Month: December 2020

Japanese Firms Take New Interest in Offshore Wind

Japanese Firms Take New Interest in Offshore Wind

first_imgJapanese Firms Take New Interest in Offshore Wind FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Untapped offshore wind is luring Japan’s biggest commodity houses to invest in projects in Taiwan and at home, buoyed by favorable government policies that support development of the clean power.Mitsui & Co. this month bought a stake in the Taiwanese wind developer Yushan Energy Co. that gives the Tokyo-based company a 20 percent stake in a 300-megawatt offshore project that may cost $1.8 billion to develop. Mitsubishi Corp. is working with partners to build a separate windmill venture off Taiwan’s coast and Marubeni Corp. is developing two offshore projects in the northern Japanese prefecture of Akita.Buffeted by strong breezes in the Taiwan Strait, the island has emerged as a hot spot for clean power projects as President Tsai Ing-Wen works to phase out nuclear energy while adding 25 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2025. The island is seeking to boost offshore wind capacity to 5.5 gigawatts over the same timeframe, from just 8 megawatts.Globally, there are about 18 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity and Europe accounts for more than 80 percent of that, with the rest mostly in Asia, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Asia will add 3.5 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity in 2030, more than double the 1.5 gigawatts to be added in Europe the same year, according to estimates in a December report from BNEF.Mitsubishi, which will start construction of a 950-megawatt wind project off the U.K. coast with partners this year, aims to double its renewable output so that it accounts for about 20 percent of its total power production by 2030. Offshore wind will play an important role in that expansion, according to Yusuke Takeuchi, who heads a power business development team at Mitsubishi.More: ‘Dawn’ of Asia Offshore Wind Boom Lures Japanese Trading Houseslast_img read more

‘Offshore wind ready to take off in the U.S.’

‘Offshore wind ready to take off in the U.S.’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):As of the end of 2017, European countries have installed a total of just under 16,000 MW of offshore wind. The United States has installed 30 MW. For a country that ranks second globally in onshore wind installations with roughly 89 GW, why is it that the US is so far behind the curve in offshore wind? There are several reasons: Land resources. Cost. The “NIMBY” phenomenon. Land resources are abundant in many areas of the US, however many smaller, more densely populated states in the northeast do not have this luxury. These states, such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware also have aggressive RPS standards that utilities have to meet. With land being relatively scarce and expensive for large onshore wind and solar farms, offshore wind is a more realistic and appealing option. Further boosting the argument for offshore wind in these Atlantic states is that geographic factors are in their favor. Water depth, even at long distances from the coast, are relatively shallow making more economical grounded foundations an option. Wind resources are also excellent mainly along the central and northern coast.In terms of cost, offshore wind remains a more expensive option than land-based wind farms, however the gap is slowly narrowing. Block Island, the only operating offshore farm in the US, is currently under a PPA for $.244/kWh which is roughly 3-4 times prices seen for comparable onshore renewables and natural gas. Two projects in Maryland, however, just recently signed deals at just over half the cost of Block Island and auctions in Europe have prices reaching almost grid parity. In 2017, winning bids for four offshore projects in Germany averaged $.054/kWh and the Netherlands currently has an auction out for 3.5 GW and is only open to bids that require no subsidies. Offshore wind giant, Ørsted which is establishing operations along the East Coast, reported a cost decrease of 63% from 2010 to 2016. Should these cost decreases translate across the pond in the US as they’re expected, offshore wind will have a much easier time making economic sense.Finally, the hurdle of the “not-in-my-backyard” opposition has a pretty easy solution: build farther from the coast. Cape Wind was sited only five miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and faced serious backlash from the local community. The average distance from shore of European offshore farms in 2017 however was roughly 25 miles, five times farther from shore than Cape Wind. Even in perfectly clear weather conditions, the tallest turbines in operation today would be almost impossible to see at this distance due to the curvature of the earth. While building an offshore farm this far from the coast has negatives including higher costs for connecting cables and electrical losses, they are not significant enough to outweigh the positives. Proposed offshore wind projects in the US have learned the lesson from Cape Wind and are planning to install turbines between 10 and 40 miles off the coast.The Atlantic Coast will by far, get the most attention for offshore wind development. Six states have an offshore wind target in some form. Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey have all set capacity targets of 1,600 MW, 2,400 MW and 3,500 MW respectively. Maine also set an offshore target of 5,000 MW back in 2009, however the state has failed to reach onshore wind targets in previous years and just recently the governor issued a moratorium on new wind development. The aggressive offshore wind target is a distant memory now with no major offshore projects planned. Connecticut and Maryland also have offshore goals in place but not in terms of capacity. Connecticut has issued an RFP to procure up to 825,000 MWh of offshore wind by 2025 and Maryland has a carve-up within its RPS for up to 2.5% of generation to come from offshore wind. These six states, along with Rhode Island and to a lesser extent, Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina are the states expected to see legitimate offshore wind installations over the next decade.The United States has tried to get offshore wind going for well over a decade with a graveyard of proposed and subsequently canceled offshore projects. It’s fair to be skeptical of any planned development due to the failure rate of such projects in the US. However, with aggressive RPS standards, legislation specifically calling for offshore wind and falling costs, there now appears to be legitimate momentum in the United States for offshore wind.More: Offshore Wind Ready To Take Off In The United States ‘Offshore wind ready to take off in the U.S.’last_img read more

