Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Next Weekend: Haida Gwaii

Photo: StandFilm.com
Haida Gwaii means "islands of the people," yet the archipelago, off the coast of northern British Columbia, remains a solitary paradise where time has changed little, the people are easy going, and the recreational opportunities are endless. Totems still stand tall in the forests, orcas still breach the water off the remote coastline, otters play, and seals sun themselves on the rocks. It is a natural treasure, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that few have had the opportunity to discover. One of the best ways to explore the area is by sea kayak thanks to the myriad of inlets and waterways the run in and around the 150 small islands protecting travellers from the wild and woolly Pacific Ocean waters. 

What is it: Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, are in a remote area of northern British Columbia some 75 kilometres from the mainland and 60 kilometres from Alaska, and are only accessible by boat or plane. The area is made of up two main islands — Moresby and Graham — as well as a stretch of approximately 150 smaller islands primarily to the southeast. 

Photo: LonelyPlanet.com
Why bother? There are few places, well, anywhere that offer fairly easy access to a place so stunning and both naturally and culturally rich that it defies adequate description. It has been called the Galapagos of the north thanks to the immense biological diversity in the region from the mossy ancient rainforests straight out of fairy tales to the beaches and marine life in the Pacific coastal waters. But, it is also home to a 10,000-year-old native culture that includes carving totems that dot the many islands in the archipelago.


What to do: Kayaking opportunities are many, and there are plenty of operators in the region offering trips of seven to 10 days. Some of the better areas to create your own adventures include the sheltered inlets near Skidegate and Masset. And a more challenging destination is the Gwaii Haanas National Park where the Burnaby Narrows offers up some of the richest tidal life anywhere on the planet.

Sidetrip: Despite the northern climes, the area has an active surfing scene centred around the Masset area, also the location of Haida Gwaii's lone surf shop (northbeachsurfshop.com), especially during the fall months. Don't forget the wetsuit, a very thick wetsuit.
Photo: WindsorStar.com

When to go: Well, it is remote so it never gets overrun, but the summer months are busiest, businesses shut down during the winter, but theirs is a fairly mild fall that coincides with mushroom hunting season if you fancy a chanterelle hunt.

Where to stay: The Copper Beech House in Massett was recently purchased by well-known Canadian poet Susan Musgrave (copperbeechhouse.com), but there are plenty of bed and breakfasts and cabins available for rent (www.gohaidagwaii.ca).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Get Your 2011 Race Entires for Free!

Got a digital video camera and some editing skills? Love to race but can't afford the entry fees? Want to get your race entries paid for this season? If you answered yes to these questions, you could be the next Get Out There Race Reviewer!
We're looking for passionate, charismatic athletes (back and front of the packers alike) who participate in competitive athletic events (Canada only) to become our official race reviewers this summer. We'll pay for your race entries in exchange for a maximum 2 minute video review of each event you do. The review will need to include video shots from the race/venue, short clips from other racers (i.e. how did they like the race?) and your personal opinion about how the race went (unique features, the good, the bad and the ugly). The video will need to be supplied to Get Out There within 24 hours of the completion of the race.
Race categories we're interested in reviews for include: adventure racing, tris/dus, mud run/obstacle run, marathons and running events, cycling races and events, paddling events, urban races and anything else that fits the Get Out There brand.
How to Enter:
1) Submit your (planned) 2011 race schedule*
2) Submit a short video (2 minutes max) telling us why you should be considered
3) Send bribes. We like cash, gear and food.
Email links and schedules to info@getouttheremag.com with the subject line "Race Reviewer".
You have until May 31 to enter.
*Please note that we cannot offer refunds for events you've already registered for.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Makings of a Cover Shot

Selecting covers shots for Get Out There Magazine is never an easy task. In fact, it's a lot harder than you might think. It's not simply a matter of finding a great photo (although that's certainly the first criteria). The photo has got to be vertical in configuration, taken at a high enough resolution to reproduce well on a magazine cover and accommodate cover lines.

In the seven years since I started Get Out There, I think the May/June 2011 issues and our new Women's Annual might be my favourite covers to-date. Here's the quick story on our latest cover selections.

