Would you get up at the crack of dawn for a house party?
Daybreaker is throwing an ’80s morning dance party, starting with a 6 a.m. fitness class followed by two hours of dancing (with reckless abandon, according to the website) in a historic Austin mansion.
That should leave you pumped for a day at the office, don’t you think?
The party takes place at the Graeber House, 410 East Sixth Street. Early risers can show up at 6 a.m. for an hour-long fitness class. Or sleep an extra hour and arrive in time for the 2-hour dancing free-for-all to ’80s music. Shoulder pads, leg warmers and MC Hammer dance moves are encouraged.
The party includes DJs and musical guests, plus coffee, juice and healthy snacks.
It’s a no booze event, or, as the website says: “We don’t need alcohol. We don’t need to pretend to be someone else. We come as we are to sweat, dance and connect with ourselves and each other. See you on the dance floor.”
A year and a half ago, I laced up my shoes, shucked off my clothes and ran the Bare Buns 5K race as part of my self-proclaimed Year of Adventure.
Aside from a little awkwardness when I first stripped down, I enjoyed the run. I know it sounds absurd, but once the starting horn sounded, it felt just like any other timed run – only with better airflow. It also marked the first (and only) time I won the overall women’s division of a running race, probably because most of the competition was male.
That race takes place in the spring, when flowers are blooming and butterflies are fluttering. Now Star Ranch Nudist Resort, a private residential community located east of Austin in McDade, has added a second naked run to its schedule. This time, leaves will be falling from trees as the runners take off.
Chances are it’ll still be warm then, and the course carries runners over the same pine needle-covered hills, sandy expanses and a hay field as last time. When I ran before, I wore running shoes and a straw cowboy hat, which blew off my head at one point. That attire should suffice this time, too.
Although runners can wear whatever clothing they want (sports bras for women, for example), most go nude except for shoes. The year I ran, the race drew about 120 runners, most of whom didn’t live at the park. The residents were enthusiastic, though, handing out timing chips and directing athletes along the course. Afterward, everyone gathered by the newly-renovated swimming pool for a celebration and burger cookoff.
Gates open for the Chilly Cheeks 5K at 9 a.m. The chip-timed race starts at 1 p.m. A 1K kids fun run is set for 10 a.m. Entry fee is $30 for adults and $10 for children. Sign up online here.
Star Ranch opened in 1957. The resort is member resort of the American Association for Nude Recreation. The Bare Buns 5K and the Chilly Cheeks 5K are part of a series of naked races in the organization’s southwest region.
National Dance Day rolls around this Saturday, and Ballet Austin is offering $10 classes to celebrate.
Participants can learn the moves for this year’s official National Dance Day routine, to Kylie Minogue’s song “Dancing.” They can also take classes in Afro-Brazilian dance, Arms & Abs 60-Minute Stretch, Cardio Hip Hop, ballet, hip hop, Rio-style Samba, Jazz Turns & Jumps, Videodance Britney’s Toxic and Zumba.
The event runs from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. No dance experience is necessary. Open to adults and children ages 10 and older.
In case yesterday’s record setting temperature of 110 degrees at Camp Mabry didn’t burn your britches, may we suggest the newest offering from Pure Yoga Texas – “Inferno Hot Pilates.”
Inferno Hot Pilates is practiced in 95 degree heat, so technically that still means someone has to crank up the air conditioning this week in Austin.
The low-impact, full body workout combines Pilates and high intensity interval training. Expect to sweat. (Please hydrate accordingly. And pay attention to your body. Heat exhaustion is no joke.)
Gabi Walters developed the class in 2012 and it has grown in popularity around the country.
“Inferno Hot Pilates is a great complement to our Hot 26 & 2 yoga class,” said Pure Yoga Texas studio manager Nora Rex. “Our students love the challenge of the cardio workout and muscle strengthening in Inferno Hot Pilates. It helps them in their yoga practice to find their edge and expand their body and mind.”
