first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Market forces will continue to drive rapid evolution of the energy industry, organizers of IEEFA’s Energy Finance 2016 conference said in opening remarks today.“Money talks,” said Michael Burger, executive director for the Sabin Center for Climate Change at Columbia Law School, which is playing host to the conference. “Much if not most climate action will be driven by money and markets.”Sandy Buchanan, IEEFA’s executive director, said finance has become a growing force in energy market transitions and that information shared at the conference will be used “as parts of campaigns going on around the world.”Buchanan said 2015 was a watershed year in coal-management policy especially, noting the recent federal moratorium on Powder River Basin coal leases, the announcement this year that New York State is going coal free, the growing difficulties facing development of coal mines in Australia and trends in India and China that show slowdown in the appetite for coal in those countries.“Capital flight will increasingly be a thing,” said Tim Buckley, IEEFA’s director of energy finance studies, Australia, noting the decision last year by Norway’s pension fund to divest from coal and how the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and major investment banks have distanced themselves from coal.“Further capital flight is inevitable,” said Buckley, citing ongoing collapses in coal stock and in stocks closely tied to coal-fired generation. IEEFA Energy Finance 2016: Market Forces Continue to Push Energy Sector Change Globallylast_img read more

first_imgU.S. Coal Bailout Plant Would Benefit a Select Few: Murray Energy, FirstEnergy, NRG FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Politico: “Customers get less than nothing while a few companies and their investors get a whole lot of something,” Nora Mead Brownell, a Republican former electricity regulator, said of Perry’s plan, noting the high cost estimates. “Money that gets spent there doesn’t get invested in doing what you really need to do, which is upgrading the grid.”Meanwhile, Bob Murray’s company has publicly acknowledged that its future depends on whether Perry’s plan flies.At those meetings in the summer, Murray urged Trump to declare a power grid emergency and force coal-fired power plants owned by one financially troubled company, FirstEnergy Solutions, to stay open even if the company sank into bankruptcy. Those plants bought about two-thirds of their coal from Murray in 2015, according to POLITICO’s analysis of U.S. Energy Information Administration data.At DOE’s urging, the White House ultimately declined to declare the emergency. But Perry’s new proposed rule would accomplish the same result by requiring the power markets to cover the costs to run the economically ailing plants, enabling them to keep producing power.Ohio-based Murray Energy, the No. 5 U.S. coal producer, is the largest supplier to the dwindling number of coal-fired power plants in one stretch of the Rust Belt and Appalachia, overseen by an electricity market called the PJM Interconnection. The power plants in PJM account for roughly 44 percent of Murray’s sales, according to POLITICO’s analysis.Murray’s nearest competitor, industry leader Peabody Energy Corp., sold about 9 percent of its coal in that market. In total, Murray sold 24 million tons of coal to PJM merchant coal plants in 2015, far more than Peabody’s 15 million tons.“Murray is by far the largest player in the Northern Appalachian basin and de facto one of the biggest gainers if FERC acts on the DOE [proposal],” said Joe Aldina, director of coal research for the analytics and data company S&P Global.The DOE proposal calls for power market operators to guarantee payments to power plants that keep 90 days of fuel on site. That requirement would be virtually impossible for natural gas-fired power plants to meet — they get their fuel via pipelines — and would totally exclude wind or solar plants.By requiring 90 days of on-site fuel, the measure would create incentives for most coal-fired power plants to increase their fuel supplies, providing a quick boost for miners.One recent analysis by consulting firm ICF said the proposal could cost nearly $4 billion a year, while another study by Energy Innovation, a nonprofit firm that analyzes climate and energy policies, said the figure could be as high as $10.6 billion annually. Perry has dismissed concerns over the costs, asking “What’s the cost of freedom?” when pressed by lawmakers.