East Edition
I absolutely love this shot of up-and-coming mountain biker Emily Batty. We profiled her in the magazine back in 2009 (you can read the article at: http://bit.ly.hvvak6/) and were thrilled to come across this shot taken by her brother Eric Batty. The shot really captures both her strength and ease on the bike - and the colours really make the shot a stand-out.

West Edition
BC Bike Race (http://www.bcbikerace.com/) is one of Canada's most successful mountain biking events and certainly stands out in terms of being an epic "bucket list" race for many riders. This shot was taken in the 2010 race by photographer Dave Silver (http://www.davesilverphotography.com/). We've used Dave's shots in previous issues and he always seems to have exactly what we're looking for. This shot captures the very distinct and recognizable BC riding scene. You can almost feel what it's like to be there!

Women's Annual
The cover of our first Women's Annual was an important one and we elected to go with this shot of a woman trail runner ascending a mountain pass in Kananaskis country in the Canadian Rockies outside of Canmore. I love how this shot captures the ruggedness of the Canadian landscape and the strength of this runner. She looks focused and strong.

Look for these issues starting May 1st.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hosting a Cottage Triathlon

Cottagers have been waiting all winter to finally open up and air out musty cottages in anticipation of long summer days spent relaxing on the dock. But relaxing ain't all it's cracked up to be - particularly for Type A triathletes in need of a good training day. So in an effort to keep family peace at the cottage this summer, here's our guide to hosting your own cottage triathlon.

The Swim

Rather than setting and measuring out a specific swim distance, pick a nearby out-and-back destination such as a floating dock, protruding rock, nearby island or neighbour's dock. Set a short course with a single out-and-back loop, and double it for the "advanced" tri. Involve the kids by having them paddle the course in a rubber dingy or canoe, or handicap your strongest participant by towing the dingy behind him/her for the swim. Add to the fun by requiring participants to swim with an inflatable tube or a set of water wings.

Recruit kids and no-tri types to act as support crew in "transition". Have fluffy towels and plastic cups filled with lemonade on hand for racers. A dry set of clothes including socks and shoes will make for a memorable, chafe-free experience for your cottage guests.

The Bike

Set your bike course along a lengthy driveway or cottage road. If you live on a busy stretch, plan your triathlon during non-peak hours and be sure to let the neighbours know your plans. You might consider posting "Race in Progress" or "Watch for Cyclists" signs (the kids can help here too) along the course, or setting out pylons or other markers to warn drivers.

Let guests "pick-a-bike" from whatever smorgasbord collection you have. A tricyle, your old Raleigh from when you were ten, your Cervelo and a couple of the kids' mountain bikes are a great start. Encourage your guests to bring their own bikes as well.

Set the course for the level of participants - have a short course for "regular folk", a long course for those of you trying to get in Ironman training and a course for kids and the unfortunate dude riding the trike. Multi-loops courses are a great way to encourage spectator participation!

The Run

Again, set the run course to the level of participants. Combining a clearly marked trail running section is a great way to challenge racers and showcase the area's scenery. Be sure to have ample bug spray on hand. Instead of a water station, set up coolers along the route with cold beer for the adults and freezies for the kids. Be sure not to mix these two up! Get Out There bears no responsibility for drunk children!


Post-race kick back with a beer, a burger and friends. Follow up your recovery with an awards ceremony. Remember, this is all about fun - award participants in categories such as who looks best in a Speedo, best wipeout and slowest transition.

A cottage triathlon is a great way to make some fantastic cottage memories!

Photo courtesy of http://www.trikids.ca/

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

5 Must-do's to Get Your Bike Ready for Spring Riding

Spring has sprung (at least for now) and it's time to get your bike revved up for riding season! We hit up Dan Rishworth of EnduroSport in Toronto (http://www.endurosport.com/) for his top 5 DIY (and one non-DIY) tips for getting your bike road-ready.

1) Check your tires. Make sure there are no cuts, that they are not worn down and that the sidewalls are not showing any signs of wear or cracking. Make sure tires are fully inflated before you mount up. And remember, if you've been riding your indoor trainer all winter, there's a good chance your back tire is toast - time to get your to local bike shop.

