Recreation

Austin has its own Buddy the Elf — but he’s about to hang up his tights

Austin has its own Buddy the Elf — but he’s about to hang up his tights

Sunday morning, while you’re still in bed, John Muehlbauer will tug on a pair of yellow tights, button up a green jacket and fasten a wide black belt around his waist. Before he so much as pours a river of syrup over a plate of spaghetti or tears the wrapper off the first candy cane of the day, he’ll don a cone-shaped green hat and head to the airport, where he’ll wander the terminal...
Just when you thought they were all closing, new running store opens in Austin

Just when you thought they were all closing, new running store opens in Austin

[vimeo 243927777 w=492 h=277] Some of the biggest running stores in Austin – RunTex, Luke’s Locker and Hill Country Running Company – have shuttered in the past five years, blaming competition from online sales and an oversaturated market. But this week, a new running store is opening in downtown Austin. Ryan and Pam Hess, both fixtures in the local running scene (Pam...
Looking for a mid-week, early morning dance party? Try Daybreaker

Looking for a mid-week, early morning dance party? Try Daybreaker

Daybreaker will host an early morning dance party at Spiderhouse on Wednesday. Photo courtesy Daybreaker Heads up, morning people. If you’d rather dance before work than when the sun goes down, check out the Daybreaker Austin party early Wednesday. The party starts with a yoga session at 6 a.m. at Spiderhouse Ballroom, 2908 Fruth Street. The dance floor opens at 7 a.m., with DJ Chorizo...
Dancers Shape, Fitness Connection open new Austin locations

Dancers Shape, Fitness Connection open new Austin locations

Jennifer McCamish leads a group of NFL football players in a barre class at Dancers Shape. The studio is opening a second location in Bee Cave. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN   Because it’s almost January, when people around the globe, determined to make good on their New Year’s resolutions, join gyms, we must tell you about two new fitness centers opening...
Austin360 recreation list, Dec. 15-21

Austin360 recreation list, Dec. 15-21

Markets Barton Creek Farmers Markets. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Parking lot of Barton Creek Square, intersection of South MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and South Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360). 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays at 2323 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-443-0143,bartoncreekfarmersmarket.org. Bastrop Producers Market. Indoor farmers market. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays...
Free yoga – and a beer – at Hyatt Regency Austin tonight

Free yoga – and a beer – at Hyatt Regency Austin tonight

Catch a free yoga class – and a beer – at tonight’s Pints & Poses event at the Hyatt Regency Austin. Photo courtesy Hyatt Regency   Your monthly free yoga and a beer fix happens tonight at the Hyatt Regency Austin. The December “Pints & Poses” class, which is open to hotel guests as well as local residents, starts at 6:30 p.m.. The ...
What’s next for the hike-and-bike trail? Leaders unveil 15 projects

What’s next for the hike-and-bike trail? Leaders unveil 15 projects

New trailheads, restrooms, playgrounds and a study for a potential pedestrian bridge over Lady Bird Lake east of Interstate 35 top a list of projects the Trail Foundation will announce Friday. The 15 projects are scheduled for completion in the next five years, said Heidi Anderson (formerly Cohn), executive director of the Trail Foundation, the nonprofit organization created to maintain and enhance...
New running gear makes you shine and protects sensitive spots

New running gear makes you shine and protects sensitive spots

I’ve seen the future, runners, and it involves 3-D scanners that gather data for custom-fit shoes, reflective material you rub directly onto your skin, and tree-sap-powered workout fuel. Every year at the Running Event, manufacturers unveil the newest in gadgetry and gear to retailers, race directors and media from across the country. Elite athletes like Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi...
Check out these holiday activities at Texas State Parks

Check out these holiday activities at Texas State Parks

The Trail of Lights at Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Monument in LaGrange offers a less-crowded alternative to the Trial of Lights in Austin. Photo by Pam LeBlanc   Need a dose of holiday spirit? Quick, head to a Texas State Park. From tree lightings to cookie decorating parties and a lantern light tour, parks around Central Texas are hosting fun, family-themed ...
REI, Patagonia protest Trump’s plan to shrink size of national monuments

