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As Tough As It Gets Challenge comes in many forms, but these four tests have this in common: Each is the cruelest of its kind

April 29, 2002
April 29, 2002

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April 29, 2002

Si Adventure
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Inside

As Tough As It Gets Challenge comes in many forms, but these four tests have this in common: Each is the cruelest of its kind

TOUGHEST
Sailing Race
VOLVO OCEAN RACE

This is an article from the April 29, 2002 issue

In addition to racing around the world, the eight yachts race
around the clock in this 32,700-nautical-mile, nine-leg dash.
During a recent 23-day leg through the famously deadly Southern
Ocean, Assa Abloy (right) and its seven rivals dodged icebergs
in 40-foot waves and winds that gusted up to 60 knots. "It was
like skiing moguls 24 hours a day," says skipper Jez Fanstone of
Team News Corp., which won the most recent leg, last week's
four-day sprint from Miami to Baltimore, and was in fourth place
overall with three legs remaining.

TOUGHEST
Wave
JAWS

Brazil's Carlos Burle rode a bigger swell, a 68-footer at
Maverick's, off Half Moon Bay, Calif., in November, for which he
scored $50,000 at last week's Nissan XTerra XXL Big Surf Awards.
But the winter's steepest, most menacing waves were found at
Jaws, the notorious break off Maui where Mike Parsons of Laguna
Beach, Calif., attempted this 64-footer in January. "What I
remember most is how long it took to get to the bottom of the
wave," he says. "Then I came in too deep on the wave, so my only
option was to pull up into it. When it spit me out, I realized
for sure this was the most exciting ride of my life."

TOUGHEST
One-Day Bike Race
PARIS-ROUBAIX

To many riders it is known as L'Enfer du Nord (the Hell of the
North). To others it is the Road to Hell, paved with the
cruelest of intentions. On April 14 a mere 41 of 190 riders
completed the 162-mile course famous for its thick mud and
bone-breaking, morale-shattering cobblestone. Says U.S. Postal
rider George Hincapie, who finished sixth behind Belgium's Johan
Museeuw (above), "The next day you feel like you've been run
over by a truck a few times."

TOUGHEST
Quest
THE 14 HIGHEST PEAKS WITHOUT SUPPLEMENTAL OXYGEN

Ed Viesturs has conquered 12 of the planet's 14 highest peaks,
including K2 (above), without supplemental oxygen. He needs only
to scale Nepal's Annapurna and Pakistan's Nanga Parbat to become
the first U.S. climber to bag all 14 peaks. (Nine non-Americans
have done so.) "I call my family every three days or so from my
satellite phone," the Seattle-based Viesturs, 42, said last
Friday from his camp 16,000 feet up the 26,504-foot Annapurna.
"My daughter isn't quite two, so she doesn't really know what's
going on, but my son, who's four, definitely does. For him, it's
hard to fathom why I'm away so long. I just say it's a big
mountain, and there's a lot of work to do."

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY RICHARD MASONCOLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID PU'UCOLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY FRANCK FIFE/AFPCOLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY CHARLIE MACE/EDVIESTURS.COM