WYOMING DUDES SET U.S. GLIDING RECORD – 204 MILES
Oh, you know. It was just another day in the Tetons last August. Take off from a ridge behind your house in Wilson, ride a thermal or two, and touch down six or so hours and 204 miles later. Yeah, right. Jon Hunt and Nick Greece planned and prepped for a record-breaking paragliding flight for a long time before conditions came together, and when it did the results were stunning. “The flight was a culmination of years of flying in the Jackson Hole area,” said Greece, a photographer. “Jon, who has been flying paragliders in that area for over 20 years, and I looked at the forecast the morning of the flight and thought it looked decent. It wasn’t until a hour in that I realised that this was the day I had been waiting five years for – like big wave surfing, paragliders pushing the distance envelope are always searching for the perfect swell.” The duo packed oxygen (and flew to 18,000 feet), three flight computers, lots of down, and supplies in case they had to hoof for two days upon landing. In the end though, it was perfect — they landed at dusk right near the road between Rock Springs and Rawlins. The feat occurred a months ago, but the Daily Mail has just posted a gallery of a amazing photos and flight map. Via Daily Mail.
HOW IS SANDY GNARLY? LET US COUNT THE WAYS (5)
The story of the week is shaping up to be Hurricane/Storm/Tropical Depression Sandy, which is bearing down on the East Coast with the enthusiasm of a new presidential administration. So what are Sandy’s specific dangers? There’re five bigs ones: tall storm surges driven by a huge wind field, prolonged surges because of the storm’s slow pace, extra-high tides due to the full moon, rain-swollen rivers, and effects compounded by higher sea levels due to climate change. Let’s hope “frankenstorm” turns out to be nothing but hype. Via Climate Central.
CYCLING BODY WITHDRAWS CLAWS, ACKNOWLEDGES REALITY
The Union Cycliste Internationale, under fire from critics who says it’s complicit in the doping scandals that led to the collapse of Lance Armstrong’s reputation and the pathetic fact that there are now seven years in which the Tour de France no longer has a winner, announced that it will establish an independent commission to study the accusations of corruption. It also will drop a lawsuit against journalist Paul Kimmage. Disgraced racers Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton said UCI covered up a positive test for Armstrong in the 2001 Tour de Suisse; after Kimmage reported the story, UCI sued him and Landis. The moves might be the right thing to do, but also have an air of desperation as UCI chief Pat McQuaid scrambles to keep his job. Can you say, “Too little, too late”? Via Velo News.
DRUGS ARE IN THE ITALIAN AIR — LITERALLY
Next time you’re in Turin and need a little energy boost, breathe deep. Rome, too. Or if you’re Florence or Bologna and want to take the edge off, do the same thing. The reason: Researchers have found measurable levels of cocaine floating, um, in the cloud above Turin. In Florence, it’s marijuana (those artists are such stoners). Actually, all joking aside, scientists at the Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research in Rome do attribute the prevalence of cannabinoids to the large populations of students in those two cities. They measured caffeine, too, which, not surprisingly, peaked during winter. Via Science Direct.