Texas 4000 kicks off bicycle trip to Alaska with ATLAS Ride on May 30

The ATLAS Ride is set for May 30. Photo courtesy Texas 4000
The ATLAS Ride is set for May 30. Photo courtesy Texas 4000

So maybe you can’t bicycle all the way to Alaska. You can still join the Texas 4000 crew on the first day of their 4,687-mile trip to points north.

The Texas 4000 ATLAS Ride is set for May 30. Cyclists can chose from routes of 25, 50 or 70 miles through the rolling hills between Cedar Park and Lampasas. Registration includes entrance to a post-ride festival featuring barbecue and live music.

The ride marks the first real leg of the annual journey that a group of University of Texas bicyclists make each year from Austin to Anchorage.

After that, the cyclists will split into three groups. One will head west to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and another will aim for the Rocky Mountains. A third group will cut across the midsection of the country in the Ozarks route. The three groups will merge and ride the last 10 days into Alaska together.

The cyclists will pedal an average of 70 to 80 miles a day for 70 days, with a handful of rest days tossed in. Along the way they’ll share information about cancer prevention with people they meet.

The Texas-to-Alaska ride raises money to support cancer research.

Tickets for the ATLAS Ride are $60 through May 27 and $70 afterward. Non-cyclists can attend the finish line party for $20. Sign up here.

Parks damaged in floods

This from Texas State Parks …

News Release
May 27, 2015
State Parks Recovering from Recent Storms
Floods Damage More Than Half of Texas State Park System
AUSTIN— Torrential storms that have continued to hammer much of the state for more than a week now are leaving their mark on Texas’ State Park system. As of Wednesday, more than 50 state parks report some damage as a result of significant rainfall; about half those sites are currently either closed or partially closed to the public due to flooding.
Current information about park conditions, including links to images and videos, is available on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/news_roundup/flooding_-_spring_2015/ .
“The safety of our staff and our visitors is our top priority right now,” says Brent Leisure, TPWD State Parks Division director. “Many of our parks remain operational and as conditions permit, we will be bringing our other sites back on line. Much of the damage is flood related debris and that takes time to clear. We’re heading into our peak visitation period and have all hands on deck to make our parks safe and enjoyable again.”
Visitors can check the status of their park reservations by contacting the Texas State Parks customer service center at 512-389-8900 or by contacting the park directly.

It’s all about tap dancing at Tapestry Dance Co’s upcoming Soul to Sole Festival

Tapestry Dance Company presents its Soul to Sole Festival June 10-14. Photo courtesy Tapestry Dance Co.
Tapestry Dance Company presents its Soul to Sole Festival June 10-14. Photo courtesy Tapestry Dance Co.

The best way to stick with an exercise program is to find something that feels like play instead of work.

One suggestion? Dance.

The festival will feature master classes, tap jams and performances. Photo courtesy Tapestry Dance Co.
The festival will feature master classes, tap jams and performances. Photo courtesy Tapestry Dance Co.

The Tapestry Dance Company presents its annual Soul to Sole Festival from June 10-14 at the Long Center, 701 West Riverside Drive.

The five-day lineup will include master classes, tap jams, showcases, dancers, choreography courses and teachers from around the world. On June 13, participants can watch top tappers including Brenda Bufalino, Acia Gray, Nicholas Young and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards perform at the Friends in Time Concert.

Tickets start at $27 and are available here TheLongCenter.org or by calling 512-474-5664.

New Define body & mind fitness studio offers free classes June 5-6

Define body & mind fitness studio will offer free classes June 5-6. Photo courtesy Define body & mind
Define body & mind fitness studio will offer free classes June 5-6. Photo courtesy Define body & mind

Welcome to the newest fitness studio to appear on the Austin scene – Define body & mind.

The class lineup at Define includes indoor cycling classes. Photo courtesy Define body & mind
The class lineup at Define includes indoor cycling classes. Photo courtesy Define body & mind

The new studio will offer barre, cycling and yoga-infused classes in its new space at 1818 West 35th Street. If you want to check it out, drop by on Friday or Saturday, June 5 or 6, when classes will be free.

Here’s the rundown of the studio’s course lineup:

  • Define body, a 60-minute class that combines Pilates, yoga, ballet and core strengthening.
  • Define mind, a soothing 60-minute class focused on flexibility, stress release and calming the mind.
  • Define revolution, a 45-minute high-intensity indoor cycling class choreographed to music.
  • Define body & mind, a 60-minute, gentler version of the body class that focuses on strength, flexibility and balance.
  • Define mind with hammocks, which uses a hammock for stretching, inversions and spinal decompression.
  • Define xpress, a 30-minute condensed version of the body class.
  • Define foods, instruction, nutritional insight and cooking demonstration that focuses on sustainable, local and seasonal food.