Financiers to gas industry: ‘There is a growing presumption against giving any of our clients’ money to you’

Financiers to gas industry: ‘There is a growing presumption against giving any of our clients’ money to you’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global/Platts:The gas industry has traditionally been a popular target for investment and funding given the relatively high returns from upstream projects, but the ongoing energy transition toward a lower-carbon energy sector is seeing a rapid shift in mood.“There is a growing presumption against giving any of our clients’ money to you,” Nick Stansbury from Legal and General Investment Management (LGIM) said Thursday at the European Annual Gas Conference, which was hit by climate change protests on Wednesday that forced the suspension of the event.The stark warning to the gas industry came despite much of the conference discussion being on how to decarbonize the gas sector and the energy transition, or revolution, as Stansbury put it.“The flow of capital is imperilled by this revolution,” Stansbury said.Financiers are now heavily focused on energy transition “risk” and how investments into gas projects would be perceived, saying there was a “rising” concern around environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).ESG is increasingly used to measure the sustainability and ethical impact of investing in a company or business.More: Capital lending to gas industry ‘imperilled’ by energy transition: financiers Financiers to gas industry: ‘There is a growing presumption against giving any of our clients’ money to you’last_img read more

Taiwan offshore wind farm will be first to use Siemens Gamesa’s new 14MW turbine

Taiwan offshore wind farm will be first to use Siemens Gamesa’s new 14MW turbine

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ReNews.biz:Siemens Gamesa has been lined up to deliver its new 14MW turbine for the 300MW Hai Long 2 offshore wind farm off Taiwan. The manufacturer said deployment of the 14-222 DD machine is also being considered for the other 744MW phases of the project.The exact number of units for the first 300MW stage of the project remains to be confirmed based on site-specific conditions and the preferred supplier agreement is subject to contract and final investment decision from the developer, Siemens Gamesa added.Hai Long is being developed by a consortium of Canadian independent power producer Northland Power and Taiwan-based developer Yushan Energy, which is jointly owned by Japan’s Mitsui & Co and Singapore’s Yushan Energy.Nacelle production for Hai Long 2 will start in Taichung in 2024, and turbine installation will follow thereafter, Siemens Gamesa said. The company said the nacelle production setup in Taiwan will play a central role in the introduction of the latest turbine technologies in Asia Pacific.Siemens Gamesa offshore chief executive Andreas Nauen said: “Taking the next step in advancing the Hai Long 2 project by announcing that it will conditionally use the 14-222 DD offshore wind turbine is outstanding news. We are thrilled that the Hai Long partners have chosen our newest machine, and are very excited to work closely in making this project the first installation of the 14-222 DD in Asia Pacific.”More: Siemens Gamesa secures first order for 14MW titan Taiwan offshore wind farm will be first to use Siemens Gamesa’s new 14MW turbinelast_img read more

Three Way: Mount Mitchell, N.C.

Three Way: Mount Mitchell, N.C.

first_imgRime of the Ancient Mountain: Snow, ice, and rime cover the spruce and fir of Mount Mitchell.Blue Ridge Outdoors Three Way: Guide to Mount MitchellThere’s a restaurant near the top of Mount Mitchell, and rangers will give you a golf cart ride to the summit if you ask. But make no mistake: Mount Mitchell is wild. The 6,684-foot peak stands tall in a line of fellow 6,000-footers, protected as a 1,946-acre state park adjacent to Pisgah National Forest. There are easy nature hikes, but also brutally rugged singletrack, some with mandatory scrambling, others with thousands of feet of elevation gain. Here are three ways to explore this iconic Southern peak.1. The Classic RouteMount Mitchell Trail begins at the base of the mountain at the Black Mountain Campground and climbs for 5.5 miles up the Mitchell’s eastern slope. You’ll gain 3,600 feet, beginning in a mixed hardwood forest on the edge of the Toe River and finishing in a high alpine mountain peak dominated by a spruce-fir forest. In all likelihood at this time of year, you’ll move from 50-degree temps at the base to a bit of snow on the summit. The steepest bits of the hike are the first and last mile, but you can’t exactly take it easy in the middle either. If you want to break this summit march into two days, take the Higgins Bald detour half way up the mountain, where established campsites sit near an old cabin site. Finish the hike by taking in the 360-degree view from the newly rebuilt observation platform, which sits, literally, at the top of the Eastern United States.2. The OvernightHead for the Deep Gap backcountry campsite, 4.5 miles north of Mitchell’s summit via the Deep Gap Trail. You’ll knock off four 6,000 footers as you rock hop boulders and ascend and descend steep ridges cresting Mount Craig, Big Tom, Cat Tail Peak, and Balsam Cone. Some of the climbs are so steep, ropes are installed to help. But the work is worth it, as you oscillate from rock outcroppings with expansive views to patches of dense fir forest. After cresting Potato Hill, you’ll have a dramatic drop in elevation down to Deep Gap, a saddle in the Black Mountain Range ridgeline that sits at a lowly 5,700 feet in elevation. It’s primitive camping at its finest: flat ground, tree protection from the wind, and spring water down the ridge.3. The Casual JauntThe Balsam Nature Trail forms a loop near the peak of Mount Mitchell, carving a path through Fraser firs and red spruce. It’s less than a mile-long hike with little elevation change, but you’re above 6,500 feet the entire time in a forest that’s often dark with a clean understory, like something out of a Grimm Brothers fairy tale. If you need more of a leg stretcher, hook up the Balsam Nature Trail with the Old Mitchell Trail, which also stays above 6,000 feet for two miles, offering the occasional long-range view.Fast Facts • The weather can be brutal on Mitchell, particularly in the fall when the snow and ice begins to hit. • It’s also common to climb to the peak of Mitchell and see nothing but the clouds five feet in front of your face. • There are nine walk-in tent sites in the park open year round (weather permitting) and primitive camping on Commissary Ridge, two miles from the ranger station. • Black bear tend to get frisky around the campsites on Commissary Ridge. Cook away from your tent and hang your bags. • If the Parkway is closed, access Mitchell via Highway 80 out of Burnsville. 1 2last_img read more

