Bicycle World unveils slate of free weekly triathlon workouts

Bicycle World Austin has unveiled a slate of free weekly triathlon workouts. Photo courtesy Bicycle World


Once again, proof that you don’t need a lot of money to get fit.

Bicycle World Austin has unveiled a slate of free weekly triathlon workouts led by local coaches and pro triathletes. The six weekly sessions take place at locations across the city and are open to all, from beginners to veteran athletes.

RELATED: Thank four drunk Swedes for your swimrun challenge

“We want to help those who are new to the sport, which can be intimidating and very confusing at first,” Natasha van der Merwe, a professional triathlete and coach who is spearheading Bicycle World’s community outreach program, said in a press release. “It’s daunting to tackle one sport, and triathlon requires athletes to take on three at the same time.”

Here’s the schedule:

  • Monday – 6:30 p.m. Speed and strength, led by Coach Steve at Lamar Middle School Track, 6201 Wynona Avenue.
  • Wednesday – 6 a.m. Weekly triathlon swim hosted by Coach Steve at Rattan Creek Pool, 7617 Elkhorn Mountain Trail; 6:15 a.m. track at Austin High School, 1715 Cesar Chavez Street, hosted by Big Pistachio and BW Racing Team.
  • Thursday – 6:30 p.m. – Triathlon focused cycling workout hosted by Coach Steve at Coach Steve’s house in Northwest Austin (email for directions).
  • Friday – 6:30 a.. swim workout the final Friday of each month hosted by the Austin Triathlon Club at Barton Springs, followed by coffee at Austin Java.
  • Saturday – Bicycle World Saturday Bike Ride, various routes, start times and meet up locations posted on Bicycle World Austin FaceBook page by Wednesday.
  • Sunday – 7 a.m. Long run hosted by BW Racing Team. Meet at Bicycle World Austin parking garage, followed by a social at Austin Java/Whole Foods and other locations.

Along with the free community workouts, Bicycle World also offers twice monthly triathlon workshops that cover everything from basic bike maintenance and equipment needs to nutrition and swimming tips and tricks.

Details about both the weekly workouts and the workshops are posted on Bicycle World’s Facebook page here. Bicycle World Austin is located at 300 South Lamar Boulevard.

The Bicycle World Racing Team includes Natasha Van Der Merwe, “Barney” Paul Matthews, Quincy Arey, Kate Braybrook, Carly Conrad, Haley Koop, Melissa Miller, Padre Mora, Doreen Redenius, Chris Reynolds, CP Ross, Todd Sapio, Aaron Shapley, Alan Smith and Brandi Swicegood.

The latest race craze involves swimming in shoes, running in wetsuit, and we’re all in

Amy Bush shows off the outfit she’ll be wearing this weekend for a swimrun race in North Carolina. Photo courtesy Amy Bush


I could turn into a popsicle this weekend.

I’m heading to Red Top Mountain State Park in Georgia to try a crazy new sport – swimrun – that started in Sweden.

Teams of two alternate between running and swimming over a pre-marked wilderness course, staying within 10 meters of each other during the entire race. They wear shoes while they swim and they run in wetsuits. Some races unfold between islands; others between lakes.

At SwimRun Georgia, my race partner Gretch Sanders and I will run through a pine-studded state park, swimming across 10 or so coves.

Conditions are not ideal. The water temperature, I am told, is hovering in the mid-50s. The weather forecast calls for a low of 43 and a high of 59, with partly cloudy skies.

Coincidentally, another Austin athlete is headed to a different swimrun event – SwimRun Lake James in North Carolina. Conditions for her race are even worse. The forecast there calls for a low of 26 and a high of 55, with periodic rain.

I’m not a fan of cold water, as you can see by this photo of me at Barton Springs last winer. Photo by Chris LeBlanc


Good grief. What have we signed up for?

The whole swimrun thing started as a bet between four drunk guys (of course) in Sweden. They challenged each other to race from island to island, stopping at restaurants along the way. The last team to finish had to drink and pay what the team ahead of it had ordered for them.