More Define body & mind studios are planned in the Austin area. For more information go here.

Urban Assault Ride returns to Austin this November

Alina Slavik, left, and Steph Cosmas ride adult-sized Big Wheels at the 2011 Urban Assault Ride.  Kelly West AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Alina Slavik, left, and Steph Cosmas ride adult-sized Big Wheels at the 2011 Urban Assault Ride. Kelly West AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Time to perfect your Big Wheel riding skills, folks.

Participants climb out of a raft made of inner tubes during the 2011 Urban Assault Ride. Kelly West AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Participants climb out of a raft made of inner tubes during the 2011 Urban Assault Ride. Kelly West AMERICAN-STATESMAN

After a two-year hiatus, the Urban Assault Ride returns to Austin this fall.

The race – part bike ride, part obstacle race and part scavenger hunt – was first staged here in 2003. I participated way back then, and found myself tearing around the city on a bicycle, flinging a Frisbee, floating on a giant rubber duck, solving puzzles, leaping into mountains of suds and even performing on stage.

It’s a hoot. But there’s a broader purpose. Race organizers hope the race helps show people that bicycles are a great way to get around town.

Teams of two plan their own route to checkpoints around town, tackling obstacles at each stop along the way. This year’s race will feature those adult-sized Big Wheels, plus an array of wacky pit stops, where participants will compete in the paper boychallenge, the human slingshot, the longboard launch and more. The first team to hit all the checkpoints, complete the obstacles and cross the finish line wins.

Racers begin the 2010 Urban Assault Ride. Thao Nguyen/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Racers begin the 2010 Urban Assault Ride. Thao Nguyen/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Perhaps more importantly, after the race comes the post-race party, with beer and prizes.

The Austin race is set for Nov. 1.

“We are super excited to bring back an event we are so passionate about,” said organizer Josh Kravetz. “Our team lives and breathes adventure, beer and bikes, and this event brings it all home. We are creating a super fun experience that is getting more people on bikes more often. That’s long-lasting result that we can be really proud of.”

Registration is capped at 2,000 riders. Sign up here.

Life Time Tri CapTex swim cancelled; race is now a bike-run

This from Life Time Tri CapTex:

Due to the extreme weather over the last 24hrs in the Austin area, the water conditions are unsafe for the next 48hrs. We regretfully have to cancel the swim portion of the CapTex triathlon.  A link to the Town Lake water quality guidelines for participant use can be found here
The race will now be a bike, run.
The bike course will not change.
The run course will not change.
Wave start times for each distance will remain the same and will go off in a time trial bike start format.
Athletes should be ready to race at their bike, at the time of their planned transition close.
Please do not take your bike off the rack until your wave is called.
Bike check in by 6:30 pm tonight is still mandatory. As a reminder, security will be onsite overnight and  please don’t put bags on your bikes in transition.
If you choose not to race, please turn in your timing chips at the solutions desk.
Athletes are highly encouraged to attend athlete meetings for more details.
We will continue to update the latest information on our Facebook, Twitter and website.
Thank you for your continued support, we look forward to a great race.

YMCA offers free MEND program for overweight children

Children participate in the YMCA's MEND program, which kicks off June 6. Photo courtesy YMCA of Austin
Children participate in the YMCA’s MEND program, which kicks off June 6. Photo courtesy YMCA of Austin

Registration is open for a free childhood obesity intervention program at the YMCA of Austin this summer.

The 10-week MEND – Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It! – program is designed to help children and parents learn how to be fit and healthy. It targets children who weigh more than their ideal weight.

The course uses techniques developed by health experts and focus on healthy eating, regular physical activity and behavior change.

The MEND program is offered free of charge. Photo courtesy YMCA of Austin.
The MEND program is offered free of charge. Photo courtesy YMCA of Austin.

The summer session starts June 6. Classes generally meet on Saturday mornings and one evening each week. Participants will increase fitness by playing games, set goals to reach and maintain a healthy weight, learn to cook healthy meals and make friends.

Children must between 7-13 years of age and overweight or obese. They shouldn’t have diabetes or debilitating asthma.

The program will take place at YMCAs in East Austin, North Central Austin and Dove Springs. Sessions and materials are offered in Spanish at select locations.

The program is funded by a grant from the St. David’s Foundation.

For more information contact Missy Quintela at missy.quintela@austinymca.org or call (512) 236-9622. For more information go here.