Vacation Dreams

Vacation Dreams

first_imgIt’s time to take my bike on a vacation.It’s been entirely too long since it’s been outside of the Pisgah National Forest, and we’re ready to be somewhere warm and dry. Not that it’s been all that cold here.I haven’t even bothered to scrape the caked dirt out from beneath the downtube since November. The derailleur still moves, and is somewhat new, so there’s a start. Maybe I’ll give it a good scrub and take it to the Southwest. We need a good roll in the sage.The stressful tide of events has been gathering speed for a good year now. It’s possible that there are still a few more miles to cover, but surely the worst of it is over? For all I know, this is the new status quo. Just in the same way that it’s never a “good” time to have a baby, I think it’s also never a “good” time to take a holiday. I think it’s best just to jump ship every once in a while between the storms. It’s the return that always sucks the most anyway. There’s always that week of post-vacation punishment where you are confronted with what was blown off before you left, what was coming due once back, and what you didn’t realize couldn’t live without you. Then there’s always a little pearl on top: the emergency that occurred, like a flood, fire, or robbery.But let’s not worry our heads about that when there are maps over which to pour! The Northwest is always a treat, but I guess that means the bike would be left behind for a snowboard. Then again, so many of my beloved friends are out there now that it could be an excellent way to spend a week frolicking whilst drinking beer from the back of a horse.California would be fun, but I might be tempted to visit family. I won’t even get into what could happen in that scenario.Maybe I need to start poking my homies here for some vacation assistance, but then it might become a dirt bike trip with the girls instead. We’ve already fantasized about it for two years now – prom dresses and dirt bikes on the Trans American Trail from Colorado to Oregon. Never mind the part between here and Colorado, which can be done on a shorter trip.But wait, that’s the wrong kind of bike. Maybe the Continental Divide? Ok, just a part of it. I can’t bear the thought of being away from my children for more than a week just yet.Although I just got invited on a paddling trip down the Colorado…how often does one catch the lottery?!Back to bikes…MEXICO! Where there’s a combination of bikes, sun and imbibing, combined with great food and cheap tequila. Hola!last_img read more

Daily Dirt: Outdoor News for May 1, 2013

Daily Dirt: Outdoor News for May 1, 2013

first_imgBrad McMillan waits in the staging eddy to take his run in the C1 class at last year’s ICF Canoe Freestyle World Cup Final. Photo by Steven McBride.Your outdoor news bulletin for May 1, the day James Whittaker became the first American to summit Everest:Speaking of Everest…That fight that broke out between a group of climbers and a group of Sherpas appears to be more insidious than first reported. Initial word from the Everest conflict predictably placed most of the blame on the Sherpas, but as more eyewitness accounts began to roll in it seems the western climbers should shoulder at least some, if not all, of the blame for what happened. Of course in the high altitude, in a stressful, dangerous situation with both a language and culture barrier to bridge – not to mention the basic highs and lows of mountaineering – anything can and will happen.A full report can be found on the Adventure-Journal.Local Paddlers Earn Spots on U.S. TeamTaking full advantage of their home turf of the Nantahala River, three western North Carolina paddlers earned spots on the U.S. National Freestyle Kayak Team during the Team Trials held over the past weekend in Bryson City. Brad McMillan, of Bryson City conveniently, former Asheville resident Adriene Levknecht, and 16-year-old Rowan Stuart of Stecoah all punched their ticket to this fall’s Worlds at the same venue. McMillan took third in the OC-1 class, Levknecht finished second to Haley Mills in the K1W class, and Stuart also took second in the K1W Junior class. Despite the weather – a torrential downpour – the action was hot at the trials as boaters from around the country were trying to earn their spot on the U.S. team.Full results can be viewed here (PDF).Colonial CannibalismFile this one under “Ick.” Anthropologists claim to have found the first evidence of cannibalism at the Jamestown colony during the epic winter of 1609-10. They found the skeleton of a girl in a cellar with evenly spaced knife or clever markings on her bones, indicating that there was no struggle when she was being cut. The take-away is that she was apparently deceased when being portioned out. There are many firsthand accounts of cannibalism during this period of history in Jamestown, but this is the first evidence that it actually happened.The Washington Post has the (gross) story.last_img read more