Pure Yoga Texas operates four locations: 507 Pressler Street No. 100 in downtown Austin; 4301 West William Cannon Drive in South Austin; 1335 East Whitestone Boulevard No. 185 in Cedar Park; and 2525 West Anderson Lane No. 320 in North Austin. The Inferno Hot Pilates class is available at the Pressler Street and Cedar Park locations.
All locations offer 60- and 90-minute hot yoga classes, heated vinyasa, yin yoga and HIIT Fusion.
Want to try an Inferno Hot Pilates class on the cheap? The studio will offer free Inferno Hot Yoga classes at 8:45 a.m. every Saturday during August at Athleta in the Domain, 11601 Century Oaks Terrace No. 121.
I thought I’d turn into a Popsicle, but as it turned out, the water temperature hovered at a balmy 65 degrees Saturday, when I swam across Lake Tahoe as part of a six-person relay team.
That’s well above the 55 degrees we’d been braced for, and barely cold enough to raise goose bumps, as long as you keep moving. And thank goodness for that, because wetsuits aren’t allowed in the Trans Tahoe Relay, which starts in Nevada and finishes roughly 10 miles away in California.
Bret Cunningham, who swims on the same U.S. Masters Swim Team that I do, invited me and my husband to join him for the race. Three other swimmers – David Bruns, Kaleigh Mitchell and Lauren Lubus, all from different parts of the country – flew in to round out our group. We’d each swim a 30-minute leg, then alternate 10-minute turns until we reached the finish.
The Olympic Club of San Francisco hosts the event, which starts at Sand Harbor and finishes in Skylandia. Along the way, swimmers cross the deepest section of the lake, which plunges a mile straight down. (Yikes!) This year marked the 42nd running of the relay, and it drew former Olympians, collegiate swimmers, and recreational athletes just out for a nice cruise.
Things I noticed as our team made its slow but steady way across the lake? A massive flotilla of boats, bobbing along in support of the swimmers. The way shafts of light flickered deep into the lake. The cool, full-body hug from Mother Nature. The deep green of the pine trees standing shoulder to shoulder all the way around the basin. The peace and insulated quiet that comes when you’re immersed in water. The splashing and underwater burbling noises. With every breath, the vague outline of mountain peaks in the distance.
And the blue that goes on forever.
I love to swim, and swim four or five days a week here in Austin. Lake Tahoe now ranks in the top five most beautiful places I’ve ever gone swimming. (The bay in Kona, Hawaii makes that list, as do a few pristine high alpine lakes along the John Muir Trail and High Sierra Trail in California. I also love Walden Pond in Massachusetts, Lake Michigan, The Narrows near Blanco, the ocean around Fiji, Barton Springs right here in Austin, a place called Half Moon Cay off the coast of Belize, a spring-fed pool on Independence Creek in West Texas, and about a dozen other places, so I guess I actually can’t pick just five.)
In all, more than 1,100 athletes competed in this year’s race, which is staged in four groups, based on cumulative age and spaced 10 minutes apart. Our group started with the third wave. Our lead swimmer (thanks David!) dashed off from shore in a group, while the rest of us waited on a support boat, trying to pick him out. We spotted him about 15 minutes in – or he spotted us, since we hung balloons, gold fringe and an American flag on the side of our rental craft to make it stand out.
Most of the team boats were decked out in balloons, ribbons and other accoutrements, including inflatable flamingos, pirate flags and a giant yellow rubber duck. One boat had its own slide, so swimmers could gracefully glide into the lake to make their relay exchanges.
It took us 4 hours and 52 minutes to chug our way across the lake. I lucked out and drew the last leg, which meant I got to tag the big buoy marker off the beach and swim in to shore, where lots of families and friends lined the dock to watch.
It costs $750 per team to enter the Lake Tahoe race. That’s a lot, but consider this – it’s divided among six people, and proceeds benefit Keep Tahoe Blue, a non-profit organization that works to protect water quality of the lake, and the parks departments in the villages where the race starts and finishes. Teams also need a support boat. We rented one from a marina near the race start.
