From the category archives:

Events

Running The Antarctic Ice Marathon Makes For Masochistic Memories

by Alan Rider
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Look, I understand what it’s like to get a certain satisfaction from competing in the kinds of extreme endurance events that make normal people—or even dedicated enthusiasts, for that matter—question your sanity.  Even with this perspective however, I still think the idea of running in the Antarctic Ice Marathon sounds a little nutty.
You see, this extreme event involves running a full 26-mile marathon on a course carved out of the ice at the foot of Antarctica’s Ellsworth Mountains.  Besides the 3,000-foot altitude here on the bottom of the world, runners will have to endure sub-zero temperatures and face the possibility of katabatic winds that can reach 100-plus miles-per-hour.  The upside, [...]

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Take A Walk On The Wacky Side: Pasadena’s Doo Dah Parade

by Alan Rider
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Here’s a sad side effect of the time I spent living in New Orleans: Once you’ve been to Mardi Gras, most other parades seem downright dull by comparison. The one notable exception, of course, is Pasadena’s annual Doo Dah Parade.
This year’s event—the “34th Occasional” version of this terrifically tongue-in-cheek sendup of the city’s stuffy Rose Parade—rolls down a new route along Colorado Boulevard in East Pasadena this Saturday morning at 11. What thankfully hasn’t changed is the full-on wackiness of the festivities.
Just how oddball can a parade actually be, you ask? Well, part of what makes the Doo Dah Parade so much fun is that you never know [...]

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Never A Dull Moment: These 3 Unique Events Will Give You Lots Of Tales To Tell

by Alan Rider
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Even if this is your first visit to XTRORD.com, it won’t take long for you to figure out that this isn’t your typical “travel” website. No stale tales of traditional vacation destinations or generic activities like cruising. No “hot tips” about new low airfares to Europe or last-minute discounts to some mega-resort in the Caribbean. Mainly because that stuff bores me to tears.
Instead, you’ll find these pages filled with reports of truly extraordinary experiences you never knew existed. The kind of once-in-a-lifetime adventures that will give you great stories to tell for years to come.
Which brings me to a handful of upcoming events that seem [...]

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Tour de France Tours: These Cycling Adventures Will Make You More Than Just Another Spectator

by Alan Rider

While most of my cycling these days is limited to Spinning class at the gym, I totally get the attraction of a challenging bike ride.  Not to mention the desire to have a truly remarkable once-in-a-lifetime adventure in the process.
Which got me wondering if there was a way that hardcore cyclists like my friend Julie—a die-hard Tour de France fan whose idea of a good time is grinding out a 50-miler before lunch—could combine these two passions into one extraordinary experience.
Following my curiosity lead me to Robbin McKinney, a man who’s been leading cycling trips to Europe for 20 years.  For the 2010 Tour de France—which many sportswriters believe [...]

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Magic Man: 2 Places Where The Spirit of Houdini Lives!

by Alan Rider

Trolling around the internet last week, I noticed that today is Harry Houdini’s birthday.  Which got me thinking about the state of “magic” in our culture and science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke’s famous quote:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

In an era of computer-generated trickery ranging from software-doctored photos in magazines to entire computer-generated worlds in movies like Avatar, the idea of someone performing old-school prestidigitation seems almost quaint.  Just the same, anyone who’s ever been wowed by updated versions of these traditional magic acts as performed by the likes of David Blaine or Penn & Teller understands that there’s some part of the human psyche that truly [...]

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Hot Lead & Lipstick: Becoming An Outdoors-Woman Weekends

by Alan Rider

While I’m open to all kinds of once-in-a-lifetime adventures, there are some I’m just not physically cut out for.  Like these Becoming An Outdoors-Woman weekends, for example.  Fortunately we were able to persuade special correspondent Christina Newton to attend a recent two-day B.O.W. program and bring us this report:
Looking down the barrel of my 20-gauge shotgun, I track the fluorescent-orange disc streaking across the blue California sky.  Without hesitation I pull the trigger and—BLAMO!—the four-inch clay target is blown to smithereens.  As my classmates erupt in a spontaneous round of applause, all I can think is  “Dang, this is fun!”
You might wonder what an ordinary minivan-driving mother is doing [...]

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Fashion Designer Dreams: 4 Fab Ways To Make Your Fashionista Fantasies Come True

by Alan Rider

Not sure how to put this delicately, so I’ll just come right out and say it: I don’t do fashion.  Unless, of course, you consider cargo shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops to be valid fashion statements.
That said, I have a niece who reads every issue of Vogue cover-to-cover and has even started sketching out and stitching up some of her own creations.  Add the success of long-running television series like Project Runway and What Not To Wear and I’ve come to realize that there are an awful lot of people out there who share her passion for fashion.
Which got me to wondering if there was a way all these style-savvy folks [...]

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