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Surfing indoors

OVER a third of the Japanese believe that leisure activities are more important than anything else in life, according to an opinion poll conducted by the prime minister’s office a couple of years ago. And with much more time on their hands, they feel an increased urge to swim, surf, play golf, sail and ski.

This creates a problem. The hatred the Japanese have for the unpredictable means that many of them prefer to avoid outdoor sports rather than run the risk of bad weather, sickness from polluted seas or cancer from the ultra-violet radiation of the sun. To calm their fears, Japan’s developers have come up with a great idea: why not move outdoor sports indoors? Three giant indoor resort complexes have opened during the past year with man-made beaches and snow-capped peaks.

Ocean Dome, which opened its doors last July, forms part of the YEN 200 billion ($1.8 billion) Seagaia complex in Miyazaki on Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s large islands. Its vital statistics give some idea of the engineering feats involved: it has the world’s biggest retractable roof, which is opened and closed according to the weather conditions; 12,000 square metres of sandy beach, crushed from 600 tonnes of stones; an “ocean” six times larger than an Olympic pool, filled with 13,500 tonnes of unsalted, chlorinated water kept at a piping hot 28 degrees C.

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A wave machine produces surf in all shapes and up to 3.5 metres high–big enough to satisfy the professional surfer. To add to the excitement, a sheet of water can be erected, perpendicular to the “ocean”, so that it is possible to surf not only on top of water but through it as well.

Ocean Dome is patronized mostly by 18 to 30 year-olds whose outlook has been heavily influenced by the consumer boom of the 1980s. They are much more demanding customers than their parents, and for YEN 10,000 a day they get not only a completely sanitized environment but changing rooms and 17 restaurants as well. A train service runs to the door.

Ocean Dome is the second man-made beach to open in Japan. The first, Wild Blue in Yokohama, just outside Tokyo, came into operation in June 1992. It is smaller but equally mind-boggling. Its beach is plastic. Because of local building regulations, its roof is too low to let in much natural light, so the place has to be artificially lit.

None of this seems to bother Japanese surfers, who crowd into these resorts in such numbers that they often have to queue to enter the surf. They prefer this controlled environment to the Pacific Ocean, which in both Miyazaki and Yokohama is only a few hundred metres away. NKK, a big Japanese steel maker which is heavily involved in indoor sports development, expects the summer months to be these centres’ busiest period and to account for 40% of their yearly revenue. One reason surfers prefer indoor resorts, it says, is that they discipline crowds well, whereas outdoor beaches are chaotically packed in July and August.

Surfing-indoors-2

Ocean sports are not the only ones to have moved indoors. The Japanese became the world’s greatest ski enthusiasts after it was announced that the winter Olympic Games would be held in Nagano in 1998. The country now counts 12.5m active skiers and Skidome is trying to profit from the craze.

Also known as SSAWS (pronounced zausu and standing for spring, summer, autumn, winter and snow), Skidome is marketed as a “full-fledged urban ski area” by Mitsui Fudosan, the property firm which developed it at a cost of YEN 35 billion. It opened last summer and has become a landmark for people travelling from Narita airport to Tokyo. It brags that it is bigger and better than any other inside ski centre–and with good reason. Its slope is 490 metres long and 100 metres wide. A thrilling drop of 80 metres satisfies the standards of the International Ski Federation for parallel slalom competitions. But Skidome aims to cater for beginners as well as professional skiers. The absence of wind, rain and a “too-hot” sun are big selling points.

The biggest selling point of all is that its slope is covered in man-made snow (most man-made slopes have plastic matting). This is topped up every night when the temperature in the dome is lowered to well below freezing, making it the world’s biggest refrigerator. Because the particles of snow are small, the slope provides better skiing than Nagano or Hokkaido, Japan’s favourite ski spots, where the snow is less powdery and blander.

NKK, Mitsui Fudosan, and Phoenix Resort, the property developer behind Seagaia, have other reasons for expanding into indoor sports. A profit squeeze is obliging them to diversify in ways that capitalise on their know-how. NKK says that the idea for the artificial beach and ocean was born out of techno-logy developed for the shipping industry, where wave machines are used to test the stability of ships.

The company is thrashing around for ideas for new indoor sports to develop: mountaineering, scuba diving and even indoor flying are under consideration. In seeking a competitive edge, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has developed “Jet Fly”, the new sport of “body flying”, in which bursts of air shooting up from the floor create an air cushion which keeps people airborne. So perhaps a Peter Pan Indoor Sports Centre is on the cards.

Featured post

The state of the leave in world’s quickest street car racing

Introduction

Drag racing is about getting to the finish line before your opponent. Obviously, a top-rated car with powerful engine (sth like: twin-turbochared flat-12 5.4 litre engine) always bring many advantages. That’s the reason why most of racers always have to well prepare for their cars before the races. Such tasks like: fill in fuel, test the car tyres, check out carburetors, completely replace or do cleaning the fuel injector is undoubtedly the most important for every racers. However, a slower car can still possibly beat a quicker car if the driver is quick on the lights. With two races down and six to go, we looked at the reaction times for all the classes to see who drills the Tree and who cuts the zzzzz’s.

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We list out some examples below

  • We began with the average reaction time of each first-round eliminator. Even though all classes run against a .400 Pro Tree, the average is well into the .500-second range. The accompanying chart lists the hard facts for the Moroso and Rockingham races, including the averages for the top three points leaders in each class.

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  • Would you believe a four-class, .575-second average reaction time (as compared to a .492-second average) for two races in NHRA Pro Stock? Granted, comparing “street” racers to professionals isn’t fair, but it’s better than comparing them to NHRA Super Gas racers. At the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida, the slowest reaction in the last five rounds was .461 seconds!

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To be fair to the WQSCDRS racers, there are mitigating circumstances. With the exception of Pro Street, the cars in the other classes generate lots of suspension travel, and use tall front tires that add to the reaction time (of the car, not the driver). Driving-school master Frank Hawley has illustrated the difference between driver reaction time and vehicle reaction time, so slow-vehicle rollout may be the reason for this.

  • At Moroso, Pro Street’s Mike Moran had a .459-second average for two runs. In Real Street, Dave Henninger averaged a .480-second reaction time for six passes in two races – including a .436 light at Moroso! Kurt Urban is an excellent Hot Street leaver with a .431-second average for three runs at Moroso. In fact, one of the best starting-line races of the year was in the third round of Hot Street at Moroso, where Bob Hanlon cut a .412 to Urban’s .421 reaction time.

On occasion, a racer will leave slow when he knows he has the competition covered. These slower reaction times obviously pull the average down, and tend to occur during the first round. If the reaction time was exceptionally slow, these runs were not counted in our average of the class.

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So where is the “state of the leave” in WQSCDRS racing? Frankly, some of the quickest racers are giving away as much as .200 second on the starting line. Chuck Samuel’s average reaction time for runs over two races was .629! If an enterprising Super Streeter can pull off a .450 light against Samuel, that’s a .179-second advantage off the starting line.

We did not consider bye runs, redlights, or pairings in which the reaction times were exceedingly slow. The Best Reaction Time column lists the best time thus far in each class. You’ll also find the top three points leaders’ average reaction times over several pairings. All reaction times are expressed as a fraction of a second.