REI, Patagonia protest Trump’s plan to shrink size of national monuments

The sun rises over Valley of The Gods inside Bears Ears National Monument, near Blanding Utah, Aug. 23, 2017. (Alex Goodlett/The New York Times) If you’ve surfed the net for hiking boots or ski pants in the last 24 hours, you may have noticed a change in the websites of two of the country’s largest outdoor retailers. Both REI and Patagonia posted full-page declarations...
Committee delays vote on update to Balcones Canyonlands Preserve access guidelines

Committee delays vote on update to Balcones Canyonlands Preserve access guidelines

Mountain bikers ride on the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail in this 2012 file photo. Jay Janner/AMERICAN-STATESMAN –   A vote on updated public access guidelines at the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve has been postponed. Dozens of mountain bikers, motorcyclists and other park users, concerned that a rewording of the guidelines might jeopardize future access to the preserve, spoke...
Austin360 recreation list, Dec. 8-14

Austin360 recreation list, Dec. 8-14

Markets Barton Creek Farmers Markets. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Parking lot of Barton Creek Square, intersection of South MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and South Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360). 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays at 2323 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-443-0143,bartoncreekfarmersmarket.org. Bastrop Producers Market. Indoor farmers market. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays...
Made-to-order running shoes and a whole lot more at The Running Event

Made-to-order running shoes and a whole lot more at The Running Event

Attendees of The Running Event trade show test out a new scanner and gait analysis pad that can be used to make custom-fit insoles and shoes. Photo by Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman staff   I think I got a glimpse of the future at The Running Event this week, and it involves foot scanning machines, kinetic profiling and made-to-order shoes. It sounds a little futuristic...
It’s really dark at Big Bend Ranch State Park — and that’s a good thing

It’s really dark at Big Bend Ranch State Park — and that’s a good thing

When the sun sets on a moonless night at rugged and remote Big Bend Ranch State Park, the night wraps around you like a black velvet cloak. That darkness recently earned the coveted International Dark Sky Park status for the 315,000-acre park in Far West Texas. As a result, Big Bend Ranch State Park and its neighbor, Big Bend National Park, now form one of the largest contiguous areas under dark skies...
Climbers, cyclists worry updated rules could limit park access

Climbers, cyclists worry updated rules could limit park access

Head to New Wall on the Barton Creek greenbelt any warm afternoon and you’ll find climbers inching their way up the 50-foot limestone escarpment, using rocks shaped like chicken heads, elephant ears and cookies for handholds. Climbers have been scaling these grayish-green cliffs for decades, even after the city parkland was incorporated into the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve in 1996. But now...
Need to brush up on bicycling law? Take a free City Cycling class

Need to brush up on bicycling law? Take a free City Cycling class

Cyclists park their bikes in the bike corral at Austin’s new Central Library on Oct. 29, 2017. PAM LeBLANC/American-Statesman Laws pertaining to bicycling can get complicated. That’s why Bike Austin, through a partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation, is offering free classes to help people bike safely to work, the store, around the neighborhood or around the...
Tennis mixer raises money to fund ‘cancer vaccine’ trial

Tennis mixer raises money to fund ‘cancer vaccine’ trial

Kristin Peabody and her son celebrate Mother’s Day. Peabody has a rare form of cancer. FAMILY PHOTO A year after she and her business partner opened the Hiatus Spa in Dallas, Kristin Peabody was diagnosed with a rare form of parotid cancer, which affects the head and neck. Peabody was pregnant with her son, so doctors designed a special crate to protect him during her treatment....
Go early, check our pro tips for best Enchanted Rock experience

Go early, check our pro tips for best Enchanted Rock experience

Pam LeBlanc takes in the view of Enchanted Rock from the top of Turkey Peak. Photo by Chris LeBlanc for American-Statesman   Too much sitting around makes me grumpy, so I struck out for Enchanted Rock State Natural Area yesterday to stretch my legs and admire my favorite pink granite batholith. I’m working on a longer story, but until then, some pro tips in case you plan a visit...
Fling hatchets, raise money for men’s health at Urban Axes event

Fling hatchets, raise money for men’s health at Urban Axes event

Patrons of Urban Axes toss hatches toward a target. Photo courtesy Urban Axes   Because nothing says “charity” like flinging an axe and drinking beer… Urban Axes Austin, where customers sling hatchets and sip beer for fun, will host an axe-throwing tournament, spiced up with locally-sourced snacks and beer, to benefit men’s health issues. The event is set...
Best way to see the Trail of Lights? By running through it!

