Ear to the Ground: Issue 99

News and notes from the outdoor industry


Rivers for Change: Source to Sea Learning Adventure

Photo courtesy Rivers for Change

In the face of current and future effects of climate change, providing enough clean water to support healthy communities will continue to be one of the most pressing challenges of our time. Working with science teachers across multiple school districts along the Truckee River, the non-profit organization Rivers for Change implemented a dynamic format for teaching kids about the importance of their backyard river, combining challenging adventure with environmental learning, planting the seeds for a future generation of river stewards and advocates.

Using a combination of stand-up paddle boards, whitewater kayaks and rafts, pack rafts, and outrigger canoes, a team of ten student ambassadors between ten to 14 years in age and representing seven different school districts completed an exploration of the Truckee river from its source above Lake Tahoe, CA to its terminus in Pyramid Lake, NV, discovering where their water comes from and how their backyard river is important to their community.

Learn more at riversforchange.org.


Golden Tour Winners Announced

Evan Geankoplis (Scott McClain)

The California Enduro Series (CES) wrapped up its 2017 Golden Tour (pro triple crown) with the Kamikaze Bike Games (KBG) Enduro at Mammoth Mountain on September 17. Series regular Evan Geankoplis defended his 2016 title while Amy Morrison took first place for the women. Both riders race on the Marin Enduro Team. The KBG Game Enduro was round 7 of the CES 2017 season, and also an EWS qualifier.

The series heads to Ashland, OR for this year’s final round – the Ashland Mountain Challenge presented by Ashland Mountain Adventures.

ASJ is a proud sponsor of the California Enduro Series and the Kamikaze Bike Games.

Learn more at californiaenduroseries.com and kamikazebikegames.com.


White House Remains Silent on National Monument Review

Interior Secretary Zinke’s controversial review of National Monuments has sparked a high profile debate over our public lands, and Americans are eagerly awaiting the details of his recommendations. The long-awaited report that will determine the fate of the many climbing areas in our National Monuments has been submitted to President Trump, but it has not yet been made public. Zinke promised a more transparent and thorough review process, but it is unknown at press time as to whether he delivered on that promise.

Learn more here.


Wildflower Tri Returns for 2018

Photo: Kaori Photo

The much-loved Wildflower Triathlon Experience returns in 2018 to celebrate its 35th Anniversary on May 4-6, 2018 at Lake San Antonio in Central California. The previous year’s event had to be cancelled due to continued drought. It is with much relief and excitement that for 2018 the full triathlon race line up is back including the Long Course, Olympic, On Road Sprint, and Mountain Bike Sprint. All races will begin and end in the Lynch Festival Area.

Registration for all events are now open to the general public.

Learn more and register at wildflowertriathlon.com.


New Bike Podcast Debuts

Photo courtesy Beyond the Bike

Cycling enthusiast “Big Lou” Mollineda welcomes listeners to his new Beyond the Bike podcast. Mollineda started this endeavor because he wanted to capture the stories of mountain bike pioneers, pro racers, adventurers, race organizers, cycling legends and anyone in between.

Although passionate about bikes, the podcast is not limited to cycling. Lou also ventures out into the unknown in order to meet new people doing awesome things. Lou feels blessed to live in Southern California where folks can ride bikes almost all year round. He says, “I’m beyond stoked with the support of so many people who have come on the show including California Enduro Series founders Erik Saunders and Steve and Megan Gemelos, Fullerton Bike’s Mike Franze, Not Dot Adventures’ Jon Kearley, Kenda’s Roger Hernandez and so many other inspiring guests.

Beyond the Bike podcast episodes can be found on SoundCloud, iTunes and Google Play.

Stay tuned at facebook.com/beyondthebikewithbiglou.


Epic Rides Adds to Series

Photo: Carl Zoch

Epic Rides – already well known for its popular series events in Carson City, NV and Prescott, AZ and Grand Junction, CO recently announced the addition of the Oz Trails Off-Road in Bentonville, AR to its 2018 line-up. Utilizing the Oz Trails network at the foot of the Ozark mountains, this event will be held October 5-7, 2018. It will also serve as the Off-Road Series finale; a series that boasts the biggest backcountry mountain bike event pro purse in the world at $160,000.

Learn more at epicrides.com.


The North Face Donates $1 Million for Climbing Walls

The North Face is committed to help make climbing more accessible by donating $1 million to The Trust for Public Land in its endeavor to build public climbing walls in US communities, focusing on underserved areas. The Trust for Public Land has worked collaboratively to connect communities to the outdoors  while creating public spaces that everyone can enjoy.

Learn more at thenorthface.com/featured/walls.html.


Amy Gubser Completes Solo Swim Across Monterey Bay

Photo: Scott Tapley

On September 22, at 8:15 pm, Amy Appelhans Gubser stood near Santa Cruz harbor wearing nothing but a swim suit, cap and goggles. Staring into the dark abyss, she began to swim. 17 hours and 49 minutes later, Amy meandered her way through clumps of kelp as she approached San Carlos beach in Monterey. Amy is now the fourth person to complete a solo marathon swim across the Monterey Bay. This means she completed the swim following the rules of marathon swimming, which are often referred to as “English Channel Rules.” Previous swims were completed by Cindy Cleveland (1980), Patti Bauernfeind (2014), and Kim Rutherford (2014) – all women. During Amy’s epic journey, she swam over nine hours in the dark and battled strong currents, wind, and hundreds of jellyfish stings. The water temperature ranged from 54 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit. According to her crew, she remained positive the entire swim, smiling and cracking jokes the entire way.