Solidarity with athletes

Introduction

There was a time in this country when 40 percent of all workers were unionized. There was a time when every major newspaper had a reporter for its labor beat. There was a time when “class consciousness” didn’t mean that the wealthy class was conscious of getting more tax breaks.

As unionization and strike activity have dried up, it’s critical for progressives to join the two high-profile labor battles on the horizon in professional sports. NBA and NFL owners both are poised to lock out their players in 2011.

It’s tempting to write off sports labor battles as “billionaires versus millionaires.” And there is no question it’s obscene that we live in a world where A-Rod pulls in a thousand times more than what a teacher makes, but we need to recognize that the players deserve our support.

Pro sports owners are the filthiest of filthy rich, and no exception to the expression that behind every great fortune is a great crime. Billionaire Paul Allen, who co-founded the rapacious monopoly known as Microsoft, owns the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Ford family owns the Detroit Lions. The Fords stained the history books with involvement in everything from union bashing to Nazi collaboration. And don’t forget the former owner of the Texas Rangers, an amiable fellow with loftier ambitions named George W. Bush.

Without a doubt, the players in the major leagues of sport make serious bank. The average salary in baseball is more than $3 million. In football, it is just over $1 million, far more than a lot of people see in a lifetime. But this was not always so.

In 1967, the average baseball salary was $19,000 a year. That same year, the average NFL salary was just $8,000. A typical athlete in 1967 worked in the off-season. Not cushy jobs but jobs that reflected the hardscrabble background of many of the players. One crew of linebackers worked summers in a quarry. Take a second to imagine Peyton Manning crushing rocks, and one can see how much things have changed.

So how did the athletes manage to get the huge salaries we see today? They organized. Yes, the industry expanded and created a bigger pie, but the boom periods were the ’20s and the ’50s, and didn’t automatically mean higher salaries. Instead, it took union power in the late ’60s and early ’70s to change how the sports pie would be cut.

Pro athletes battled a tradition of company-run unions, and fought to end the reserve clause, which bound a player to the team that drafted him with no rights to go anywhere else. When athletes won the right of free agency, they used their solidarity–and the power of the strike–to extract wealth from the bosses.

This year in particular, athletes deserve our support. The NFL and NBA bosses might unilaterally shut the doors in the name of pay cuts. Such a lockout would have huge consequences.

“It’s not just us that gets locked out,” DeMaurice Smith, the new head of the NFL Players Association, told me. “Every stadium worker. Every waiter or waitress picking up an extra shift at the nearby restaurants. Anyone selling concessions while people tailgate. Each and every one of these hard-working folks gets locked out as well.”

Smith’s right. The fact is, a victory for the players is a victory for all of us.

And the actions by pro athletes have the potential to put the issue of labor back at the center of American life, where it belongs. Then we’ll really have reason to cheer our favorite athletes.

Dave Zirin is the author of the new book “Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love.”

Zirin, Dave

Off target? A new Michigan license puts youth hunting in the crosshairs

A new youth hunting license has triggered debate in Michigan. The new permits being issued by the state’s Department of Natural Resources allow children younger than 10 to hunt for certain animals using a firearm, a bow, or a crossbow if they are accompanied by a licensed hunter age 21 or older and follow certain precautions. The new youth license was made possible by a 2011 law that eliminated the state’s minimum hunting age. Previously, children younger than 10 were restricted from hunting.

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Supporters of the license say kids should be allowed to hunt because their participation will help control animal populations. Many people also argue that promoting safe hunting habits at an early age will help reduce accidents. Those who oppose the initiative say that allowing a child to use a weapon–under any circumstances–is simply too dangerous.

Should children be allowed to hunt? Current Events student reporters Elizabeth Duis and Akash Bagaria took aim at the issue.

STICK TO YOUR GUNS

Hunting is a popular sport across the country, but it is also controversial, especially when it involves kids. I believe kids should be allowed to hunt as long as they are doing so under an adult’s supervision.
  • First, if people were to start practicing shooting game sooner rather than later, there would most likely be fewer accidents involving firearms. When people gain experience with firearms as kids, they are less likely to hurt people or cause damage as a result of such accidents.
  • Second, allowing kids to hunt could help control the populations of certain species. In some areas, too many animals roaming around and consuming resources could cause problems. Encouraging more people to hunt those animals could stop that threat.
  • Finally, hunting is a tradition in many families. It can also be a good learning experience. Nolan Ahlden, a 10-year-old from Crescent City, Ill., has been hunting deer and other animals with his father since he was 3 years old. Nolan believes that kids should be allowed to hunt. “Hunting is fun because it gives you a lot of adrenaline and it’s a challenge,” he says.

By Elizabeth Duis

SHOT DOWN

In 2008, 14-year-old Tyler Kales went hunting with his older brother in Washington state. Tyler spotted a distant figure and, thinking it was a bear, fired his gun. It was a 54-year-old hiker, and she was fatally shot in the head. Kids should be restricted from hunting because it is too dangerous. Hunters need to have maturity, concentration, and awareness of their surroundings. Those characteristics take time to develop.

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Many kids feel that because they use toy guns when playing video games such as Call of Duty, they are able to venture out into the woods and shoot game. However, kids are more easily distracted than adults, and they are more likely to use their weapons carelessly. Larry Lipowski, a police officer in Franklin Township, N.J., agrees. “Kids may lack the emotional maturity to handle a firearm and the knowledge to react to an emergency,” he says.

Finally, it is wrong for kids to be exposed to the killing of animals at such a young age. Would you really want to see kids posing next to the creatures they have killed? There are better pastimes for kids than exterminating life for entertainment, such as reading books or playing sports.

My 3 keys to better golf

In this article I’ll give you three keys I use for each of several important shots from tee to cup. I will change and vary my keys, but these have worked for me over the years. Although the emphasis here is on keys that I use, I’ll point out common faults I see playing with weekend golfers in pro-ams and outings, and offer antidotes. Where it’s appropriate, I’ll suggest a favorite drill to ingrain a move or feeling. One general key applies to all segments of this article: a good spine angle, which must be consistent from the setup to past impact. I constantly remind myself to maintain a consistent spine angle, as I’m demonstrating with the stretching bar in the small photos on this page. I hope you benefit from these keys!

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I’m a traditionalist, but I’ve converted to a new large-headed driver after considerable experimenting. It gives me the best combination of distance and direction. If you hit your driver too low and slice it, you might be better off driving with a fairway wood or even a middle iron to get the ball in play. My keys:

  • Make a full shoulder turn on the backswing
  • Clear my left side on the downswing
  • Get 90 percent of my weight on my left foot at impact

Iron Play

On iron shots the clubhead should meet the ball during the last moment of its downward arc. My rule of thumb is the ball should be positioned an inch back of where the divot starts. You hit the ball first, then the ground. The biggest problem I see with the average golfer is not getting enough weight onto the left foot when the ball is struck.

