Catching on pics – doorway was supposed to be day nine. This is the door to one of the tents in K-ville, where Duke students camp out for weeks to get into big games. Most tents don’t have an actual door, but this one came complete with a whiteboard celebrating Austin Rivers and his buzzer beating 3-pointer that did in the Tar Heels last week. See, I can offer you some sports scoop, too!
Category Archives: Tardevil Sports & Fitness
Triangle Glides has got the local Segway market cornered, so although Raleigh may not be the most scenic place to see on two well-balanced wheels, we decided to take a historic tour of downtown via this almost-revolutionary technology.
I have always wanted to ride a Segway, but leading up to our tour, I was getting a little nervous remembering:
- All the famous people who have fallen off one (G Dubs, Paris Hilton)
- The cop I saw getting stuck on a slight uphill riding one though Central Park, as thousands of people in Sheep Meadow laughed at his ineffectual mode of crime fighting transport
- The man I saw falling off one in front of a different thousands of onlookers in Chicago
- The fact that one of Segway’s former executives DIED when his went over a cliff (!!!)
However, the folks who led our adventure were extremely safety-conscious and shepherded us over the most treacherous sidewalk bumps, keeping us well-clear of any potential hazards via the headsets we wore under our helmets. After a little bit of training, I realized that the Segway is pretty neat (and easy to handle) in that it finds your center of gravity and adjusts accordingly, leaving you to focus on adjusting your speed and direction. Definitely worth experiencing at least once!
For most Duke fans, the opening weekend for college football is a big one — it means only 10 more weeks until basketball season starts! UNC fans are slightly more interested. As in, is Harrison Barnes limping? No? Thank God. Oh yeah – when’s the football game again?
So how will the local teams fare this year? Duke actually has the more interesting home schedule — three preseason Top 15 teams come to Durham, including the Heisman Trophy favorite and future No. 1 pick, Stanford QB Andrew Luck.
The schedule-makers didn’t do the Blue Devils any favors, though. Besides bringing in Stanford, they scheduled the annual pushover game against a Division I-AA (now called FCS) team, but they booked Richmond, a really good I-AA team which has actually beaten Duke in the past two meetings. And they scheduled a game against the Sun Belt Conference, which is a good thought, except it’s a road game against the preseason pick to win the Sun Belt, Florida International.
They did look far and wide for a suitable Homecoming opponent after last year’s embarrassing loss to Army (you would think the fact that its players are required to enter the service during a time when the U.S. was fighting two wars would hamper Army’s recruiting, but it didn’t stop them from going up 35-7 after three quarters). Somehow they found Tulane, which still hasn’t recovered from when its facilities were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.
So can Duke get to six wins and make its first Bowl game since 1994? Despite home-field “advantage” at Wally Wade, I expect losses to Virginia Tech and Florida State, both Top 15 teams. Miami and UNC (which has won 20 of 21 in the rivalry) will also be heavy favorites against the Blue Devils. Richmond and Tulane are must-wins, but forget about beating Stanford.
That leaves these five games, where Duke would have to go at least 4-1: at Boston College (picked 2nd in its division in the ACC), at FIU (picked to win the Sun Belt), at Virginia (the only ACC team Duke beat last year), and home against Wake Forest and Georgia Tech.
The Blue Devils will only be favored against Wake Forest. Even if you optimistically think Duke will win the toss-ups against FIU and Virginia, that means the Blue Devils must pull an upset against BC or Georgia Tech. There’s just enough hope, just that slightest possibility that it’s possible, to make things interesting. I guess that’s all you can ask for if you’re a Duke fan.
Prediction: 4-8, 2-6 ACC (wins against Richmond, Tulane, Virginia, Wake Forest)
North Carolina has actually gone 8-5 in each of the past three years. Its non-conference schedule has the usual opener against a I-AA opponent (James Madison), games against the bottom two teams in the Big East (Louisville and Rutgers), and a game at East Carolina, who UNC has handled in the past. The Tar Heels should go 4-0 against those opponents, which means they just have to finish 4-4 in the ACC to match their usual win total again.
Three of those wins should be easy — Virginia, Wake Forest and Duke are the three worst teams in the conference, and UNC gets them all in Chapel Hill. The leaves a home game against Miami and road games against Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Clemson and N.C. State.