“It’s about the coal producers, frankly,” said Kit Konolige, a senior utilities analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. The rule might affect individual power producers differently, he added, but “you can certainly say it would definitely be a plus for coal miners.”Players in the power business say the rule appears to focus on the PJM market, because it would only apply to electricity generators in certain types of regional power markets. It would exclude those in regions where state regulators oversee the economics of power companies.The rule was “certainly targeted at the PJM region,” said Andy Ott, CEO of PJM, which oversees all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.Among the nation’s roughly 280,000 megawatts of coal-fired power, Perry’s rule is tightly written to affect only about 40,000 megawatts, according to POLITICO’s analysis. Power capacity from plants owned by the companies FirstEnergy and NRG account for nearly 40 percent of that slice, according to EIA data for 2015, the most recent year for which the information is complete. Murray provided two-thirds of the coal FirstEnergy bought for its competitive plants, and only 2 percent of NRG’s.Among those plants that would benefit from the plan are four coal power generating units at FirstEnergy’s Murray-supplied Sammis plant in Ohio that are set to retire within the next three years. FirstEnergy, the parent of the troubled FirstEnergy Solutions subsidiary, could see its plants sell an additional $500 million in electricity a year if Perry’s plan is enacted.DOE’s proposal has attracted vociferous opposition from power producers and trade groups representing wind, solar and natural gas energy, and has been criticized by five former FERC chairs from both parties. Dynegy and NRG Energy, two of the power companies likely to see the biggest benefits from the plan — and which have big investments in PJM competitive coal plants — also oppose the proposal as too expensive and a distortion of the market.DOE’s plan would also provide a lifeline to money-losing nuclear plants owned by Exelon Corp., NextEra Energy and FirstEnergy. But the coal industry says its situation is the more dire.More: Trump coal backer wins big under Perry’s power planlast_img read more

first_imgAnalysts see renewable energy benefitting at gas, coal’s expense during current U.S. downturn FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):As the U.S. economy slumps under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic, falling electricity demand is increasing financial pressure on fossil fuel plants and creating an opportunity for renewable energy resources to grab a bigger share of the market, according to analysts at S&P Global Market Intelligence.Declining costs for wind and solar farms have made clean energy competitive with traditional resources like coal and natural gas in much of the world. Now, the drop in demand in U.S. wholesale electricity markets is primarily threatening fossil fuel generators, and it is likely that low-cost renewable energy will “retain its position even if demand overall shrinks,” said Steve Piper, director of energy research at S&P Global Market Intelligence, during a May 15 webinar.“The pandemic could put another nail in the coffin for coal demand from the utility sector,” said Alex Cook, a senior energy research analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence. “It could also put gas-fired units at risk and reduce gas demand, particularly in markets that have a high level of gas generation in their fuel mix, like New York and New England.”While coal and natural gas face growing risks, the safe-haven status of renewables has been reinforced during the health and economic crisis, investors say, since wind and solar plants often sell electricity under fixed-price, long-term contracts that help to shield their revenue from immediate economic disruptions.“So, we have confidence that these [power purchase agreements] will be honored by all our customers,” said Michel Letellier, president and CEO of Canada’s Innergex Renewable Energy Inc., on a May 13 earnings call. Meanwhile, Letellier said, investor interest in new renewable energy assets in the U.S. remains high and could accelerate due to the closure of inefficient or uneconomic fossil fuel units.“[Our] belief is that renewable generation is still going to be a key driver in the industry, and that’s primarily due to the fact that so many utilities have made these announcements in the past,” said Tod Cooper, COO of transmission and distribution at construction firm MYR Group Inc. “We know what their plans are going forward.”[Michael Copley]More ($): In the battle for market share, analysts see downturn boosting renewable energylast_img read more