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  • Proper alignment of feet to target line
  • Downward arc at impact
  • Weight on left foot at impact

Pitching

People have more trouble with this shot than any other, it seems to me. They practice full swings most of the time, but a pitch shot of 40 to 50 yards requires an abbreviated swing–abbreviated but firm. Along with this, when you practice with this range level (40-50 yard shot), you MUST use vision-supported devices: like GPS mini-devices, golf apps (mobilephone apps) or a rangefinder. It’s my recommendation to use a rangefinder (that really has worked well for me so far), check this website to choose the best rangefinder in the market today. Furthermore, two common mistakes I see are taking the club back too far and then decelerating through the ball, and keeping too much weight on the right foot at impact. Thin and fat shots result.

1 More weight on left side at address

2 Grip down for firmer swing

3 Keep my rhythm smooth

Sand Shots

I’d often rather be in a bunker than in thick rough around the green. It can be an easier recovery shot than you think, especially given the consistency of modern sand. Skip the club through the sand and keep the left arm moving through to a good finish. Don’t forget to dig your feet into the sand for traction.

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Using RangeFinder help improve your Golfing skill – try it!

1 Weight starts left, stays on my left side

2 Align and swing left of target

3 Aim my clubface right of target

Putting

When I’ve putted my best I’ve relied more on feel and touch than mechanics, but good mechanics are essential. I want to practice those mechanics enough that I can get over the ball with a clear mind when it means something. Just focus on the target and make a decisive stroke.

1 Keep my head still until ball is gone

2 Hit ball with sweet spot of putter

3 Accelerate through the ball

RELATED ARTICLE: `I tried it’ – Andy Loesberg Handicap: 16 Warren, N.J.

I’ve been an inconsistent putter, but now that I’m using this drill I’m bringing my putter back on a straighter line and following through the ball more toward the target. I use a heel-shafted putter; perhaps that’s why I tend to bring the putter too far inside the line on the way back. I’ve found that this drill is best for short putts, because on longer putts my putter will naturally track a little bit to the inside on the way back.

The Golf Guru: things every golfer should know

My story – wow, it’s interesting

The other day a few of us were wondering why there are 18 holes on a golf course and not some other number. We contacted every golf course we could think of, and we even asked the research department at the library. The answer we got the most was “that’s just the way it is.” We are now extremely curious.

Mike Kelly, Bend, Ore.

There’s a strip of land between the River Eden and St. Andrews Bay in Scotland where they’ve been playing golf since before Columbus set sail. That precious piece of turf, now the Old Course at St. Andrews, happens to be 211/42 miles long. Enough for nine holes going out, nine coming home. Hence, 18 holes.

You might wish that this little peninsula were a mile or so shorter–we would all be playing eight-hole courses. A round would take only a couple of hours, so we’d be able to sleep in occasionally, our lawns would look better and our spouses would love us more. We’d be better golfers (who can concentrate for five hours?), we’d be richer (building and maintaining courses–and membership dues and green fees–would be cheaper), we’d be more tolerant of noisy children. Perhaps we should be glad: St. Andrews used to have 22 holes.

But the Golf Guru is thankful that the game is played over 18 holes. If it had been invented today, golf would be shorter, quicker, more regimented–and a lot less fun. Golf’s great virtue is that it forces us to waste time. We are euphoric as we walk off the first tee because we are free from e-mail, world events and pruning. On the course we solve all our problems, big and small, by not thinking about them.

I recently moved to a really windy part of Kansas, and I’m struggling with my golf game as a result.

How do you become a good wind player?

J. Smith, Dodge City, Kan.

Many years ago, the Golf Guru was driving in Spain and happened upon the scenic coastal town of Tarifa, overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar. It’s one of the windiest places in Europe; it also has the highest suicide rate in Spain. These two facts, surely, are not unrelated. The wind might be good for surfers (of which there are many in Tarifa), but for everyone else, it can be a constant torment.

Playing in the wind is always difficult. The wind heightens any spin on the ball, and accentuates a slice or a hook. And the natural tendency, of course, is to swing harder. This not only disrupts the chance of making solid contact, but it also imparts more backspin. The result is that the ball curves farther, often getting into even deeper trouble.

Learn to hit the ball lower. Play smarter. Don’t fight the wind: Take plenty of club, and swing easy. There are always periods in our lives when we find ourselves playing into the wind, or swimming against the tide, or running uphill, or any number of other metaphors for difficult times. The difficult times will pass. In the meantime, swing easy.

Are gas prices and airfares starting to make the backyard look good?

In June and July, you can enjoy some of the most beautiful areas of the country and find lodging for half what you’d pay during peak times. In Breckenridge, Colorado, a two-bedroom condo goes for about $110 a night in July, compared with $295 a night in January. No, you can’t ski–but during No-snow months, resorts like this in Colorado and Vermont offer fantastic hiking, biking, swimming, and other outdoor sports.

Or, try Orlando. Temperatures in May and June are still pleasant, and a Disney vacation becomes more affordable when you can save on hotels.

GH DISNEY SPECIAL From May 1 to September 30, 2006, readers headed to Orlando can save up to 50 percent on a one-bedroom villa with a full kitchen. That means you’ll pay a starting rate of $129 a night at the Sheraton Vistana Resort (866-208-0003) or the Sheraton Vistana Villages (866-208-0004). Mention the promotional code Good.

SEARCH THE WEB … IN THE RIGHT PLACES

You may have gotten comfortable logging on to popular travel sites, but these big clearinghouses may not always list the best deals. You’re sometimes better off looking for specials on individual hotel or airline Web sites. It’ll mean a little more surfing, but the effort can really pay off.

When we went looking for deals on Grand Bahama Island, for instance, we found the Viva Wyndham Fortuna pirates package, including lodging, meals, and activities for two adults and two kids, for $290 a night at the hotel’s site, www.viva wyndhamresorts.com. When we tried to book the same deal on Travelocity, Expedia.com, and Orbitz, the rate was higher, topping out at $479 a night.

And always go directly to the carrier’s Web site to check ticket prices. It often offers Web-exclusive discounts, and you can avoid paying the booking fee other sites charge. Plus, discount airlines like JetBlue and Southwest sell online tickets only on their own sites.

Not sure exactly where you’d like to go? Check out opinions, insights, and photos from real travelers on www.tripadvisor.com, which covers hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, and other venues in thousands of locations.

RENT A HOUSE INSTEAD OF A ROOM

Many resort areas have condos, villas, or houses available at daily or weekly rates–and their per-night prices often work out to be lower than those of area hotels. Plus, you get lots of extras, like a full kitchen, multiple bathrooms, and a washer and dryer. Condos usually include resort-style amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts. Search www.vacationspot.com and www .homeaway.com for available properties in popular destinations. To avoid surprises on your bill, don’t book until you’ve asked about cleaning fees, pet fees, security deposits, and applicable room taxes.

GH OREGON SPECIAL From May 1 to August 31, 2006, GH readers can get 10 percent off rates on coastal Oregon rentals, starting at $115 a night, when booking through Oregon Beach Vacations (800-723-2383). Use the code GH.

SAVE ON MEALS

A kitchenette can save you a bundle. Another trick: Book hotels that include free breakfasts or afternoon snacks. That can easily save you $20 to $30 a day.