2) Degrease and lube your chain. Dirt and grime will cause your chain to wear out faster. So get out the degreaser, some paper towels and the lube. Sounds like fun to us!

3) General cleaning. This is especially important if you've been out riding this winter (or were too lazy to clean your bike up after your last muddy fall ride). Take time to give your bike a good wash to get any salt or other road grime off.

4) Get a new set of bar tape. With a bit of practice you can put this on yourself. It'll improve comfort and spruce up the look of your bike for the season ahead.

5) Ensure your bike pouch has all the necessary essentials: spare tube, glueless patches (for that inevitable second flat), tire levers, CO2 cartridge (in lieu of a hand pump) and a multi-tool.

6) Bring your bike in to your local shop for a tune-up. In addition to the items mentioned above, a bike shop tune-up should include:

- shifting adjustment (cable and housing, if necessary)

- brake cable adjustment (cable and housing, if necessary)

- wheel trueing to ensure your wheels run straight

- cleaning and lubricating your drivetrain (chain in particular)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Three Simple Secrets to Success in Adventure Racing

Guest blogger Geoff Langford is the head adventure dude at Frontier Adventure Sports and Training (http://www.far.on.ca/). Aside from putting on some of Canada's premier adventure races, FAST organizes training camps in Mexico designed to offer adventure racers an edge over their competitors. Here Geoff tells us his top three ways you can have success in adventure racing.

If you're new to adventure racing, you probably think you need to be a super-athlete with no need for sleep and an insane tolerance for suffering in order to succeed.

You wouldn't be wrong, but luckily you can also find success by racing smart and focusing on a few key factors that will get your team to the finish line healthy, fast and smiling.

Pace. So many things affect your pace, and a solid team will constantly be focused on maintaining their maximum sustainable pace. Not their full-out maximum pace, but a sustainable maximum. Push too hard and someone will bonk or get injured. Too slow and you'll miss the banquet. The biggest secret here is teamwork - communicate and watch each other, work together and find ways to improve the team's pace - not just your own. And here is where many teams miss an amazing opportunity - tow each other, push each other, take some weight or an entire pack. There are so many ways to create balance and improve your team's overall page.

Time in motion. Isn't that what I just said? No, this is about wasting time. Streamline your team's stops, train and develop ways to avoid stopping, avoid chatting and lingering in transitions. It's amazing how time stopped adds up and keeps the podium just out of reach.

Distance traveled. This involves two skills - navigation and route finding. Surprisingly, it's not all about finding the shortest route, but the fastest. Often the 6K trail run is faster than a 2K bushwhack. Try it when you're training. And use your entire team for managing your route - someone counting pace, someone watching for landmarks, etc. Navigation is technical, but it's not difficult to learn and improve at, and your team's performance will soar.

Of course, there is much more to each of these and I'll dig into them more in the coming weeks. When your team is training, you should focus as much on these factors as anything else.

Don't miss the key point here. Underlying all three of these factors is the core of adventure racing - teamwork!

Photo: Participants in Camp Frontier's Pico2Playa training camp in Mexico work on their towing techniques to improve pace.

Friday, March 25, 2011

5 Tips for an Easy Race Morning

Today's guest blogger is Cory Freedman. She is the race director for the Toronto Women's Run Series (http://www.towomensruns.com/) - not to mention an avid runner and racer herself. With race season upon us, Cory took time to share her top race morning tips to ensure you get to the start line on time and without any unnecessary grief!

1) Set out your race outfit the night before and pin your bib on your shirt.
2) Figure out what time you want to be at the race and work backwards from there. Be sure to give yourself a little extra time to deal with unexpected delays like traffic.
3) If there is pre race kit pick up, do it! It means one less thing to line up for on race morning.
4) Eat a good pre-race meal - bagel, banana, cereal. Eat whatever you typically eat on the morning of a long training run. Don't do anything new on race morning.
5) Drink water or an electrolyte drink before you enter the start chute.