first_imgFitch sees significant growth potential for green hydrogen in Asia-Pacific region FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Asian Power:Amid increasing viability of the technology, government support and investor interests in several markets, substantial growth opportunities abound for the green hydrogen sector in Asia Pacific over coming years, according to Fitch Solutions.The report observed increasing traction in electrolyser technologies as a carbon-free alternative, which involves the use of electricity to produce hydrogen from water, primarily from non-hydro renewable generation sources.Fitch estimates Asia’s electrolyser capacity to reach over 10GW over the coming decade, but this could still accelerate. “The resulting ‘green hydrogen’ is a highly adaptable energy carrier and can be used in a wide and increasing number of industry applications,” the report stated.A key driver to its development is closely linked to the abundance of cheap low-carbon electricity. “We believe that the proliferation of renewable energy in the region, and its rapidly-falling costs, will push production costs of hydrogen down and drive adoption of the technology,” Fitch added.According to a broad consensus, the cost of electrolysers could half and reach market parity with grey, fossil fuel based, hydrogen by 2030, making it a highly competitive energy alternative.The growth of green hydrogen in the region is expected to be driven by Japan and Australia, but there is also increasing support from China, India, South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand. Most of these markets have included hydrogen into their policy agenda.More: Growth opportunities arise for green hydrogen in Asia Pacificlast_img read more

first_imgOnce a year a ragged and equally rowdy group of mountain bikers gather in an area of the national forest, other wise known as “Foof Town.”  A group of 40-plus riders started rolling into the “Mallard Duck” at approximately 10 A.M. Thursday, greeted by Appalachia’s finest camp site director whose only two rules for the camp ground were: 1. Do what you want, and 2. Have a darn good time doing it.With that being said, we all saddled up and party paced over to the base of our first climb, where we all became unsuspecting victims of the misery our tour leader had in store for us. The first day was atypical of the giro, in the sense that it was now a full day of riding, instead of a half day.Day one consisted of a dirty double and single track climbing on forest roads so steep they could make a mountain goat cry, followed by piercing some forest foliage and sneaking through the “worm hole” to race our first Super D descent.Chase dropping in Torrey ridge Photo by Erik JensenDay two started with another demoralizing climb up to the parkway that was sure to move many riders into Slum Town for the rest of the weekend.  If the climb didn’t do you in that day, the second stage surely would, Whetstone Ridge.  The stage started with us hiking our bikes into the trail to get out of the national park and into the national forest (a warm up for hike-a-bikes to come).  It was a demonstration of sorts, with a local law enforcement escort, in hopes to raise awareness of the trail user conflict that loomed over this ridge’s trail head for years!  Whetstone ridge was an experience like no other, with hike-a-bikes so steep, pushing your bike up them was daunting, The other sides were steep, loose chundery death shoots that were sure to make you smile!Day three started off with a transferring of campsites, followed by ample amounts of “lizard time” (slumming on our camping mats in the sun, motivating to start the day).  After fully recharging, we saddled our bikes and rode out of camp, up the Blue Ridge Parkway, and on to Torrey ridge, my favorite section of trail!  With Fast loamy pine corridors, and rippin rock gardens, it was sure to be a magical time, as many of us started to get our tour on becoming permanent residents of slum-town.  After Torrey ridge, we pitted at camp and set out for some hot laps at Howardsville trail system, a series of short, punchy, loose and leafy climbs, sure to make even the strongest of legs weary.broathleteOn day four,the final day of the tour, we were greeted with two stages that were sure to welcome us all into the pain cave. Today we would climb back up Torrey Ridge, and we all knew we were in for punishment.  Some of us questioning why we joyfully signed up for the punishment ahead! After Summiting the mountain and relishing an extended lunch, we started to separate into our team time trial groups based off of zip code.  We would race from the top of Bald Knob to the bottom of Coal Road, a 45 minute chunky sandy loose descent that challenged us all after four full days of riding.With so much suffering throughout the week, some would question, why bother participating in such an event?  Though the event is physically demanding and at times absolutely soul-crushing, the community that develops after living in a tent city for four days is absolutely incredible. Though days on the bike were long and grueling, the evening’s celebrations were as rewarding as the trails themselves! For those who have ever been curious about a grand tour in the Shenandoah Valley, my only advice is “Come get your Tour on!”last_img read more

