Kitsbow’s Soft Shell A/M Shorts, a Review

These shorts are absurdly expensive, but you actually do get what you pay for.

Read the full-length review at Competitive Cyclist.

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Interview With a Firefighter/Ski Patroller

For Backcountry.com’s Transitions newsletter, I interviewed a good friend of mine, Mike Ewanowski. Mike’s a wildland firefighter, ski patroller, and all-around good guy.

Check out the full interview here.

Mike1

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Tour of Utah Banners

This was a really fun project for me. My employer is sponsoring the Tour of Utah Lifestyle Expo, and we’re going to be showing off some of our wares, and giving away a Merlin Extralight. The Merlin needed a sign, as did two other bikes we’ll be showing. All creative/design work by Nick Barile, words by me.

ToU_Merlin_Sweepstakes_Sign Bike_Vingette_Bronson Bike_Vingette_Dogma

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Raleigh Midsummer Nights Cyclocross Race

I love cyclocross racing. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, and it’s incredibly spectator-friendly. I went up to the race Raleigh puts on at DealerCamp every year to drink free beer, shoot photos, and have a damn good time. The highlight may have been handing up a beer to the one and only Stevil Kinevil, resplendent in his infamous orange jumpsuit.

I half-assed the photo taking, for the most part –watching the race and drinking free Epic beers was more fun than photo-taking, but there are some favorites below.

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Wasatch Enduro Photos

This is two weekends in a row that I’ve found myself with a nicer-than-average camera in my hands with a bike race to shoot. Raleigh’s MidSummer Nights ‘Cross race on Thursday should follow the same pattern.

The Enduro was much more challenging to shoot than the Crusher, for a variety of reasons. Namely, tight trails and fast racing, combined with a desire to shoot bikes and action, not necessarily people. At the Crusher, I knew I wanted to shoot tight on faces because the suffering was going to be so intense.

I also spent a little (very, very little) time processing these using GIMP. The exception I made to shooting bikes and action, rather than people, was when Brian Lopes flew by.

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Playing With Real Cameras at Crusher in the Tushar

Feels good.

Despite Buzzfeed’s recent assertion that having a photography business on the side is something Mormon Girls Love, I see the attraction of having a “reason” to purchase (and write off) nicer-than-average camera gear. I went down to the Crusher in the Tushar bike race this weekend with the intent of handing out beers at the King of the Mountains line, but the climb was so brutal that no one wanted beer. Except for about five people. Those people are heroes.

Anyway, I borrowed a Canon 60D with a 24-105 lens from my boss in a last-second idea to get some photos of the event, since Competitive Cyclist was sponsoring the KOM. I had a blast shooting. It’s been probably a decade since I used nice cameras, and those were mostly video cameras. It all came back, though, and even though my first ~100 or so shots looked mostly like dogshit, I was pretty happy with a lot of the rest (800 or so). A few favorites below, and big thanks to Austin for making the trip with me.

More or less in chronological order, and with no editing, since I don’t remember how to do any of it.

 

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‘Snow Fall’ in the New York Times

This article, if you can accurately call it that, is phenomenal. 

I would love to know the back story on how the article came to be. Was it planned to be this far-reaching and interactive from the beginning? Did it simply develop into an article that surpassed the understanding of an average, non-backcountry-skiing reader, and therefore, adjustments had to be made to the presentation in order to publish it? 

What really impressed me was the use of GIFs, hover-over graphics, and in-line animations that conveyed far more than the words were able. That is not, in any way, to say the story was not well-written. But when you’re discussing chaotic events in an unfamiliar landscape devoid of identifiable landmarks, it helps immensely to have maps and the like to convey detail. 

The Times’ use of moving line graphics to indicate travel, maps to indicate location of ‘characters,’ and the snowpack animation lent the entire article an educational weight that I don’t typically see in journalism. In fact, after I finished the article, I thought that it should probably be required reading for every avalanche course given, because of the way it discusses everything from technical malfunctions (snowpack, weather conditions, etc.) to interpersonal issues (gender issues in sport, size of group, perceived knowledge of terrain, and confidence in being the one to say, ‘this isn’t safe’).

The other attribute that set the article apart, in my mind, was the way in which each person involved was written as though they were a character in a fictional story. Each character that was introduced was given some exposition time, as well as some development throughout the story. The sidebars/slideshows for each character helped reinforce the cast and created an easily referred to list of who everyone was. 

The lasting impact of this use of character, for me anyway, was profound. While I don’t directly know anyone in the group, I know people who are good friends of those people, and I know a hell of a lot of people who’s names, and stories, could be substituted without changing many details. I teared up at quite a few points in the article, simply because I could hear one close friend or another saying precisely the same thing.

I would love to know what kind of impact the article had on those who have never skied the backcountry, or have never lived in the mountains and don’t deal with avalanche fatalities, injuries, and near-misses every season. I’d be interested to see if the impact was just as strong, if the draw to continue reading was as great as it was for me. 

I’m a fast reader, and I read a lot throughout every day. In a week, I’ll read a thousand blog posts, countless news articles, and magazines and novels, not to mention the volume of words I comb through at my job as an editor. This article, though, made me slow down, it made me savor every word, and engage at a much deeper level with the story being told. I can’t confidently attribute that to the design alone, or the story alone, or the subject matter alone, and I think that’s what’s really special about it. 

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