Best Smackdown

Best of 0903

Legs, Lungs, and Lycra:

When Toti Bess showed up at the March 2003 Marmot North American Ski Mountaineering Championships in Jackson Hole, the field of predominantly U.S. competitors knew the petite Spaniard in Lycra was fast. But only two-time U.S. champ Brendan O'Neill knew how fast. "I'd skied with Toti before," says O'Neill. "For everyone else, it was shock and awe." In an ass-whupping of international scope, Bess-who's ranked sixth in the world-crushed his nearest opponent, Spanish teammate Alfonso Gaston, by 12 minutes. Grinding away on a course that gained 6,200 feet of elevation, O'Neill finished third-19 minutes post-Toti.