In 2006, a version of the race went commercial in Sweden, attracting 11 teams. Only two teams finished within the time limit. CNN has ranked the Swimrun World Championship there as one of the toughest races in the world.

I love to swim: I swam around Manhattan Island (yes, in New York) a few years ago with Sanders, my partner on this race. But the water was way warmer. I did jump in the Hudson River once, when water temperatures were in the 50s. I think I lasted about 2 minutes.

I had an entertaining online conversation this week with Amy Bush, the Austin athlete doing SwimRun Lake James. She’s racing alongside Trista Mennen, a former Austinite.

Bush was initially excited about the event, which she describes as the perfect combination of sports – “no bike. Just swimming and running.” Then she saw the forecast. Now we’re both freaking out about the cold.

“I’m just … trying to ignore the whole cold thing,” she wrote me. “For a long time we were like, ‘Well, sure, the water’s going to be in the 50s. But as long as the sun’s out, we’ll be fine!’ And now it’s supposed to be in the 40s and raining.”

I know from swimming at Barton Springs in the winter, where I always wind up shivering in the 70-degree water even if I’m wearing a shortie wetsuit, that bright sunshine mentally makes me feel warmer, even if it’s still cold. That’s not going to happen this weekend. And even if it was sunny, there is a limit to what my brain can do.

“I mean, it’s already completely ridiculous, what we’re doing,” Bush wrote me. “Why not have it be terrible weather, too? Better story, right? I mean, if we live.”

Then she sent me a photo of her race outfit, which looks pretty identical to what I’ve got planned: shortie wetsuit, pull buoy strapped to thigh (to counter the weight of soggy shoes worn during the swim), swim paddles (same story) and swim cap.

“The people walking around Quarry Lake on Saturday morning think I’m a complete nut job as I run around in this,” she wrote.

Well, it’s true. We are nutjobs. But in a good way, right?

“We just have to live through it and then a couple days have to pass, and then we’ll be able to talk about how fun it was.

Once our limbs thaw enough to type,” she wrote.

Look for a recap coming soon. And enjoy the warm weather in Austin this weekend, people.

Want to get fit on the cheap? Try this free bootcamp

Gold’s Gym locations in Austin will offer free bootcamps on weekends throughout the month of April. Photo courtesy Gold’s Gym


More for your free fitness files …

Gold’s Gym is offering free bootcamp classes on weekends throughout the month of April. All Austin Gold’s Gyms are participating, but schedules vary by location.

For a complete schedule, go here, select a location and click “see class schedule” to see when the bootcamp is offered.

Gold’s Gym operates the gyms at the following locations in the Austin area:

• Bee Caves, 12480 Bee Caves Road

• Downtown, 115 East Sixth Street

• Highland, 6001 Middle Fiskville Road

• Austin North, 9101 Research Boulevard

• Austin South, 4404 W. William Cannon Drive

• Austin South, 1701 W. Ben White Boulevard

• Austin Southeast, 801 E. William Cannon Drive

• Westlake, 701 S Capital of Texas Highway

• San Marcos, 1180 Thorpe Lane

• Anderson Arbor, 13435 North U.S. Highway 183, Suite 102

• Cedar Park, 1335 East Whitestone Boulevard

• Cypress Creek, 1314 Cypress Creek Road

• Georgetown, 1019 West University Avenue, Suite 100

• Pflugerville, 21315 North State Highway 130, northbound service road

• Hester’s Crossing, 2400 South Interstate Highway 35

• North Round Rock, 4201 Sunrise Road

• Techridge, 235 Canyon Ridge Drive

Join former race champs at Cap10K warmup run Saturday

Runners in the Statesman Cap10K stream across the Congress Avenue Bridge during the 2017 race. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Want to run with the folks who will contend for title of this year’s Statesman Cap10K champion?

Meet in the Austin American-Statesman west parking lot, 305 S. Congress Avenue, to run with former race winners and members of the women’s and men’s elite field at 8 a.m. Saturday.

RELATED: Austin woman headed to her 40th Cap10K

The athletes will be introduced, and you’ll have a chance to ask them for race tips and advice before heading out on an out-and-back run up Congress Avenue toward the University of Texas.