GH TEXAS SPECIAL The Westin Riverwalk hotel in San Antonio is offering GH readers free meals for up to two kids ages 12 and younger with each adult meal purchased.

You’ll also get a free upgrade to a room with a river view and a free movie rental each night. Rooms start at $239 a night for a family of four. (Deal is available from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day 2006. Call 888-627-8396 and ask specifically for the Good Housekeeping Family Package.)

MAKE THE MOST OF PACKAGE DEALS

Airfare-and-lodging combos are easy to find, but you may be less aware of the many other discounts to be found in hotel packages, which often offer lower-priced tickets to popular nearby attractions as part of the room rate. The Holiday Inn Chattanooga Choo Choo Children’s Fantasy package, for example, includes two nights’ lodging and tickets to eight local attractions. You’ll save $100. (Rates start at $419 for a family of four. Call 800-872-2529 or visit www.choochoo.com and click on Package Deals.)

You can often find these combos on the convention-and-visitors’ Web site for the city or state you’re visiting. If you plan to go to Maine, for example, log on to www.mainegetaway packages.com, where you can design your own hotel-and-attraction packages, with rooms starting at $89 a night. Or, for travel to San Diego, check out www.sandiego.org, which lists lodging deals that include zoo tickets and start at $150 a night for a family of four.

GH CALIFORNIA SPECIAL The Lodge at Tiburon, in a gorgeous village just across the bay from San Francisco, is offering a two-night stay–with ferry and local museum tickets, half-day bike or kayak rentals, picnic lunch, and couples massage–starting at $350 a night. You’ll save more than $150. If you’re traveling with kids, you can book a second room for half off. (It’s valid from May 1 to December 31, 2006. Call 800-762-7770 and ask for the Good Housekeeping Package.)

NO DISCOUNT OFFERED ASK FOR ONE

Often AAA and military discounts are available, even if they aren’t clearly posted. Be sure to ask. And if you’re staying in one place for several days and plan to do plenty of sightseeing, check the local tourism board Web site for special discount passes that get you into several attractions for one low price.

Bringing your pet: a quick guide

  • To find pet-friendly hotels, inns, and bed-and-breakfasts nationwide, check out www.petswelcome.com. (The site also lists pet-friendly beaches, parks, and businesses in hundreds of locations.) Some hotels, like most in the Sheraton and Westin chains, offer special amenities for your dog, including pet beds and treats.

  • Make sure your pet’s ID tag lists your current address and home and cell phone numbers. In addition, write the phone number of your local address (hotel, motel, etc.) on a travel tag or piece of waterproof tape and attach it to your pet’s collar.

  • Bring your vet’s phone number. Plus, it’s a good idea to carry a copy of your pet’s rabies vaccination and healthcertificate. (If you’re traveling to Canada, a rabies certificate is required.)

  • Plan ahead if you’ll need to leave your pet alone. Most hotels don’t allow you to leave an animal in the room unattended, so you’ll need to bring a crate or arrange for pet sitting with local services. (Pet sitters are listed by location at www.petswelcome.com.)

  • Carry a photo of your pet in case he gets separated from you.

  • If your pet does get lost, notify local animal shelters, humane societies, and veterinary offices.

GHI-tested: carry-ons that will fit on any plane

There’s nothing worse than getting on an airplane and discovering your suitcase doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat. To avoid these hassles, we checked out the dimensions of overhead compartments on all types of jets, including commuter planes. Then we found wheeled carry-on bags that fit into every bin and tested them for durability and performance.

THE WINNER

Swany Bag 18″ Getaway ($199, 18″ by 18″ by 9″, shown). It held more clothes than any other suitcase we tested, thanks to its square shape. An outside pocket lets you retrieve items from the main compartment without opening the entire bag.

BEST VALUE

The Travelpro Crew 5 18″ Rollaboard ($140, 18″ by 14″ by 9″) stood up to our moisture and durability tests as well as or better than the more expensive models we evaluated.

Great snacks for the flight

“I have to pay for these pretzels?!” Yup–lots of airlines now charge hefty prices for snacks and meals onboard, and some have discontinued food service altogether. Here, easy take-along suggestions from the GH test kitchen.

[check] Berries, oranges, and grapes are yummy–and they keep you hydrated. Cracker Barrel Cheddar cheese, which comes in a convenient one-ounce size, adds protein and goes great with fruit.

[check] Crunchy veggies-baby carrots, celery, fennel, green and red peppers–are especially satisfying when you’re enduring long delays. Want to dip them in hummus? Sabra now sells individual-size containers. Whole wheat crackers or pita bread complete the feast.

[check] Avoid most sandwiches, yogurt, and other items that become unappetizing or spoil quickly at room temperature.

Fastest Street Car racing

You know you have a good product when your competitors copy it, and the same must be true for events. A half dozen events similar to our Fastest Street Car Shootout, held in conjunction with the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA), have popped up since the first race in 1992. There are probably countless local races and events that we don’t know about as well. We’ve even noticed that a competing publication has a “fastest street car” race and is using a logo that looks amazingly like ours.

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The idea behind all of these races is the same: Pit street cars against each other in heads-up racing. It’s not meant to be professional racing, but a place any of us can take our seriously fast street cars to and have some fun. The real difficulties arise when deciding what is and what is not a street car and then trying to create a relatively even playing field. That’s why each of these sanctioning bodies has slightly different rules.

Having all these events means more places to see great cars run their amazingly quick e.t.’s, more places to race if you own a car that fits the rules of each specific event and more cars being built for this type of racing. It also means that we can bring you coverage from more than just one race a year. Of course, we still hope to see most, if not all, of you at the NMCA World Finals in Memphis, Tennessee, October 7-9. (If you’re reading this issue as soon as it comes out, there’s still time for you to make reservations and be there as a participant or spectator.) If you can’t make it, be sure to check out our February ’95 issue for the whole story on this year’s explosions, low e.t.’s and HOT ROD’s Ten Fastest Street Cars in America.

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In the meantime, cinch down the safety harnesses, arm the nitrous system, and check out the action that has elapsed at the midseason of Fastest Street Car racing.

UNWRITTEN RULES

As Fastest Sheet Car racing progresses, there will be more and more cars built specifically for these events. Typical race-car construction says that if the rules don’t dictate that you need certain equipment, and the equipment is not beneficial to running quicker e.t.’s, then it doesn’t belong on the car. However, true street cars have much more equipment then is required by any rule book, and Fastest Street Cars are supposed to be street cars or very close representations. We would like to offer the following list as items we encourage Fastest Street Car builders to incorporate into their cars.

  • Stock dashboard–aftermarket gauges mounted in a stack dashboard are fine.
  • Full interior–including carpet, door panels, headliner and seat covers. Stock front seats are extra cool but may be a safety concern at higher speeds.
  • Stock firewall–only a few makes actually need firewall notching to clear distributors or valve covers. NHRA has plenty of classes for cars having major engine set-back and hoodscoops bonded to the windshield, if that’s what you want to build.
  • Stock seat location–we find it hard to believe that those over 6 feet tall bolt the driver’s seat to the rear wheeltub in their daily drivers or family cars.
  • Inner fender panels–real street curs have front inner fender panels.
  • Stock steering column–tube-type racing steering columns look trick in Pro Stock and Pro Mod race cars but aren’t the hot ticket in street cars.
  • Hidden electronics–we realize that many of these cars have a significant amount of electronic equipment, but it’s hidden on most street cars for a clean look.
  • Stock bodies–one of the most popular aspects of Fastest Street Car racing is that the bodies are stock without altered shapes for aerodynamics. Limit body muds to a quality point job.
  • Functional, glass windows–window supports look tacky on a street car and make the window hard to roll down al the drive-in hamburger stand.
  • Decals in quarter-windows only, and the driver’s name should not be pointed on the car.