That one’s too far to go? Consider racing in the Lake Travis Relay, set this year for Oct. 20. This year’s 10- to 12-mile race starts and finishes near Emerald Point. Entry fee is $360 (plus $15 per person for ASA membership); registration fees increase Sept. 17 and Sept. 30. Go here for more information.
Want to watch this year’s Tour de France with other cycling fans?
Juan Pelota Café, tucked inside Mellow Johnny’s, the downtown Austin cycling shop owned by ormer pro cyclist Lance Armstrong (who was stripped of his seven tour wins after a doping scandal), is showing into the race live every day.
As the cyclists spin their way up and down hills, through picturesque villages and over stretches of rough cobblestone in France, Armstrong waves his arms, yells at the monitor and lets fly with the occasional cuss word. It’s all recorded and livestreamed for fans around the world through Armstrong’s WeDū portal.
“I get pretty animated when I watch,” Armstrong said Sunday, while driving from his summer home in Aspen to catch a polo match down the canyon with his fiance, Anna Hansen, and two of their children. “And I do slip up and say bad words from time to time.”
“With broadcasting, a lot of times you have a boss and you have a certain decorum and you’re beholden to certain sponsors or a governing body,” says Hager, who for years co-hosted, along with Sandy McIlree, the morning show on Austin radio station Mix 94.7. “(Armstrong) gives such a raw honest look at it because he’s not beholden to anyone. He can say whatever he wants.”
These days, Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner stripped of his victories in 2012 after a doping scandal, makes no apologies. He knows some people will tune in, and others, still angry over the cheating scandal, will never again listen to a word he says.
It’s all part of life post cycling for Armstrong, who launched “The Forward Podcast with Lance Armstrong” in June 2016. That program, available for free via YouTube, FaceBook and iTunes, features Armstrong interviewing an intriguing parade of celebrities, from musicians such as the Avett Brothers and Bob Schneider to retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., politician Wendy Davis, former Austin police chief Art Acevedo, billionaire businessman John Paul DeJoria, and free diver Tanya Streeter. Talk focuses on everything from current events to politics, family life and the arts, and it rarely touches on cycling.
But some fans still want Armstrong’s perspective on bike racing, so last year, he teamed with Hager to add a separate series of podcasts just during the Tour de France. The pair built on that idea this year, and have once again put “The Forward” podcast on hold while they spend a month producing “The Move,” which includes daily coverage of the 21-stage Tour de France, plus some other special features.
Hager, who’s done his own share of recreational bike racing, drove his trailer to Aspen, where Armstrong owns a home, parked it in the neighbor’s driveway, then plugged in a bristling array of audio visual equipment. He tees up questions for Armstrong as they watch, which helps listeners who may not understand the nuances of bike racing.
“He knows enough about cycling to be dangerous, but spent 20 plus years talking to people on the corner of Main Street and First, so if it starts to get technical or wonky he can bring it back to Every Man Jack speak,” Armstrong says.
“The Move” podcast lasts about 30 to 40 minutes, but real Armstrong fans can get more content. A $60 WeDū season pass allows members to observe Hager and Armstrong as they watch the last 20 kilometers of each stage of the Tour live, before they record their podcast.
“I always said last year I wished people could see him while he’s watching the Tour unfold. Whether it’s a climb or sprint, he jumps out of his skin, he’s losing his mind,” Hager says.
Members can also watch pre-production meetings and participate in special evening “happy hour” sessions, when they can email questions directly to Hager for discussion. They also get a WeDū Tshirt and discounts on merchandise.
“We’re legitimately having cocktails and fielding questions in real time,” Hager says. Former professional cyclist George Hincapie dropped by for a session last week; NASCAR driver Jimmy Johnson is expected this week.