Parking is free. Refreshments, a photo backdrop and more will take place after the run.

For more information go here.

Want to run naked? Head to Star Ranch for Bare Buns 5K

A runner participates in the 5k Bare  Buns Run on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at the Star Ranch in McDade, Texas.Catalin Abagiu for AMERICAN-STATESMAN


A year ago this month, I peeled off my clothes and ran a naked 5K race, just to see what it would feel like.

It felt great.

The most awkward moment came when I initially removed my clothing. After that, it was just running as usual as I scampered over pine needle-covered hills, sandy expanses and a hay field. I wore running shoes and a straw cowboy hat, which blew off my head at one point.

RELATED: What’s it like to run a naked 5K? Fit City finds out

Although runners can wear whatever clothing they want (sports bras for women, for example), most go nude except for shoes. Last year’s 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.

This year’s Bare Buns 5K Fun Run is set for April 14 at the Star Ranch Nudist Resort in McDade, a private residential community that opened in 1957 in McDade, east of Elgin.

Runners line up for the start of the Bare Buns 5K at Star Ranch in 2017. Photo by Catalin Abagiu for AMERICAN-STATESMAN


The resort is member resort of the American Association for Nude Recreation. The Bare Buns 5K is part of a series of naked races in the organization’s southwest region. This year, for the first time, Star Ranch will also host the closing race in the series – the Fall Bare Buns Fun Run on Oct. 13.

The chip-timed race starts at 1 p.m. A 1K kids fun run is set for 10 a.m. Entry fee is $35 for adults. Sign up online at Registration fee includes a T-shirt and goodie bag. Margie’s Nekkid Cafe will serve food beginning at 8:30 a.m. Refreshments will be available at the pool, with burgers starting at 2:30 p.m.

For more information, contact the Star Ranch office at 512-273-2257, go to or email

The best way to celebrate spring? Run the Cap10K, of course!

Bobbi Jo Chapman runs in a Rubix cube in the 40th Annual Austin American-Statesman Capitol 10,000 in 2017.


Have you registered for this year’s Statesman Cap10K?

On April 8, the largest 10K in Texas will snake up Congress Avenue, head west toward the big hill on Enfield Road, swing south near MoPac, then fold back along East Cesar Chavez Street.

If you’ve done it before, you know it’s much more than a run – it’s a rolling party. Costumes are encouraged, fans cheer on family and friends, and somebody along the route always tries to tempt participants by shoving a tray of doughnuts or bacon under their noses as they stream past.

Samuel Sydney, left and Sanjuanita Zavala race to the end of the race in the 40th Annual Austin American-Statesman in 2017.

As of Monday, roughly 20,000 people had registered for this year’s run. That’s about 1,000 people ahead of registration at this time last year. Race organizers hope to top off at 22,000.

The finish line festival will feature the circus-themed party band Electric Circus, followed by The Matt Wilson Band, which plays soul, R&B, rock, blues, funk and gospel.

Chavelo Jimenez Jr celebrates as he crosses the finish line of the 2017 Statesman Capitol 10,000.

The first Cap10K took place on March 12, 1978. Eight hundred runners were expected; 3,400 registered.

The crowd grew steadily in subsequent years. At its largest, 28,341 people registered for the run on March 29, 1987. Anyone who ran that year certainly remembers it: Temperatures hovered around 33 degrees and sleet fell.

Today the race ranks as the seventh largest 10K in the country.

Thinking of joining the fun? Registration is $50 for adults or $35 for ages 10 and under. (Prices increase next Tuesday). To register, go here.

Jacob Burzynski as Spiderman pose for a photo in the 2017 Statesman Capitol 10,000.

Check out these free fitness classes inside a book store

Laura Merkel of Dance Waterloo will lead a free fitness class at Recycled Reads Photo courtesy Dance Waterloo


Add this to the list of free fitness opportunities around Austin – classes from Dance Waterloo, designed to improve your base fitness and alignment.

The What the Fit?! classes (fitness is better than cussing, we agree) combine techniques used in yoga, restorative yoga, Pilates and Barre classes. They take place inside a store that sells used books, which (we think) makes it even cooler. And they’re taught by Laura Merkel, who mashes up a blend of yoga, Pilates and barre techniques in the sessions. It’s an all-body workout, but each week she turns the focus to strengthening and stretching a separate area.