Best way to see the Trail of Lights? By running through it!

Light tunnels dazzle visitors at the 2015 Trail of Lights. MARY HUBER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN   We know – it’s only Thanksgiving. But Austin’s beloved Trail of Lights opens soon, and you can get a sneak peak if you lace up your running shoes for the Trial of Lights fun run. You won’t even have to run far. The route takes you 2.1 miles under the...
How much will you have to exercise to burn off that turkey dinner?

How much will you have to exercise to burn off that turkey dinner?

Plan on a lot of exercise if you hope to burn off that Thanksgiving meal. (Stephen Spillman for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)   How many burpees does it take to burn off a dollop of gravy? How far must you run to negate a slice of holiday pie? The Daily Burn tallied the caloric cost of a Thanksgiving feast, and the results might make you second guess that decision not to sign up for the local...
Here’s why the Sixth Street Cowboy rides his mule in downtown Austin

Here’s why the Sixth Street Cowboy rides his mule in downtown Austin

I spent a morning recently riding a lanky gray steed named Tex from an urban farm in East Austin to Congress Avenue with Samuel Grey Horse, aka the Sixth Street Cowboy. (No, riding a horse or mule within city limits does not violate any city ordinance.) Tex, who is as mellow as vanilla ice cream and steady as a freightliner, seemed to enjoy the jaunt. He never flinched or hopped, or so much...
Want dark? Go to Big Bend Ranch State Park, which just earned dark sky status

Want dark? Go to Big Bend Ranch State Park, which just earned dark sky status

Campers enjoy the sites on Guale Mesa at Big Bend Ranch State Park. Pam LeBlanc/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN   When the sun sets on a moonless night at rugged and remote Big Bend Ranch State Park, the night wraps around you like a black velvet cloak. This week, the 315,000-acre park announced its designation as an International Dark Sky Park. Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State...
Holiday gift ideas for runners, nature lovers and other athletes

Holiday gift ideas for runners, nature lovers and other athletes

We love presents that inspire us to get outside and move. They’re not only fun but also good for our bodies. And what better gift than the gift of good health? So keep your video games and fruitcakes, your fancy ties and perfume. We scoured local retailers to pick out what the athlete on your shopping list might like to find under the tree this year. Austin-based ¡Viva la Bicicleta! wants...
This Black Friday, #OptOutside instead of exercising your wallet

This Black Friday, #OptOutside instead of exercising your wallet

Several parks, including Inks Lake State Park, shown here, are hosting events on Black Friday. Mauri Elbel for American-Statesman   Here’s a suggestion: This Black Friday, instead of going shopping, go outside. Head to area parks, trails or greenbelts to stretch a leg, instead of giving your credit card a workout. Several state parks are hosting special events on Friday: Buescher State...
Need a pre-feast calorie burn? Do a turkey trot!

Need a pre-feast calorie burn? Do a turkey trot!

The annual ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot takes place Thursday. Runners make their way across the First Street Bridge in this 2012 file photo by Alberto Martinez AMERICAN-STATESMAN   Before you sit down to a Thanksgiving feast, we recommend some pre-emptive calorie burning. One of the most fun ways to do that? A turkey trot, of course. Check out these two local options...
What’s up with this lemon-lime colored bike?

What’s up with this lemon-lime colored bike?

Caen Contee, vide president of marketing at LimeBike, poses with one of the dockless bikes at the Austin American-Statesman building on Thursday. PAM LeBLANC/Austin American-Statesman What’s up with this lemon-lime flavored bike? It’s one of a fleet of bikes that a company called LimeBike may disperse over Austin in coming months. The bikes are part of what’s called...
Fit City picks for weekend fun

Fit City picks for weekend fun

The CG Games take place Saturday at Circuit of the Americas. Photo courtesy Camp Gladiator   Looking for something active and outdoors this pre-Thanksgiving weekend? Check out these Fit City picks for muscle-stretching, mind-clearing fun: “Mystic Raven” was recently installed along the Shoal Creek trail. PAM LeBLANC/American-Statesman Art Ride Creekside – Bike Austin, the Shoal...
Grant money from ACL Music Fest benefits five Austin parks

