Mister Smart Goes Big

Rangi Smart was riding a small spur of his favorite single-track trail when he stumbled upon a perfectly designed mountain bike jump. A platform of two by fours and plywood launched a rider outward and 20-feet down the steep hillside. It was the kind of thing Rangi had only seen pro riders stomp on mountain bike videos.

The 33-year-old math teacher thought to himself, “What kind of nut-job rides off something like that?”

Then Rangi imagined that he was that nut-job.

We can bide our time, wait patiently for our chance to shine, but more often than not, the moment chooses us. It’s our job to answer. Here’s to another year of big ideas, another year of slaying giants, bearing down, not giving up, chasing daylight, paddling in and fostering change. We bring you the hopes, dreams and goals of professional athletes, regular joes, parents, soldiers and students. Here’s to the dirtbags. Here’s to Mr. Smart.

Megan Sturdy is a climber and scientist working at the University of Illinois Chicago. She has figured out a way to incorporate here two seemingly incongruent passions–cancer research and climbing–into a singular project. Last year, Sturdy launched Climbing for Cancer Research. Her mission is two-fold. First, Sturdy is hoping to travel to Samoa where she can employ her climbing skills to reach lakes containing rare strains of cyanobacteria, which she uses in her research (I’d explain but it’s above my pay grade). Second, she wants to get climbers involved in the collection process. Check out what you can do to help. Sounds kind of fun.

Also Shane Robinson of Episode 15 fame is taking part in The Kamchatka Project. A team of ripping boaters who also happen to be scientists, photographers, filmmakers and marketing types hope to shed light on the world’s richest wild salmon spawning grounds deep inside Kamchatka Peninsula. Kayaks will be the vehicle. Conservation is the mission.

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