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RULE BOOKS, GET YOUR RULE BOOKS HERE!

Even though Fastest Street Car racing emulates street racing (which has no rules), each sanctioning body has found it necessary to generate rules in order to maintain street-appearing cars and to try to construct a level playing field. The rule books vary from under 10 rules, in the case of Len Greco’s Nuclear Shootout Series, to the 80-page booklet used for NMCA races. Most of the rules are similar in intent and require a generous amount of original street equipment, restrict body modifications and post minimum weight requirements. For your own copy of each group’s rules and next year’s race-series schedule, contact the individual organizations.

Real sports

INTRODUCTION

You have, no doubt, heard the famous quote; “There are only three real sports: bull fighting, mountaineering, and motorracing. All the rest are merely games,” widely attributed to Ernest Hemingway. True in every sense, in my opinion, considering the fact that the specter of death hangs over the three aforementioned sports at every turn.

Unofrtunately that specter has risen again. Dan Wheldon lost his life at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the season finale of the IndyCar Series. It was one of the worst on-track incidents I’ve witnessed in a long time. Since then (October 16) until now (December 27) when you’re reading this, scads of articles have been written, data gathered, and discussions have taken place on the how, when, and why Dan passed away.

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If you follow IndyCar racing, you already know the story. If you don’t, here’s the encapsulated version. In an effort to boost interest in the fledgling series, IndyCar head Randy Bernard turned the season finale into a spectacle, complete with a parade of IndyCars on the Las Vegas Strip, a drivers’ blackjack tournament, and a $2.5 million bonus to any driver who could start in last place and win the race. Two-time Indy 500 winner and ’05 Series Champ Wheldon took that challenge.

Bernard, a former exec at PBR, had transformed Professional Bull Riding from a niche sport into a nationally televised phenomenon complete with a mega $2 million season ending purse. He was attempting to bring the same magic to IndyCar, but here’s the inherent problem. At the root of IndyCar’s issues is the car.

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Now I understand that there is a completely new car on tap for 2012, however, during the series’ heyday there were numerous manufacturers and engine builder combinations competing against one another. Fans followed not only drivers but car/motor brands as well. However, for the last decade or so it has predominantly been a one engine, one chassis combination. Interest in the series waned while NASCAR’s popularity soared.

With the new car on the horizon, Bernard, under pressure to deliver that PBR magic, took the series to Vegas for what was supposed to be a finale that would outdo anything the boys in Daytona Besch had planned. But was it a good idea? No, it wasn’t; and not because Dan Wheldon lost his life. It was a bad idea because Bernard was attempting to use glitz and glamour to cover up the very core of IndyCar’s problem. Wheldon’s death was a tragically unfortunate result of a failure to address the real problem.

IndyCar’s reliance on tight rules that stifle engineering creativity (check out Bolles’ column this month) while forcing all the teams to run the same motor/chassis combo resulted in pack racing all in the name of a level playing field. In fact, the field had become so level it became boring.

What’s even more disturbing is that IndyCar isn’t the only sanction going down this road. Is it any wonder why there are gaping holes in the grandstands at the NASCAR races? Car of Tomorrow? Pack racing. Four hundred fifty miles of test and tune.

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In a quest for more ratings, sponsor dollars, and so on sanctions are losing sight of what made them successful in the first place. They are trying to control the racer and put on a show, because a guys winning by a lap is bad for TV, at least that’s what they think. But in essence all they have done is turn both IndyCar and NASCAR into IROC and that’s bad for both series. Can they survive the long term? Not without changing.

So, exactly how does that translate to us in the short-track world? Guess what? It rolls back to the promoter You can lay all of the problems with the big two at the feet of the guys who decided to go the IROC route. Over the years, oval track racing became wildly popular because, for the most part, what the racers raced look like, or have some engineering relevance to what we find on the street. Today, that has all but evaporated.

If your track or sanction is looking at implementing rules that will “even the playing field” and you don’t like it, speak up. You have a voice. As racers we have to fight for what makes sense for the future of our sport I’ve seen too many tracks go under purely for bad business decisions. The time to act is now.

Yank that motor: engine pulling tips and tricks

“I can pull the engine in three hours.”

“Yeah, well I can do it in two.”

“I’ll yank it in an hour and a half.”

“Yank that motor!”

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At the HOT ROD shop, any engine-removal project begins with the glory stories of jerking an engine out of a car, rebuilding it, and getting it running in a different car in less than two hours. The reality is that an engine-pull usually stretches into an evening of labor, but the point is that removing a motor isn’t as intimidating as it might seem. This story will give first-timers the basics of engine pulling and pointers to make the job easier.

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  1. Too many times we’ve seen people loosen a header and drop it on an electrically hot starter, frying the car’s wiring. To avoid electrical disasters and a possible fire, your first step should always be to disconnect the battery.
  2. The hood has to come off to take the engine out. By tracing around the hinge with a scribe, punch, or screwdriver, you’ll leave a guideline so you can line it up properly during reinstallation. Remove the hood from the hinge instead of removing the hinge from the car. In some cases you may also need to remove the radiator support and the grille, if only to prevent them from accidentally getting smashed.
  3. Reassembly is a lot easier if you know what goes where, and a good time to plan for this is during disassembly. We use either a Plano divider-box or plastic freezer bags to keep fasteners organized and labeled. Draw diagrams of electrical and vacuum connections or use masking tape to mark connections as you remove them. Snapshots of things like alternator and power steering brackets can also help you.
  4. Hot rods can be lower than many engine hoists! When selecting a cherry picker, make sure the legs will fit under the front of your car with the engine installed. Otherwise you’ll need to put the car on jack-stands before pulling the engine, and this is not as safe. This Lakewood hoist fits under most of our project cars. Harbor Freight offers an extra-low hoist for low cars (part No. 05466-OCLB).
  5. Plug loose fuel and fluid lines with a bolt or else you’ll create pools of fluids. Also be aware that disconnected power steering lines will squirt everywhere if you try to turn the wheel.
  6. Once everything is disconnected, mount a pickup point to the engine. Here we’re using a Spectre carb-flange plate, but a chain run diagonally from opposite intake bolts will also work. Keep the hoist chain as short as possible and pull the engine out. Have someone direct the motor so it doesn’t smash the firewall or radiator support, but keep hands out from under the engine.

