Universal Sports Network will carry Boston Marathon live on Monday

You can watch the Boston Marathon live Monday morning.
You can watch the Boston Marathon live Monday morning.

Want to watch the Boston Marathon on Monday?

Universal Sports Network will carry live coverage of the 119th running of the Boston Marathon starting at 7:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. ET).

The network will also air a preview show from the finish line of Boylston Street at 3 p.m. (4 p.m. ET) Sunday. The show will feature analysis of the elite field and live interviews.

You can also catch the race via computer. UniversalSports.com will live-stream the race, and a “finish line web cam” will show all runners as they cross the finish line. That feature is available to all users, no matter their TV provider, and starts at 9 a.m. (10 a.m. ET) on Marathon Monday.

Day 1 of BP MS 150 cancelled

Cyclists participate in the 2013 edition of the BP MS 150. The first day of this year's ride has been cancelled due to rain. RODOLFO GONZALEZ/Austin American Statesman
Cyclists participate in the 2013 edition of the BP MS 150. The first day of this year’s ride has been cancelled due to rain. RODOLFO GONZALEZ/Austin American Statesman

Organizers have cancelled the first day of the BP MS 150 bike ride.

They blamed the cancellation on conditions at the overnight site in La Grange and expected severe weather in the area.

“Excessive rainfall and wind that occurred throughout this week has had a significant impact on the two sites where a majority of teams and cyclists camp overnight, Fayette County Fairgrounds and Camp St. Mark’s, and have been determined unsafe and inaccessible,” according to an announcement sent to participants in the two-day fund-raising ride, which starts in Houston and finishes in Austin. “The City of La Grange Office of Emergency Management has closed these sites.”

Bicyclists are asked not to ride the route on Saturday.

“The route on Day 1 will be closed and all standard support services – rider support, transportation and breakpoints – along the route will be suspended on Saturday,” the announcement said. “The safety and security of all participants are our top priorities, but ultimately your safety is your personal responsibility.”

As of 1 p.m. Friday, the second day of the ride, from La Grange to Austin, was still set to go on schedule. The ride will start at 8 a.m. at the Fayette County Courthouse in La Grange, 151 N. Washington Street.

“We are currently assessing the logistics and route conditions from La Grange to Austin and will continue to provide updates here and the BP MS 150 Facebook Page as details become available,” officials said.

To receive text message event alerts, text “BP” to 68686.

Life Time Tri CapTex will feature B-cycle wave

This year's Life Time Tri CapTex will feature a special division for B-cycles. Photo by Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman
This year’s Life Time Tri CapTex will feature a special division for B-cycles. Photo by Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman

Don’t have a lickety-split triathlon bike?

It doesn’t matter, because this year you can do the Life Time Tri CapTex on one of those Mary Poppins style, sitty-uppy B-Cycle numbers.

Athletes who ride B-cycles will compete in a special SuperSprint category. Photo by Ricardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman
Athletes who ride B-cycles will compete in a special SuperSprint category. Photo by Ricardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman

Austin B-cycle, Austin’s bike sharing service, announced this week a new Austin B-cycle wave in the SuperSprint category of this year’s Life Time Tri CapTex on May 25. Organizers say they hope to encourage beginners to enter the Memorial Day race in downtown Austin.

The Austin B-cycle Wave will have 20 entries. Participants will get free use of an Austin B-cycle (which weighs about 40 pounds, but who cares since you’ll only be racing other B-cycles) on the 6.21-mile bike course. They’ll also swim .25 miles and run 3.1 miles as they compete for special B-cycle prizes.

“Equipment can be expensive, especially for first-time triathletes who aren’t quite ready to make such significant investments,” Lindsey Kurhajetz, marketing director for Life Time Athletic Events, said in a press release. “With Austin B-cycle, people can try a tri and have a lot of fun doing it.”

Pam LeBlanc tests a B-cycle in December 2013. Photo by Reshma Kirpalani/Austin American-Statesman.
Pam LeBlanc tests a B-cycle in December 2013. Photo by Reshma Kirpalani/Austin American-Statesman.

Austin B-cycle Wave participants will get complimentary 24-hour Austin B-cycle passes, a gift certificate for $10 off a Austin B-cycle annual membership and an Austin B-cycle race weekend swag bag. On race day, the B-cycle bikes will be available for pickup on-site in a special transition area. (I wonder if you can put aerobars on a B-cycle?)

“We know Austin B-cycle is the fast, fun way to get the most out of Austin and now it’s a fast, fun way to race the Life Time Tri CapTex SuperSprint,” Elliott McFadden, executive director of Austin B-cycle, said in a press release.

Besides the B-cycle wave, the Life Time Tri CapTex features individual and relay sprint and international distances, plus a SuperSprint category. This year, the USAT Paratriathlon National Championships also return to Austin as part of the event.

To register go here.

Now could we talk about an electric bike category?

