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Peter Couture, Times/tbt* Staff Writer

Peter Couture

Peter Couture grew up in St. Petersburg and is a graduate of the University of South Florida. He has worked for the Tampa Bay Times full-time since graduating from USF in 1989. He was a member of the startup team for the daily edition of tbt*, where he is the editor of the weekly Rides, Office and Cuisine sections. He also edits the daily SportsTalk page. He co-writes the weekly auto review column, the Daily Drivers.

Phone: (727) 892-2938

Email: pcouture@tampabay.com

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  1. U.S. Olympians are getting older — and better

    Olympics

    Some days, when Meb Keflezighi hits the road, his legs just don't want to move.

    That is what happens to a marathoner when he reaches the comparatively ancient age of 41.

    "You can't run like you're 25 anymore," he said. "You're going to have bad days."

    The fact that Keflezighi has qualified for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio — where he will become the oldest American Olympic marathoner — astonishes some of his younger teammates....

    Getty Images
  2. The Daily Drivers: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited

    Autos

    Remember the Pacifica? It was the crossover that minivan pioneer Chrysler positioned as, well, an upscale alternative to the minivan. It wasn't a success, but the name lives on in Chrysler's new minivan. Cue the irony. The Pacifica replaces the Town & Country, and Chrysler views it as the future of the minivan.

    Appearance: It's sleek for a minivan, with few hard lines and plenty of curves. The short creased hood — an homage to its crossover namesake? — drops down to a swoopy front fascia with a small curvy grille and chrome-accented headlights with LED borders. If this is the new face of the minivan, it's an attractive one (especially in the upper trim levels). One thing you won't see: those unsightly minivan sliding-door track lines. In the Pacifica, they're integrated into the rear window trim. ...

    The third row can seat three. The sunroof brings in light, and makes it less like a cave in the back.
  3. Hey, fans: Take our sports quiz to ease your boredom

    News

    We've reached the annual Summer Sports Doldrums. And if this stretch of summer is not deserving of that proper noun, it should be. After all, the NBA and NHL seasons are long over, baseball just finished its All-Star break and the whistles have yet to sound on the NFL and college football seasons. In the spirit of relieving your boredom, here's a quiz to catch you up on some recent sports news....

    Nov. 2, 2014 - Miami Gardens, Florida, U.S. - Miko Grimes smiles as she received two game balls intercepted by her husband Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes (21) at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on November 2, 2014. (Credit Image: ?? Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post/ZUMA Wire) (Newscom TagID: zumaamericaseleven596586.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]
  4. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Lexus RC 200t

    Autos

    Sports-car style, practical luxury and just-enough performance have been consistent characteristics in Lexus coupes over the years. Now its sleek RC 200t has an available "t" for turbo (a 4-cylinder) in its name. How does it compare with the V-6 models we've driven?

    Appearance: The little coupe is a head-turner, especially in Ultrasonic Blue Mica, which we've admired before in the Lexus line. The car has Lexus' large take-it-or-leave-it spindle grille, which in the F Sport trim is mesh with chrome trim and a prominent Lexus badge. (We are Team Take It.) We especially like the way the curved hood slopes down to the grille and is flanked by triangular headlights underscored by check-mark LEDs. It makes for a slightly menacing look. The fastback-style coupe has an integrated spoiler lip on the trunk lid, but we still don't like the faux rear vents. The F Sport package also adds 19-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels....

    Temperature adjustments are done on a touch control.
  5. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Cadillac CT6

    Autos

    If the CT6 is truly the best example of the new Cadillac, then it largely succeeds despite an alphanumeric name more befitting a Star Wars droid than a flagship luxury sedan. After all, when reimagining a brand, an actual name seems to be an important starting point. Fortunately, most of Cadillac's other choices were good ones.