New Year, New You

New Year, New You

first_imgWhen David Forkner of Franklin, N.C., started racing mountain bikes in high school, he wasn’t great. He had some natural talent, no doubt, but Forkner was fine crossing the finish line in the middle of the pack. The race was secondary to the fun.But after attending college at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., during which time he raced and served as president of the collegiate cycling team for three years, Forkner decided to get serious about competing. For eight years he raced at the elite level in cat 1 road, pro mountain, and cyclocross. He won a number of regional races, including the NC State Criterium, but soon, it became apparent that his true calling wasn’t racing—it was coaching.“The success I found through my coach led me to realize early in my career that I wanted to help others realize their potential,” writes Forkner on his Carmichael Training Systems profile.Since 2009, Forkner has offered his training services through Carmichael and says that most of his clients aren’t professional riders, though he’s mentored a number of national and world champions. They’re time-crunched, family-oriented, working weekend warriors that want to make what little time they have to ride count.Sound familiar? Let David help with the following bits of advice for getting back into a training routine and sticking with it.10 Tips for Getting Back in the Saddle, and Staying There1. Define your goals clearly.Do you want to lose weight and get in shape? Are you prepping for a regional race? Is there a climb you’ve always wanted to tackle, but never felt fit enough to do it? Determine your goal and don’t compare it to other athlete’s goals or training regimens. “Just because you know someone who trains 20 hours a week, doesn’t mean you should or can,” adds Forkner.2. Make training part of your schedule.Likely the easiest excuse in the book is, “I can’t do _______ because I don’t have the time.” Get up early, stay up late, work out during your lunch break, do whatever it takes to incorporate your training as part of your routine.3. Find what motivates you.“I eat to ride, ride to eat,” Forkner says. “I have a system—the more you ride, the more cookies you get to eat.” So whether it’s cookies or cocktails, find a reward that gets you up and going. Joining group rides or active clubs also helps motivate, especially during the colder, darker days of winter.4. Hold yourself accountable, or hire someone who will.Unless you’re extremely well-versed in the ways of self-discipline, the “you don’t get a cookie if you don’t work out” tactic likely will not be enough to get you off the couch. Hiring a personal trainer, even if only for a few sessions, is an investment of your money and somebody else’s time. “It’s important to have an objective voice to tell you what to do,” says Forkner. “Even as a coach, it’s easy to talk myself out of a workout or to do something more than I should. [Having a coach] is not just for racers. It’s not just for pros. It’s for anyone who just wants to make the most of their time.”5. Increase frequency first, then intensity.Been off the couch for awhile? Don’t push it too hard too fast. Forkner recommends gradually building up time in the saddle to get a base level of fitness. The focus, he says, is not how hard you go but how often you do it—for the first month, maybe it’s four days a week, 90 minutes per session. “From there, I would increase frequency by 10 percent every month until that person is able to do 10—12 hours a week without problem.” Once the consistency and frequency are achieved, that’s when the intensity of the workout increases. Adding intensity too early could result in injury.6. Cross train.Doing the same activity day in and day out might not only get boring but potentially dangerous. “Cycling is a very one-dimensional sport,” says Forkner, so muscle groups in your core and upper body don’t really get that much attention. For peak performance, incorporate strength training and focus on parts of the body you don’t use. Not big on lifting weights? Low-impact, balance-oriented activities like swimming and yoga are great substitutes. Aim for two or three days per week of cross training for a well-rounded fitness profile.7. Train when you’re training, rest when you’re resting.“You don’t want to slog along in this gray zone of always kinda riding hard,” Forkner says. It will be detrimental to your body in the long run. At the very least, take one day off completely. On your other rest days, limit yourself to 60 minutes of active recovery, something that circulates the blood but keeps your heart rate low.8. Climb hills.And climb them frequently. “Don’t just save the big climbs for when you feel like you’re fit,” Forkner says. “You gotta train on them all of the time to get better.” After all, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.spruce-knob-5_lwThe summit of Spruce Knob can often be harsh and arctic-like, perfect training to start the new year. / Photo by Travis Olson, MountainRides, LLC9. Embrace the foam roller.It hurts, and it hurts for a reason, but it’s going to hurt a lot more if you wind up with an overuse injury later in the season. Prevention is key! “Ease into it,” Forkner says. “Roll out the sore muscles 10 or 15 minutes after most rides, three or four days a week. The more frequently you do it, the less overuse issues typically arise.”10. Make mini goals.Preparing to climb 1,000 feet every 10 miles for 100 miles straight (standard protocol in races like the Assault on Mount Mitchell) can seem, well, daunting. Start small and celebrate every step forward. Maybe it’s just a 20-mile ride with only 2,000 feet of elevation. Maybe it’s simply the fact that you didn’t have to hike-a-bike on that one climb that you normally walk. Whatever it is, use it as fuel to keep going.