first_imgPhotos by Joe ScorsoneOn November 1, 2014, residents of Asheville, N.C., awoke to a chilly surprise: snow. For most folks in town, the Saturday snowfall was an opportunity to sleep late and recover from some Halloween revelry the night before. But for about 200 hardier souls, it was race day. The weather conditions were just another obstacle these runners would need to overcome in climbing 3,000 feet up a narrow, rugged 18-mile trail. When the starting gun sounded, more than a few runners let rip whoops of joy: They were looking forward to what lay ahead.Welcome to the Shut In Ridge Trail Run.A 35-Year TraditionThe origins of the Shut In date back to December 13, 1980, when some 64 intrepid men and women assembled to clamor over rocks, roots, and fallen leaves as they followed the trail of the same name originally blazed by George Vanderbilt that led from his home, Biltmore, to his hunting lodge up on Mount Pisgah. Runners have continued that tradition now for 35 years, making Shut In one of the oldest continuous-running races in the region.It’s also one of the most mysterious. People tend to learn about the race purely by word of mouth. Capped at 225 runners, Shut In has a sniff of exclusivity to it. Registration filled up in just four days in 2014, which is saying something because would-be runners need to fill in applications by hand and snail-mail them in, along with a check and a self-addressed envelope. Bibs are then awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis (though return runners are given priority), and lucky runners are notified by mail if they made the cut.There’s also the perception that completing the race is something like undertaking a Herculean task. If you’re at a craft brewery in the Asheville area and share the news that you ran Shut In, well, you’re pretty much guaranteed to impress even non-runners in earshot.Tim Epley, the former girl’s basketball coach at TC Roberson high school, was the one who originally dreamed up the idea of racing up Vanderbilt’s mountain path. Back in the late 1970s, Epley worked for the National Park Service as part of its Youth Conservation Corps, which put students to work during the summer building and restoring trails. After the Blue Ridge Parkway was built, park rangers were interested in adding trails that hikers could access via the new scenic byway. Epley’s crew’s job was to restore the Shut In Trail, which was named for the abundant rhododendron and mountain laurel shrubs that encase many sections of the trail.During lunch breaks, Epley would run through the woods for fun. “I would rather run trails than anywhere else,” says Epley, now 62, who retired from running in 1985 due to recurring issues with plantar fasciitis. “And I realized that the Shut In was a special place.”Epley was part of a group of about a dozen running aficionados who gathered every Wednesday at Frank’s Pizza to swap tales over cheesy slices and beer after running. One night, Epley brought up the idea of organizing a race on the trail he had been working on. “I thought we could maybe bill it as the Pikes Peak of the East,” Epley recalls. “It was a good trail to run, but I also thought it would be a great spectator race. People could leapfrog the runners at the different overlooks along the Blue Ridge Parkway and follow the entire race.”Runners climb steadily higher as the course hugs the ridgelines, doing their best to hop over sole-stabbing rocks and to maintain their balance as they skid over fallen leaves. Runners also crisscross the parkway several times, where they can meet up with support crews and enjoy spectacular vistas. While there are dips and downhills here and there, especially a steep spiraling descent that follows the apex of Ferrin Knob, which stands at 4,010 feet high, runners find the air becomes steadily thinner as they make their way up to the finish line at the base of Mount Pisgah, which sits at a cool 5,000 feet.Aside from knee scrapes, twisted ankles, and a few cases of mild hypothermia, Shut In runners over the years have avoided any major injuries. That fact speaks to both the kinds of runners the race attracts and the preparation they put into getting ready to tackle it.“You have to train for it,” says Norman Blair, the owner of Jus’ Running in Asheville and the race director for the past seven years. “Anybody can come off the couch and run a 5K. But a mile on the trail is not the same as running a mile on the road. It’s a lot longer and harder. If you can finish Shut In, it’s an achievement.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPHOTO BY JOE SCORSONEShut In runners also need to beat two time cut-offs along the route or face getting their race number pulled. “We can’t stop someone from running,” says Blair, “but we also don’t want to be waiting until midnight for someone to finish.” Blair says race organizers have also pulled runners off the trail over the years if they looked dazed or disoriented.Blair, who was a professional road racer before he bought Jus’ Running in 2002, ran Shut In himself ten times between 1988 and 1999. And while he acknowledges how challenging Shut In can be, he also thinks part of the appeal of the race is that runners don’t have to be elite to finish it. “It’s very accessible to the average person,” he says. “It’s held at a good time of year to run a long