Learn more at swimmontereybay.org.


Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC) “Ante Up for Trails”

Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC) will kick off its next “Ante Up for Trails” campaign on October 3, 2017 – this time in partnership with Santa Cruz Bicycles. This fundraiser offers folks the opportunity to win the Santa Cruz mountain bike of their dreams while supporting MBOSC’s trail building and maintenance endeavors. For every $5 anted up as a donation to MBOSC, donors are entered into a drawing for a chance to win a Santa Cruz model of choice, spec’d to the nines … including the best from FOX suspension. Campaign ends November 13.

Learn more and donate at mbosc.org.


New Film to Highlight Women Climbers

Never Not Collective – started by four veteran climbers, writers, photographers, and filmmakers – is crowdfunding for a climbing film called Pretty Strong. The film will feature women climbers and showcase their strength without having to be compared to men.

Learn more at nevernotcollective.com.


Rockfall on El Cap in Yosemite Kills One; Injures Another

At press time, one person has been reported dead and another injured after a rockfall on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. The NPS said a rockfall of “undetermined size” occurred about 1:55 p.m. local time on September 27th.  The release point appears to be near the Waterfall Route, a climbing route on the East Face of El Capitan. This is the area where Horsetail Fall flows in winter and spring conditions.

The name of the person killed had not been released when we went to press. Park rangers took the injured person to a hospital outside of the park for treatment while search and rescue continued to survey the area. It’s unclear if any other climbers or tourists were hurt.

It was reported that there were about 30 climbers on El Capitan at the time of the rockfall.

Learn more at nps.gov/yose/learn/news.


Middle School Surf Team Seeks Golden Ticket To Kelly Slater’s Wave Pool

Shoreline Middle School, located near Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz County, has a surf team that competes in the Santa Cruz Scholastic Surf League. Recently members have been talking about a field trip to Kelly Slater’s wave pool near Visalia. What started as an idea to petition the legendary surfer for a crack at his “dream wave,” turned into full-blown rumors that Kelly had already granted the middle school surf team a golden ticket to his surf ranch. “We have not heard from Mr. Slater regarding the use of his surf ranch, despite rumors to the contrary,” Shoreline surf coach Caleb Murray told ASJ. “We are definitely keeping our fingers crossed. We know every surfer in the world wants a crack at that wave, and it would be a dream come true for these kids and the whole community.”

Shoreline eighth grader Tyler Bonner wrote the following to the surf icon: “Dear Mr. Slater, you are an inspiration to us. Before our surf practice some of us watch videos of you as motivation to be the best. If we ever have the opportunity to surf your wave pool it would be a dream come true and an inspiration to every student at Shoreline Middle School. I hope you consider inviting us.”


HelmetFacts.com Educates About Helmets and Head Protection

Thom Parks knows helmets. And he’s more than happy to answer the inevitable questions that he gets once someone discovers he’s spent the last 30 years working with head protection. “Can I wear my ski helmet on my bike?” “What’s the difference between CPSC and DOT safety standards?” “How does MIPS work?” But after a while, Parks and his co-workers at the Dome, the global leader in helmet testing, research, and development based in Scotts Valley, CA, realized that sharing their collective knowledge on the web might provide a greater service than merely answering random questions at industry events and cocktail parties.

So they launched helmetfacts.com. The website serves as an educational resource for consumers and helmet brands alike and includes videos as well as a library of detailed information regarding materials, standards and testing protocols for helmets and head protection.

“We saw unmet needs for more information related to head protection,” said Parks, whose official title is Senior Director of Product Safety at Bell Sports. “Now, more than ever, we’re seeing a lot of confusion and misinformation in the marketplace. The Dome and its engineering staff have taken a leadership role in this arena for more than six decades, so we thought it appropriate to invest the time and energy into educating consumers.”

Visitors to helmetfacts.com can browse sections titled Materials, Standards, and Design, getting up to speed on the sometimes-confusing alphabet soup of acronyms including MIPS, CPSC, ASTM, and even DOME itself (which stands for Design, Observation, Materials, Engineering.)  Riders from all disciplines can watch helpful videos on topics such as why it’s difficult to say when they should replace their current helmet, but what the Dome uses as a guideline. There’s also a section of videos profiling some of the more than 50 test fixtures in use at the Scotts Valley facility, with amusing and sometimes ominous names like the Drop Rig, the Therminator, and the Whacker.

While the Dome and helmetfacts.com are transparent in their relationships with leading brands Giro and Bell, who produce some of the world’s most popular cycling, snow, and motorsports helmets, it also is clear that this is no mere marketing exercise but a true effort to share the knowledge gained from more than 63 years of head protection experience. And that’s something every rider can benefit from, even if they never get the chance to ask Thom Parks a question in person.

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