Inspiration and aspiration.
These are the elements that comprise our fiery love of extreme sports. Think about it.
How many times have you logged onto The Adrenalist and felt inspired by a video you clicked or a story you read? Likewise, how many times have you aspired to imitate an achievement you saw unfold on your screen?
We curate countless instances of regular, flesh-and-blood human beings working to accomplish what seems impossible, and our message is: with hard work, perseverance and unwavering confidence, amazing things can be achieved.
The athletes and feats we chronicle are, in one way, general examples of what is impressive about human kind and the possibilities life holds. They’re INSPIRATIONAL and, as spectators, we realize that while we may not ever do a double backflip in a BMX competition, we’ll apply the charge we get from watching that backflip to accomplishing our own goals.
But sometimes, what we see adrenalists do motivates those of us aspiring to be athletes in a very direct, actionable way. This is an ASPIRATIONAL effect. For instance, an amateur climber sees Alex Honnold free solo Yosemite and he’s motivated to work three times as hard as he would have if he hadn’t.
Outside the intangible bounds of this site, there is rarely an opportunity in the world of sport to both appreciate AND participate. You’re either an athlete or you’re a fan. The Summer Teva Mountain Games destroys that delineation in favor of a boundless celebration of the Adrenalist lifestyle — a championing of what is, as much as what could be.
Photo Credit: snowbuzz – flickr.com
Before the adventure clothier came on as an official sponsor, the Games were a small-time exercise in extreme water sports known colloquially Vail’s River Games. The event list included little more than kayak races down the Eagle River. That was 1990.
In 2002, the competition came into its own with the development of the Vail Whitewater Park (a man-made kayaker battleground where conditions like “river” currents and wave intensity can be adjusted to test riders), Teva’s decision to sign on as a sponsor, and the resulting proliferation of events (everything from running to biking to climbing). In twelve short years, what started as a small time experiment became a big time to-do. You would think that changed the spirit of the Games — the purity of the original effort — but it didn’t. Not at all.
Despite a smattering of big name competitors from all over the world, internationally renowned sponsors and hoards of potential consumers, the Teva Games allows amateurs to compete in events alongside the pros they idolize and lets those who would rather watch the action do so, get this, for free. Despite their growing fame, the Games are still a veritable utopia of extreme sport, an ode as to inspiration as much as aspiration.
Photo Credit: davewrightphotography – flickr.com
The 2012 games offered athletes the chance to compete in eight sports, segmented into twenty-three disciplines, most swirling around kayaking, surfing, biking, climbing, running and different permutations and combinations of those. (For instance, the GNC Ultimate Mountain Challenge rewards the athletes who amass the best combined time after running, mountain biking, road biking and kayaking through a grueling course). Whether amateur or pro, winners get cash to go along with ample amounts of glory.
Those not giving their all in a competition can throw their extreme energy into other, more cerebral aspects of the adrenalist lifestyle by entering into a mountain photography competition, checking out the Games’ adventure film school or listening to the various live music performances going on at any given time. It’s a full sensory experience for he who seeks all that is awesome.
Photo Credit: OtterBox – flickr.com
We’ve saved the best for last.
While “requirements” are usually the most daunting part of any high-profile sporting event, replete with reasons why most of humanity will not and should not be able to show their skills, the Mountain Games are a bastion of inclusiveness. Events are segmented into amateur and pro classes and both face the same courses, same challenges and same ferocity. In a world with so many restrictions and hurdles and limitations, Teva is the holy grail of “dream it, do it”. It’s a rare medley of inspiration and aspiration, an endorsement of the extreme lifestyle as more than a compilation of physical splendor, but as a pervasive state-of-mind.
This year’s Games were held June 6th-9th. There are 338 days left ’til next year’s.
So what are you waiting for? Go live the life you’ve imagined.