race. And because of how steep the trail is at points, you can actually walk faster than you can run. That’s why it’s an everyman and everywoman kind of race.”That combination of accessibility combined with a challenge helps explain why Shut In lures runners of all kinds who seek to push themselves to beyond their normal limits.Case in point: When Jenn Beck, 37, broke her ankle in a mountain biking accident a few years ago, she fell into a kind of depression as she was forced to lie around and wait for her body to heal. It was then that she vowed to run Shut In, something she considered to be an appropriately badass achievement to celebrate her recovery. When she eventually ran, and finished, the race in 2013, she told herself: “Now I’m in the big boy’s club.”There’s Something Addictive About ItOne of the race’s distinctive characteristics is the fact that so many people run it more than once. David Culp, for example, ran it 15 times—including once, in 1985, when he also served as race director.Michael Byer Jr. ran the race 10 times, five of them alongside his father, Mike Byer Sr., who owns an eponymous auto and truck repair shop in Asheville. “I lived for the challenge,” says Byer, Jr. “It was a way to keep your fitness in check. There was also a real sense of camaraderie among the runners who came back every year.”P1010937_FIXNo one has run every race over the years—though a few have come close. R.C. Cutler holds the distinction of running the first 25 iterations of the race—a streak he began at the age of 46. Others like Garry Sherman, 64; Keith Wood, 65; and Jim Clabuesch, 49, have all run it more than 20 times.The race has seen plenty of repeat champions as well, such as Adam Pinkston, Shiloh Meilke, and Jay Curwen. Curwen, now 48, first ran the course in 1984 as a seventeen-year-old high schooler, when he finished in 19th place. He would eventually win the race four times. Meilke ran his first Shut In in 2004, finishing 13th, before winning the race each of the next five years. His sister, Meadow Tarves, has also run the race several times—and won the women’s division in 2006, placing 11th overall. Then there’s Pinkston, who ran the race eight times, winning seven of them, including in 1984 when he ran with legendary speed and style: His fellow runners all but gawked at his punk-rock-style pink Mohawk as he sped away from them up the trail at a record-setting pace.But the current record holder for most Shut-In finishes is Chris Campbell, 50, who, if all goes well, will toe the starting line for his 30th stab at the Shut In in 2015.Campbell, who makes the 6.5-hour trek down from his home in Virginia to run Shut In, says he never intended to run the race as many times as he has. But it’s become something of a holiday for him, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, an event he looks forward to all year long.“It’s a chance to see if I’m still up for the challenge,” says Campbell. Campbell drove down to Asheville to run his first Shut In in 1984 while a student at Virginia Tech and a member of its track team.Campbell felt strong throughout his first crack at the race. He trailed only the leader, Pinkston, until he hit a pivotal point in the course some 15.5 miles in that begins after runners cross Route 151. That’s where the trail climbs some 1,000 feet of elevation over two miles at a 20 percent grade to finish up at the base of Mount Pisgah. “Those last two miles were definitely the hardest thing I had ever pushed myself through,” says Campbell, who finished in fifth place with a time of 2:40.24. “I remember being overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment that was so much greater than finishing a 5K or 10K, and I knew I had to come back and try again with better training.” Indeed, that final climb up to Mount Pisgah, which is as challenging mentally as it is physically, has always played a key role in the finish to the race. “I’ve won the race walking those final two miles and I have been beaten running them,” says Jay Curwen.While Campbell never won Shut In—he’s finished in the top 20 18 times—he came close in 1990. He remembers feeling strong as he crossed Route 151 and attacked the final climb like he never had before. Then, as he came around the last turn, which is actually part of a short but seriously steep descent toward the end, he looked up to see Roland Randall crossing the finish line. What he didn’t see, however, was that a new set of steps had been built into the hill. He instantly tripped and literally somersaulted across the finish line three seconds later, capping off the closest finish in Shut In history.Shut In runners have faced rain, sleet, and plenty of snow over the years. But the race was cut short only once, in 1991, thanks to a blizzard that blew some two feet of snow into the mountains—forcing Jim Curwen (Jay’s dad), the race director that year, to pull runners off the course after just 13 miles at the Stony Bald Overlook. “You could say I had the fastest winning