UNC hasn’t won at GT since ’97 and has been horrible defending the option. N.C. State has won four in a row in the series. Virginia Tech is the national Thursday night ESPN broadcast, as if Blacksburg isn’t tough enough to play in (though UNC did win there in ’09). Counting those three as losses, that puts UNC at 7-3, and assuming a split against Miami and Clemson, that brings UNC to… 8-4. Throw in a bowl loss to an SEC opponent and we’re back to 8-5.
Prediction: 8-5, 4-4 ACC
Earlier this summer, I wrote about starting to work with a personal trainer who is majoring in exercise science at UNC. It is just as painful as I imagined it would be, but I have to give Lauren a shout-out, because she is truly fantastic and well-worth the $25/session (which is already way less than normal training rates thanks to a student discount program). She’s also been telling me about a number of other opportunities that the Student Rec center puts together that go beyond group fitness classes.
If you’re looking to get in shape, you might want to consider their twice-a-week boot camp (only $25 for TEN hard-core sessions – amazing deal!) or TRX suspension training (only $50 for ten hard-core sessions – still a deal!). Plus, they’re going to start a “Get to 5K” running initiative specifically designed for those intimidated by the prospect of being road race ready again. Fitness instructors will act as leaders and customize a workout plan to your needs and you’ll be grouped with other people who are in the same boat. At the end, you’ll all complete a 5k together and feel pretty warm & fuzzy about it!
I am really excited about this because about 15 years ago, I used to run 5k’s semi-quickly, but now, I need to ease my way back into having the cardiovascular strength to match what my legs are capable of accomplishing. The fastest I ever ran one was probably at about a 7 to 7.5 minute mile pace. Now, I would settle for finishing without walking, but I figure that’s better than staying at home and watching another episode of Real Housewives.
If you’re more of an outdoorsy type, there are also numerous excursions that allow you to go hike, canoe, kayak, camp, and rock climb – and if you’re not into joining a crew of students, they may also give you some ideas for where to go on your own. The Triangle also has a meet-up group that goes on weekly hiking adventures that encompass a broad range of difficulty levels, and for older folks, the Carrboro Century Center will transport you to the great outdoors and organize a leisurely day-trip through the forest. The cost is literally only a few dollars and they meet in the town hall parking lot. This couldn’t be more perfect for my car-less Mom, who is looking to go on some easy hikes with similar people.
I’m writing this right before my first fitness assessment with my new personal trainer, courtesy of UNC’s fantastic student rate that makes these sessions just $25 a pop. Since this is a third of the normal cost for this type of thing, it’s making it a little easier for me to force myself to do cardio – a.k.a. a real workout, above and beyond taking the dog for a brisk walk. My eager trainer has already half-convinced me to meet with her on Mondays, take her Water Aerobics class on Tuesdays, and then something vaguely terrifying and intense on Wednesdays that has the words “Cardio” and “Pump” right there in the title. We’ll see if I survive today first.
Now, I must say I do a ton of pilates classes – both the equipment kind and mat. I throw in deep stretch or yoga sessions a couple times a month, and I really enjoy hip-hop dance when I can squeeze it in. I’ve already talked about my studio on this blog, but seriously – InsideOut Body Therapies is the best. Right now their summer special allows you to sign up for individual equipment classes at the heavily discounted package rate, and for something lower-key, Friday evening Deep Stretch is the perfect way to unwind. It’s nice to have one go-to place that has a lot of class options and solid instructors.
But…I need to step it up a bit. After all, I’ve got to keep up with Harold, who runs, bikes, plays soccer, or otherwise gets sweaty almost seven days a week. In the spirit of working out – and working it – here are a few more of our favorite ways to enjoy year-round exercise in the Triangle:
- Hiking around Jordan Lake, Battle Park, or the Eno River. Walking (and biking) the Tobacco Trail, the Bolin Creek Trail or Museum Park.
- Playing for Rainbow Soccer’s “Wisely” league. Harold will assistant coach his team next season!
- Shaking it like a Polaroid picture at 9th Street Dance
- Yoga in the Botanical Gardens or in the Art Museum – my Mom’s favorite.
- Racing Harold across our pool. I wouldn’t say that I often win…but there are a few ties from time to time. This may also have something to do with Harold either giving up or dragging me to a stop if he feels like I might pull off a victory.
- Jumping up and down at basketball games.
- Pretending to be Michael Jackson on the Wii.
- And, of course, lifting biscuits into our mouths
Off to test my limits!
