Recreation

What happens when Fit City tries to ski jump?

What happens when Fit City tries to ski jump?

Hurtling down a lake with skis on your feet, then launching yourself over a 5-foot wedge-shaped ramp feels sort of like getting shot out of a cannon. Not that I’d know about the cannon part, although this is my Year of Adventure and I’m open to all sorts of challenges. (No, please do not alert the circus.) Longtime ski jumper Rhett Stone, who retired from the sport after having too many...
Why did Fit City declare 2017 her Year of Adventure? Tune in to Grit and Dirt podcast

Why did Fit City declare 2017 her Year of Adventure? Tune in to Grit and Dirt podcast

Kathryn Taylor, left, and Bethany Rugledge, right, have launched a podcast and blog called Grit and Dirt. Fit City is the featured guest Monday. Photo contributed by Kathryn Taylor It takes grit to do worthwhile stuff. But how do you get started? Sometimes you need a little background dirt to help you reach goals. Kathryn Taylor and Bethany Rutledge, two USA Triathlon-certified...
Austin runners Macsas and Brooks set new Wonderland Trail record – by 2 hours

Austin runners Macsas and Brooks set new Wonderland Trail record – by 2 hours

Allison Macsas, left, and Mallory Brooks, right, set a new women’s record for an unsupported trail run around Mount Rainier. Photo by Gabe Steger Two Austin runners set a new women’s time record on the 93-mile Wonderland Trail today, cutting nearly 2 hours off the previous record set in 2012. Allison Macsas and Mallory Brooks started their run...
Austin360 recreation list, Aug. 18-24

Austin360 recreation list, Aug. 18-24

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...
Under withering heat, a perfect day for Austin Ice Cream Festival

Under withering heat, a perfect day for Austin Ice Cream Festival

Three-year-old Lily screeches “I want ice cream!” from lips still speckled in white from her last serving, her eyes wide with wonder, hunger and an unruliness singularly known to toddlers. “OK, we’re getting ice cream,” her grandfather David Lentfer reassures her. Soon enough, her brother Sebastian returns with a paper sample cup full of Dippin’ Dots, willing the...
What happens when a less-than-hardcore runner takes a ‘runcation’?

What happens when a less-than-hardcore runner takes a ‘runcation’?

If you prefer watching movies or flopping under a beach umbrella with a book to, say, running up mountains when you’ve got a few days off, you probably haven’t thought much about taking a “runcation.” I hadn’t. Honestly, my feet started aching a tiny bit at the mere suggestion of spending five consecutive days logging runs with people who probably looked like fleet-footed...
Austin runners hope to set record on Wonderland Trail in Washington

Austin runners hope to set record on Wonderland Trail in Washington

The Wonderland Trail circumnavigates Mount Rainier in Washington, and most people who see it carry loaded backpacks, sleep in tents and stop periodically to snap photos or soak their feet in streams. Not Allison Macsas or Mallory Brooks. The two Austin runners hope to set a new women’s time record as they cover the 93-mile trail without outside support. Weather permitting, they plan to begin...
Forget nightclubs – toss hatchets instead at Austin’s newest club

Forget nightclubs – toss hatchets instead at Austin’s newest club

Urban Axes, a competitive hatchet-throwing venue, will open Sept. 15 in Austin. Photo courtesy Urban Axes Austin   The end-over-end whirl of an axe soaring through the air, followed by a heavy thunk as it embeds in a slab of wood. Guests get one-on-one instruction from a coach. Photo courtesy Urban Axes Austin Nothing provides the satisfaction of a little axe slinging, and starting Sept. 15,...
5 things to know about encountering coyotes in your neighborhood

5 things to know about encountering coyotes in your neighborhood

The more that Austin communities expand into formerly wild areas, the higher the chances of running into the coyotes who live there. Here are five things the city of Austin says you should know if you have coyotes in your neighborhood: 1. They’re active at dawn and dusk: Coyotes, which use a variety of vocalizations to communicate, can be about 25 to 40 pounds. Be aware of possible...
Water Ski Nationals under way at San Marcos River Ranch