“It’s super fun,” she says.

Laura Merkel

The classes take place at 1:30 p.m. Saturdays at the Austin Public Library’s Recycled Reads Bookstore, 5335 Burnet Road. The March 24 class will focus on hips, the March 31 class on shoulders, the April 14 class on core and the April 21 class on spine. No class is scheduled for April 7.

The classes are open to all ages, levels and abilities. Bring a yoga mat, a towel and water. Thera-Bands, support blocks and yoga straps will be provided. The classes are free, but RSVP in advance here.

The small, Austin-based dance company offers performances and classes in public spaces. The lineup includes a dance-making class that combines story telling and activities for families with young children, a dance in public spaces class, and a modern dance class at Mueller Park.

“We’re trying to use either underutilized or under-appreciated spaces. The idea is to bring dance, fitness and education to people instead of making them come to us,” Merkel says. “All of our programming and performances are either free or pay what you can. We’re really trying to make dance accessible to everyone.”

Waterloo Dance’s classes are all free or pay what you can. Photo courtesy Dance Waterloo

The group’s next performance will take place in May on the patio behind Epoch Coffee in the Village Shopping Center, 2700 West Anderson Lane.

Dance Waterloo is part of the Austin Creative Alliance. The classes are funded in part by a grant from the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division. For more information about Dance Waterloo, go here.

Keep fitness a priority with these healthy SXSW events

SXSW isn’t all about music or technology. Participants enjoyed yoga on the lawn outside the Four Seasons during last year’s festival. HANDOUT


Just because you’re probably going to stay up late, drink too much and ruin your feet standing around at bars next week, your South by Southwest festival experience doesn’t have to mean your fitness gets tossed out with the contents of the nearest ashtray.

For the first time, this year’s festival gets its own Wellness Expo at the Palmer Events Center, where fitness-centric people can watch demonstrations, attend workshops and listen to speakers.

To mark the SXSW World Premiere of “Walk With Me,” Thich Nhat Hanh’s monks and nuns featured in the movie held a series of walking meditations and mindfulness sessions. HANDOUT

The expo, open to badge holders and the general public, is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11 at the center, 900 Barton Springs Road. Besides an array of folks eager to talk about supplements, fitness gear, clean eating, exercise and wellness retreats, it will include a bookstore area where authors will sign their works, plus a lounge where attendees can take a break or catch up on emails.

Wellness innovators will give talks and participate in panel discussions at the SXSW Wellness Expo Stage. Fitness and healthy living companies will showcase their brands and host demos and workshops on the expo floor. And outside at the Fitness Stage, attendees can join in all kinds of classes, from yoga to high intensity interval training, dance and strength training. (Look for Lauren Ash of Black Girl in Om, Derek Flanzraich of Greatist, former Longhorn football players Vince Young and Jeremy Hills, and Youtube influencer Adriene Mishler of Yoga With Adriene.)

This year’s SXSW Festival includes a Fitness Expo at the Long Center. HANDOUT

The expo is free to the public, but you’ll need a guest pass to get in. Register for a free pass here or sign up for a newsletter here.

A few other South by Southwest tidbits of note to fitness junkies…

  • The Trail Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to maintain and enhance the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake, will receive all the proceeds from this year’s KUTX Live at The Four Seasons, 98 San Jacinto Boulevard. Entry to the early morning broadcasts are scheduled for 7-11 a.m. March 14-16 and 8 a.m.-noon March 17. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12 and includes coffee and breakfast tacos. All donations will be used to beautify the portion of the trail in front of the Four Seasons hotel.
  • Cyclists and foodies Lentine Alexis, Kate Powlison, Alaina Sullivan and Tom Vanderbilt will talk about how motion impacts the way we crave what we crave, how it shapes our sense of taste, and how using a bike to get around or exercise impacts what we choose to eat at the “Pedaler’s Palate: Food, Cycling + How They Collide” session from 11 a.m. to noon March 13 at the JW Marriott, Salon C. Entry with music badge, platinum badge, film badge or interactive badge.
  • Head to the Clive Bar, 609 Davis Street, for plenty of workout options. On Friday, HEAT Bootcamp will lead sessions at noon and 2 p.m.; and Wanderlust yoga will lead a class at 3:30 p.m. On Saturday, Wanderlust will lead a yoga session at 8 a.m., Ro Fitness and ThriveOnLife will lead sessions at 9:30 and 10:30, 45 (POWA’d by Sphere) with ThriveOnLife will hold sessions at noon and 2 p.m. DJs will spin music both nights.

