Sessioning wyth thee scholars of Colby College
Published on March 25, 2011
It is a common debate amongst philosophers of yore as to the existence of a God, and even more so as to His divine nature. Yet as with the eras of civilization, so doth streams of thought hold only in the interim, and thus it is equally customary for the arguments to swing like the beard of Confucius or a barometer on a New Englande windowsill. In the 18th century, for instance, when natural theology was in vogue, the logic ran thus: “Ah, Demea, take note of the organized world! Like a machine, it is! Humans build machines, no? So it must be that God is like us, that is, like the builder of a machine.”
Of course, then along came David Hume—he the staunch experiential learner who nonetheless remained indoors for much of his life—who brilliantly counterargued: “The ordered world merely implies more order, sir, so what orders God’s thoughts? Hmmm?” And so the beard swung. It would take a century and a half before intelligent design took up a similar position. Read the rest of this entry »
Hitting the books—and then the course
Boardercross racer Billy Pettengill, a college senior, balances family, friends and academia with a world of absolute focus
Published on April 18, 2011
If there is poetry in action, and advice in poetry, then Bill Pettengill writes both for his son. Hotel room slips, ski lodge napkins, gas station receipts, you name it, the retired Vermont State Trooper—and closet Wordsworth—composes and speaks the inspiration that echoes through Bill Jr.’s head: “It’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian,” he’ll say. Or, simply, “Do what you can.” And given that his son’s mind is tuned not only to snowboarding but also cost-curves and ethnographies, perhaps it’s all for the better. Indeed, Pettengill Jr., 21, a professional boardercross racer and Colby College senior majoring in economics and anthropology, is often taking in a campus lecture while his fellow competitors train, train, and, well, train. “For every day Billy has on a racecourse,” says Sr., “they have at least 20. But he’s carrying the load. He’s totally immersed in the whole college thing.”
Maybe it helps to be a natural. At age 12, Pettengill began racing in the Palmer X Series at Mount Snow, Vermont, near his home in Guilford, winning some races by upwards of five seconds. He then transitioned to motocross—racing dirtbikes on circuit courses—where he rose to top in New England in his class before shifting back to the snow during his sophomore year at Colby, competing in boardercross for the first time in eight years. In January 2009, Pettengill won every race of the Maine Mountain Series, which gave him enough points in the United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) ranking system to qualify for the national championships at Copper Mountain in Colorado, where he won gold that April. “And I had no expectation of doing anything that year,” said Pettengill. Added Sr.: “Even back at Stratton he was a Guilford country boy with no experience who went up there and beat them. His most natural sport is boardercross. He was able to strap on a board and do things with his board that the other kids couldn’t do.” Read the rest of this entry »
Multiple relay wins for track
Published on April 26, 2011
Asked for one word to describe the men’s 4×400-meter relay at the Maine State Championships on Saturday, Andy Maguire ’11 didn’t hesitate: “Epic.” “It came down to the final straightaway, and everybody had incredible races.” In 40-degree weather and persistent rain, fellow co-captain David Lowe ’11 pulled ahead of the leading runner from the University of Southern Maine in the home-stretch to lead the Mules to victory. “It was one of the coolest races I have been a part of,” said Lowe, who also won the 400-meter hurdles and was named the Alan Hillman Award winner for top track athlete. “I went out hard but [Parker Chapman] passed me toward the end of the first curve and pulled ahead on the straightaway. I closed the gap by the start of the turn and knew I had him. I popped out to lane two about halfway through the turn and brought it home.”
The team attributes its success to its mentality and balance between relaxation and intensity. “During pre-meet warmups on Friday,” said Zach Currier ’11, “everyone is focused on what they need to get done but also everyone is having a lot of fun and staying relaxed. This carries over to meet day where we can still have that relaxed vibe amongst the team, but once the competition begins and you are on that start line, there is nothing but intensity.” Read the rest of this entry »
Tour de Cure: Kivort Steel Growing in Fundraising
Published on June 10, 2012
Six years ago, Rob Kivort rode in the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure for what he calls “pure exercise.” It was only on the car ride home after that day’s 75-miler that the owner of Waterford-based Kivort Steel made the connection.
“That’s when it hit me,” Kivort said, “that my brother has diabetes.”
The next year, Kivort began his company-backed fundraising team, Kivort Steel, with the help of seven good friends. Last Sunday, June 5, in Saratoga Springs, the team, sporting matching orange-and-navy jerseys, added up to 129 riders and raised more than $88,000. Such numbers have made Kivort the No. 1 fundraising team in New York state so far this year — a spot the team claimed in 2010 — and No. 4 four among corporate teams in the U.S. But even exponential growth must be done step-by-step.
“I call us a pick-up team,” said Howard Katz, a Kivort team captain who reached out to cyclists in the region this past year by spending every Saturday in a different area bike shop, passing out fliers and showing off the team jersey. Read the rest of this entry »
Westford resident medals at World Summer Games
Published on July 14, 2011
In the world of horses, life is nonbverbal. Yet for David McInerney, 15, of Westford, that’s just the way life’s magic should be. McInerney, a tenth-grader at Westford Academy who is high-functioning autistic, returned home last Wednesday after competing as an equestrian rider at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece, where he won two silver medals and a bronze—and in the process displayed mastery of a sport in which verbal communication is rare.