Water Ski Nationals under way at San Marcos River Ranch

Bailey Austin will compete at this week’s Goode Water Ski National Championships at San Marcos River Ranch. Photo courtesy Phillip Fields Photography   The best water skiers in the world are competing in Central Texas this week, at the 75th annual Goode Water Ski National Championships outside of San Marcos. The competition, the world’s largest three-event...
Terlingua Adventure Beer Company blends Big Bend, brew and dreams

Terlingua Adventure Beer Company blends Big Bend, brew and dreams

The way Tony Drewry sees it, a beer castle will rise in the desert. It will house a modern history of Texas beer, via a collection of cans and memorabilia. And it will lure adventure seekers, especially those with a background in the beer industry, from all corners of the state. They will gather in the Big Bend region to paddle, hike and explore the back country via 4x4 vehicle, and, of course, to...
Zilker Relays kicks off fall running season on Sept. 8

Zilker Relays kicks off fall running season on Sept. 8

Pam LeBlanc, Jody Seaborn, Mercedes Orten and Chris Thibert jump before the 2014 Zilker Relays. Photo by Chris LeBlanc Fall must be coming after all. The Zilker Relays traditionally kicks off the fall racing season in Austin, and this year’s race is set for Friday, Sept. 8. Teams of four run a cumulative 10-mile race around Zilker Park, with each athlete logging a 2.5-mile loop....
More pics of Laurie Allen at Jack’s Generic Triathlon

More pics of Laurie Allen at Jack’s Generic Triathlon

Andrea Fisher, left, and an unidentified friend, right, carry Laurie Allen toward the water during Jack’s Generic Triathlon on Sunday. Photo by Carrie Barrett   You can see the happiness in Laurie Allen’s eyes in these photos from Jack’s Generic Triathlon last weekend. Laurie Allen gets settled in the water during the swim portion of Jack’s Generic Triathlon...
Laurie Allen, paralyzed in 2015 fall, finishes Jack’s Generic Tri

Laurie Allen, paralyzed in 2015 fall, finishes Jack’s Generic Tri

Laurie Allen returned to triathlon Sunday, competing in the Jack’s Generic Triathlon. Photo courtesy Andrea Fisher Triathlete Laurie Allen returned to her beloved sport of triathlon Sunday, completing a modified version of Jack’s Generic Triathlon just two and a half years after she was paralyzed in a fall. Allen finished the race in exactly 2 hours. After crossing the finish...
Austin360 recreation list, Aug. 11-17

Austin360 recreation list, Aug. 11-17

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,...
What’s it like to bike to work in the rain? Watch here

What’s it like to bike to work in the rain? Watch here

I looked like someone aimed a fire hose at me when I got to work this morning: Water dripping down my legs, hair plastered to my head beneath my helmet, clothes sopping wet. Water is covering the Shoal Creek hike-and-bike trail at 34th Street this morning. Pam LeBlanc Still, I couldn’t stop smiling. RELATED: Storms keep rolling through Austin, causing commuter misery. I pedal to...
Like running and free beer? Join East Side Beer Runners

Like running and free beer? Join East Side Beer Runners

The East Side Beer Runners meet every Wednesday for a quality workout, followed by a free beer. Photo courtesy Jon Pafk   What’s better than a free workout? A free workout plus a free beer, of course. At least that’s the philosophy of Jon Pafk, who launched the East Side Beer Runners about a year ago. The group meets at 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday at Hops & Grain Brewery...
New bicycle traffic signals installed in downtown Austin