Life Time Tri CapTex organizers monitoring weather for Monday’s race

The Life Time Tri CapTex is scheduled for Monday at Auditorium Shores. Photo courtesty Life Time Fitness
The Life Time Tri CapTex is scheduled for Monday at Auditorium Shores. Photo courtesty Life Time Fitness

Organizers of the Life Time Tri CapTex are hoping that skies clear in time for the race on Monday.

Right now, it looks like a rainy weekend. The weather forecast currently calls for a 60 percent chance of rain on Saturday, 80 percent on Sunday and 60 percent again on Monday.

Also worrisome, we’ve had a lot of rain in recent weeks. Will that affect water quality of Lady Bird Lake?

“Our team takes the health and safety of our triathletes very seriously and we have a team that is monitoring the weather and water closely,” said Veronica Castelo, local public relations manager for the Life Time Tri CapTex. “We do have contingency plans in place but do not plan to release them until it is absolutely necessary. For now we are planning on holding the full triathlon and will update athletes/press as necessary between now and race day via social media and email.”

More than 2,000 athletes of all levels and ages are registered for the triathlon, scheduled to begin at 6:45 a.m. Monday at Auditorium Shores, 800 West Riverside Drive. They’ll compete in international, sprint and super sprint distance courses. Twenty will compete in a new Austin B-Cycle division, using the red bike-share bikes you see parked at different stations around the city to compete.

The Memorial Day event also includes the 2015 USA Paratriathlon National Championships. Nearly 40 paratriathletes will compete for national titles in five sport classes in the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run.

Good luck to PT5 champ and USA Paratriathlon National Team member Patricia Walsh of Austin, who will try to defend her 2014 national championship.

Haven’t signed up for the tri? You still can. Online registration will close at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

Here’s the weekend schedule…

Sunday, May 24

  • 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.: Expo/Packet pickup at Hyatt Regency Austin
  • 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.: Bike check-in at Auditorium Shores

Monday, May 25– Race Day

  • 6:45 a.m.: Paratriathlon start
  • 7:15 a.m.: International start
  • 8:30 a.m.: Sprint start
  • 9:15 a.m.: SuperSprint start
  • 11 a.m.: Awards Ceremony

For more information go here. http://www.captextri.com

Ride of Silence starts at 7 pm tonight

The Ride of Silence starts at 7 p.m. tonight at the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge to honor those killed or injured while riding their bicycles. Ricardo B. Brazziell AMERICAN-STATESMAN
The Ride of Silence starts at 7 p.m. tonight at the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge to honor those killed or injured while riding their bicycles. Ricardo B. Brazziell AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Cyclists will gather tonight in Austin for a silent ride to honor those who have been killed or injured while riding bicycles.

The 11th Annual Ride of Silence will depart from the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge at 7 p.m. If you plan to ride, meet at the bridge at 6:30 p.m.

Similar rides will take place in more than 15 countries around the world, including China, Italy, Brazil, Israel, Canada and Sweden. The ride originated in Dallas, when Chris Phelan organized 1,000 cyclists to ride in silence to honor his friend, Larry Schwartz, who was hit and killed by a passing school bus.

Please Be Kind to Cyclists is organizing the Austin ride.

“This is a ride for the heart,” says Al Bastidas, executive director of the group. “This ride is friends and family members honoring their loved ones, taking time to reflect and asking motorists to remember that we all have a right to get home safely.”

Riders often wear black armbands in memory of cyclists who have been killed and red armbands for those who have been injured while bicycling.

There is no registration fee. Helmets are required. The pace will not exceed 12 mph. The group will pause to regroup midway through the ride at the Texas State Capitol.

For more information go here  or contact Al Bastidas at al@bekindtocyclists.org.

Austin triathlete Melanie Etherton wins age group at USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championships

The USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championships took place last weekend. Photo courtesy USA Triathlon
The USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championships took place last weekend. Photo courtesy USA Triathlon

Congrats to Melanie Etherton of Austin, who won the 35-39 year-old age group at the USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championships this past weekend.

Etherton finished the 1,500-meter swim, 30-kilometer mountain bike and 10-kilometer trail run in 3 hours, 7 minutes and 29 seconds. The race took place at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama.

Twenty-three amateur athletes representing 16 states captured Off-Road Nationals titles, according to a press release. The top 18 finishers in each division qualified to represent Team USA at the 2016 International Triathlon Union Cross Triathlon World Championships, the date and location of which will be announced later this year.

Congratulations also to Joel Rosinbum of Austin, who finished 11th in his division at the Yokohama ITU World Paratriathlon Event in Japan. He finished the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run sprint distance event in 1 hour, 9 minutes and 45 seconds.