Max Gladwell

Entreprenurship and Adventure Sports

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10 Tactics for a Cycling Survival Strategy

March 17th, 2015 by admin· No Comments

On minimizing the risks associated with a cycling lifestyle

There’s a fundamental difference between the notion of “minimizing risk” and just “being careful.” It’s a lot like the difference between a glass half-full or half-empty. They technically mean the same thing, but the spirit is vastly different.

To be careful is to avoid risk as much as possible. A number of my friends choose not to ride road bikes in Los Angeles because the risk is seemingly too high. They’re being careful at the expense of enjoying world-class road routes lacing the Santa Monica Mountains. The risk is effectively zero but so is the reward.

To illustrate this another way, building a successful startup company is all about minimizing risk — the risk that you won’t get enough traction to continue funding the company before you run off a cliff…and out of cash. And when you achieve product-market fit, the risk goes from mere survival to not capitalizing on the opportunity. Because if you aren’t aggressive enough, the competition will crush you. In this sense, being careful can actually be the greater risk.

With the benefit of big data and online maps, you can often assess the overall risk of riding various routes in any given city. Below is a map of cycling accidents in Boston, which is compiled by the Boston Area Research Institute. One can glean key insights about where accidents happen most often and under what conditions.


A big part of minimizing risk is knowing what those risks are and then how they can be effectively mitigated, whether through trend data or the latest gear. Below are 10 gear-driven tactics for surviving all manner of cycling endeavors.

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100 Miles with the Incycle-Cannondale Pro Team

March 11th, 2015 by admin· No Comments

What it’s like to ride a century on the wheels of the Incycle-Cannondale pro team

We’re accelerating up a long, gradual climb in the Tour de Palm Springs, which unofficially kicks off century season in California. It’s early February, and the temperature is quickly approaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Palm Springs is a relatively flat century with just over 3,000 vertical feet of climbing, but we’re going up this particular ascent very fast. That’s because the group I’m with is being lead — pulled, that is — by the Incycle-Cannondale team. In other words, I’m riding 100 miles with the pros.

Incycle Team 2

The team is off the front, pushing the pace. Glancing over the shoulder of the rider in front of me, I can see the top of the climb in the distance. I’m desperate to stay on his wheel and in the draft, that place of solace where you’re immune from the wind. This wheel is my only hope of staying with the group. And yet I can see that my heart rate is already pinned high in the red zone. There’s no way I can sustain this pace. The lactate is already pulsing into my leg muscles, and we still have 50 miles to go. I let up and quickly get dropped.

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Next Big Thing: Adventure Bike Racing

March 2nd, 2015 by admin· No Comments

The next big thing in endurance events is adventure bike racing

First came marathons, the ultimate runner’s test. Next there were century bike rides, the key milestone for a recreational cyclist. And more recently the Iron Man added swimming to become the ultimate test of one’s mettle. But there’s a new way to test your physical and mental fitness. They’re generally referred to as Adventure Bike Races or Endurance Bike Races, which range anywhere from 50 to 200 miles and include a healthy combination of pavement, gravel, and dirt roads.


According to the SPY Belgian Waffle Ride, which takes place in the San Diego area on April 26th, the route is “over 200 kms of suffering over sinuous, bone grinding roads fraught with arduous climbs, mud, chocking dust, leg-numbing sleet or heat, and winds.” It’s quite the endurance cocktail, to be sure.

The routes for these races, which can also be ridden recreationally, exist in a no-man’s-land between road cycling and mountain biking. The surfaces are too rough for skinny tires and not quite interesting enough for fat ones. As such, several bike manufacturers have responded with specific bike designs.

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Top 10 Skiing & Snowboarding Destinations in North America

December 22nd, 2014 by admin· No Comments

If you’re optimizing your 2015 ski or snowboarding vacation for powder days, these are the top 10 North American ski resorts to maximize those chances.

The list of top 10 ski resorts has been compiled many times before, but I’ve always found the criteria too general. When you consider too many factors or put it to a popular vote, the output is generic. In trying to appeal to everyone, it satisfies no one.

The following list is based on two things: powder days and steep terrain. Having been an editor for POWDER Magazine and written a book on the history of snowboarding, I have some experience with steepness and deepness. This is what I live for. So when a helicopter is not an option, these are the ski resorts I frequent for powder days.

#1 Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada: Whistler is the total package. A massive expanse of skiable terrain extends above the treeline and provides copious steep runs with top-to-bottom laps in excess of 5,000 vertical feet. Meanwhile, an idyllic ski village offers world-class accommodations, dining, and après skiing. And it’s all just a two-hour drive from Vancouver.

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Average Annual Snowfall: 462 inches
2013/2014 Snowfall: 356 inches
2013/2014 Powder days: 24
2014/2015 Snowfall to Date: 111 inches
Live Webcam Link

#2 Snowbird, Utah: A nipple-deep powder day at Snowbird is something every hardcore skier or snowboarder must experience at least once. This is what gives Utah’s claim to “the greatest snow on earth” complete credibility.

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Average Annual Snowfall: 500 inches
2013/2014 Snowfall: 432 inches
2013/2014 Powder days: 35
2014/2015 Snowfall to Date: 110 inches
Live Webcam Link

#3 Jackson Hole, Wyoming: While the on-mountain terrain is phenomenal, what sets Jackson apart is its exceptional out-of-bounds access. It also has the best start to the 2014/2015 season in terms of snowfall — more than 150 inches!

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Average Annual Snowfall: 459 inches
2013/2014 Snowfall: 500 inches
2013/2014 Powder days: Not Available
2014/2015 Snowfall to Date: 150 inches
Live Webcam Link

#4 Mammoth Mountain, California: Big storms rolling off the Pacific routinely drop four or five feet of snow on Mammoth at a time, and its high elevation makes the snow lighter than what you find in Tahoe. The California drought made for a tough season, but if the law of averages holds true, then this year could be big.

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Average Annual Snowfall: 400 inches
2013/2014 Snowfall: 238 inches
2013/2014 Powder days: Not Available
2014/2015 Snowfall to Date: 72 inches
Live Webcam Link

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The 10 Best Snowboarding Instagrams

October 6th, 2014 by admin· No Comments

Fill your Instagram feed with snowboarding #powdershots to get stoked for the 2014/2015 season

It’s just about this time of year when the new ski and snowboarding season feels within reach. In the old days, we’d transition to winter sports with print magazines and the annual release of new snowboarding films. Today, we have smartphones and Instagram to keep us stoked on a daily basis.

These are the 10 best Instagrams to follow for your daily #powdershots as we head into the new season (listed in alphabetical order):

1. Adam Moran: Peer through the lens of Burton Snowboards’ team photographer.

2. Black Ops Valdez: Alaska is the #1 heli-snowboarding destination, and Valdez is its epicenter. Which means no shortage of steep #powdershots to populate your feed.

3. Burton Snowboards: The premier brand in snowboarding offers a balanced mix of new product, team riders, big airs, and fluffy #powdershots.

4. Dean Blottogray: It makes sense in general to follow professional photographers on Instagram, and snowboarding is no different.

5. Frequency: The Snowboarder’s Journal offers a glossy magazine about the “voice of snowboard culture” on a quarterly basis…and the Instagram counterpart on a daily basis.

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