New bicycle traffic signals installed in downtown Austin

Special bicycle traffic signals have been installed at 12 intersections in Central Austin. Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman Heads up, Austin bicyclists. You’re getting your own traffic signals. The Austin Transportation Department has installed signal faces at a dozen intersections in Central Austin. Some of them started operating last week, and I took a detour this morning...
Want a say in Austin’s bike policies? Bicycle Advisory Council needs members

Want a say in Austin’s bike policies? Bicycle Advisory Council needs members

A cyclist rides his bike south on Guadalupe Street near the University of Texas, where a cycle track provides a dedicated bike lane that is separate from vehicular traffic. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN   Want a say in Austin’s bicycle policies? The City of Austin’s Bicycle Advisory Council is accepting applications for new members. The council advises city officials...
Austin Kula Karate offers free defense class for students

Austin Kula Karate offers free defense class for students

Austin Kula Karate is offering a free self defense class for students this Saturday. Photo courtesy Austin Kula Karate Austin Kula Karate is offering a free self defense class for students heading back to college. The 90-minute session is scheduled for 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday at the studio, 2414 Exposition Boulevard, B110 (inside MOVE). Ages 12 and older are welcome. To reserve a spot, go...
For best eclipse viewing, book a campsite within the Zone of Totality

For best eclipse viewing, book a campsite within the Zone of Totality

Central Texas won’t be within the Path of Totality for the upcoming eclipse, but Hipcamp can help you find a camping spot that is. Photo by Pam LeBlanc Central Texas doesn’t fall within the Path of Totality for the upcoming eclipse, which means you won’t need a headlamp when the sun, moon and earth align at about mid-day on Aug. 21. The Zone of Totality...
Jarvis Boards makes a splash with handmade wooden paddleboards

Jarvis Boards makes a splash with handmade wooden paddleboards

A sprinkling of sawdust on the back of a business suit started it all, in a way. Tony Smith, who’d grown up building stuff with his brother — model rockets, remote-control cars, bows and arrows — had invested nearly a decade into a career in finance when he realized what he really wanted to do was create something with his hands. “One day the office administrator said, &lsquo...
Austin360 recreation list, Aug. 4-10

Austin360 recreation list, Aug. 4-10

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,...
Parks board: Austin pools master plan sets up aquatic Hunger Games

Parks board: Austin pools master plan sets up aquatic Hunger Games

Reluctant to lend their support to a plan that they said will almost certainly lead to closing swimming pools, members of the Austin Parks and Recreation Board recently declined to endorse the first full draft of the city’s aquatics master plan. The master plan, which has been in the works since 2012, ranks city swimming pools for repairs and recommends closing an unspecified 10 to save money...
What happened when Fit City tried ski jumping? Watch here…

What happened when Fit City tried ski jumping? Watch here…

  Hurtling down a man-made lake with skis on your feet, then launching yourself from a 5-foot, wedge-shaped ramp, feels sort of like getting shot out of a cannon. Not that I’d know about the cannon part, although this is my Year of Adventure and I’m open to all sorts of challenges. (No, please do not alert the circus.) I tried ski jumping yesterday (with mixed...
10 essential things to do to complete your Austin summer bucket list

10 essential things to do to complete your Austin summer bucket list

Summer is coming to an end in Austin. Well, kind of — we all know we’ve got a few more months of stifling heat in our fair city, but with August comes the reality that school is once again starting, local summer-centric events are growing fewer and folks aren’t setting up their out-of-office emails quite as often. Somehow, this summer in Austin has flown by, and you’ve...
Looking for a cool way to stay active this summer?

Looking for a cool way to stay active this summer?

