Two of our three sports department members are away this weekend, doing some of the most extreme of extreme sports.
Sports Editor Morgan Ryan is in Colorado with some high school buddies to do the Tough Mudder, which bills itself as "probably the toughest event on the planet." Participants today will run, climb and swim through a muddy 9-mile obstacle course that includes walls, nets, logs, snow, buttered monkey bars, a plunge into "an icy mixture of assorted carcinogens" and, finally, 10,000-volt electric wires. You get a free tattoo at the end.
"It's Ironman meets Burning Man," says the group's homepage. "Forget finish times. Simply completing a Tough Mudder is a badge of honor."
We thought we knew Morgan. He seemed like such a quiet, low-key guy. And now we find out that he's insane.
Sure, we knew he was athletic: He's a serious hiker - a 46'er, in fact - and he works out, runs and rides his bike. But think, this is his vacation - the first one he's taken in his year-and-a-half here - and he's swimming through tubes filled with mud.
Don't mess with him.
But while Morgan's adrenaline rush only takes him away from us for a long weekend, we'll be without reporter Mike Lynch for six weeks as he takes on a long-distance voyage.
Mike splits time between the outdoors and sports beats, and the areas where the two overlap. This weekend he went down to Old Forge to launch on the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a natural water passage from Old Forge to Port Kent, at the northern tip of Maine. It strings together 22 rivers and streams and 56 lakes and ponds, including the mighty Lake Champlain. There are 62 carries totaling 55 miles; the longest ones are 6 miles each. (That's why he's bringing wheels for his boat.)
He'll begin by himself on the 90-Miler race route to Saranac Lake. Here he'll team up with a friend who will tag out halfway through the route, replaced by Mike's fiancee.
During the trip, Mike will write in regularly to tell you about his experiences. Look for his column in future weeks on the Outdoors page, B3.
In contrast with Morgan's Tough Mudder, Mike's experience sounds serene and meditative, but the two are alike in that neither is a race. They're about the route, not how fast you can get through it.
Filling in for both of these guys this weekend is our senior sports writer, Lou Reuter; look for his coverage of today's Tupper Lake Tinman triathlon in Monday's paper. Lou isn't the kind of guy to run through live electrical wires or paddle 740 miles for fun, but lest you think him a shrinking violet, consider this: He plays rugby.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise sports team - continuing this area's long tradition of celebrating the wild side of athleticism.