The 2018 Carr Fire was one of the worst wildfires in California history. By the time it was contained, it had burned 359 square miles, destroyed close to 2,000 buildings, and killed seven people. It also spawned a massive fire tornado—only the second ever recorded. Meteorologists examining the damage afterward estimated that the vortex had generated winds of up to 165 miles per hour. When a blaze like that is coming your way, the only sane thing to do is run for your life. But Gary and Lori Lyon did the opposite, staying to defend their home. Outside contributor Stephanie Joyce has the story on why, in an era of increasingly intense fires, someone would dare to stand and fight an inferno.
In the world of athletics, the idea is that if you want to be the best, you have to specialize young and maintain near laserlike focus. The archetypal example is Tiger Woods, who, as the legend goes, started swinging a golf club before he could walk. More recently the focus has shifted to grit. The secret to success, we’re told, isn’t skill or raw talent but the ability to persevere. But that may not be the whole story. In his new book Range, author David Epstein challenges the arguments for specialization and grit, arguing that a more generalized approach is the surest route to excellence. Outside editor Christopher Keyes spoke with Epstein to about the advantages of doing a bit of everything.
Doug Peacock took an unlikely path to becoming an icon of conservation. Following two tours in the Vietnam War as a Green Beret medic, he sought solace and comfort in the American Wilderness, where he began observing and then filming grizzly bears. He believed the bears saved his life, and he felt compelled to return the favor. Many people know Peacock as the inspiration for George Hayduke, the infamous character inThe Monkey Wrench Gang, the 1975 novel by Ed Abbey. Over the years, Peacock authored a number of books about his journey. At the 2019 Mountainfilm festival, in Telluride, Colorado, he sat down with veteran radio producer Scott Carrier to offer an enlightened perspective on the history of bears in this country, share some hysterical stories about his own encounters with the animals, and give his take on the big challenges that grizzlies face today.
Water is critical to human life. Our bodies are more than 50 percent water. We can survive months barely eating, but even a few days without water and we’ll die. Water flushes toxins out of our organs and cools us down after a workout. But how much do really need? And how much is too much? Lately there’s been a lot of attention on the internet to what’s known as the Water Gallon Challenge: drinking a gallon per day for a month, with the promise of glowing skin and a lot more energy. Outside editor Aleta Burchyski took on this challenge, which for her was all the more daunting because she hates the taste of plain tap water. In this episode, we talk to her about her quest and check in with a leading hydration expert, who explains that we don’t know as much about how water effects our bodies as you might think.
When Mirna Valerio first began running ultramarathons, she immediately got a lot of attention, but not for the reasons you might expect. Because of her body size, she didn’t fit the accepted image of a long-distance runner. Her story isn’t about an average athlete trying to get better. It’s about what happens when people assume that someone can’t possibly be an athlete because of the way she looks—and then how they how they react when she takes on enormous challenges and finds a way to keep going and going. This episode kicks off the second season of the Athletes Unfiltered podcast from Strava.