Holy egg-frying sidewalks and melting asphalt; it’s hot out there. That makes sticking to a regular exercise program a challenge — unless it involves water, of course. In an effort to help keep you fit and cool, we’ve rounded up information on some of our favorite water-based sports. Grab your swimsuit and read on. SURFING At NLand Surf Park, surfers sign up to ride one of three...
Five tips to help you keep your cool while hiking on a hot summer day

Five tips to help you keep your cool while hiking on a hot summer day

Hikers explore St. Edward’s Park in May 2016. Photo by Pam LeBlanc May 9 2016   Hiking in Central Texas lately feels like walking across a hot griddle with a blow torch aimed at your face. That’s why Texas park rangers, who encounter lots of park visitors suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration, want to share some tips to keep hikers safe during the hot summer months...
Austin runners aim for “fastest known time” on Wonderland Trail

Austin runners aim for “fastest known time” on Wonderland Trail

Allison Macsas, left, and Mallory Brooks, right, will attempt to set a women’s unsupported time record when they run the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier in August. Photo courtesy Mallory Brooks The Wonderland Trail circumnavigates Mount Rainier in Washington, and most people who see it carry loaded backpacks, sleep in tents and stop periodically to snap photos...
Austin360 recreation list, July 28-Aug. 3

Austin360 recreation list, July 28-Aug. 3

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,...
Summer’s last splash: Wash away the dog days at these area water parks

Summer’s last splash: Wash away the dog days at these area water parks

It’s hot. Triple-digit hot. Burn your bare feet on the sidewalk hot. And it’s starting to feel like it may never end. Whether this is your first Central Texas summer or your 40th, there’s no denying that finding new ways to beat the heat by the time late July and August roll around can be a challenge. Here’s the good news: The Austin area is also home to some spectacular water...
A dip in a secluded Hill Country swimming hole makes everything right

A dip in a secluded Hill Country swimming hole makes everything right

I’ve been spending every spare hour lately writing. When I’m not working here at the Austin American-Statesman, I’m chipping away at a book I’m writing about the conservationist J. David Bamberger. A few weeks ago, I took a week off from the Statesman and put myself in (almost) solitary confinement out at Bamberger’s ranch, Selah,...
What does it feel like to jump into 37-degree water? Fit City finds out

What does it feel like to jump into 37-degree water? Fit City finds out

  You thought Barton Springs was cold? I jumped into an Oregon lake last week with water more than 30 degrees colder than the Austin swimming hole. My feet ached, my lips turned blue and I couldn’t stop shivering. (That’s me on the right, in the video taken by Ann Baumann.) The average temperature of Tamolitch, also known as “Blue Pool,” is 37...
Spherical panoramic image shows drone’s eye view of downtown Austin

Spherical panoramic image shows drone’s eye view of downtown Austin

Robert Youens stitched together 34 images to create a spherical panoramic image of downtown Austin. Click on the link in the blog to experience the image. Photo by Robert Youens   In case you’ve never hovered high over the intersection of Sixth and Guadalupe streets, Robert Youens can help. Just click on this link to see a spherical panorama image taken by the...
Climbers head to Lake Travis to try deep-water soloing

Climbers head to Lake Travis to try deep-water soloing

I don’t stick to rocks like a gecko, the way some of the climbers I’ve seen scaling limestone walls around Central Texas do. I hang there more like a sack of rocks, barely clinging to handholds and footholds that really skilled athletes could probably use as overnight campgrounds. Plus, let’s be honest. Rock climbing scares me. The hard ground down below makes a less-than-cushy landing...
Austin myth busted (sort of): The truth about Barton Springs temp

Austin myth busted (sort of): The truth about Barton Springs temp

A jump into Barton Springs Pool raises goosebumps and turns lips blue. That’s what 68-degree year-round water does to a body, right? Not so fast. Despite T-shirts that proclaim it, websites that tout it and a Wikipedia entry that boasts it, the water temperature at Barton Springs isn’t 68 degrees, and rarely has it been. We headed to the pool recently with David Johns, a hydrogeologist...
What happened when Fit City tried the intermediate wave at NLand Surf Park?

What happened when Fit City tried the intermediate wave at NLand Surf Park?

