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‘Pro Lacrosse. Blowout Concert. One Event.’

LXM PRO is the only tour of its kind in the world today. By combining a music festival and professional lacrosse featuring the world’s top players, LXM PRO introduces lacrosse to mainstream audiences and brings a fresh look to one of America’s oldest sports.

LXM PRO launched in Orange County on Nov. 21 with LXM 949. The next stop on the tour is LXM 512 on April 10 in Austin. LXM 512 will take place at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School and includes the following events:

12 p.m.- Professional Lacrosse Clinic

1 p.m.- College Rivalry Lacrosse Game: UT vs. Texas A&M

4 p.m.- LXM PRO Showcase Game: 40 of World’s Best Lacrosse Players Compete

6 p.m.- Live performance by Carolina Liar, plus all-day performances by Austin’s own L.A.X and The Bright Light Social Hour

If you’re not convinced yet, check out this YouTube video recap of the LXM PRO event in Orange County:

For tickets and more information, go to www.lxmpro512.eventbrite.com. Tickets prices range from $30-75. Check back to see photos, mobile updates and video footage from this weekend’s event in Austin.

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Austin Bike Summit 2010

The Austin Bike Summit 2010, a gathering opportunity for local bicycling proponents, whether you’re already active or only aspiring, will take place this weekend. The two-day event is an opportunity to get connected with the bike movement in Austin. Participants will discuss where Austin bicycling has come, where Austin bicycling should be, and plan and organize to create a better bicycle-driven Austin. The summit will consist of workshops and informal networking sessions to share knowledge and maximize efforts through collaboration.

The Austin Bike Summit 2010 will be hosted by the League of Bicycling Voters, Austin Cycling Association, Yellow Bike Project and Bike Texas. Registration for the summit events are free, though the co-hosts encourage everyone to become a member or offer a donation to one of the participating non-profit organizations. The Austin Bike Summit events will include the following:

Friday, April 9:

6 – 7 p.m. — Kick-Off Bike Ride at Pfluger Bike/Ped Bridge, over Lady Bird Lake near Lamar Blvd.

7–11 p.m. — Opening Reception, which includes social, speakers, food and drinks at Bike Texas, 1902 E. 6th St. at Chicon St.

Saturday, April 10:

All events will take place at the Yellow Bike Project Headquarters, 1216 Webberville Rd. at E. 12th St.

8:15 – 8:45 a.m. — Breakfast and coffee

9 – 9:30 a.m. — Morning assembly, which include a quick review of historical efforts and an orientation for the day of workshops and discussions

9:45 – 11 a.m. — Workshop Session #1: Bike Month; Opportunities for social rides; and the Imagine Austin comprehensive plan.

11:15 – 12:30 a.m. — Workshop Session #2: Promotional Campaigns and Resources:  How do we make new cyclists. How do the community, bike shops support bicycle advertising; Bike programs at schools; and Advocacy efforts in Austin.

1:30 – 2:45 p.m. — Workshop Session #3: Advocacy Training; Adult cycling education; and Making businesses bike friendly.

3 – 4:15 p.m. — Workshop Session #4: Bicycle facility design in Austin; Next steps: Help set the LOBV and bicycling agenda for the next two years; and Non-violence in road encounters.

4:30 – 6 p.m. — Afternoon Assembly, which includes a recap of the day, goal setting and orientation for how to make the most of the evening networking opportunity.

6 p.m. – Late — Closing Social and Networking, including dinner and beer.

Fun in the sun

If you’re looking for a new outdoor activity to try, go kayaking or canoeing on Lady Bird Lake for the day. Recreational kayaks and canoes are simple to navigate and safe for all ages.

Texas Rowing Center

The Texas Rowing Center has Austin’s largest fleet of kayaks and they offer singles, doubles and triples kayaks and canoes for rent by the hour or by the day. No reservations are necessary and their rental rates vary on the type of equipment you choose:

Single Kayaks

Hourly: $10
Unlimited: $25

Double Kayaks

Hourly: $15
Unlimited: $35

Triple Kayaks

Hourly: $20
Unlimited: $45

Canoes

Hourly: $15
Unlimited: $35

The Texas Rowing Center is located on the north shore of Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail and directly across from Austin High School. For more information, call 512-467-7799.

A Guide to Starting Pilates

Almost two years ago, a friend of mine convinced me to try Pilates. I was very skeptical at first because in terms of exercising, I’ve always wanted instant gratification from a work out. Meaning, I feel more accomplished after working up a sweat by running a few miles than going to an hour-long yoga class.

Or so I thought.

Just one Pilates session proved my theory wrong. I was immediately hooked — and still am. So after two years of attending Pilates classes on a regular basis (usually twice a week), I asked a local instructor to answer a few questions that might debunk any skepticism you might have.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a system of over 500 controlled exercises that engage the mind and the condition of the total body. It is a balanced blend of strength and flexibility training, and works several muscle groups simultaneously through smooth, continuous motion, with a particular concentration on strengthening and stabilizing the core.

What are the benefits of Pilates?

In conventional workouts, weak muscles tend to get weaker and strong muscles tend to get stronger. The result is muscular imbalance — a primary cause of injury and chronic back pain. Pilates conditions the whole body, even the ankles and feet. No muscle group is over trained or under trained. Pilates will enable you to experience an ease of movement and a being-in your body experience that is hard to describe.

Here are a few other benefits:

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com

—   Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk

—   Challenge deep abdominal muscles to support the core

—   Engage the mind and enhance body awareness

—   Reduce stress, relieve tension, boost energy

—   Create a stronger, more flexible spine

—   Improve circulation

—   Increase joint range of motion

—   Enhance mobility, agility and stamina

Is Pilates mainly for women?