time in Shut In history,” says Jay Curwen, who hit the overlook in 1:28:14.Last year, with the entire parkway closed due to the snow and ice encrusting it, race director Norman Blair had every reason to postpone the race. But this was Shut In. So Blair made the decision to press on with the race, only with a wrinkle: once runners reached Route 151, they would head downhill from there for four miles, for a total of about 20 miles, rather than finishing up on Mount Pisgah at the traditional 17.8 mile marker.While the downhill miles on the pavement were icy and steep—punishing the quads of the 184 runners who completed the race—it was still easier than finishing the traditional two-mile uphill climb, says Campbell. “We were lucky we got the race in at all,” he says.Over the years, the course route has actually seen some changes, which has created something of a debate around who owns the most impressive time among Shut In winners. Is it Adam Pinkston’s time of 2:11:35 on the original course, which was shorter but also trickier than today’s course? Or is it Shiloh Meilke’s time of 2:16:55 on the current and longer course, which he set in 2006? Aptly enough, Pinkston held the record on the newer route until Meilke first broke it in 2005—while sporting a pink Mohawk like Pinkston had in his own record-breaking run some twenty years earlier.The Future of the Shut In: Hopefully More of the SameIf there is a word that best describes Shut In it might be “tradition.” For as much as Asheville has changed over the past 35 years, so much of Shut In has stayed the same. The top finishers each year receive stained-glass trophies similar to those that were handed out back in 1980. As a nod to history, and unlike just about every other race out there, only those who finish the race receive (cotton) long-sleeve t-shirts. And there’s that archaic registration system—something Norman Blair admits he gets complaints about.Sure he could put everything online, says Blair. He’s even thought about advertising the race in national publications like Runners’ World like they did in the early years. But then registration would fill up in 10 minutes like other races in the area do. “I like the way we do it now,” says Blair. “You have to read and follow directions instead of just pushing a button. You have to try harder if you want to run Shut In.”Another thing that won’t change about Shut In is the size of the field—which will always be limited due to the permits issued by the parkway and forest services. That means that, as long as the permits get issued, running the Shut In each year will remain a special and unique accomplishment.“If you asked me back in 1980 if I thought the race would become as popular as it is,” says Tim Epley, “I would say yes. While I didn’t think they would have to eventually turn people away, I knew that if someone is serious about running, they want to say: ‘I ran Shut In.’”last_img read more

first_imgIf you like adventuremobiles, inspiring stories, and local vibes, you belong at the 5Point Adventure Film Festival‘s kickoff party and van life rally! Festivities begin at the Salvage Station around 2:45 p.m. with the French Broad Litter Floatilla. Blue Ridge Outdoors and 5Point are partnering with the Live Outside and Play team, as well as ENO, MountainTrue, and NRS to get out and give back to the French Broad River (and we need you!).Join us at the Salvage Station, our takeout and the later site of the van life rally (begins at 5pm — come check out the Live Outside and Play van!). BYOB (bring your own boat) or RSVP now for a spot on one of the Southern Raft Supply‘s six rafts. We’ll be carpooling to the put-in at Hominy Creek. Participants should come prepared to get down and dirty—gloves, long pants/sleeves, and close-toed shoes are recommended.litterfloatillaPrizes will be awarded at the Salvage Station for “most litter collected,” “strangest piece of trash,” and the overall “Trash-to-Treasure.” Come, bring a friend, and the spirit of adventure! We’ll be hanging at the Salvage Station afterwards giving tours of the Live Outside and Play van. It’s going to be an awesome night!Email [email protected] with any questions or to RSVP your spot on a raft!last_img read more

first_imgTom Tedesco, a Virginia Commonwealth University student and a Trip Leader for the Outdoor Adventure Program there, had his easy going Saturday flipped on its head while biking home from the library…Literally.As a Trip Leader and lover of the outdoors, Tedesco has a vast amount of experience with bikes, especially since that’s his main mode of transportation in his daily life. He has been biking around the city for years with nothing but ease and a few close calls. Unfortunately this time, he wasn’t as lucky.Video Playerhttps://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/vimeo-720.mp400:0000:0000:35Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.BRO: Describe the event: what went through your head?  