Why, hello, erstwhile blog readers! We’ve just returned from a 4th of July weekend trip to Washington, D.C., because, really, what better place to enjoy the holiday? This will be our only trip to the District this summer, in contrast to living there for three months last year. Harold’s parents didn’t specifically say they missed having us & the pooch around, but we’re sure that without Noodle there to terrorize their household, they’ve been pretty bored.
On the agenda:
- 1 Nats Game
- 2 legal fireworks shows
- 3 tennis matches that Harold claims to have mostly won
- 3.5 minutes before I felt overheated at the Folklife festival
- 4 delicious lobsters (thanks, Seth!)
- 5,000 illegal fireworks being set off in Columbia Heights
Here were the highlights:
- During the Nats game, I pulled Harold’s Mom into conversation for at least four innings, sparing myself from having to concentrate on the actual event. Also – Shake Shack comes to DC! The lines were long and inefficient and the burgers were divine, so things were pretty much up to standard there.
- Watching lobsters meet their steamy end was totally worth it. I mean, a little bit sad. But mostly deliciously worth it.
- I spent one full day just lying on the couch next to the dog. I didn’t even think about doing productive things! Success.
- The party we attended was perfectly positioned to see fireworks going off in alleyways all across the city, post-official show. It’s hard to describe how patriotic I felt as bombs burst in the air just above our heads. Also, how mildly frightened.
When we returned to the Dirty D from the District, we managed to sneak in one last fireworks show at the Durham Bulls Park. Luckily for us, the city had won a contest to receive extra 4th of July funding, and guess what? This fireworks show may literally have been one of the best I’ve ever seen. Plus, it came at the tail end of a USA-Japan exhibition game, which was fun because 1) Japanese baseball fans are super interesting and there were drums and cow bells and all sorts of excitement and 2) It just isn’t a holiday weekend without watching a bunch of college baseball players break into the Cupid Shuffle to celebrate their victory, while hoisting around the flag to chanting and cheering.
You can wait until this winter to see Harrison Barnes, C.J. Leslie and the Plumlees play basketball again or to find out how incoming freshman like Austin Rivers or James McAdoo look. Or, you could come to N.C. Central, sit in the front row and see them play now — for free.
One of the highlights of the summer is taking place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays this month — the Greater NC Pro Am.
Not only does the summer league give you a first look at the incoming freshman, but it also features pretty much every returning starter at Duke and UNC (along with top players from N.C. State and Wake). It also has the past two No. 1 NBA draft picks (Raleigh native John Wall and Duke product Kyrie Irving), along with other local NBA players like Nolan Smith, Raymond Felton and Julius Hodge.
And the best part — because of some bizarre NCAA rule, admission is free. Seating is first-come, first-serve in the 3,000-seat gym, and there’s parking right across the street in a great new parking garage (that’s also free at night, which is more than I can say for the parking at N.C. Central’s wealthier Durham neighbor).
Last year, the fire marshall actually turned away hundreds of fans before a game featuring players from UNC and N.C. State, but normally it’s not a problem getting in. I covered opening night for the Raleigh News & Observer, and there were maybe 1,000 people there.
The first game featured Mason Plumlee (Duke) and C.J. Leslie (NC St.), the second game had Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald (UNC), and the third game had first round pick Nolan Smith, who was fresh off the plane from Portland. But more and more star players should arrive now that the NBA is officially locked out and summer school has started on the local campuses.
It’s a crazy league. It’s marquee enough that Nolan Smith played on the same night he flew back from Portland, and yet there’s only one set of jerseys, so players are peeling off their uniforms after their game ended and handing them to the next two teams who are about to play.
This really is one of the highlights of the summer calendar. Of course there’s some caveats — for instance, the game intensity wasn’t quite as low as you would find in an all-star game, but it wasn’t high enough to be at the level of a conference game either (or even a non-conference game). Also, don’t expect rosters, programs or anything like that (although there’s a hilarious P.A. announcer who gives running commentary the entire time). You never know who’s going to show up.
Also, while I praise the NCAA for its rule that admission has to be free, I will also criticize the NCAA for its rule that high school players can’t participate because it would be an unfair recruiting advantage — for N.C. Central! (as if players of this caliber would really be put in that position).
For a basketball-crazed part of the country, with so many talented players in a small area, this is the perfect showcase. There’s really nothing else going on in the sports world either. Oh, but you should really go soon — somewhat forebodingly, if you go on the “about” page of the website and click on the NCAA logo under Certification, you get a “file not found” error message, so I have no idea how long this league will last (it’s in its fourth year now).
