A documentary about what it takes to make the cheerleading team at the University of Texas will debut this week on the Longhorn Network.
“Texas Cheer” looks at the tryouts and training the cheerleaders go through to land a spot on the Spirit Squad, and highlights the athleticism of their sport. The program will air at 7 p.m. Thursday on the 24-hour network, which is devoted to all things burnt orange.
Watch a trailer here:
Filming took place in the days leading to the Texas Longhorns’ 2016 season opener with Notre Dame. The UT Spirit Squad is divided into three groups – Orange, White and Pom. All are depicted in the documentary.
“Texas Cheer reveals the challenges faced by UT students who aspire to become a part of these elite athletic groups – showing both rookies and veterans as they compete for a chance to be a part of Longhorn game day and join one of the most celebrated cheer teams in the nation,” Alyssa Reese, spirit program director for UT Athletics, said in a press release.
“Young Guns”: Two of the best young climbers in the world, 15-year-old Ashima Shiraishi and 16-year-old Kai Lightner, travel to Norway to test their skills.
“Boys in the Bugs”: Elite rock climbers and world-class goofballs Will Stanhope and Matt Segal battle to climb a forbidding 5.14 finger crack high in the Canadian alpine wilderness of the Bugaboos.
“Brette”: Rising talent Brette Harrington travels from her hometown granite in Squamish, British Columbia, to the big wall proving ground of Yosemite’s El Capitan and onto a landmark free solo in Patagonia.
“Rad Dad”: Mike Libecki travels to the most remote corners of the globe to find unclimbed walls and establish first ascents. When he becomes a father, he has a new challenge – to reconcile his life of adventure with the demands of parenthood.
“Dodo’s Delight”: Batten down the hatches for a madcap, musical adventure across open seas and up unclimbed big walls with Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll, Ben Ditto, and brothers Nico and Oliver Favresse.
Twenty-three years after Gilbert Tuhabonye nearly died in a massacre, the drum-thumping, “run with joy”-shouting coach marked the anniversary by walking from Lady Bird Lake to the Capitol with a water jug on his head.
“Today is significant because I celebrate Oct. 21 as a birthday, by surviving an event that gave me a second chance at life,” Tuhabonye said. “The walk is a reminder of how hard and how far it is for most people in Burundi get their water on a daily basis.”
Civil war racked Burundi from 1993 to 2005. On Oct. 21, 1993, a Hutu mob attacked the school Tuhabonye attended. He and other Tutsi children and teachers were roped together and marched a mile and a half to an abandoned gas station, forced into a room, tortured and burned. He lay for hours under a pile of bodies, finally breaking a window and dashing into the night.
One hundred students and teachers died there that day; Tuhabonye was the only one to survive. His legs, back and arms still bear the scars, but he says he’s been able to forgive the people who tried to kill him.
Tuhabonye went on to become an All-America runner at Abilene Christian University, then moved to Austin and started the hugely popular Gilbert’s Gazelles running group. He also coaches track and cross country at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School.
Tuhabonye, 41, used this morning’s walk as a chance to encourage people to register for the Run for the Water on Nov. 6. The event, which includes a 10-mile, a 5K and a Kids K run, raises money to build water projects that provide clean, easily accessible water to people in Burundi.
According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, nearly 1 in 5 children there dies before age 5. Nearly 20 percent of those deaths are due to diarrheal disease, and nearly three-quarters of all reported illnesses are due to a lack of safe drinking water and sanitation.
Since 2009, the Gazelle Foundation has built a network of pipes, spigots and collecting tanks to bring water to more than 60,000 people in Burundi. (The organization named Kippi Griffith as its new executive director last month.) The projects tap natural springs on hilltops and use gravity to move water to storage chambers closer to where villagers live.
Registration fee for the race is $30, the amount Tuhabonye says it costs to provide clean water to one person.
“Everyone who signs up allows us to change one life,” Tuhabonye says.
Bike Austin officials will lead a parade of bicyclists on a mile-long ride to an early voting site where they will cast ballots on Oct. 27.
The group will meet at 7:45 a.m. at the Bike Austin offices, 1000 Brazos Street, for coffee and breakfast tacos. From there, they’ll bike to City Hall at 301 W. Second Street.