Far from it. Pilates was invented by a man, Joseph Pilates, originally to improve the rehabilitation program for returning veterans from World War I. It later gained popularity with women, especially dancers, gymnasts and athletes.

What’s the best way to get started?

When you’re starting out, it’s usually best to attend one private session with a Pilates instructor. Once they teach you the principles of Pilates and show you the basics, you’ll be ready for beginner level courses.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

If you’ve never tried Pilates before, hopefully this will ease any fears you might have about the low impact, high result work out. If you’re interested in giving Pilates a try, here’s a list of local studios:

Reform Pilates
3110 Windsor Rd., Ste. A
512-236-9595

Pilates Center of Austin
8229 Shoal Creek Blvd. #104
512-467-8009


Westlake Pilates

3801 N. Capitol of Texas Hwy, Suite J100
512-347-0400

Joy Moves
2499 S. Capitol of Texas Hwy, Ste. 202
512-328-4440

Animo Pilates
1501 W. 5th St., Suite 108
512-461-1022

Zilker Park Kite Festival

Zilker Park Kite Festival

If you’re looking for a unique outdoor event to participate in, check out the Zilker Park Kite Festival on Sunday, March 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This annual event draws a huge crowd since admission is free and anyone is welcome, whether you want to fly a kite or just enjoy the sunny, spring weather.

Kite flying demonstrations will be held all day and there will be food vendors (proceeds support local nonprofits), face painters and moonwalks.

If you don’t already have a kite, World Wind Kites be selling kites and there will be on-site workshops that promise kite-making in less than 10 minutes.

The festival also offers plenty of friendly competition for kite flyers that want to show off their skills. Contests include Highest Angle Kite, Most Unusual Kite, and Largest Kite. People of all ages can enter these contests (there are youth and adult categories), but there’s just one rule: You can only fly homemade kites that are on a single line.

There will be free shuttle rides and parking beginning at 10 a.m. at these two locations:

Downtown at 1604 Colorado St., State Garage E, South at the Tony Burger Center at 3200 Jones Rd.

2009 Zilker Park Kite Festival

Nike + iPod Sports Kit

Trying to get in shape for the warm weather? If so, you should consider buying the Nike + iPod Sports Kit.

The kit comes with a small sensor that fits inside of any Nike + athletic shoes, which tracks miles run per week, calories burned, goals reached, and can map out your route based on where you live via Google Maps, all from the Nike web site.

In addition to all of its features, it might help motivate you to get in better shape. Researchers say that, “By aiming for constant daily improvements you will soon achieve the goals you have set. Recording your progress allows you to see your improvements from week to week, which increases your confidence, motivation and determination to adhere to the program.”

So, if you’re the kind of person that makes a To-Do List and feel more accomplished after crossing off each task, the Nike + iPod Sports Kit will most likely be a good motivation tool for you. If you’re not necessarily eager to go out and run a mile, chances are you will do it just to feel the instant gratification of seeing your workout stats once you’re finished. It becomes proof of your daily accomplishments.

Other pros include PowerSong features (one-click play to your favorite song), spoken voice feedback, and compatibility with the iPod, iPod Nano, iPod Touch and iPhone.

Mount Bonnell

Mount Bonnell is one of Austin’s main attractions for both tourists and residents. Since I’ve lived in Austin for four years and haven’t seen Mount Bonnell, I decided to check it out on Saturday afternoon.

Mount Bonnell sits on about 5 acres and the distance to the top is 0.31 miles. There is no entrance fee and visitors can choose to either climb the stairs or “hike” along the winding trail to the top. (I ended up going both ways so I could see the difference).

The trail on Mount Bonnell runs from the north end of the parking lot to the pavilion.

There are five picnic tables throughout Mount Bonnell.

The trail: After parking, I decided to take the trail up to the top of Mount Bonnell. Even though it’s 780 feet above sea level, the climb to the top is not a serious hike. It’s more like a nature trail. I timed myself to see how long it takes (including picture time) to climb to the top. As you can see from my Nike + work out summary, it took about 5 minutes to get to the pavilion at Mount Bonnell.

The stairs: A set of 100 stone steps run to the top of Mount Bonnell. In the summertime, this might be the best route to the top since it’s completely shaded by the surrounding trees. It’s not as scenic when compared to the trail, but it’s definitely the fastest route to the pavilion.

The stairs at Mount Bonnell.

The stone steps lead visitors to the pavilion at the top of Mount Bonnell.

I wouldn’t say Mount Bonnell is a workout (look at my workout summary above to see the number of calories I burned), but it’s definitely taking a step toward being more active in Austin. The good thing about Mount Bonnell is that you can bring young children, elderly parents and even your dogs, and the entire family will make it to the top with ease.

The pavilion at the top of Mount Bonnell.

An engraved rock at the top of Mount Bonnell.

A view of Lake Austin and the hill country, looking southwest from the pavilion.

Once you reach the pavilion, you are greeted with great views of Lake Austin and the 360 Bridge. The views of the lake, hill country, city skyline and the manicured lawns below the peak show the diversity of the Austin landscape.

Beautiful view of Lake Austin and the 360 Bridge, looking north from the top of Mount Bonnell.

A view of the Lake Austin homes, looking north from the pavilion.

A view of Lake Austin and the West Lake Hills.

A view of the Austin skyline, looking southeast from Mount Bonnell.

Mount Bonnell has been a tourist attraction since the 1850s for a reason. Whether you’re trying to become more active or impress an out-of-towner, this is the perfect place to go.

Mount Bonnell is located at 3800 Mt. Bonnell Dr. Click here to see a map.