Grant money from ACL Music Fest benefits five Austin parks

A crowd watches The Head and the Heart perform during the second weekend of the 2017 Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN   The the last notes faded a month ago and the stages have long since been dismantled, but this week five Austin area parks got word they’ll receive a collective $200,000 in grants through the Austin...
You don’t have to be a pro to handle these mountain bike trails

You don’t have to be a pro to handle these mountain bike trails

Sometimes my shins (and psyche) just can’t handle the limestone ledges and gnarly terrain that many of Austin’s mountain biking trails dish up. So when I heard that 13 miles of beginner-friendly paths at McKinney Roughs Nature Park were opening to cyclists later this month, I tracked down pro mountain biking pal and REI Outdoor School senior instructor Cindy Abbott for a tour. The verdict?...
Gold’s Gym offering free boot camps through Dec. 3

Gold’s Gym offering free boot camps through Dec. 3

Sharonda Cooper lifts weights at Gold’s Gym in this file photo by Bret Gerbe for American-Statesman Here’s another one for the free fitness files … Gold’s Gym is offering free bootcamps through Dec. 3. To check the schedule, go here.  The following locations will offer the free camps: South Austin:  Bee Caves (12480 Bee Caves Road)  ...
New bike trails to open at McKinney Roughs, plus free park entry Nov. 24

New bike trails to open at McKinney Roughs, plus free park entry Nov. 24

Pam LeBlanc checks out a trail at McKinney Roughs Nature Park on Monday, Nov. 13. The trails open to the public on Nov. 24. Stephen Spillman for the American-Statesman   McKinney Roughs Nature Park is preparing to open 13 miles of trail to mountain bikers in a few weeks, and I enlisted pro mountain bike rider and REI instructor Cindy Abbott this morning to give me a...
Invasive zebra mussels infesting Lake Georgetown, parks officials say

Invasive zebra mussels infesting Lake Georgetown, parks officials say

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists have confirmed that Lake Georgetown in Williamson County is “fully infested” with zebra mussels after finding an established, reproducing population of the invasive species during testing in late October and early November. Zebra mussels — which have been known to clog pipes and machinery, causing billion of dollars in damage in lakes...
Austin360 recreation list, Nov. 17-23

Austin360 recreation list, Nov. 17-23

Markets Barton Creek Farmers Markets. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Parking lot of Barton Creek Square, intersection of South MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and South Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360). 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays at 2323 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-443-0143,bartoncreekfarmersmarket.org. Bastrop Producers Market. Indoor farmers market. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays...
Forget a new car, I just bought a new adventure craft!

Forget a new car, I just bought a new adventure craft!

Chris and Pam LeBlanc christen their new canoe in their backyard Sunday evening.   I took the canoe plunge yesterday. In the last year, I’ve discovered how much I love paddling. I kayaked the Llano, Colorado, Pedernales and San Marcos rivers, plus Mexican Creek, Lake Travis and Lady Bird Lake. I also canoed for four days on the Devils River. RELATED: Check out these great places...
Mother and daughter vow to run 100 5Ks before high school graduation

Mother and daughter vow to run 100 5Ks before high school graduation

A few months ago, Margo Stefka and her daughter Skylar made a pact — one that spans four years and more than 300 miles. If all goes according to plan, the pair will cross the finish line of 100 5K races by the time Skylar, a ninth-grader, graduates from Lago Vista High School in May 2021. To meet that goal, they’ll have to pound out an average of two races a month. They have plenty to...
Electric bike seller Rocket Electrics opens downtown location

Electric bike seller Rocket Electrics opens downtown location

John and Nicole Zinn pose with an electric cargo bike in front of the newest location of Rocket Electrics in downtown Austin. PAM LeBLANC/American-Statesman Last Sunday morning, I had places to go and things to do. But between the Run for the Water, where I needed to arrive with fresh legs at 6:30 a.m., and the Texas Book Festival, where I wasn’t sure I could find...
Fit City’s picks for a fit, fun weekend

Fit City’s picks for a fit, fun weekend

This year’s Reel Rock film festival features a film titled “Stump,” about one-handed climber Maureen Beck. Photo by Katrin Bell If you’re like us, this week’s blast of cool weather made you want to get outside and snag your legs on some brambles. (Or maybe it just made you want to get outside. That’s OK, too.) We’ve been checking...
Carrie Barrett got me to spill my guts on her podcast, “I Could Never Do That”

