Sixty-nine students from the University of Texas at Austin will log the first miles of their long bicycle ride to Alaska this weekend.
Want to join them for a relatively easy 25, 50 or 70 miles on Saturday?
The public is invited to join members of the Texas 4000 team as they roll out from Cedar Park on the Atlas Ride. Registration fee is $70 and is open through 5 p.m. today here.
The Texas 4000 riders will keep riding after everyone else bags it, putting in 70 days on the road as they pedal north.
The group will split into three factions in a few days, with one group riding through the southwest toward California before heading north, another chugging through the Rocky Mountains before crossing into Canada, and a third spinning through the American Midwest before rolling into Canada. The three groups will reunite in Canada, riding together the last 10 days into Anchorage, Alaska.
Along the way, the riders will make stops to present grants to cancer research and treatment centers. They’ll also speak to groups about cancer awareness.
Organizers say the Texas 4000 program is as much about leadership development, physical training, cancer awareness outreach, volunteer opportunities and philanthropic commitment as it is about an endurance bike ride. Students apply to join the team. More than 600 students have finished the ride since it started in 2003; they’ve raised more than $7.2 million.
Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run and Party moves to a new location this year.
The event, the biggest fund-raiser for The Trail Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to protect and enhance the Ann and Roy Butler Trail around Lady Bird Lake, is scheduled for Thursday, June 8 at the former Seaholm Power Plant.
The run began in 2004 and raises funds for projects to improve the 10.1-mile path. The run and the party are separate ticketed events; both start at 8 p.m.
Organizers moved the event from its location at the American Legion Hall on Veterans Drive to the Seaholm plant so they could accommodate more people.
More than 2,000 runners are expected for the 5K, which will start on Walter Seaholm Drive and follow streets bordering Lady Bird Lake. The run will finish at Sand Beach Park; the party will take place on Seaholm’s Great Lawn. The party includes margaritas and dinner by Maudie’s Tex-Mex, live music and dancing, and a pop-up shop by active lifestyle brand Outdoor Voices.
Tickets for just the run are $35 and include an event T-shirt and a margarita (ages 21 and older). Tickets for the run and party are $100; tickets for the party only are $70. Prices increase June 5. Major sponsors include Maudie’s Tex Mex, Whole Foods Market and NXP. To register, go here.
Local triathletes are hoping for dry skies Monday, race day for the Life Time Tri CapTex.
The triathlon, held in Austin each Memorial Day since 1991, is expected to draw about 2,000 amateur and youth triathletes this year. Last year’s race morphed into a duathlon, when organizers scratched the bike portion of the event due to rain and slick streets.
The latest weather forecast from KVUE calls for a 40 percent chance of scattered storms on Sunday and 50 percent chance of afternoon showers on Monday, with a low on race day of 69 and a high of 85.
The race is staged at Vic Mathias Shores, and the international distance waves go off first, starting at 6:45 a.m. The sprint distance race starts at 8:15 a.m., followed by the super sprint at 9 a.m.
Athletes swim in Lady Bird Lake, bike up Congress Avenue to the Capitol and back south for a loop along Cesar Chavez Street, then run along Riverside Drive and Barton Springs Road.
Haven’t signed up yet? You still can. Registration is $165 for the international distance ($225 for relay) or $135 for the sprint distance ($185 for relay). The super sprint distance is full.
The best vantage point for spectators is within Vic Mathias Shores.
We’ve got Zilker Park (which celebrates its 100th birthday this year, by the way), the Barton Creek Greenbelt and a whole lot of parkland in between. But how does Austin stack up to the rest of the country on the Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore Index?
Middle of the pack, it turns out. Austin landed in 46th place among the 100 largest cities in the U.S. for its parks.
The trust gave us high scores for park acreage and dog parks, but low marks for park access, which is based on the percentage of population that lives within a 10-minute walk – or about half a mile – of a public park.
Minneapolis and Saint Paul held on to the top two places. Other Texas cities on the list were Plano (17th), Dallas (50th), Arlington (59th), Garland (63rd), San Antonio (69th), El Paso and Ft. Worth (tie for 79th), Houston (81st), Irving and Lubbock (tie for 85th), and Laredo (93rd).
In addition to the top 100 rankings, ParkScore also provides a one-to-five park bench rating. In 2017, three cities – Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and San Francisco – received the highest possible five-bench rating. Austin earned three park benches this year.
According to ParkScore, Austin’s median park size is 8.5 acres, above the national ParkScore average of 5.0. Austin also was recognized for operating 1.4 dog parks per 100,000 residents, compared to the national average of 0.9. The access issue, however, held us back. Only 54 percent of Austin residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, compared to a national ParkScore average of 66 percent.
“Everyone in America deserves to live within a 10-minute walk of a park. Parks are proven to improve physical and mental health, increase property values, and bring neighbors together to nurture the personal bonds that make our communities special,” said Charlie McCabe, director of The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Parks Excellence.
McCabe is the former executive director of the Austin Parks Foundation.
What’s it like to spend a morning bicycling alongside Lance Armstrong?
It feels like someone tied cinder blocks to your pedals, for one. You’ll never ride as fast as him, and you know he’s sandbagging it just so you don’t feel like a complete dufus.
I climbed into Armstrong’s SUV Tuesday morning for the hour-long ride to Burnet. We pulled off there to wait for another cycling maniac, Andrew Willis of Holland Racing, who has calves as big as my waist and last summer rode his bike halfway across the country in a fun little jaunt called the Ride Across the West, or RAW.
So yeah, I was in over my head. What’s new?