NLand Surf Park has made some changes after problems with a leaky liner last year. Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman If you haven’t been to NLand Surf Park yet this summer, expect some changes. The liner at the bottom of the park’s lagoon started leaking at the end of last season, after fins on the underside of surfboards scraped it up. Crews added a reinforced mat, reconfigured...
Austin360 recreation list, July 21-27

Austin360 recreation list, July 21-27

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,...
What’s the coolest way to camp? In a hammock!

What’s the coolest way to camp? In a hammock!

Erich Schlegel naps in a hammock on the Devils River. Photo by Pam LeBlanc/American-Statesman   Camping in Texas this time of year means sun-baked days and stifling tents. Unless, of course, you sleep in a hammock at night. Hammock camping, I’ve discovered, extends the camping season in places where you need hot pads just to touch the steering wheel of your car. No, camping...
Who uses that new bike bridge over Barton Creek? Terry Bowness, for one

Who uses that new bike bridge over Barton Creek? Terry Bowness, for one

  Since we’re still talking about that new bike and pedestrian bridge that crosses Barton Creek and Highway 290 alongside MoPac Boulevard (we are, aren’t we?), I tracked down someone who is using the bridge to ride to work. The bike and pedestrian bridge over Loop 360 and Barton Creek opened last month. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN   Terry Bowness, who lives in...
What’s the real temperature at Barton Springs Pool? Hint: It’s not 68 degrees

What’s the real temperature at Barton Springs Pool? Hint: It’s not 68 degrees

A jump into Barton Springs Pool raises goosebumps and turns lips blue. That’s what 68-degree year-round water does to a body, right? Not so fast. Despite T-shirts that proclaim it, websites that tout it and a Wikipedia entry that boasts it, the water temperature at Barton Springs isn’t 68 degrees, and rarely has it been. Walker Stone, left, drops a multi-sensor...
Looking for something cool — and active? Check out these events

Looking for something cool — and active? Check out these events

Here at Fit City, we’re constantly trolling the waters (and sifting through press releases) to find the coolest ways to spend these hot summer days. What’s caught our eye lately? Lots. If you’re into bats, paddling, yoga, beer, swimming or running — and we know you are — read on. Moonlight Bat Float Did someone say live music, paddling and Mexican free-tailed bats? The...
Texas Parks and Wildlife considers new trails, day-use areas at Inks Lake and Longhorn Caverns

Texas Parks and Wildlife considers new trails, day-use areas at Inks Lake and Longhorn Caverns

The sunset forms a worthy backdrop for creating memories at Inks Lake, located near Colorado Bend State Park. Photo by Mauri Elbel Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials will present plans to turn a golf course that closed in 2010 at Inks Lake State Park into a day-use recreational area. They’ll also unveil a proposed plan to build a hike and bike trail between...
Top tubing destinations: Where to float the river in Central Texas

Top tubing destinations: Where to float the river in Central Texas

If you haven’t floated the river at least once, is it really summer in Texas? The short answer: no. The long answer: here are a bunch of places in Central Texas you can get your tubing fix. Sure, this isn’t an “official” tubing destination. It’s a BYOT (bring your own tube) situation, but clearly the best option if you don’t feel like making the drive to, say...
10 tips for staying cool while running in the summer

10 tips for staying cool while running in the summer

Texas summers can be brutal for runners. Here are 10 tips to keep yourself from getting overheated (or dehydrated) while running. 1. Run early in the morning In Texas, it starts getting hot before the sun even comes up, so your best bet for beating the heat is starting early, before the temperatures creep into the 90s. If you’re not a morning person, you can run in the evening, too, but is there...
Longleaf pine gets second chance at Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary

Longleaf pine gets second chance at Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary

The young longleaf pines that populate the Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary look vaguely like Cousin Itt from the old television show “The Addams Family.” The trees’ slender branches all wear pine-needle pompadours, and they’re the stars of this Nature Conservancy preserve, set aside in 1977 to conserve and protect the diversity of this part of East Texas. A 90-million acre...
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