As the summer has set in, I’m basically turning into an old person, content with exciting activities like an evening walk with the dog.
Luckily, the neighborhood has a lovely network of well-maintained walking & biking paths, making it easy to do a 45-minute loop that ends up back at our door. There are always other residents out and about once it cools down to a reasonable 85 degrees or so, upping the safety factor during darker hours. However, Chapel Hill also has a number of other fairly accessible trails. On UNC’s campus, we recommend Battle Park for a short excursion, perhaps taking a slight detour to see the nearby (and super creepy) Gimghoul Castle. In Durham, Duke Forest has various well-shaded options, including a loop that goes around the golf course.
Now, if only our complex offered a bingo night, or a knitting club…
The Cox Mountain trail at Eno River State Park is a 3.75-mile loop, with a 270-foot climb in elevation to the top of the hill (sorry, apparently anything in Central North Carolina that’s taller than 500 feet is called a “Mountain”) and then back down along the river.
For starters, don’t go during cicada season (although this advice won’t come in handy for another 13 years, it’s still good to know). At the trail head we were met by a sound that emanated from Hell. It was like a hundred car alarms going off, and at every part of every second one of the alarms was at its most annoying tone. If that wasn’t scary enough, the ground was like Swiss cheese, as if the cicadas really did come from the depths of the underworld.
After a short walk from the parking lot came the best part of the hike — a long, swaying suspension bridge that was like walking during an earthquake. I thought it was great, but there was a 3-year girl crying at the other end, and she would have been the second-happiest member of our group.
A little bit after the bridge, you get to the loop. If you take a left to start the trail at its closest entry point, you get the uphill part out of the way. It was short, which is good and bad — good because it doesn’t take long, but bad because it’s quite an incline. There was a bench about halfway up, and of course someone was sleeping on it when we got there.
The most disappointing part was when you get to the hilltop — you’re met not with a sweeping view, but by a giant power line. Then you descend pretty rapidly and end up walking along the river. During the second half of the loop, you continue going around the base of Cox Mountain and back over the bridge.
I could see why the reviews were all over the place — it’s difficult for a half-mile and easy for 3.25 miles, so how do you describe that in one word? It also meets up with a three other trails at different points so you can extend your hike if you want to.
The trail was good in that it had a little of everything — up-and-down, water if you want to swim, death-defying bridge. It’s also clean and well-marked. The Boy Scouts went nuts on this one by building steps and wooden ramps over puddles. Incredibly, there’s also a sign on the bridge at least 20 feet above ground that shows where the water level was during Hurricane Fran.
Of the hikes we’ve been on, Jordan Lake still has the best water views and Occoneechee Mountain has the best vista, but this is a good combination.
The American Tobacco Trail is almost a marathon long, running from Durham’s Athletic Park up to Cary. The rail lines that used to follow this path originally led to warehouses owned by companies like Lucky Strike. Now, the rails-to-trails movement has turned the space into a walking, biking, and horseback riding hotspot. We had only seen the part nearest to downtown Durham, so we figured the beautiful, sunny weather was reason enough to check out the parts nearest to our apartment in Chapel Hill. The only complaint seems to be that there’s an unfinished portion that’s supposed to be connected via bridge over I-40. In addition, the lack of lighting makes this a better daytime destination. Still, we applaud the efforts of those involved with the conversion of the trail to allow for healthier pursuits than transporting carcinogens!
Leading up to the big game this past weekend, the Daily Tar Heel ran the “classic” 1990 column entitled “Why I Hate Duke”. Normally, I’m open to some rivalry-inspired jabs and jibes despite my Blue Devils loyalty. Having moved over to Chapel Hill for grad school, I’ve made friends who wear a slightly lighter shade of blue, and any banter between us is generally good-natured. I even want Carolina to have a decent season, because it’s more exciting when our match-ups could be anyone’s game for the taking. But…this article showcased the worst side of the state vs. private school argument.
Really, UNC? The worst thing you can say about Duke is that you had an obnoxious guide and an embarrassing moment during your college tour? Your inferiority complex is showing, and it ain’t a good look for ya.
Now that I’m getting to witness life on the other side, I have been surprised by the population of Tar Heels who have a passionate hatred for Dookies and expect us all to be silver-spoon fed, racist, elitist, arrogant a-holes. At Duke, we would never personalize the rivalry like that. We respect Carolina as a fine institution and for us, it’s more about the big event than who’s in the stands cheering.