A season pass will include the behind-the-scenes coverage of other cycling races, too. So far, about 1,000 fans from around the world have signed up as members.
As for this year’s Tour, it’s particularly technical, according to Armstrong. Sunday’s stage included 15 sections of rough cobbled roads – the most ever in the Tour de France. Monday is a rest day, and coming days will include some short, explosive mountain stages.
“The first week was very hectic, with a bunch of nervous finishes. The guys are already tired,” says Armstrong, who picked a favorite – 2014 Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali from Italy – early on, but is backpedaling a tad on his choice. “I might regret picking him, but it’s too late.”
“There’s already been quite a shakeup, there’s been a team time trial, and some very technical stages in what almost looks like Austin that are real hilly but don’t have long climbs,” he says. “Now we have the rest day and three days in the Alps, culminating with Alpe d’Huez on Thurday, then some transition days where they basically have to ride across the country to the Pyrenees. It’s hard and hot. The Pyrenees are really the show this year, I think.”
After the tour ends July 29 in Paris, Armstrong and Hager will put together a “best of” podcast featuring edited versions of some of their favorite interviews from “The Forward.”
“We’ll edit it down, put those up, and then launch a new structure for ‘The Forward’ in the fall which will be more based around specific themes like fear or cancer,” Armstrong says.
Does all the Tour watching make him yearn for his racing days?
“Not at all,” he says. “I’m happy to be in Aspen, Colorado.”
Which is where he plans to stay for the summer, before returning to Austin sometime in September.
He has another bit of business coming up, too: a wedding.
Armstrong got engaged to Hansen last May, but neither one is saying when a wedding will happen, or exactly where, but they are considering both Marfa and Napa Valley.
For more information about WeDū, or to sign up as a member, go to www.wedu.team.
Anyone is invited to participate in this Saturday’s Back the Track Relays at Austin High School, 1715 Cesar Chavez Street. Proceeds will help fund the resurfacing and renovation for the school’s track and field, long a popular place for the local runners to train.
The USATF-sanctioned event will include 50-meter, 200-meter, 800-meter, 400-meter and 100-meter races, the long jump, and a 1-mile run dubbed the Austin Mile Challenge.
Entry fee is $15, plus an additional $5 for youth and $10 for adults who also enter the Austin Mile Challenge. All proceeds will go to the Back The Track account at the AISD Office of Innovation and Development. For more information go here.
The meet is capped at 175 registrants (no cap for the Austin Mile Challenge). Participants are limited to three events. No refunds or adding events the day of the meet.
Heads up, users of the Butler Hike and Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake.
The Trail Foundation, the non-profit organization that works to maintain and enhance the 10-mile trail in downtown Austin, will host a special event this fall to close out its 15th anniversary celebration.
Twilight on the Trail is set for 5-8 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Boulevard. The fund-raiser, which will take place of the usual State of the Trail breakfast, will include cocktails, live music from guitar and harmonica-playing trail stalwart Woode Wood, and staging of some of the trail’s most iconic projects inside the ballroom.
Anybody who’s spent time training for a marathon knows that a special bond develops between exercise buddies.
That’s the idea behind the free Walk and Talk summer program from Marathon Kids, the non-profit organization that works to improve the health and happiness of children through running and walking programs.
Parents who register online for the Walk and Talk program will get a link to 26 discussion topics ranging from health and education to knock-knock jokes and travel dreams – one for each mile of walking or running with their kids. They’ll also get a special mileage log to record their progress.
“Kids are sometimes more comfortable connecting when they’re engaged in activities with their parents, like coloring, or cooking or exercising,” Marathon Kids chief executive officer Cami Hawkins said in a press release. “There’s something about being together, side by side, that helps get the ball rolling on good conversation.”
Research also shows that when kids engage in physical activity with their parents, they have a much better chance of developing lifelong healthy habits, Hawkins said.
After 26(.2) miles, the parent and child will have completed the equivalent of a full marathon – and they’ll know each other a little better in the process.