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MIXED MEDIA | big ideas and oddball interpretations

Beyond Pedals, Packs, and Paddles

by Jake Abrahamson

Worried that wool socks and waffle stompers aren't as sexy as they used to be? These resources will help you decide if it's time to trade in your hiking, biking, and paddling gear for something fresh to get the blood rushing. Like a wingsuit.

Squirrel Style
Merely watching the BASE jumpers in Birdmen: The Original Dream of Flight (Proximity Productions, 2012) might make your stomach drop. Catching the air in their wingsuits (imagine skydiving garb with the patagia of flying squirrels), they roll and yaw off cliffs at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour, then pop parachutes and float to valley bottom. With retro shots of early birdmen and ruminations on humanity's age-old yearning to fly, the film offers more mental floss than the average adrenaline flick.

Flips in the Wind
Kitesurfers fly, too, but their crash pad is the salty sea. Take a beginner class and then download the app Progression Player, which offers how-to videos on everything from the water start to the back mobe 7 (a backflip with a 720-degree spin).

Death Races
The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges (VeloPress, 2012), by Richard Hoad and Paul Moore, strips adventure down to human power. In the end, though, this endurance-race encyclopedia might just be fodder for games of "would you rather." As in, would you rather run 150 miles through the Sahara or walk 5,600 laps around a block in Queens, New York? The book has firsthand accounts to help guide your decision.

Let's Get Spelunky
When the wind's bad, go spelunking. Hand-drawn cave maps are as supple as Rorschach blots. The one below, from the Utah-based Timpanogos chapter of the National Speleological Society, looks like a GI tract. Find your local caving gang at the NSS website.

True Tree huggers
If caves are nature's sewers, trees are its skyscrapers. Jeff Jepson's The Tree Climber's Companion: A Reference and Training Manual for Professional Tree Climbers (Access Pub, 2000) will teach you how to safely scale a trunk. The most advanced climbers use a crossbow to place ropes on high branches.

Courtesy of Andreas Gubser (Birdman), Brandon Kowallis (map), Lori Eanes (book)

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