Free Fallin’, BASE jumpers highlight Bridge Day in the Gorge.In October of 1980, something incredible happened in West Virginia. Five men donning parachutes walked to the edge of the newly constructed 876-foot-tall New River Gorge Bridge. With policemen, Park Service, and safety professionals looking on in approval, they stepped into oblivion.From these humble beginnings, Bridge Day has grown to over 800 jumps per year and 100,000+ spectators who all come to participate in a celebration of the sport, spectacular fall scenery, and the local community. Although originally started as a way for the general public to walk on the bridge, BASE jumping has taken center stage.Jumpers plunge from diving boards and platforms on the side of the bridge and land in the Fayette Station river access area far below. Safety boats patrol the waters, and spectators can view the whole show from the bridge itself, trails along the rim, or the National Park observation deck at the New River Gorge Visitor Center. It remains one of the most popular legal options for BASE jumping in the U.S., and it shines as an example of how fringe sport enthusiasts and authorities can work together towards a mutually beneficial solution.Summersville local jumper Marcus Ellison has witnessed the spectacle many times since he was a child. There was something about watching people submit to the forces of gravity that resonated with him. At the age of 23, Ellison began skydiving with the intention of moving to the BASE side of the sport. Before he knew it, Bridge Day 2008 had arrived, and he was standing on a platform looking over the chasm with friends and family watching. It was his turn to jump.“It’s a moment of clarity and relaxation,” Ellison explains. “When your feet disconnect from what you are on, there is an unbelievable feeling of release and freedom. That is what I’m after: that instant when you disconnect.”Marcus has disconnected across the country, and has over 300 skydives and nearly 200 BASE jumps to his name. He is drawn to the sport for many reasons, but in no small part because of the dramatic places that it brings him to. His favorite jumps are in massive alpine environments, and are sometimes combined with skiing. This focus on the beauty of the surroundings makes BASE jumping a soulful sport that is more similar to other outdoors pursuits than many think. It doesn’t require the manpower, airline fuel, and permits that skydiving does, and it is almost always a quiet, under-the-radar activity with just a friend or two. Due to the infancy of the sport, the rules of BASE are still being written.Bridge Day is hardly a normal day for these jumpers. In spite of the fanfare, lines, and spectators, it is often the only opportunity every year to reconnect with friends from across the planet. It’s a perfect chance for first-time jumpers to meet and learn from the legends of the sport. Personalities like Red Bull athlete Miles Daisher, oil rig lifestyler Chris McDougall, and wildman Jeb Corliss can be seen in the lineup, and are quick to give high fives and trade stories with aspiring young athletes.Jason Bell, BASE Coordinator for Bridge Day, says that it is without a doubt the best day for skydivers to make their first BASE jump. “We have over 100 first-timers every year, and due to setting, the system that we have developed, and the safety measures in place, it is a perfect way to get into the sport.”Rookies feel confident at Bridge Day for several reasons. First of all, it is the third tallest bridge in the U.S., and the more time that jumpers have to deal with the unexpected, the better. Jumping from a bridge also eliminates the danger of colliding with a cliff or other standing structures should the jumper spin and open the chute the wrong way. The primary landing area is a deep river, and rescue boats are constantly fishing jumpers out of the water. Finally, there are ambulances and other safety personnel and technology at the bottom, ready to deal with injury. On the logistical side, Bell and his team vet applicants through interview questions, and there are two gear checks for all jumpers before they are allowed to queue up for freefall.While it’s appealing to beginners, advanced athletes can also get excited about Bridge Day 2012, and its newest creation: The Human Catapult. A mechanical engineer by trade, Bell envisioned and designed a mechanism that is capable of launching jumpers 20 feet vertically and 50 feet horizontally over the edge of the bridge during Bridge Day. This addition will augment the already classic launch platform and diving board options for jumpers, and will be mixed in to the other two as participants jump on 20-25 second intervals.BASE jumpers often struggle with being labeled as adrenaline junkies and daredevils. Just like any sport, there are those who take it to its limits, but the vast majority are there for the experience and the camaraderie. “BASE jumping is what you want it to be,” says Ellison. “It can be the craziest, scariest, most sketchball thing you could ever do, or it can be the foundation for some of the most joyful moments of your life.”Jason describes his personal fascination with the sport, and touches on the fact that it is still an incredible and vivid experience, even after over 500 jumps. “From the powerful acceleration of the jump, to the peacefulness of flying the chute, and finally the satisfaction of landing back on earth, there is nothing else like it. You realize that it is an experience that very few people will have, and it’s almost as if you are privy to a secret.” •DateOCTOBER 20, 2012Hours9:00 AM – 3:00 PMLocationNew River Gorge Bridge,Fayetteville, W.Va.Website [email protected]/TjhUfiOther ActivitiesRappelling, highlining, car show, music, chili/cornbread cookoff