    Appearance: The CT6 incorporates Cadillac's angular "art and science" design philosophy and also shows touches from the much-praised Elmiraj concept car, such as its large, louvered chrome grille. The car's most noticeable feature may be its LED head lamps — sorry, "vertical light systems" — that are striking, especially at night. The lamps have light blades that extend below the grille to frame the front end. The wide-set and sleek look of the sedan is complemented by sparkles-in-the-sun Stellar Black Metallic paint and 20-inch Manoogian Silver painted-finish wheels that wouldn't look out of place on a European sports car. The only design blemish is in the rear, which lacks visual interest and whose perfunctory taillights seem like an afterthought....

    Popup video screens for rear passengers include controls for the seat massagers.
  6. The Daily Drivers Updates: 2016 Honda Accord Touring, 2016 Toyota Camry SE, 2016 Kia K900 Luxury, 2016 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport Limited

    Autos

    2016 Honda Accord Touring

    The '16 model has been given a refresh and the result is a sleeker, more modern look for one of our favorite sedans. Changes include swept-back headlights that are better integrated with the grille, some suspension refinements and an infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android. Our top-trim Touring came with the 3.5-liter V-6 that puts out a sturdy 278 horsepower and gets an estimated MPG of 21/34, which isn't bad for a 6-cylinder. That engine is paired with a 6-speed transmission rather than the 4-cylinder model's CVT. But why no paddle shifters in the Touring? Still, acceleration is quick, and the ride is comfortable and refined. We still think Honda's two-screen infotainment system is redundant, but overall, there are no deal-breakers with the Accord, which does just about everything well.

    2016 Toyota Camry SE...

     Photo by Lyra Solochek, Tampa Bay Times
  7. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe

    Autos

    Do you still think of Cadillac as the go-to car for grandad? Then you haven't checked out General Motor's luxury brand recently, especially the V Series, which Cadillac is using to challenge those luxury German automakers and their performance lines. The 2016 Cadillac ATS-V coupe is proof that Detroit can take on Deutschland.

    Appearance: The head-tuning Velocity Red coupe with V-Forged aluminum wheels has more angles than a geometry textbook. It's low and wide, and tells everyone that it means business with a bulging hood, black mesh grille and aero splitter. (A forward-facing camera is useful to prevent damage to the low-slung front end.) That bulging hood features a functional air extractor to allow better flow to the engine. Our tester had the optional package, that adds carbon-fiber finish on the splitter, hood extractor and rear diffuser. From behind, the coupe — except for the large spoiler — lacks visual interest....

     The cabin has carbon fiber and metallic trim and accent stitching.
  8. Once homeless, she now has Pride

    Sports

    Christina Burkenroad once wore a brilliant disguise. On the outside: An athletic, cool surfer-girl from San Diego. On the inside: A scared and wounded child.

    Her mind was a mess with dark themes of death, homelessness, depression, drugs and suicidal thoughts. To escape, she'd go catch a wave or bounce a soccer ball and play pretend, trying to mask her pain. She felt alone in her conflicted universe, thinking no one cared if she lived or died....

    Pride rookie Christina Burkenroad wants to share her story: “Believing in yourself, having a purpose, having a goal is the ultimate motivation.”
  9. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel Crew Cab 4x4

    Autos

    The recipe for a making a light-duty truck that can appeal to the rebel in all of us? Take a normal Ram 1500 pickup, give it a menacing cosmetic makeover and add a few off-road modifications. Oh, and give it a name that implies its driver stands out from the crowd — you know, a Rebel.

    Appearance: Gone is the traditional crosshair grille. The first thing you'll notice is the blackout grille with a huge RAM logo squarely in the center. The presence of two large tow hooks and a sizable skid plate below the grille telegraph this truck's off-road intentions. So do the 33-inch Toyo all-terrain tires, which roll on sharp alloy wheels with matte black pockets. The hood is tall and imposing with dual vents to bring air to the engine compartment. The thick tailgate has a spoilerlike lip and also has a huge RAM on the back. It's heavy, though, and lacks a soft-open feature. What, off-roaders don't like niceties? The Rebel comes only in the crew-cab design with a 5-foot-7 bed....