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THINGS YOU’LL HAVE TO REMOVE

  • Motor mount bolts.
  • Headers or manifolds. It helps to disconnect the exhaust system first. The spark plugs will also have to come out.
  • Throttle linkage and automatic transmission kickdown linkage.
  • Wiring harnesses from the alternator, starter, sending units, and ground straps.
  • Mechanical oil pressure lines or temp gauge cpaillary tube.
  • Fuel lines.
  • Power steering hoses. It’s usually easier to remove the pump from the engine and leave the hoses intact.
  • In most cases the starter should come off.
  • Radiator. Automatic transmissions usually have cooler lines in the radiator that also have to come out. Draining the water out of the block also keeps it neat.
  • Heater hoses.
  • Battery cables.
  • Air conditioning compressor and lines.

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  • Do you want to pull the motor with or without the trans attached? We’ve found it easier to leave automatics in the car (disconnect the torque converter bolts and bellhousing bolts, support the tranny with a jack) but manual trannys should be left attached to the engine (remove the shifter, speedo cable, and crossmember) or removed prior to taking the engine out.
  • Consider the accessories you want to remove from the engine. Items like carbs and distributors may get smashed by the hoist chain, but it may be easier to leave the water pump and alternator on the engine. However, we always take the fan off, and no water pump will gain you some room.

Fast footsteps: the new professional racing season includes a bumper crop of Skip Barber Racing Series graduates

For 36 years, Skip Barber Racing School has been bursting at the seams with talented young drivers aiming to climb the motorsports ladder. Under the guidance of professional former and current racecar drivers, these young aspiring professionals are mentored both on and off the track to prepare for the highest levels of motorsports. With the 2012 race season ready to begin, another generation of young Skip Barber Racing School graduates, alumni and champions are set to make their marks on the sport.

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Keeping with tradition, many of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National presented by Mazda and Skip Barber Summer Series alumni will be graduating to the next level in the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development ladder–the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda. Making the most of his sophomore year in the Skip Barber National, 22-year-old Scott Anderson clinched the champion’s crown in the penultimate race at the season finale at Lime Rock Park. Overall, he accrued four pole positions, six wins and 12 podiums. Moving up to USF2000, Anderson will compete with Belardi Auto Racing for the 2012 season, joining another Skip Barber alumnus, Colin Thompson.

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Feeling the call of the track at a later age than most, 17-year-old Tristan Nunez clinched the Summer Series Championship title at Lime Rock in October. He will join Performance Tech Motorsports for the full 2012 race season. Finishing behind Nunez by just 21 points was Rookie of the Year Scott Hargrove. This year, Hargrove will take his calm demeanor and smooth style to JDC MotorSports, while Andretti Autosport will be welcoming Skip Barber National alumnus Thomas McGregor and Shelby Blackstock to their USF2000 program.

Skip Barber National presented by Mazda competitor Franco Aragones will join Escuderia Telmex for the 2012 Formula Renault UK season. The 2010 Skip Barber National Champion, Spencer Pigot, who finished second in the USF2000 Championship last year, has joined Wayne Taylor Racing for his sophomore season in the series, teamed with another Skip Barber National grad, Trent Hindman.

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Returning for another season with Skip Barber, Danilo Estrela participated in the recent Race Series Champion Shootout and was awarded a full season as a MAZDAPSEED Motorsports Development Driver for the second year in a row.

Having shown that they have what it takes to be tomorrow’s champions, both on and off the track, these racers are starting off on the path so many Skip Barber veterans have taken before. Like them, they have been mentored uniquely to build on their individual strengths and improve on their weaknesses. Knowing where to improve and how to excel will help them to stand out, so watch for these names in the years to come.

The great outdoor markets

The field of outdoor writing is enormous. In the US there are more than 60 million licensed fishermen. This doesn’t include campers, hunters, hikers, and others who choose, to spend much of their free time in the outdoors. And all of these people are hungry for information.

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The big three publications for this audience are Field & Stream, Outdoor Life and Sports Afield, but other magazines–such as Arizona Hunter & Angler, Michigan Hunting & Fishing and Dakota Outdoors–are found on the coffee tables of outdoorsmen, too. These regional and specialty publications may be small, but they can be an outdoor writer’s bread and butter in terms of regular checks. Keep these tips in mind to make this market lucrative for you.

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  • Look for new markets. This includes regular visits to magazine racks in your area (and nearby in larger towns), newsstands, and sporting goods stores or bait shops where outdoor publications are sold. When you’re on vacation, watch for magazines you’ve never seen. That’s how I discovered Arizona Hunter & Angler. I’ve since added the publication to my stable of regular contributions,
  • Check your local library. Here are a few of the places outdoor writers can look for additional markets:
  • Gale Directory of Publications lists magazines and newspapers with addresses and editorial contacts. It’s very helpful in locating small, regional publications.
  • Ulrich’s Periodical Directory is a comprehensive listing of magazines and newspapers published in the US.
  • Working Press of the Nation covers newspaper markets.
  • Study the publication. Many outdoor markets have specific needs, such as a specific state or region, or just one aspect of outdoor sports. Sending a tailored article is key.
  • Smaller publications may have greater opportunities. Regional outdoor markets often need shorter articles than you’re used to. This means that although these publications may pay less for your work, it takes less time to produce an article. Small outdoor publications may also be more receptive to reprints and regular columns. In some cases, you can sell the same article many times to several different publications. If you do sell an article more than once, you must sell it only to those markets that don’t overlap readership. For example, an article on catching panfish may be published in, say, Arizona Hunter & Angler at the same time ifs published in Michigan Hunting & Fishing–the magazines’ readers are 2,000 miles apart. Still, always tell editors that your manuscript has been sold or submitted to noncompeting markets.
  • Be willing to work with small publications. Most have small staffs, tight budgets and pay on publication. Don’t let this deter you from cultivating a working relationship with the editor. Regular contributions can still mean regular checks because smaller publications often work with shorter deadlines, publishing your article within a month of acceptance in many cases.

Not all hidden outdoor markets are small operations. Some are specific publications targeting one aspect of the outdoors, and pay very well for freelance contributions. In all cases, it’s best to get your hands on several issues of the publication you’ve discovered, as well as the current writer’s guidelines, if available.

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Arizona Hunter & Angler is a monthly magazine that looks “for stories about hunting and fishing aspects as they apply to Arizona,” says editor Harry Morgan. “We want how-to and where-to stories, as well as do-it-yourself articles that show and tell readers how to make or modify an item connected with hunting and fishing. Reader benefit is a foremost consideration, with entertainment a second interest.”

Terms: Pays $25-$35, on publication, for one-time Arizona rights to feature articles of 1,000-2,000 words. Submissions: Query Morgan. Submit seasonal material at least four months in advance. Responds in 2-4 weeks. 2825 S. 46th St., Phoenix 85040, tel. 602/894-2554.

Bassin’ is published 8 times a year with a percentage of each issue devoted to seasonal themes. The magazine is especially interested in how-to bass fishing technique articles, says editor Mark Chestnut. “Bassin’ is directed to bass fishing the world over for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted Kentucky) bass. Queries on white bass, stripers and other species such as the Suwanee bass of Florida and Georgia, as well as the pavon (peacock bass) of South America will be considered.” Bassin’ wants articles that include lure presentation, tackle techniques, some regional fishing techniques, structural patterns, tackle and boat maintenance.