[nextpage title=”Page 2″]The 10 Best/Worst Hill ClimbsHill climbs. It’s a love-hate thing. We love them because they make us stronger. We hate them in the moment. Whether you’re a runner, a walker, or a cyclist, these 10 hills will whip you into shape and crush your soul, but in a good way.Windy Gap Trail, Eton, Ga.Mileage: 4.08 milesElevation gain: 2,300 feetBest part: “Knowing that once you’re done you’ve earned lots of snacks and even a few beers.”Worst part: “Waterbars. So many steep waterbars.” —Andrew Gates, Mulberry Gap Mountainbike GetawayWaterrock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, N.C.Mileage: 5 milesElevation gain: 2,500 feetBest part: Catching the sunset from the Waterrock Knob.Worst part: Tourists.Wayah Bald, Franklin, N.C.Mileage: 15.5 milesElevation gain: 5,300 feetBest part: Old school ridgeline trail with mountain views.Worst part: “Miles 11-13. It’s nasty.” —David Forkner, Carmichael Training SystemsFS Road 477 to the top of Bennett Gap Trail, Canton, N.C.Mileage: 3.6 milesElevation gain: 1,475 feetBest part: “The reward! You get to descend one of the fastest, rowdiest pieces of singletrack in western North Carolina.”Worst part: “This climb is unrelenting. It really does not let up from the time you pass the horse stables until you reach the top of Bennett. Just a nasty ol’ gravel grind.” —Cashion Smith, The Bike FarmJohn Smart Trail, Chattanooga, Tenn.Mileage: 1.5 milesElevation gain: 1,500 feetBest part: “It is a great training climb. Anyone preparing for a trail race could use it as a great run-able/speed hike-able segment to prepare your legs for some vertical climb.”Worst part: “It is relentless. Just when you think you are to the top it turns and goes up more and then goes up more.” —David Pharr, Fleet Feet Sports ChattanoogaSpruce Knob, Circleville, W.Va.Mileage: 11.4 milesElevation gain: 2,860 feetBest part: “Once on the summit, cyclists should make sure they take the gravel path to the stone observation tower on the summit. On clear days, the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia can be seen in the distance.”Worst part: “It just keeps going forever. The brutal weather you can run into up there, too. We’ve had -20 wind chill with 70 mph wind gusts. It was blowing people’s tires out from under them.” —Travis Olson, Mountain Rides LLCSugarlands Road, Tucker County, W.Va.Mileage: 4.8 milesElevation gain: 1,805 feetBest part: “The scenic views you can see about three-quarters of the way up the climb.”Worst part: “When you near the top of the 13 percent section and pass by the church while they are having their annual church bazaar and a guy shouts out, ‘You want a hot dog?’”— Rob Stull, Blackwater BikesApple Orchard, Blue Ridge Parkway, Va.Mileage: 13 milesElevation gain: 3,300 feetBest part: Climbing from the lowest (James River) to the highest (Apple Orchard) points along the parkway in Virginia.Worst part: The steady eight percent gradient never lets up.Reddish Knob, Va.Mileage: 8 miles Elevation gain: 4,400 feet Best part: “Making the last right-hand bend to the peak to see the best view in the Valley.”Worst part: “Multiple switchbacks seem to always create a false impression that you have completed the climb, no matter how many times you’ve done it.” —Stephen Proffitt, Shenandoah Bicycle CompanyCanton Avenue, Pittsburgh, Penn.Mileage: 630 feetElevation gain: 230 feetBest part: It’s over quick.Worst part: The average gradient is 33.3 percent.[nextpage title=”Page 3″]Don’t think you can climb Everest? Jeff Reynolds knows you can.In Jeff Reynolds’ 36-year mountaineering career, he’s summited well over 250 peaks. He’d give you an exact number, except he lost count back in ’05. On average, Reynolds summits ten 14,000-foot peaks per year. From the Cordillera Blanca in Peru to the summit of Everest, Reynolds has tackled, and led, some of the world’s most treacherous peaks. He’s organized and led expeditions in 25 countries, including Papua New Guinea, Russia, Mongolia, Chile, and Argentina. At this very moment, Reynolds is scaling some untouched mountain in Antarctica, racking up a handful of first ascents only after ticking off the Vinson Massif, the sole remaining peak Reynolds needs to join the select few who have climbed the Seven Summits.With a climbing vitae like that, would you be surprised to hear that home for Reynolds is right in our backyard of Richmond, Virginia? Or that guiding high-altitude trips for his company S2 Mountaineering is just a side gig—his “real world” job is director of the Division of Enforcement for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality?So why does he do it? And how does he do it? Reynolds hopped on the phone with us before jetting to Antarctica to answer these very questions and prove how you, too, can live in the Blue Ridge and train adequately for conquering Everest.credit-s2mountaineering-himalaya-free_fixWhen did you start climbing?I started climbing when I was 14 during summer camp in Ontario. I grew up in Illinois among the cornfields and dairy cows, so climbing became meaningful to me really quickly.And your alpine experience? How did that all begin?My parents would take me to Colorado to go skiing as a child. Soon I started incorporating my climbing skills into ice climbing, then into ski mountaineering. I met the late Scott Fischer who was part of my encouragement to get into high altitude mountaineering, and everything just came together.Is there any crossover between being an environmental attorney and alpine climbing?There’s this thread in my life about environmental protection and my attraction to the landscape. It’s all part of the same picture. It all connects for me.So why high altitude expeditions? The reason I gravitate toward alpine climbing, it’s where I’m at. When you look around at this high alpine landscape, like the Bolivian or Peruvian Andes, it’s just moving. In terms of the type of fulfillment that gives, it’s spiritual and it’s personal. Climbing has been there to balance out a lot of things and it has been an escape. I feel more secure in the Himalayas on the side of a wall than I do walking down the street in Richmond. I understand it better.In 2012 you led an expedition to the summit of Everest with a 100 percent success rate. How did you do it?I made a point to do all of my conditioning right here in Virginia. There’s this idea that you have to live in the mountains to be a mountaineer, but Charlottesville is at 594 feet. It’s not so much about where you live but what you actually do. Higher peaks may be more accessible in Denver and Seattle, but once you get past 14,000 feet, everyone has to acclimatize anyway.What is your go-to training route here in the Blue Ridge?On the other side of Old Rag, there are over 200 