Organizers: BP MS 150 still on for now, despite rainy forecast

Riders make the last turn onto Congress Avenue as they head toward the finish  of the 2014 BP MS 150.  This year's two-day, 180-mile journey from Houston to Austin, which funds to fight multiple sclerosis, is set to begin Saturday.  RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESM
Riders make the last turn onto Congress Avenue as they head toward the finish of the 2014 BP MS 150. This year’s two-day, 180-mile journey from Houston to Austin, which funds to fight multiple sclerosis, is set to begin Saturday.
RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESM

With a little luck, streets will dry out in time for this weekend’s BP MS 150 fund-raising bike ride from Houston to Austin.

Organizers sent out an alert today, letting cyclists know that as of Thursday afternoon, the ride is still scheduled to go on.

“Safety is our primary concern, and we’ll provide updates as we monitor weather and route conditions,” the message said. “Cyclists and volunteers are cautioned to exercise heightened safety measures and pay close attention to the weather. Each participant’s safety is his or her personal responsibility, and each participant must individually as a rider determine if he or she is prepared, possesses the abilities to ride in inclement weather and temperatures, and is willing to assume the attendant risks.”

Any updates will be posted on the ride website here.

For tips on riding in wet road conditions, go here.

Online registration for this year’s ride closes just before midnight tonight, but cyclists can still register in-person from 2-8 p.m. Friday during packet pickup at the Expo at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside, 13210 Katy Freeway. Entry fee is $130; each rider must raise a minimum of $400 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Riders will pedal from Houston to LaGrange on Saturday, and from LaGrange to Austin on Sunday, finishing at the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

Silicon Labs Sunshine Run set for May 3 at Auditorium Shores

Runners take off at the start of the 2014 Silicon Labs Sunshine Run. This year's race is May 3. Photo by Kreutz Photography.
Runners take off at the start of the 2014 Silicon Labs Sunshine Run. This year’s race is May 3. Photo by Kreutz Photography.

Got a costume? A dog? A pair of running shoes?

All three will come in handy at the second annual Silicon Labs Sunshine Run on May 3 at Auditorium Shores. The event includes timed and untimed 5K and 10K runs for humans, plus a “Fastest Dog in Austin” division in the 5K (the winner gets a year’s supply of dog food) and an easy 1K race for kids age 12 and under. Teams can compete for prizes including most participants, best dressed, most energetic, most entertaining and most funds raised.

The races start at 7:30 a.m. and Black Swan Yoga will lead post-race yoga. The Nightowls, a 10-piece soul band, will perform afterward.

Entry fee ranges from $15 to $45; fees increase the weekend of the race. To register go here. Proceeds benefit the Austin Sunshine Camps, established in 1928 by the Young Men’s Business League to offer free summer camps and after school care for kids who couldn’t otherwise afford it.

Physician with Parkinson’s to lead group walk on Friday

Dr. Marcus Cranston was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease at age 44. He'll lead a walk at the Jewish Community Center this Friday.
Dr. Marcus Cranston was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at age 44. He’ll lead a walk at the Jewish Community Center this Friday.

A retired Air Force physician living with Parkinson’s Disease will lead a group walk in Austin on Friday.

Cranston is a retired Air Force physician.
Cranston is a retired Air Force physician.

Dr. Marcus Cranston, who was diagnosed at age 44, aims to visit 196 countries around the world by his 52nd birthday. Along the way, he hopes to break stereotypes about the disease through his passion for sports and travel.

So far he’s doing a good job. Last year he ran 4 miles in 44 countries in 44 days. He’s 47 now.

The Walk with Dr. Cranston for Parkinson’s Awareness Month will start at 10 a.m. Friday at the Jewish Community Center of Austin, 7300 Hart Lane. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information email powerforparkinsons@gmail.com.

Librarians to swim, bike and run at Texas Library Association conference in Austin

SuperLibrarian2So much for that stereotype.
The Texas Library Association meets in Austin this month, and organizers are planning a lineup of fitness events that feel more badass than bookie.
“This year we decided to Austin-ify it a bit,” says Cate Sweeney, a librarian at Bee Cave Public Library who serves on the Health and Wellness committee of the annual conference.
Actually, and I love this, the group has planned a 5K and downtown walking tour as part of its meeting for quite some time.
But this year, organizers are adding a “Cycle 4 Libraries” event on Tuesday, April 14. Librarians will pedal about 25 miles, touring libraries along the way. They’re also hosting a Barton Springs “polar bear plunge” on Wednesday, April 15. The 5K fun run is set for Thursday, April 16.
Those who participate in all three events will receive T-shirts and medals for “biking, swimming and running their books off” in the TLA “Tri-ology.”
The good news for you non-librarians? You don’t have to be an actual librarian – or even associated with the conference – to participate.
Registration is $35 for the bike ride (if you have your own bike) and includes lunch from Thundercloud Subs. The swim costs $25 and the race is $25.
Participants can register for an individual event or the full “trilogy.” To sign up go here.

Expedition School’s Colorado River Ramble set for Sunday

dyc weatherWe’re lucky in Austin – we’ve got a lake right in the middle of downtown, perfect for canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddling.