    Gray, black and red color scheme is sharp.
  10. In welcoming China, room for rock-climbing boom

    Sports

    Michael Dobie moved to Liming in September 2010 with two friends who discovered the Chinese village in a travel brochure. Crisscrossed by dirt roads, the rustic setting in the mountains of Yunnan province offered few amenities.

    "It was pretty wild," Dobie said. "People were walking miles into town for supplies. It was kind of just one street, that type of traditional village."

    But the group came with a purpose — to establish traditional, or "trad," climbing in China — and for this, Liming offered two advantages. First, its endowment of soaring sandstone cliffs was rich with cracks and crevices ideal for the sport. Second, the local government embraced their vision and granted permits to explore the surrounding crags. In early 2011, Dobie set out cleaning routes, removing undergrowth and knocking away loose rock. By the summer, he'd finished more than 40....

    Michael Dobie moved to China to help establish traditional, or “trad,” climbing. Dobie tells tbt* that the route pictured here is a mixed-protection climb that uses both removable gear and bolts.
  11. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h

    Autos

    We were fans of the midsize Lexus RX before the popular crossover received a makeover for 2016, which has displeased those who don't care for how Toyota's luxury brand has given it a body with more angles than a stealth aircraft. We like the redesign, and we still like the SUV, which we recently drove in its RX 350 (gasoline) and RX 450h (hybrid) models. Both models now come in F Sport trim variants....

     The large 12.3-inch infotainment display can be set up in several configurations.
  12. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Audi A3 sedan

    Autos

    Here's a question we often hear: Am I better off getting the top-of-the-line model of an automaker's regular brand or the equivalent entry-level model of its luxury brand? We typically would lean away from the luxury brand, but Audi's compact A3 made us reconsider our philosophy.

    Appearance: The A3 shares design cues with its Audi siblings — trapezoidal grille with signature four-ring Audi badge, slender headlights framed by checkmark LED running lights, rounded roofline — that some might consider too ordinary. We think the little sedan — while not showy — has a handsome bearing. Even the taillights — elongated triangles framed with bright LEDs — break up any hint of blandness. Our A3 came with the optional 19-inch wing-design wheels with titanium finish ($800), which lift the overall look....

    LED lights accentuate the flared taillights.
  13. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Buick Cascada

    Autos

    Automakers have never been ones to leave a niche unfilled, which is why we now have the 2016 Buick Cascada, a relatively affordable four-seat convertible in a marketplace where most droptops are either too expensive (think sports and performance cars) or too small (think Mini Cooper). The stylish Buick is aimed at the audience last served by the likes of the Toyota Solara, Chrysler Sebring and Volkswagen Eos....

    White stitching and thin metal trim don’t do much to visually break up the dark console.
  14. 27 new things at Walt Disney World this summer

    Florida

    When you are the world's most-visited theme park, people expect a lot. And with crowds breaking records every year, Walt Disney World seems to spend its time trying to get you to plan for Fast Passes and luring you out of the Magic Kingdom and into its three other theme parks. You don't have to go to a theme park to check out Disney Springs, the shopping and dining destination formerly called Downtown Disney, which has doubled in size....

    Mickey Mouse joins Masaharu Morimoto in front of the Iron Chef’s eatery.
  15. The Daily Drivers: 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE Diesel

    Autos

    Land Rover's Range Rover has long been a favorite for those who like its combination of interior luxury, brand cachet and — for some — its well-deserved reputation for off-road agility. For 2016, the Rover line gets another option for U.S. buyers: a diesel engine for those who want better MPG from their large SUV.

    Appearance: The Range Rover — which has five luxury-laden trim lines — has been spruced up without taking away from what is, by now, a classic profile. The modern touches include slender headlights with circular LED running lights, a two-bar woven-metal style grille, prominent skid plates and lip spoiler on the power liftgate. Our HSE tester was an elegant Indus Silver Metallic, which has a slight bluish tint. Our Rover ran on 20-inch five-spoke wheels. A detail we liked: The rear glass is deeply tinted, which blocks prying eyes and the sun. A detail we found odd: The taillights are small for a vehicle of this size. ...

     There’s 27.7 cubic feet of space behind the second row.