miles of trails. If you start out in the Old Rag parking lot, you can take a circuit that goes all the way over to Buck Hollow, up and down the ridgeline. It’s really cool with a lot of nice elevation gain that’s probably close to 40 miles.Conditions here in Virginia are so different from an alpine environment. How do you prepare for that?I actually like going out in the winter at night here in Virginia, especially when storms are coming in, because no one is out there. It’s counterintuitive for Virginians to go out and trek at night, but it’s magical out there. The wildlife, it’s peaceful, it’s really quiet, and there’s nobody out. It’s really excellent conditioning.You’re 51 years old, a father of two—do you ever ask yourself if the risk is worth the reward?It’s a really good question and it’s hard for people who haven’t been “out there” to understand. You do have kids, you do have responsibility, and yet you assume all this risk. I’ve had this amazing climbing career and I’m still around to talk about it. I’ve had plenty of close calls, I’ve lost friends, I know friends who don’t have limbs anymore, but I feel really humbled that I’m still able to do what I’m doing. I know what I do is controversial and I’ve had people make comments to me about that. The only thing I can say is we all have to do our own thing. I can’t stand playing golf. I wish it would be that easy for me.What is one of your more memorable “close calls?”This was before I had kids. I was out solo on a fourteener in Colorado. I knew a storm was coming in but I thought, ‘Eh, it’s not going to be a problem.’ I did get to the top, but the storm came in faster than I could get down. It was pretty windy and cold, but that wasn’t a big deal. What was a big deal was the sleet. Everything was covered in it. I crawled underneath this corniced area and slept overnight until the sun came up the next day and it melted off the ice. By this time, my then wife, divorced now, no wonder, had already called the sheriff’s office. That was one of those things where I was pushing it a little too far.What advice do you have for our aspiring, Blue Ridge-based mountaineers?It’s not just about physical fitness. It’s about the mental fitness and discipline. If you want to do something bad enough, you’re going to figure out how to do it. It’s fortunate and a little disheartening that we’ve turned mountains into trophies. The trophy is the change we demand in ourselves in order to be successful.[nextpage title=”Page 4″]Fresh Off the GridHave you ever dreamed of quitting your unfulfilling job, buying a souped-up Sprinter van, and hitting the road? Formerly LA-based foodies Megan McDuffie and Michael van Vliet did just that, except with a Ford Focus hatchback. See what they have to say on ditching the grind, living on the road, and eating healthier in the outdoors.Why the Ford Focus? Why not upgrade to a van?Michael: We made it work with the car we had. We thought about motorcycles, bikes, a van, but realizing we didn’t have to have some sorta special adventuremobile to do it, that was a liberating sorta moment.What was that first night on the road like?Megan: We didn’t really have a plan. We had driven from L.A. to Big Sur in the middle of summer on a Saturday night, and we didn’t have camping reservations. All of a sudden we were faced with the fact like maybe we weren’t super prepared.What was the goal behind your blog Fresh off the Grid?Megan: Before this road trip, we camped a lot and we were tired of feeling like we had to change what we ate because we were camping. Eating healthfully was something that was always important to us, but your typical camp food is not what I would categorize as healthy—beans, burgers, brats. We decided to start Fresh off the Grid to adapt camp food to something that was a little healthier and more exciting.You would think outdoorsy people eat healthy at home and in the woods, right?Michael: Backpackers in particular will spend thousands of dollars on gear to shave a couple ounces off but they won’t spend a dime on better food. They might have a better experience if they spent the money and ate a little better.Any memorable moments when things didn’t pan out as planned?Megan: We had been trying to make this pumpkin curry with lentils, and we kept messing it up. The lentils would end up crunchy, but that was our dinner for the night so we had to keep eating it. On the fourth or fifth attempt, we couldn’t handle it anymore. We threw it out, drove an hour back into town, and got KFC that night.Check out Michael and Megan’s 10 tried-and-true tips for making camp food delicious and nutritious.1. Experiment at home.The main thing that makes cooking more attainable is practice.2. Have a plan.Don’t just show up to the campground and wing it. That’s how people get sucked into the burgers-and-brats menu.3. If you’re going to carb out, keep it balanced.Oatmeal is a bowl of carbs that burns off by 10:30 and you’re starving again. But if you add some seeds and fresh fruit, it starts to balance itself out. So if mac ‘n’ cheese is on the menu tonight, toss in some veggies.4. Use tough vegetables.Select heartier vegetables that can withstand rough and tumble camping. Sweet potatoes, cabbage, and zucchini are good. Tomatoes and avocado? Not so much.5. Cook your delicates first.Use your delicate fruits and vegetables during the first day or two of your camping trip. Warm cars and cooler water never did any vegetable much good.6. Buy canned vegetables.Most every vegetable these days comes canned. Great for car camping, not ideal for backpacking.7. Find substitutes for your favorite products.Try ghee instead of butter, powdered milk for carton milk, tomato powder for tomato paste. A number of brands make dehydrated vegetables.8. Don’t short yourself on utensils.“A lot of people think they can just get away with a little Swiss Army knife,” says Megan. “If you don’t use it at home, don’t use it camping.”9. Find your favorite spiceS.It adds so much to a meal. Even a little salt and pepper can be a saving culinary grace.10. Put olive oil on everything.Hey backpackers—olive oil has 119 calories per 1 tablespoon. ‘Nuff said.Check out Megan and Michael’s adventures and recipes on their blog Fresh Off the Grid and on Instagram @freshoffthegrid.Related:last_img read more