This Sunday, the Expedition School will host its annual Colorado River Ramble SUP, Canoe and Kayak Race and Family Water Festival.

A slate of races will begin at 9 a.m. in the lagoon at Fiesta Gardens, 34 Robert Martinez Drive. The lineup includes a Kids 1K, a Family Fun 1.5-miler, 5K and 10K SUP races and relays, and 5K and 10-mile canoe and kayak races and relays.

Live music, food trailers and environmental education programs are planned. Parking is available in the parking lot near the baseball fields and along the street.

For more information go here

Check the fine print when you sign up for your next race

A word of warning, weekend warriors: Read the fine print when you’re signing up for next race.

Three Austin men say they unknowingly enrolled in an upgraded membership to a company that handles race registrations for fitness events across the country.

Brit Ballard he says unwittingly purchased a $65 per year membership in the Active Advantage program at active.com when he registered up for a bike ride in North Texas last summer. Two co-workers, Ethan Leon and Mason Fischer, say they unknowingly enrolled when they signed up for the Austin Marathon this January.

The yearly membership provides buyers with discounts for merchandise and future race registrations, plus training programs, but Ballard says he didn’t intend to purchase it. He says the upgraded membership was an opt-out purchase, meaning that if someone signing up for an event doesn’t unclick a pre-checked box, he is automatically enrolled in the program.

“I work for a software engineering shop. We build websites for a living. We’re all well versed in navigating registration forms, but somehow we all ended up enrolled in this Active Advantage program. We were all slated to be, or had been, charged $65 for a service we had no idea we’d enrolled in,” Ballard says.

All three later contacted active.com and were unenrolled.

Active.com officials, however, say they no longer utilize an opt-out system.

“This is not an opt-out program and hasn’t been for many years,” said Kim Miller Ballerene of KLM Public Relations, which represents active.com. “There are three ways to gain membership to the Active Advantage program – all which are transparent to the user. There are many benefits to the program and many of our members save a significant amount of money.”

If a customer unknowingly subscribes to the service, she said, the company will happily cancel their membership and provide a refund.

It’s not the first time the allegations have been made against active.com. An article in Outside Magazine’s online edition outlines similar problems.

Ballerene said the article contained inaccuracies, but declined to provide details.

Like most races, the Austin Marathon & Half Marathon contracts with an outside company to provide registration services. John Conley, director of the event, says the race’s contract with active.com ended with the February 2015 race.

“We switched to another online registration service this year (www.imATHLETE.com) for among many reasons was their ‘no add-ons’ registration process on the front-end, and the cleaner reporting on the back-end,” Conley said.

“I don’t think active is doing anything unseemly or illegal, I just think it’s the way those thing go. But the buyer does need to beware.”

The Statesman Capitol 10,000 also contracted with active.com for its registration services, but the Active Advantage program is not an auto opt-out item. Cap10K officials say they will use another registration platform after this year’s race.

“A few years ago there were five major endurance sports registration companies, now there are over 25,” said Cap10K race director Tracey Kennedy. “They all provide different features and experiences. I think every race director has to continually evaluate the options and select a partner that will provide the most positive experience for the registrants and race management.”

Longhorn Run set for April 11 at University of Texas

Runners make their way through the University of Texas campus during the 2014 Longhorn Run. Photo courtesy Longhorn Run
Runners make their way through the University of Texas campus during the 2014 Longhorn Run. Photo courtesy Longhorn Run

The Longhorn Run on April 11 should lure herds of runners to the streets.

Participants celebrate at the 2014 Longhorn Run. Photo courtesy Longhorn Run
Participants celebrate at the 2014 Longhorn Run. Photo courtesy Longhorn Run

The 5K and 10K routes wind through the historic Forty Acres and around the Texas Capitol and incorporate plenty of University of Texas tradition. The Longhorn Band, along with Big Bertha (the band’s trampoline-sized drum) and Smokey the Cannon, will serenade athletes. Spirit groups and the Alpha Phi Omega service organization (plus their flag) will be on hand, too. The 10K starts at 8 a.m. and the 5K starts at 8:20 a.m. Both races begin at 21st Street and University Avenue, with post-race entertainment to follow on the South and Main Malls on the UT Campus. The race is organized by students, for students, but anyone can enter. Awards will be given for the top three male and female finishers in each race, in each of three categories – students, non-students and UT staff and faculty.

Racers sprint from the start of the 2014 Longhorn Run. Photo courtesy Longhorn Run
Racers sprint from the start of the 2014 Longhorn Run. Photo courtesy Longhorn Run

Entry fee is $30 for the 5K and $35 for the 10K. To register, go here. http://www.utlonghornrun.com. Proceeds benefit the UT Student Government Student Excellence Fund and Recreational Sports Excellent Fund. Best Buddies, Orange Jackets, Asian Business Student Association, Plan II Business Association, Black Student Alliance and Latino Leadership Council are among the past recipients of the Student Government Excellence Fund.