Terms: Pays $300-$500 and up, on acceptance, for first North American serial rights to features of 1,200-1,500 words accompanied by photos (color slides/transparencies preferred). Query Chestnut. Responds in 3-4 weeks. Guidelines and sample copy available. 5300 CityPlex Tower, 2448 E. 81st St., Tulsa, Oklahoma 74137.

Crappie is a bimonthly for crappie fishermen. “We are especially interested in new and proven crappie fishing approaches,” says managing editor Lawrence Taylor. “Features may also be directed to panfishing techniques for bluegill, warmouth, rock bass and a variety of sunfish species.” Crappie accepts ideas for articles on lure/ bait presentations, tackle techniques, structural patterns and conservation. Also accepts some regional technique articles, such as fishing for crappie at power-plant lakes, Midwest farm ponds, Florida swamps and Western reservoirs.

Terms: Pays $300-$500, on acceptance, for first North American serial rights to features of 1,500-1,800 words with photos. Submissions: Query Taylor. Responds in 34 weeks, Guidelines for SASE; sample copy available. 5300 CityPlex Tower, 2448 E. 81st St., Tulsa, Oklahoma 74137, tel. 918/491-6100.

Dakota Outdoors is a monthly for and about the Dakotas. “We publish features about fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits,” says editor Kevin Hipple. Articles should apply to the outdoor life in the Dakotas, including fishing and hunting experiences and advice, boating, camping, hiking, environmental concerns, and nature in general. “We also cover legislation, governmental concerns, product information, hints and tips, and personalities and humor relevant to the Dakotas.”

Terms: Pays $20-$50, on publication, for features of 1,000-1,500 words. “We would like to buy exclusive rights in our area. Please inform us if the article has been–or will be–published elsewhere.” Submissions: Query or submit complete manuscript to Rachel Engbrecht, managing editor. Responds in 6-8 weeks. Guidelines for SASE; sample copy available. Box 669, Pierre, South Dakota 57501, tel. 605/224-7301.

Fishing Facts, a bimonthly, calls itself “the freshwater fishing authority for the ’90s.” Editor Roger Sparks wants technical how-to on modern freshwater fishing techniques. “This magazine really caters to the diehard, dedicated and knowledgeable fisherman,” Sparks says.

Along with how-to, Fishing Facts also accepts articles on new technology–tackle, boats, motors, etc.–and profiles on prominent fishermen or TV personalities. “But the main thing is those profiles must contain how-to,” he adds. “The angler should be able to pick up a tip or two from every article.”

Terms: Pays up to $500 for features of about 2,000 words accompanied by a selection of supporting photos (prefers color transparencies or b&w glossies). Pays on acceptance for first rights. Submissions: Query or send complete manuscript to Sparks. Responds in 4-6 weeks. Sample copy available. Suite 4, 1901 Bell Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50315-1067.

In-Fisherman, published 7 times a year, is one of the top fishing magazines in the nation and concentrates on all aspects of the sport. “We don’t publish a large amount of outside submissions,” editors say. “We do allow room for exceptional pieces by writers other than our regulars. We’re happy to look over any submissions.”

All pieces must concern fresh and saltwater fishing; the editors emphasize the freshwater in freshwater fishing techniques, tackle, where-to and how-to. “Major features must be hard hitting and knowledgeable, stressing breakthroughs and insights in fishing, the underwater environment or both.

“We also accept short features that capture the mood and setting of a fine fishing experience, hot spots for fishing, or interesting opinions concerning the status of the sport.”

Terms: Pays up to $500 for major features, and $50-$200 for short features of 500-1,500 words. Pays on acceptance for first North American serial rights. Submissions: Query Doug Stange, editor in chief. Responds in 4-6 weeks. Guidelines for SASE; sample copy available. 2 In-Fisherman Dr., Brainerd, Minnesota 56401, tel. 218/829-1648.

Michigan Hunting & Fishing is published 8 times a year for the Michigan sportsman: from the cane-pole farm pond fisherman to deer hunters. About 80% of the magazine is freelance written. Buys between 90-100 manuscripts per year. “Anyone can sell to us,” says editor Kenny Darwin. “We don’t necessarily look for the journalistically disciplined manuscript. What we look for is material written by people who love their sport and have the need to share information. We care about manuscripts that have localized, charismatic, fact-filled material that will appeal to our readers.” Darwin buys how-to material on any aspect of hunting and fishing in Michigan, where-to’s, when to fish or hunt, techniques, gear, nostalgia, and some humor.

Terms: Pays $100-$200, on publication, for one-time rights to features of 1,000-3,000 words. Submissions: Query Darwin. Responds in 14 weeks. Guidelines and sample copy on request. Box 977, East Lansing, Michigan 48823.

Midwest Outdoors is a monthly with regional tabloid supplements. The magazine covers hunting, fishing, camping and boating, in general, while the supplements (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin) cover the same topics in relation to each state.

“We have no secrets at Midwest Outdoors,” says editor Gene Laulunen. “We share all our time-tested techniques with readers. Our goal is to help people enjoy the outdoors.”

Because the magazine is 100% freelance written, there are lots of opportunities for writers. “The best way to break in here is to write an article for a regional issue. But ask for our writer’s guide first.” Also considers ideas for columns or departments.

Terms: Pays $15-$30 for articles of 1,000-1,500 words, and $25 for columns, departments and reprints. Pays on publication, for one-time rights. Indicate availability of maps, photos or slides. Submissions: Send complete manuscripts to Laulunen. Responds in 1-2 weeks. Guidelines for SASE; sample copy $1. 111 Shore Dr., Burr Ridge, Illinois 60521, tel. 708/887-7722, fax 708/887-1958.

Northeast Outdoors is a monthly for RV owners and campers in the Northeast states. “Our readers are family campers looking for information about specific campgrounds and areas in the Northeast in which to camp,” says editorial director John Florian. “We prefer first-person articles that reflect family camping and traveling experiences. We also want RV and camping tips, such as RV maintenance, safety, how-to and camp cooking.”

Terms: Pays $40-$80, on publication, for one-time rights to articles of 800-1,000 words. “Articles purchased with photos are paid at the higher end of the rate scale.” Submissions: Query or submit complete manuscript to Michael Griffin, managing editor. Responds in 4-6 weeks. Guidelines and sample for 9 x 12 SAE with 5 first-class stamps. Box 2180, Waterbury, Connecticut 06722, tel. 2031755-0158.

The Outdoor Press is a weekly publication whose readers live in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia. “We stress where to go and how to do it,” says editor Fred Peterson II. “What we look for are grass roots, nitty-gritty stories without armchair adventuring, set in the states we cover, especially eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Articles should be timely. For example, we don’t want August salmon fishing stories in December, or January steelhead stories in March. We no longer purchase stories about such general things as dog training, firearms, fishing tackle or boats.”

Terms: Pays $25-$75 for articles of 100-500 words, on publication for one-time rights. Submissions: Send complete manuscript to Peterson. Responds in 4-6 weeks. Guidelines for SASE; sample copy available. 2012 N. Ruby St., Spokane, Washington 99207, tel. 509/328-9392, fax 509/327-9861.