“I think it’ll be a fun thing to do to encourage people to come out, ride a bike and show power in numbers,” says Mercedes Feris, executive director of Bike Austin. “It shows that people do ride bikes. It shows we have a strong community in the bike world.”
The non-profit organization, which advocates for all things cycling in Austin, also hopes participants will vote for Proposition 1 in the local election.
The $720 million proposition includes $482 million for “smart corridors” that would add bike lanes, wider sidewalks, medians and more to nine main streets in the city. It also includes $137 million for “local mobility,” primarily funding sidewalks, bikeways and trails. Another $101 million would pay for “regional mobility” projects on larger streets and some area highways.
“It means a whole new opportunity for people to ride safely if they choose to ride a bike, for children to have a safe route to school, and to build infrastructure that will eliminate traffic fatalities,” Ferris says. “If we can encourage Austinites to get out of their cars and ride or walk or do something active, imagine the overall health impact and the environmental impact.”
Early voting begins Oct. 24 in Travis County. The regular election is Nov. 8.
Susan Rankin has parted ways with The Trail Foundation, the non-profit organization that works to maintain and improve the Butler Trail around Lady Bird Lake.
Rankin led the foundation for 10 years, and says she is most proud of her work spearheading the boardwalk project, which closed a gap in the 10-mile trail beneath the Interstate 35 bridge.
Rankin also led the foundation as it redeveloped trailheads, installed new restrooms and completed landscaping projects, including the Pfluger Circle. There, with the design expertise of Ten Eyck, the foundation transformed a barren space into a garden with native plants, sitting areas and living walls.
“The Trail Foundation board wanted to go in a new direction and a board has the right to set priorities,” Rankin said Wednesday.
The foundation commended Rankin’s work, saying in a statement that her leadership has been essential to making the trail a more diverse, shadier and safer place, and with the completion of the boardwalk, “a place where more Austinites than ever can gather and enjoy their city.”
“Susan’s personal commitment to ecological restoration and high design standards for the Foundation’s projects has left a lasting impression on the landscape so many enjoy,” the statement said.
The Trail Foundation was formed in 2003 to protect and enhance the trail around Lady Bird Lake. As the city has grown, pressure on the trail and other parks has increased, raising the need for non-profit organizations and public-private partnerships to help maintain and improve them.
“As Austin and usage of the trail continue to grow, it is even more important to continue to enhance the habitat so as to increase the beneficial health effects of exercising in a healthy green space,” Rankin said.
Rankin credited good working relationships with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, as well as the city’s watershed protection and public works departments, with the organization’s progress.
“Our successes at the trail have smoothed the way for more conservancies here; Austin is reaping the benefits of leveraging public and private dollars to the benefit of our parks,” she said.
Brian Ott, a past president of the foundation’s board of directors, will serve as interim executive director. Ott is a licensed landscape architect and former managing principal of the Austin office of TBG Partners.
Next up for the foundation? Construction of a wider bridge on the Butler Trail beneath Congress Avenue, on the north side of the river.
It’s not so much that I can’t cook, but I’m always running late, traveling or exhausted from the latest workout I’m trying out. My husband handles dinner duty 95 percent of the time in our household. I’m eternally grateful.
But last night, I brought home dinner.
Snap Kitchen has unveiled six new vegan meals for the fall season. They dropped samples off for me at the Austin American-Statesman. I stuffed them into my backpack and pedaled them home on my bicycle.
The new lineup includes sweet potato black bean sliders with veggie frites, meatless meatballs with marinara, creole fab cakes, spicy dan dan noodles, veggie pot pie and apple oat crisp.
Since Chris and I couldn’t eat all that in one sitting, we picked the meatballs and fake crab (fab) cakes, popped them in the microwave, then divided each in half for sampling.
The food from Snap Kitchen is pretty good.
The meatballs ($7.99): Ultra tender, fall apart at the touch of a fork spheres of yumminess made of black beans, chick peas, brown rice, mushroom, onion, sweet potato, herbs and spices. The meatballs came on a bed of fairly pedestrian pasta, dusted with a Paleo version of Parmesan cheese. Overall, I give it a thumbs up.
