Near Burnet, a pretty slick haven for mountain-bike enthusiasts
Looking for some new terrain, mountain bikers?
A 1,300-acre ranch near Burnet has opened its gates, and has some calling its granite outcroppings the "Slick Rock of Texas."
Most Central Texas mountain biking trails cut through limestone. But Reveille Peak Ranch near Burnet features rugged single-track and twisty downhill trails across the open rock of the Llano Uplift.
From the top of the hills you can see Lake Buchanan and beyond. Below, paths flow through oaks and grassy savanna.
Vol Montgomery purchased the property in 1999. He contracted with the Austin Ridge Riders to design 15 miles of new single-track and super downhill trails. Construction of the new trail system started last October.
"I really wanted to do something as a business that would keep the ranch looking like it was today 50 years from now," Montgomery said.
Besides the newly developed trails, the ranch features dozens of miles of already existing paths, including 5- and 10-kilometer loops rated for beginners and intermediates.
Hill Abel, owner of Bicycle Sport Shop and a past president of the International Mountain Biking Association, calls the ranch a fantastic addition to the local riding scene.
"Reveille Peak is so different from most of our typical riding areas mainly because there is no limestone," Abel said. "It's all granite, so you have much better traction, and it makes for some really technical riding."
The ranch will team with Outpost Wilderness Adventure out of Colorado to provide ski-school style mountain bike training for children in a separate beginner's area on certain dates. Schools are scheduled for this weekend, April 8-9 and May 7-8, when the ranch is hosting cycling and adventure races.
This fall, the school might be offered weekly.
The ranch is about an hour from downtown Austin, on County Road 114 near Burnet. It includes a two-story outdoor pavilion and facilities to handle music festivals, weddings and corporate events.
It'll be open weekends for a daily fee. Memberships might also be sold. Camping is available on-site.
For more information about the ranch, which is also open to trail running, go to www.rprtexas.com/tourderanch.htm or call 512-755-4417.
‘Why Women Run'
Running isn't just about sprinting down a track, hammering up a giant hill or crossing a finish line.
It's about the special friendships forged between women who rise before the sun, sprint through raging rainstorms and create their own rolling party as they tick off sweat and pain-filled miles.
Reading Kristin Armstrong's newest book, "Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run" (Rodale, $17.99), is like taking a long run with the author. The miles are taxing, and no one has the energy to put up fronts, so she tells you what she's feeling, straight from the gut.
The book is Armstrong's seventh, behind five devotionals and a children's book, but it's not really new territory for the Austin writer, who has penned a popular weekly blog for Runner's World since 2006. It's an amalgam of previous blog entries, articles and new writings, arranged into 26 chapters (and a short epilogue) on things like confidence, pace, roadblocks, freedom, fear and race day.
"The common thread is running, but it sweeps across every area of life," she says.
Armstrong has been running with the same core group of friends — whom she calls the Sweat Sisters — since 2003, the year she and cycling champion Lance Armstrong divorced.
"They were the ones who knew I was not eating and not sleeping, so they said, ‘Let's make her hungry and tired,' " Armstrong says. "They were real runners. I was a sometimes jogger."
Once she pinned on the race number for her first marathon, though, she realized she was a runner, too. She's now finished seven marathons (and one 50-kilometer ultramarathon), and is training for her eighth, the Boston Marathon in April.
"I think this book really is a mile marker for me as a writer and a runner," she says. "There's a lot of vulnerability and authenticity in the entries. While stories are coming from my life, a lot of the themes are broad. It becomes kind of a history of many runners."
If you're a runner, you know that history — tales of post-run pigouts, wondering if your running buddies will leave you in the dust when you miss weeks of training with them, the agony of running when you've had one too many sips of champagne the night before, the terror of tapering, and your self-identity as a runner.
The book will be released Tuesday. A signing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday at BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.
As for the next book? It might be a fiction novel, Armstrong says.