Singer Rod Stewart may have said it best: every picture tells us a story.
It's not easy to capture true emotion in an image – and it's even harder when it's happening 100m up a rock wall, or flying by you on a mountain bike. That's why images like these tell us so much about the athletes that are in them – and what they (or in one case, their feet) are feeling during that one, brief instant.
Explorer Mike Horn (who is also pictured above) drags a sled through a North Pole winter. A jolly sleigh ride, this isn't.
This is Martin Hartley self-portrait (no, we're not calling this a selfie) after an expedition on the brutal Arctic ocean.
Renan Ozturk battles challenging conditions on a big wall during the Meru Expedition in Garwhal, India.
Gasping for air
Holding your breath for as long Will Trubridge? Yeah, that's not easy. Will Trubridge surfaces near his support platform after a deep, deep freedive at Dean's Blue Hole near the Bahamas.
Stefan Glowacz grabs a hold of some dirt on Mt Roraima – one of the most difficult places on the planet to access.
Strain and pain
Bernd Zangerl may be holding on with just his fingertips, but he's definitely using every muscle in his body to stay pinned on this wall.
Running for it
On the last day of Nike 600k, a long distance relay race starting in São Paulo, a runner arrives in Rio de Janeiro.
Six days of pain
The Brasil Ride bike race is a six-day mountain bike race in Chapada Diamantina. This is what you look like when – or if – you reach the finish line.
A bike bath
Same race, Brasil – sometimes you just need to stop and take a bath. Even if it's not to get clean!
Soaking up the pain
This is what your feet look like after the first 24 hours of the Ecomotion Pro, a five-day adventure race involving trekking, running, mountain bike, kayak, ropes, swimming, and caving segments.
Mich Kemeter on the exposed route 'Claudia' (F8a) in the Verdon Gorges. This girl isn't easy!
Pierre Garant runs up to Planfait for the last take off of the paragliding stage of the Red Bull Elements in Talloires, France. It's more work to head up than get down!
The Wright stuff
Climber Cedar Wright is overhung and underhanded on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park – one of North America's most famous climbing areas.
Leo Houlding is belayed by Jason Pickles during their ongoing attempt to free climb a route on El Cap.
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