Riding Gear “Ferda” Girls

Riding Gear “Ferda” Girls

first_imgFor the RoadieHands down my favorite pair of bibs is the Giro Base Liner Halter Bib Short (MSRP: $100 for the Chrono Sport, $150 for the Expert). It is so, so, SO much harder to discreetly pee on the side of the road when you’re a gal. This halter bib is such a game changer, especially if you’re like me and don’t necessarily want to pull a George Costanza every time you need to tinkle.If the idea of having something around your neck bothers you (understandably so), my other go-to is a pair of Starlight Custom Apparel Black Bibs. At $40, you really can’t get much more bang for your buck (and they’re based in Roanoke, Va., so go local!). Mostly known for their impressive fleet of paddling helmets, Sweet Protection is taking the deep dive into the world of mountain biking, and so far, I’m impressed. Their Hunter Shorts (MSRP: $129.99) are everything you’d ever want in a pair of baggies — lightweight, breathable, durable, all packaged together in a surprisingly flattering cut. There’s an adjustable waistline, too, which means you can really dial in your shorts to fit your unique shape. I will say that at 5’4, the shorts fell right at that awkward bend behind my knee whenever I was on the bike, which could be uncomfortable once the pit of sweaty despair descends upon us later this summer. Just something to keep in mind if you prefer an above-the-knee length for your shorts. On top, I’ve been digging the Pearl iZUMi Select Escape Texture Jersey (MSRP: $65). The fact that pink and/or baby blue aren’t even options gets Pearl iZUMi some serious brownie points, but the fit is really what does it for me. Relaxed but with an attractive cut, this jersey isn’t a full zip, which gives it more of a casual look. Even so, with two back pockets, this jersey can definitely hold its own on big days in the saddle. Ladies (and gents), hold up, sit down, and watch this HUMBLE. parody if you haven’t yet. If it’s lost on you, refresh yourself first with the original Kendrick Lamar version, so you can get the full appreciation.Like Mikayla Gatto, I’m sick and tired of the shrink-it-and-pink-it m.o. the outdoor industry takes when creating women’s active apparel. There is so much laden sexism tied up in that idea alone that, combined with the announcement of the first-ever International Women’s Mountain Bike Day (which is tomorrow!!!), I decided it was time to honor some of the brands who are getting it right (even if there is still some room for improvement). As for protection, the 2018 lineup of G-Form Pro-X elbow and knee pads are the best quality for the price (MSRP: $59.99 for knee, $49.99 for elbow). They’re incredibly light, easy to clean, and comfortable to wear for long rides (even up around the mid-thigh area). Even with the moisture-wicking material and the technical mesh in the back though, the only downside to these pads is that they’re hot. Maybe in 2019 G-Form will surprise us with a swanky mesh pad made for the sweltering summers of the South… Finally, you’d be hard-pressed to attend a group ride or a race in this region without seeing someone rocking a pair of Ridge Supply‘s iconic mountainscape socks (MSRP: $15). As one of those weirdos who likes to show off her socks (as opposed to wearing no-show-slipper-POS that fall off the heel every step you take), I love how Ridge Supply offers a variety of color schemes and designs that speak to any rider’s style. Plus, the socks are made from recycled resources in our backyard of Cedar Point, N.C. Hard not to love any of that. For the Gnar-lerinaGiro’s Roust 3/4 Jersey (MSRP: $70) is my new favorite top. I’m pretty pasty, and I tend to unintentionally shoulder check trees from time to time, so I appreciate the extra coverage for multiple reasons. The loose fit keeps it cool even when the sun’s out in full force, while the designs give just enough of a feminine touch that I feel like I’m not just wearing my boyfriend’s hand-me-downs.last_img read more

