was the dream of Mark Hayes, who built a world-class mountain bike park at a ski area that closed in the mid 1990's.
Hayes, a mountain bike enthusiast, tells Edging the Xtreme how he built one of the best know mountain bike parks in the world from the humble beginnings of a run-down ski mountain.
It's a weekend full of mountain biking madness at the 12th annual Pat's Peak Mountain Bike Festival in New Hampshire. The list of competitions alone is covers every aspect of the sport; there are 24 hour, 12 hour and 6 hour competitions for all levels of endurance athletes.
Over the years, Greg Jancaitis has posted some amazing results in this race. Starting in 2009, he finished third in the men's solo 24 hour, and he was the 2010 and 2011 overall winner in the men's 24 hour solo. Then in 2012, he was the winner in the men's 6 hour solo. He also holds the course record at 29:00 in last year's race.
Here is a video interview with Jancaitis from the Shenandoah 100:
Listen to the entire interview with Greg Jancaitis on Edging the Xtreme:
Plus, learn about the entire Mountain Bike Festival at Pat's Peak, which includes the Eastern States Cup (ESC) USA Cycling Regional Championship Downhill Mountain Bike Race Series.
The Series is in its fourth year and includes nine venues with eleven series races, plus the state finals and the series finals. Check out a listing of the ESC schedule, rules and more information.
The X-Country Challenge on Sunday is part of the Northeast Root 66 XC Race Series, a series of cross-country mountain bike races held at different venues throughout New England.
And that is just the beginning of the fun: there's a single speed cycle cross event, plus camping, music and activities at the mountain all weekend.