The fab cakes ($7.99): Interesting and tasty, these thick patties, about the size of a mashed Ding Dong (do they even make those any more?) look like real crab cakes, but they’re made with hearts of palm, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, almond flour and some vegan mayonnaise. The water chestnuts give a surprising crunch. I liked them, even though it didn’t taste exactly like crab, which I love even more. Snap Kitchen pairs it with broccolini (yum!) and red peppers and a creole mustard sauce.
The apple oat crisp ($4.99): I’m going to be honest. This looked like ground beef with red peppers chopped into it. Or (gasp!) dog food. Perhaps, though, this was a result of the bike ride home. The good news? It tasted much better than it looked. The cranberries, raisins, granny smith apples and pistachios combined to make the rolled oat-based pudding taste exactly like Christmas. (Yay!) It came with a heart-healthy version of anglaise sauce made with cashews, vanilla and orange zest instead of sugar, milk and cream. Eat it for dessert or breakfast.
The problem with most restaurants is you don’t know what’s in the food you eat. It might be laden with salt, sugar and fat. Most of the time, I’d rather eat at home, where I know what I’m consuming.
But … I like the idea of being able to pick up a healthy meal on the run.
As with all these healthy meal pickup and delivery services, though, there’s too much packaging involved. The containers are recyclable, but still. It bugs me. I hate waste. I hate disposable containers. I hate trash.
Snap Kitchen operates seven Austin area locations. For more information go to www.snapkitchen.com.
Add one more option to the already burgeoning Austin area Pilates scene.
The Pilates Movement Studio has opened at 3300 Bee Caves Road.
The facility, owned and operated by Cathy and Jack Brown, teaches only the classical Pilates method and nothing else. It also hosts teacher training with The Pilates Center of Boulder, Colorado.
Joseph Pilates, a former gymnast who had suffered from asthma as a child, developed his fitness program after using hospital beds and other equipment to help rehabilitate soldiers injured during World War I. He later used similar techniques to help injured dancers.
The movements are designed to strengthen the core, improve flexibility and improve balance and coordination, and include a spiritual element.
The Pilates Movement Studio offers private, semi-private and group equipment classes. All abilities and fitness levels are welcome.
Cathy Brown has taught Pilates for six years and is certified by The Pilates Method Alliance. She trained at Core Dynamics in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and took the Advanced Teacher Training Program at The Pilates Center of Boulder, Colorado.
Half of all adults and more than 60 percent of children don’t, according to the American Heart Association.
The organization’s annual Heart and Stroke Walk aims to change that. The event encourages people to adopt a healthier lifestyle and raise money to fund educational programs and research into heart disease and stroke, the top two killers in America.
This year’s walk is set for Saturday. The event includes a 5K non-competitive walk, a 5K chip-timed run and a Miracle Mile, a 1-mile route for stroke survivors and people just starting to get fit. Live entertainment and activities for children and pets are also planned.
The event starts at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Long Center, 702 W. Riverside Drive. Registration is free. Sign up online at http://www.austinheartwalk.org or by calling 512-338-2400.
Here in Austin, we don’t need an ocean to surf or a lake to row.
Just check out City Surf Fitness (read my story here) or the new NLand Surf Park east of the airport (story coming Monday). Or head to Rō Fitness (read my story here) for a ride on an ergometer.
Now we’ve got an other option for folks who want to row but can’t – or don’t want to – get on the water. Row On Austin opened recently inside Body Business gym on Anderson Lane.
The new studio offers four types of classes – Row On Strength, Row On Stability, Row On Stamina and Row On Mobility. Each 55-minute session combines time on a rowing machine with strength training sets. Students use water rowing machines, which staffers says offer a smooth, quiet experience akin to actually rowing on the water.
Teri Taylor, an avid runner, says she opened the gym because Austin needed more low-impact cross-training options. Indoor rowing, she says, appeals to all types of people, not just serious athletes.
Drop-in rate is $22 per class ($21 for packages and $20 for Body Business members). The first class is always free. For more information go to http://www.rowonaustin.com.
Row On Austin is located at Body Business Fitness Club, 2700 West Anderson Lane.