For the Love of Trails

For the Love of Trails

first_imgMeet Todd Branham: Race Director for Blue Ridge Adventures, contributor to Trail Solutions, and Pisgah National Forest legend with a deep love for the trails he shreds.Branham has made a life for himself surrounding what he loves most – mountain biking. He’s been racing for over 30 years and is recognized for curating and delivering world-renowned races to the tallest and most rugged mountains this side of the Mississippi since 1998. Though he’s known for many accomplishments in the mountain bike community, he’s best known for the Pisgah Stage Race.“This race is regarded as the best and highest quality enduro stage race in the world with consistent, gnarly singletrack on the docket every single day. The five-day, fully supported endurance event features 140 miles and 20,000 feet of elevation gain,”says Julie Bacon, Digital Marketing Manager for Blue Ridge Adventures through Darby Communications and avid mountain biker.“The event also feature farm-to-table meals, music and on-site accommodations that create a sort of “village” while the 200 racers are in town.”The success in his races is no accident. Branham is a devoted and hardworking professional trail builder, creating and restoring trails all around the world.“He is dedicated to the trails he loves so much and is known as a resource in the trail building community,” says Bacon.We asked Branham some questions about his journey with mountain biking.Todd Branham hiking a trail. Photo courtesy of Land of Sky Media..Where did it all begin? Where and Why did you build your first trail?It started when I realized that doing volunteer trail work in the Forest was the ONLY way at the time to DIRECTLY impact the Forest your operating in. I started working with trained officials of the Forest and became a trail crew leader in Pisgah National Forest. A few years later I received a call from a long time friend that had a professional trail building company ( Long Cane Trails ) and needed some extra hands. I worked in S.C. a bit on trails and eventually bought 50% of the company. 20 years later we have built over 300 miles of new trail and refurbished many more miles of trail. We have built in 3 countries and in all types of terrain. What are some of the most memorable moments of the Pisgah Stage Race?Watching people’s minds constantly being blown at the level of our event and how awesome the Pisgah Forest really is. I get this satisfaction every year as Pisgah still has not been discovered by some. I know it’s world class, it’s always cool to show others that. Why have you devoted your life to mountain biking?Simple, follow what you love What were the highlights of your racing career?Winning the 2009 East Coast unification race was a bonus on being the 2009 National Series Cross Country and Enduro Champion in my age category for the US. This victory was surreal. Partnering with my good friend Wes Dickson at the famed BC Bike Race to get 4th was pretty spectacular also. Now days I enjoy mixing it up with the top racers across the world on my bike at stage races. It’s such a great way to explore new places!center_img Branham is living proof that following what you love is by far the best way to spend your time. You not only bring happiness and satisfaction in your own life, but your excitement for what you do resonates in others and inevitably produces your best work. His passion has made Branham an icon in the mountain biking community and an inspiration to us outdoor lovers. What got you to create Blue Ridge Adventure and the Pisgah Stage Race?Blue Ridge Adventures was formed due to the passion to find my placement in the world around Cycling. I realized I wasn’t quite good enough to be a pro rider, so promoting events seemed very interesting too. I got my hands dirty with promoting cycling events at the bike shop I worked at in college. At the time no one was operating any cycling events in the Pisgah National Forest. I started 21 years ago with a dream to share Pisgah with folks, this wonderful place that in the cycling world had yet to discover. Today, elite athletes sworn here and the world’s eyes focus the terrain of these old mountains in WNC.Pisgah Stage Race was born to celebrate our area that is one of very few in the US that can actually pull of such an event. With so many trails in our area that connects to one another, Pisgah is very unique. Top that off with being able to connect town to the forest and magic happens! This simply doesn’t exist but in a few towns in the US- trails linking from your town DIRECTLY to the US Forest Service trails. Racing all over the world myself has shown me what a special place I live in. I wanted to share this with the world.last_img read more