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Joe Kaiser, Sports Editor

At the writing of this article, Francois Gabart is about two days away from finishing his circumnavigation of the globe by sea.

He is part of an elite few who have even completed the Vendee Globe race. Founded in 1989, it occurs every four years. It is the only solo, continuous sailing race in the world.

For all you landlubbers, that means that the teams consist of a single captain who must navigate an 18-foot sailboat around the world. Gabart is on pace to finish the course in under 80 days. Jules Verne would be impressed.

Of the 20 individuals that began this race, only 12 remain. Alessandro Di Benedetto, an Italian skipper, is currently in last place. He is more than 4000 nautical miles from Gabart.

The second place skipper, another Frenchman, Armel Le’Cleac’h, is only 100 miles behind Gabart and represents the only threat to overtake Gabart. Third and fourth place are currently in the Azores, and it seems they will be unable to overtake the top two skippers.

In the far northern reaches of the United States, mushers are readying themselves for the Iditarod. The start day is little more than a month away. This is another race of steely endurance.

The 2012 winner, Dallas Seavey, is expected to make another strong mush for the money. The race is over 1000 miles long, and it usually takes the best mushers fewer than 10 days to finish. If you were ever a fan of Balto and want to live vicariously the life of a musher, you can tune in to GCI Channel 1 for all the action.

Even more winter sports are going on in Aspen for the 2013 X-Games. Levi LaVallee has taken gold in the Snowmobile Freestyle, which consists of everything your mother told you not to do.

If you want to watch a man do backflips with a 500-pound piece of machinery, YouTube has a gold mine. Other events upcoming in the X-Games include Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle, in which Shaun White is a favorite.

 

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