Austin girl aims to become youngest to climb Kilimanjaro

Montannah Kenney of Austin hopes to become the youngest girl to climb Mount Kilimanjaro this month. Photo by Georges Schemagin


An Austin 7-year-old is angling to become the youngest girl to summit Mount Kilimanjaro.

Montannah Kenney, a second-grader at River Ridge Elementary School, has been hiking up and down hills around Austin in preparation for her trek, which is set to begin March 10. If all goes as planned, she’ll reach the top of the tallest free-standing mountain in the world on March 17 or 18.

The two are heading to Tanzania in memory of Montannah’s dad, who died a week after Montannah’s third birthday in 2013.

Montannah will begin her trek on March 10 and hopes to summit on March 17 or 18. Photo by Georges Schemagin

“The higher I go, the closer I am to him in heaven,” Montannah says.

Don’t worry, she’s pretty tough. A triathlete, swimmer and runner who plays basketball and soccer, she’s always followed the lead of her mother, Hollie Kenney, 45, a former professional triathlete who now runs a swim coaching business and leads the volunteer program for Team Beef. Together, they have been hiking the Hill of Life and Riverplace to strengthen their legs for their adventure.

Montannah describes her training as “really long.”

“Sometimes my friends come with us and sometimes my mom makes me do math problems when we see signs of how far we have gone, and how far we have to go,” Montannah says.

Montannah Kenney

An estimated 25,000 people set out to climb the 19,341-foot mountain each year; about two-thirds make it to the top. Park rules require that climbers be 10 years old, but officials also issue special permits for younger climbers, which Montannah has obtained.

Currently, Roxy Getter of Florida, who was 8 when she made the climb, holds the record for the youngest female; Keats Boyd of Los Angeles was 7 when he climbed. The oldest climber to date was 88 when he slogged his way up. (You can check all the records, including records for the fastest ascent and descent, here.)

Conditions vary along the route, but the Kenneys will probably face temperature extremes from 90 degrees down to well below freezing – and winds like freight trains. They say they are prepared for very non-Texas conditions of snow or sleet.

“I want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro because it would be a fun adventure with my mom, and because it would be really cool to try to break the world record, but I would want to climb it anyway because I don’t care if I break it,” Montannah says.

If she is successful, it will mark her first world record.

It will also mark the first time she’s ever camped.

New Orangetheory fitness studio opens in Mueller

Orangetheory Fitness just opened a new studio in the Mueller development. Phtoto courtesy Orangetheory


Austin gets more orange all the time, and we’re not talking just about the burnt orange shade.

Orangetheory opened its 22nd fitness studio in Central Texas this month.

The studio held a grand opening earlier this month. Photo courtesy Orangetheory

The studio offers 60-minute classes broken into sessions of cardiovascular and strength training. Participants use treadmills, rowing machines, TRX suspension training and free weights.

The heart-rate-monitored training is designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. They call the result the “Orange Effect.”

Class participants use a variety of equipment in their 60-minute workouts. Photo courtesy Orangetheory

The new location is located at 1911 Aldrich Street, Suite 175, in the Mueller Town Center. In all, the company now runs 81 locations in Texas and more than 900 worldwide.

“We are excited to offer our heart-proven, high-energy workout to those who live, work and play in Mueller,” said Terry Blachek, co-founder and owner of Orangetheory Fitness.

The first workout at Orangetheory is free. Photo courtesy Orangetheory

The first workout at the club is free.

For more information call (512) 807-0401 or go here.

The studio is located in the Mueller development. Photo courtesy Orangetheory