TEDESCO: From my position, this was a blind intersection, blocked on my right by a building and a row of parked cars. It wasn’t until after I had crossed the threshold of the intersection that I noticed an SUV coming quickly toward me. I had three quick thoughts once I noticed the car that had run a red light:1. Swerve to my left and hope that the car breaks in time and I avoidthe collision, even if it means I crash my bike. 2. If I swerve to the left and the car doesn’t stop, instead of running into the car, the car will run into me and likely run me over.3. Continue on my path, hit the brakes as hard as I can, and hope for the best. Since I didn’t want to get run over, I chose option 3 – I continued to bike straight while engaging my brakes, but it was too late. I was going too fast to stop in time with such short notice, and the car slowed down enough to be directly in my path.At this point I knew there was no way to avoid impact, and I had the thought that I might be about to die.I collided with the drivers side hood/headlight and flipped over the windshield of the car, since the driver was still moving through his red light as we collided. As cliche as it sounds, time slowed down mid-air and I had two more thoughts:1. Thank god I have my helmet on.2. WOW my light is still green!! I finished the aerial somersault as I made impact with the pavement, meaning my head and back hit first, almost simultaneously, followed by my legs and arms. I remember almost immediately being surprised that even though pain was starting to run through by whole body, I was alive and conscious.I was too disoriented to fully understand the extend of my injuries, but as I tried to sit up, I couldn’t put any weight on my right leg. Several witnesses came running over within seconds of the accident, and told me to lay down and not move my head, and they called 911. I remained still until responders arrived, but was anxious to try and move all my body parts and make sure everything still worked.BRO: Do you feel changed? TEDESCO: I definitely feel changed. The entire accident truly put things into perspective for me. Prior to the accident, I was dealing with some other issues life had thrown my way, and although they weren’t necessarily trivial, the fact that I had just narrowly and luckily escaped death minimized all of my other concerns. Problems that seemed so large before no longer weighed as heavily on me, and important people and goals in my life that I had started ti neglect suddenly became incredibly important again.BRO: Will you continue biking?TEDESCO: Since this accident only happened three weeks ago, and I’m still dealing with injuries and processing everything that has happened, I feel that I am still being changed in ways that I don’t yet understand. I plan to continue biking as soon as I’m able to physically and can buy a new bike. I’m hoping that this accident doesn’t make me afraid to bike around the city, as it was my primary mode of travel in Richmond, but I don’t think I’ll really know untilI’m able to get back out there.BRO: Do you regret your speed? Do you feel at fault? TEDESCO: I don’t regret anything I did in this situation and I believe I was 0% at fault for what happened. I was obeying all traffic laws, paying attention, biking below the speed limit, wearing my helmet and traveling through a solid green light, while the driver of the SUV was clearly not paying attention, blew a red light, and did not react in time upon seeing me to avoid this accident. That being said, in the future, I plan to ride more vigilantly, and maybe slower, through city streets. Even if I was going slower, at this blind intersection, I wouldn’t have been able to see the driver coming around the corner, but I might have been able to slow down enough to not go airborne, over the car.BRO: What advice do you have for urban bikers?TEDESCO: First and foremost, I would like to say ALWAYS WEAR YOUR HELMET. ALWAYS. Not just when you’re biking long distances or biking fast or mountain biking, but always. It doesn’t matter how far you’re going, or if you’re only going to be biking for a few minutes; accidents like this can kill you in an instant.I was less than a mile from where I was going when this happened, and only a few hundred yards from where I had started, and since I landed starting with my head, without a helmet, the outcome could have been far worse.I would also like to remind people, myself included, that even if you’re doing everything right, it’s important to remember that not everyone else is. We should all be biking cautiously, with the mindset that every driver on the road is on the phone and might run a red light.Tom Tedesco hiking in Utah with his dog Kaia photo courtesy of Tom TedescoThough it may seem his luck ran out on this one, Tedesco walked away from the situation with somewhat minor injuries. A concussion and many bruised bones, he will be on crunches and very sore for quite some time. But lucky for him, he has his friends and his dog Kaia to keep him company through his healing.last_img read more