Armstrong (yes, I know – he won seven Tours de France and then had those titles stripped after he admitted to doping) chuckled a little when he pulled my bike out of the back of his SUV.
“Maybe it’s time for an upgrade?” he joked.
I’ve been riding the same Trek 5200 for 13 years. It’s taken me from Seattle to Portland, all the way across Iowa, from Houston to Austin, and back and forth to work a few thousand times. I like it a lot.
Armstrong also told me my bike needed a tuneup and a good cleaning. All true. But I’ve got news for you, Lance Armstrong: It’s not about the bike.
When Willis showed up, the three of us climbed aboard and headed out to preview the route of Saturday’s WeDu Texas Hundred, a century bike ride (with a 20-mile option) that starts and finishes at Reveille Peak Ranch near Burnet.
I bike to work almost every day, but my 7-mile leisurely commute just doesn’t compare to riding with Armstrong and Willis, even if they were just keeping the pedals moving.
“I’m not fast,” I told Armstrong. “Actually, I’m pretty slow.”
“What?” Armstrong said. “No way.”
We flew up and down rollers, paused to admire a herd of zebras, slowed down at slick creek crossings and cattle guards, and rambled over washboardy sections of gravel on our tour, which covered about 20 miles. I pedaled at my normal tepid pace, which ranges from about 12 to 16 mph. (Sometimes much faster, if I’m coasting downhill!)
This was fun and humbling, all rolled into one.
We chatted about all kinds of stuff, from my recent paddle trip on the Devils River to nearby places Armstrong could take his kids for fun. I was surprised to hear he’d never been to Enchanted Rock, and he wanted to get suggestions on other places for outdoor recreation. He also talked about the downright awesomeness of the Texas Hundred route, which takes cyclists across the north end of Inks Lake, past some beautiful granite outcroppings and onto meandering, traffic-free, two-lane country roads.
When our odometers passed 20 miles, we pulled off. Armstrong and I piled our bikes back into the SUV, while Willis turned around to do it again.
I was tired. The guys were not.
While Willis pedaled on, Armstrong and I drove back through Lampasas, stopped for sandwiches at Schlotzky’s (the waitress didn’t recognize him), filled up with gas (the guy we asked to snap our photo did) and headed back to Austin.
While I poured myself back into my own car for the quick drive home, Armstrong had other plans. A trip to the gym, for one (seriously?), then some time with long-time girlfriend Anna Hansen.
It turns out that later last night, Armstrong popped the question, asking Hansen to marry him.
She said yes.
Read more about the WeDu Texas Hundred in the Life & Arts section of Monday’s paper, or online at http://www.austin360.com.
Lance Armstrong is getting married to long-time girlfriend Anna Hansen.
Armstrong, 45, popped the question Tuesday evening at Lake Austin. He posted a photo (taken by Austin photo journalist Elizabeth Kruetz) showing Hansen sitting in his lap, a sparkling engagement ring on her finger as the sun set in the background.
“She said ….. YES!!!!” he posted on Instagram.
The couple met through charity work and started dating nine years ago. They have two children together – Max, 7, and Olivia, 6. They spend summers in Aspen and the rest of the year in Austin, where the children attend school.
Now word yet on when or where the wedding will take place.
Armstrong was previously married to Kristin Armstrong, with whom he had three children – Luke, 17, and twins Grace and Isabelle, 15. They divorced in 2003.
I get twitchy if I can’t swim or run or bike or hike or move in some way when I’m on the road – and I travel a lot for my job (and fun).
Today I’ve landed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for my niece’s wedding. I brought my running shoes along for the trip,. but it’s hot and muggy here today. I’m staying at the hotel on the Louisiana State University campus, so I decided to wander across the street to the LSU recreation center.
The university recently opened a new outdoor swimming pool, plus indoor facilities including a suspended running track, cardio room, hill repeat ramp, training stairs, climbing wall and basketball court. There’s even what they call a “leisure river.” (I asked if it was a “lazy river,” and was immediately corrected. Apparently no lazy students here.)
Imagine a fitness event that’s all about food, with a 5K run featuring food stations at every mile and a finish line festival with a lineup of local chefs.
That’s what’s on tap at the Cooking Light & Health Fit Foodie Festival & 5K at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock this Saturday.
The family- and dog-friendly event will feature local restaurants, meet-and-greets with John Hancock Elite Athlete Ambassadors, a beer and wine garden, plenty of local chefs and fitness demonstrations.
The event celebrates a balance of healthy food and a fun, active lifestyle. At the post-race John Hancock Vitality Village Food and Fitness Festival, runners can sample food from local restaurants, participate in mini-workout classes, watch cooking demonstrations and meet Olympic marathoners Ryan Hall and Desiree Linden.
A portion of proceeds from will benefit No Kid Hungry, a non-profit organization that works to end child hunger in America.
Tickets are $45 (prices increase May 19), and available here. All events are rain or shine. The 5K run starts at 8 a.m. at Old Settlers Park, 1371 Harrell Parkway; the festival follows from 8 to 11 a.m.
Bike Month lasts all month long, and that means if you pedal to St. Elmo Brewing Co. this afternoon, you’ll get a free swig of beer.
Just tell your bartender that you arrived on two wheels, and they’ll hand over a free half pour of beer between 4 and 11 p.m. today – and every Wednesday in May.
Offerings include the Angus dry stout, tropical Slate American IPA and Evangeline French Saison. Don’t drink alcohol? Opt for the house-made soda. Bring your four-legged friend, too. The patio is dog friendly.
St. Elmo Brewing Co. is located at 440 E. St. Elmo Road, G-2, in The Yard development off of South Congress.