“We kept saying that he needed to learn to say ‘walk, trot, and whoa’ in Greek,” said his mother Marcy, who traveled to Athens along with seven other family members to cheer on her son, “and I kept teasing him that the horses in Greece had wings.” Read the rest of this entry »
Landon Gardner helps Killington rebuild
Published October 31, 2011
It was March 25, 2007, and—down to his last dual moguls run at the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships hosted by Killington—freestyle moguls athlete Landon Gardner had all his teeth intact. Fast forward to August 28, 2011, when those in Killington and the surrounding area had all their homes, utilities and lives in tact. Within a matter of hours, however, the two would need each other in ways they never could’ve foreseen.
Upon landing the first air of his last run, Gardner’s knee violently met his chin, splitting it open and chipping several of his teeth. Gardner still went on to win his run, but required stitches for his chin and a dentist for his teeth. After sewing him up, the Killington clinic made a phone call to a couple in nearby Rutland, VT, who in a matter of hours had him back at the mountain, albeit bandaged, but on his way to recovery.
Over four years later, on Aug. 29, Hurricane Irene made landfall in New England, tearing through Vermont and flooding the state. Killington’s K-1 base lodge was partially destroyed along with roads and homes in the Route 4 area, and 12,000 people were left without power. Read the rest of this entry »
Youth in the Lab
Published November 2, 2011
Nine months after the Winter X Games, the Ricky Bower Slopestyle Invitational course was set—and inspired, notably, by the 2011 version of ESPN’s famed action sports competition. On October 23 in Park City, five snowboarders were staring down a flatdown rail, a creative bonk, and four jumps.
“It does kind of resemble the X Games course from last year,” said U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Coach Ricky Bower, “but without the cannon.”
That, and without the snow, rail, bonk, or any jumps either. It was the third day of U.S. Snowboarding’s invite-only Junior Gold development camp, and Bower had set up a mock contest on the Center of Excellence trampolines for his group of rising young freestyle snowboarders. ”Backside 7, front 5…” he called out as each rider went through his run in socks and t-shirts. Then: “Hey guys guess what today is? Halfpipe day. Slopestyle was yesterday. New day.”
Ah, how fast a day changes when your course is nylon and springs. But at Junior Gold, where athletes between the ages of 10-13 spend three days on trampolines, skateboard ramps—as well as listening to the wisdom of U.S. Snowboarding coaches—each rider’s skill set often changes faster. Indeed, these young riders, invited based on their USASA Nationals performance (as the top three in their age group for halfpipe) or by coaches’ discretion, often their learn new tricks from each other at a rate, and in a way, that’s hard to replicate without having them all in the same place at once. Read the rest of this entry »
Picking the races, with a racer
Published on February 29, 2012
What do Lindsey Vonn and Albert Pujols have in common? Aside from reaching the pinnacle of their respective sports thrice—Pujols as a World Series competitor, Vonn as the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup overall champ—not much. That is, until you factor in fantasy baseball and FantasySkiRacer.com, where both are perennial #1 picks.
Still, this wouldn’t be so without Steven Nyman, an alpine World Cup winner and longtime participant in Fantasy sports, whose desire to create more excitement for ski racing fans has found its perfect counterpart in the growing online fantasy sports community. The result: FantasySkiRacer.com, where you pick the races. Read the rest of this entry »
20 Questions: Troy Rarick, Over the Edge Sports
Published on July 12, 2012
In 1994, Troy Rarick had the crazy idea to try to turn Fruita, Colorado, from an old agricultural and refinery town into a mountain biking destination. Rather than pour his energy into building trails or opening up a top-notch retail shop, he took a different approach: he did both. New trails would start attracting riders, the thinking went, and the new shop, which he called Over the Edge Sports, would make sure riders got the most out of their experience so they’d want to return.
The experiment worked. Fruita went from being a bankrupt town off of I-70 to a world-famous mountain biking destination. Word of the transformation spread, and people began seeking out Rarick to learn how they could replicate the experiment in their communities. Today, Rarick has taken this trail/shop philosophy and the Over the Edge name around the world, calling himself a “Mountain Bike Tourism Consultant” and changing the way communities, bureaucrats, and riders work together to grow the sport.
1) BLISTER: When mountain bikers talk about the best places in the world to ride, Fruita, Colorado, always comes up in the discussion. What’s so special about Fruita?
Troy: Depending on how big you draw the circle of “Fruita,” there is wide open public land for 100 miles in every direction. You can ride a mountain bike from here to Moab, Crested Butte, Durango, or darn near Canada. It is the mountain biking hub of the western slope of Colorado. And I never like to lie to people and say that this is a novice place to mountain bike. Fruita is the bastion of singletrack, and it is not a beginner’s paradise. I don’t like to mislead people and say “we have something for everyone.” We probably have something for everyone, but the focus of Fruita has always been enthusiast mountain bike singletrack. Read the rest of this entry »
PROFILE: Ibis Cycles
Published on July 3, 2012
It is the winter of 1980-1981, and Scot Nicol is feathering the end of a bronze rod along the joint between two steel tubes in a garage in Mill Valley, California, north of San Francisco. He is holding the rod in his left hand while, with his right, he keeps a blue flame about six inches away from where the steel and the rod meet, causing the bronze to melt and fuse the tubes together. Watching him is Joe Breeze, who along with Charlie Cunningham is acting as a mentor to the young Nicol toward the end of his apprenticeship in mountain bike building.
Nicol is in a good spot. Not only are Breeze and Cunningham masters of the craft, but each has been pivotal in the early development of the mountain bike. In 1977, Breeze began building his own bikes in Marin County, bikes that he called “Breezers.” Each frame was made of 4130 cro-moly steel and, collectively, they were the first off-road bicycles ever made. Two years later, Cunningham was the first to build aluminum off-road frames. Read the rest of this entry »