first_imgI have always believed in the power of continuing education. Through a double major in accounting and economics as an undergrad, and then two years worth of studying for my certified financial planner designations, I’ve spent a lot of my life learning. In terms of pure sweat equity, however, none of the letters after my name can hold a candle to my grueling PhD in Kayaker Behavioral Psychology.Kayakers are a complex and interesting species. After five years of dating and studying my unique boyfriend, Chris Gragtmans, I want to let the ladies know that there is hope.Here are my top 10 tips for how to date a kayaker:1) Gold-diggers steer clear.Let’s face it, kayaking is near the bottom of the totem pole as far as athletic compensations go. I often tell Chris, “I date the only pro athlete that doesn’t make any money!” Compared to other professional athletes, you’re no A-Rod, Chris, sorry. Most of the disposable income that kayakers do make will go towards trips or gear anyway.2) Kayaking is weather-agnostic.I haven’t quite figured it out, but every day seems to be a great day to hit the water. If it’s sunny outside, “it’s a beautiful day to go kayaking!” If it’s pouring rain, “whoa dude the rivers are pumping!” If the snow is melting in Canada, “Stakeout! Let’s go surf some waves!” We just can’t win ladies…3) Set communication expectations.It’s often difficult to get in touch with the boys when they are kayaking. Whether in deep river gorges with no cell service, or getting lost on gravel roads, they always manage to take longer than expected to call or show up. I would recommend keeping all dinner plans after kayaking “tentative,” and have a backup plan to throw in the microwave just in case.4) Learn the Kayaking Drinking Game.This is the greatest invention since two-ply toilet paper. Girlfriends who get dragged to the kayaking party, fret no more. The rules are simple:a. If kayaking is mentioned, drink.b. If bro-brah words are used (examples include gnar, boof, stout, squirrely, portage, huck, or brown claw), drink 5 seconds.c. If the Green Race is mentioned, FINISH YOUR DRINK.5) Speaking of Green Race, get ready for the October mood swings.You thought your new kayaker boyfriend was tough? Just wait until this race and that illusion will disappear. Chris can’t sleep, gets extremely nervous and grumpy, and puts all other aspects of his life on the backburner to prepare for it. I don’t see what the big deal is; I mean you just follow the water through Gorilla… it takes you right down the middle. And the line at Zwicks just looks silly. Why do you bounce over all those rocks with no water?6) Learn to love burritos AND PBR.Welcome to the staples, girls. Bang for your buck is the name of the game in paddling; it’s a protein and alcohol per dollar game here, and this combination reigns supreme. Save the tapas for ladies’ night, and just keep the pressure on to get a respectable date every month.7) Try to overlook the unflattering gear.In other sports, players wear sexy, tight uniforms that define their butts and muscles. No such luck here. Kayakers have huge drysuits, and they are always wearing these very strange looking “skirts.”8) Buy extra air fresheners for the car.No matter what you do to the aforementioned gear—washing, drying, rinsing—it doesn’t matter. The smell will always permeate any area that holds it for more than 10 minutes. It’s definitely a good idea to have some extra air fresheners in the purse for when you get in his car. I recommend the Yankee Candle brand, Apple Pumpkin scent.9) Don’t feel bad if you suddenly realize you know A LOT about the gear.I have sat in a kayak maybe five times in my entire life, but I can tell you everything you need to know about the rocker profiles of the Dagger Green Boat and Liquidlogic Stinger. I can explain to you why the Nomad is high volume, and how to pad out your bulkhead to prevent broken ankles in a piton. If I had to rate my shop-talk skills, I would call them a class IV+!10) Strap in for the long haul.Kayaking is a sport of confidence and commitment, so it’s surprising that these boys struggle a bit with commitment in other areas of life! I mean, it’s been five years, Chris.This kayaker species certainly has its idiosyncrasies, but what becomes evident very quickly is that they are also some of the most passionate people alive. They have reverent relationships with the natural places on our planet, and that passion for life and nature is only magnified in their relationships with people around them. In a world focused on material success and social standing, these free-spirited beings live life fully in the present moment.In my case, it’s certainly true that opposites attract. I work in the financial industry, and Chris works in the paddlesports industry. The two worlds couldn’t possibly be more different. In spite of this, he has pushed me out of my comfort zone and into some of the most amazing and unforgettable experiences of my life.last_img read more