Western Outdoor News’s target audience is Western sportsmen. Published 9 times a year, “Western Outdoors wants mostly instructional how-to (with some where-to) articles that deal exclusively with boating and fishing in the West–specifically California, Oregon and Washington,” editors say. “Articles offering methods and techniques must apply to Western types of fishing and boating. Where-to-go articles need to describe destinations within our region of coverage.” The editors prefer articles with a news peg and written in the third person with the writer as the reporter.

Outdoor rec markets seek active writers: here are 6 ways to break into magazines for hikers, bikers and other open-air enthusiasts

Every issue of Rails to Trails profiles an abandoned railroad line converted into a trail for hiking, walking and biking. The cover feature also includes a sidebar with trail facts and trip-planning resources. The ideal writer of this story is “somebody who has a good visual eye and can turn that into words,” says Jennifer Kaleba, the magazine’s editor in chief.

Offer expert reviews and fitness how-to’s. Sports magazines rely on the techno-savvy to help readers find greater enjoyment. The Gear department in Canoe & Kayak includes a review of paddling hardware. Typical how-to’s for Cycle California! Magazine might be “changing from a ten-speed to a single speed, or a tire article that focuses on the nuances of a 29-inch versus a 26-inch tire,” Corral says.

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Competitor, an endurance sports magazine that focuses on running, publishes 11 regional editions. Writers who practice the sport contribute training and nutrition pieces, although they must also interview expert sources. Rebecca Heaton, editorial director, noted that the magazine is particularly interested in fitness trends that are good for cross-training.

Profile an endearing personality. Every sports community loves its movers and shakers. Rails to Trails runs a Q&A of a person who has made an impact in the trail community. Competitor’s closing page profiles “people who have struggled through something; someone passionate about the sport,” Heaton says. In addition, the magazine runs a feature profile of multiple individuals who fit a common theme, like a recent spread on comeback athletes. Pieces on widely recognized athletes have the potential to run in many or all Competitor editions.

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Outdoors NW likes sketches of area people “who are doing great things, or a person who has been transformed by outdoor recreation,” Price says, citing a story about a local individual who participated in a three-week sled race in the North Pole. And don’t rule out women as possible subjects. “There is a resurgence of women discovering outdoor recreation and sports and an I-can-do-this mentality. A lot of women–as well as men–are on our covers,” Price adds.

Appeal to a wide audience. “There are a lot of different disciplines within what we call paddling,” says Jeff Moag, editor of Canoe & Kayak. “We are looking for stories that interest everyone along that continuum.” Recent short articles in the magazine’s front-of-the-book section, Put In, discussed traveling by airplane with a kayak, as well as boating during the economic recession. Moag suggests river access and environmental issues as suitable topics for this department, which is the easiest place to break into the magazine.

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The Rails to Trails member demographics are predominately older males, but the magazine gets passed around to other family members. “We try to be mindful of having stories that don’t just reach our supporting demographic but the member’s family demographic,” Kaleba says. She notes that a recent story about “ROMEOs” (Retired Old Men Eating Out) ran in the same issue as an article about a woman who started a bike maintenance course to promote female cycling.

And don’t forget about kids. Cycle California! Magazine looks for family-friendly stories. “There are a lot more events for kids now–triathlons, bike races. I’d like to run articles that encourage people to be active with their kids,” Corral says.

Describe the heat of the moment. If you’ve had an aha! moment in the field, consider writing a personal essay about it. Paddlers, send it to Canoe & Kayak for consideration in Aquaphile. First-person bike essays published in Adventure Cyclist are often inspirational, but not always. “Sometimes they’re humorous, sometimes more intense,” Deme says. “Focus on a single event, not an entire tour,” he adds.

Take your best shot. Photos are highly important for these publications. “We are a photo-driven magazine, and we try not to use stock photos very much,” Moag says. “Photos are a big part of the selection process.” Canoe & Kayak editors request photos as part of the query package.

“It makes my job a little easier when I don’t have to hunt for pictures,” Outdoors NW’s Price explains. “And it’s always fun if the writer can even be in the picture.” Cycle California! Magazine and Adventure Cyclist also look for original digital photos from writers.

Outdoor sports publications serve as a key resource for an active-lifestyle audience. If you can write like a pro and are knowledgeable about a non-team sport, start blazing the query trail. After all, what could be better than getting paid for your passion?

OUTDOOR SPORTS MARKETS

  • ADVENTURE CYCLIST Bicycle-travel magazine from Adventure Cycling Association. 9 issues/year. Circ.: 43,000. Tips: Queries recommended. Include writing samples, photos. Submission guidelines online. Response: 6 weeks. Payment: 30 cents -45 cents/word; photos: $100-$250 for interior, $500 for cover. Contact: Michael Deme, editor: magazine@adventurecycling.org. www.adventurecycling.org/mag.
  • CANOE & KAYAK Magazine for canoeists, kayakers and rafters. Bimonthly. Circ.: 50,000. Tips: “Describe the proposed story in detail; show how it’s unique.” Send clips, low-res photos. Send complete mss for Aquaphile. Response: 1 week. Payment: 50 cents/word; photos: $75-$350 for interior, $500 for cover. Contact: For features, Aquaphile, Unfiltered and Destinations: Jeff Moag: jeff.moag@source interlink.com. For Put In and Dirtbag Diaries: Joe Carberry: joe.carberry@ sourceinterlink.com. For Gear: Dave Shively: dave.shively@sourceinterlink. com. www.canoekayak.com.
  • COMPETITOR 11 regional editions that focus on running and endurance sports. 10 issues/year. Circ.: 800,000 combined. Tips: Keep query to one paragraph. Queries are forwarded to appropriate regional editor. Response: 1 month. Payment: $50-$400. Contact: Rebecca Heaton, editorial director, rheaton@competitorgroup. com. www.competitor.com.
  • CYCLE CALIFORNIA! MAGAZINE Biking-enthusiast magazine distributed in northern California and northern Nevada. Includes features (750-1,000 words), short articles (250-500 words) and short news stories (50-150 words). 11 issues/year. Circ.: 31,000. Tips: Request submission guidelines via e-mail. Accepts unsolicited mss. Response: 1-2 weeks. Payment: 15 cents/word (half for reprints); photos/artwork: $50 for interior, $125 for cover. Contact: Tracy Corral, publisher/editor: tcorral@cyclecalifornia.com. www.cycle california.com.
  • OUTDOORS NW Resource for outdoor enthusiasts living in the Pacific Northwest. Bimonthly. Circ.: 40,000. Tips: “100 percent of our stories are NW-related; be familiar with the area.” Submission guidelines online. response: 1 month. Payment: $25-$125; photos: $25 for interior, $100 for cover. Contact: Carolyn Price, publisher/editor: editor@outdoorsnw. com. www.outdoorsnw.com.
  • RAILS TO TRAILS Magazine published by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Quarterly. Circ.: 76,000. Tips: Profile and rotating features: Query with theme or story ideas and trail examples. Cover features: Send letter of interest, note region you cover, and send clips. Response: 2 weeks. Payment: 75 cents-$1.25/word. Contact: Karl Wirsing, managing editor: karl@railsto trails.org. www.railstotrails.org.