City have been rampant in attack of late, scoring a total of 22 goals in their last four home games in all competitions. But Blues boss Manuel Pellegrini criticised his side’s defending after they laboured to a 4-2 Champions League win over Group D basement boys Viktoria Plzen at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. And on that December 10 contest, Richards said: “The match against Bayern is going to be a tough game. They are a strong team. “If we win we could top the group but it is going to be very hard to go to their place and win. “They have got special players there and, in my opinion, they are the best team in the world. “I think we have got to be careful in defence but we have got to go and attack because we have got to win. It will be a good game.” Next up for City, who are fourth in the Premier League, is a top-flight encounter with Swansea at home on Sunday. Pellegrini would not say on Wednesday whether goalkeeper Joe Hart will be retained in the side for that fixture or if Costel Pantilimon will come back in. Hart was restored to the team for the Plzen game after a spell on the bench following a series of errors. The England stopper made some good saves and, importantly, no mistakes on his return, with there being no blame on his part for the goals conceded. It also remains to be seen whether or not Richards keeps his place in the first XI from the Plzen match. On his battle with Pablo Zabaleta for the starting right-back berth at City, the 25-year-old England international said: “Zaba is playing well but you have to keep going, keep knuckling down, work hard. “Then when I get a chance I’ll take it. There is nothing more I can say really.” It is an area in which City – who have been without injured defender and captain Vincent Kompany for several weeks – have excelled in recent seasons. In each of the last three Barclays Premier League campaigns, no other side have conceded fewer top-flight goals than them. Richards is well aware of that fact and the City defender said: “We are playing some great stuff – at the weekend against Tottenham (a 6-0 top-flight home win on Sunday) we were outstanding. “But we have just got to sort out the goals against now. “We want more clean sheets. In the last three years we have had the best defence. “We have been a bit shaky this season but hopefully we can put that right now.” Getting things right at the back as well as going forward is exactly what City, who qualified for the Champions League knockout stages before the clash with Czech outfit Plzen, will have to do if they are to finish top of their group. It is a tall-looking order to say the least – in their final Group D game against leaders Bayern Munich away they will have to better the 3-1 win the German side achieved against them at the Etihad Stadium. Micah Richards is keen for Manchester City to get back to showing the kind of defensive solidity they have displayed over the last few years. Press Association
The Sea Eagles have a new playmaking and hooking combination, an unrecognisable forward pack from last year and a completely new coaching staff, but Canterbury players say there are still a few givens whenever you take on the Sea Eagles on their home patch.”You know they’re going to turn up, they obviously have a new coach and a few new players but the mentality of Manly’s never changed,” Dogs prop Aiden Tolman said.”You know when you play them you have to be on your game and it’s going to be a good test for us Round 1, over there, away from home, the crowd’s always against you and they’ve got a good side so it’s going to be a tough game but we want to get the season off with a win.”They’ve got a new forward pack but it’s the same faces we’ve played in other teams. It won’t make the job any easier.”Lock Greg Eastwood has played alongside some of Manly’s new faces; like many of his teammates he once wore blue and white with enforcer Marty Taupau, while Eastwood has more recently played Test football for New Zealand with Taupau and another new Manly recruit, Lewis Brown.”They’ve got a new side and a new coach so we don’t know what to expect; we’ve just got to focus on our own game,” Eastwood said.”They’ve recruited real well this year. There was a lot of talk they needed to add size to their pack and they’ve done that. You know what you’re going to get with [Taupau]. He’s going to try and run over you every chance he gets.”Nate Myles has been real consistent over a long period and Lewis Brown is going to do a job for them. We’ve got to limit their metres and help our side get on the front foot.”It’s always a hard game going to Brookvale, even when they’ve got a few injuries here and there, you know what they’re going to do. They don’t want to disappoint their fans, especially at their home ground they’ll come out strong but I’m sure our boys will do the job.”Blues back-rower Josh Jackson suggested his old teammate Taupau would add plenty of energy and physicality to Manly’s middle.”They’ve got a fair few other new players there. I think they’ve done really well with the players they’ve brought in and a new coach as well so it’s a little bit unknown exactly what they’re going to throw up at us,” Jackson said.”They’ve done really well to get those players in, they’re all quality players, they’re all representative players.”He added it was hard for his side to know what to focus on with so many new players and a new coach.”If we can just match their energy early and hang in there for 80 minutes we’ll give ourselves every chance.”The first couple of weeks is always a bit of a trial period to see how those things go and you adjust your game accordingly,” Jackson said.Jackson also backed his side’s big pack to adapt to the reduced interchanges and shot clock as well as any side.”I think we should be all right; we’ve got [props] Aiden Tolman and James Graham who could punch out 80 if they had to and probably do it quite easily, then myself and Tony Williams usually play longer minutes as well so I think we should be all right,” he said.
West Donegal photographer John Rafferty has captured many iconic images of the county in recent years.Many of John’s images capture the rugged beauty of our county which is often lost in our busy lives. His latest image which he has forwarded to Donegal Daily captures the atmospheric beauty of Crohy Head, Maghery.Enjoy. PORTHOLE TO THE SKY – PICTURE THAT CAPTURES DONEGAL’S RUGGED BEAUTY was last modified: July 21st, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CROHY HEADJohn RaffertyMAGHERY