Carrie Barrett got me to spill my guts on her podcast, “I Could Never Do That”

Pam LeBlanc, left, and Carrie Barrett, right, record an interview for Barrett’s podcast. Photo by Alyssa Vidales/American-Statesman   A couple of weeks ago, Carrie Barrett and I shut ourselves into a room here at the Austin American-Statesman office, turned on some recording equipment, and started to chat. We talked about my Year of Adventure, which so far has included a running...
Visit Texas State Parks for free this Sunday

Visit Texas State Parks for free this Sunday

  Leilani Perry looks at Enchanted Rock from Moss Lake, a small lake on the back side of the huge granite hill. Photo by PAM LeBLANC/American-Statesman   Thinking of climbing up Enchanted Rock? Dreaming about sticking your toes in the Pedernales River? Hankering to hike among red and gold leaves at Lost Maples State Park? Head to any Texas State Park on Sunday...
If you exercise in the dark, dress like this

If you exercise in the dark, dress like this

Pam LeBlanc, aka Safety Pam, gears up for a early morning run with a neon bright top and lights that strap to her hands. CHRIS LEBLANC Welcome to the dark side, folks. Days are getting shorter, and if you’re a runner or cyclist, you’re probably spending more time exercising when the sun’s down. That means it’s time to deck yourself out in high- ...
At Run for the Water, I experienced what people in Burundi do every day

At Run for the Water, I experienced what people in Burundi do every day

Leslie Newberry, a board member of the Gazelle Foundation, carries a water jug along the course of Sunday’s Run for the Water. PAM LeBLANC/American-Statesman   Gilbert Tuhabonye tells the story often: As a boy growing up in Burundi, he walked 3 miles at least once every day to fill a plastic jug with drinking water for his family. So did his neighbors and classmates...
Best way to get to Austin’s new library? By bike, of course

Best way to get to Austin’s new library? By bike, of course

Have you visited the new Central Library in downtown Austin yet? Go. And travel by bicycle, if possible. I pedaled down to the new library at 710 West Cesar Chavez St. during the library’s opening weekend and parked my steel steed in the special bike “corral” on the lower east side of the building. The garagelike space is outfitted to store about 200 bikes, many of them on staggered...
Hey endurance athletes, check out the new Austin Triathlon Club

Hey endurance athletes, check out the new Austin Triathlon Club

Meghann Jones and Daniel Riegel have launched a new triathlon club in Austin. FAMILY PHOTO Organizers of the new Austin Triathlon Club are hosting a launch party Monday at the Gingerman. Daniel Riegel and Meghann Jones, who met through the DC Triathlon Club in Washington, D.C., decided to start a similar social and training club when they moved back to Texas. (Austin has had social triathlon...
UT grad chronicles Grand Canyon murder in new book

UT grad chronicles Grand Canyon murder in new book

Annette McGivney returns to Austin next week to talk about her latest book, “Pure Land.” Photo courtesy Aquarius Press In 2006, an 18-year-old member of the Havasupai tribe stabbed a 34-year-old Japanese woman to death as she hiked alone to a turquoise-colored series of waterfalls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Annette McGivney, an environmental writer who lives in Flagstaff...
Got baby? No problem. Bring little ones to this free Stroller Fit workout

Got baby? No problem. Bring little ones to this free Stroller Fit workout

Lisa Druxman, founder of Fit4Mom, will lead a free Stroller Fit class at Zilker Park on Friday. Photo courtesy Fit4Mom Babies shouldn’t keep you from working out. Case in point: This Friday, you can bring your little one to a free Stroller Strides workout at Zilker Park. Lisa Druxman, founder of Fit4Mom, will lead the group workout. Instructors from Austin-area franchises will also be on hand...
6 things to know to have a safe time trick-or-treating on Halloween

6 things to know to have a safe time trick-or-treating on Halloween

Trick-or-treating can be scary business when you think about it: wandering through neighborhoods in the dark, demanding candy at strangers’ doorsteps. So here are six things you can do to make it a safer Halloween: 1. Be visible at night: Plan costumes that are bright and reflective or consider adding reflective tape to costumes and bags for greater visibility. Take a flashlight...
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