Outdoors & Recreation
1999 Readers Poll
1999 Critics Picks
Best Basketball Court

Half-court, full-court, order in the court! Well, it's not alwaysorderly, but Enfield sure draws some good games. Come on down, ball in hand - you're sure to find someone to join you in a little sweaty competition. Heck, even if there's nobody there, we could all use a little work on our jump shots, don't you think?

West Enfield Neighborhood Park
2008 Enfield

Best Bicycle Repair

It's Bicycle Sport Shop in the lead! Here comes Ozone passing on the inside! It's Bicycle Sport Shop! It's Ozone! Ladies and Gentlemen! This year, it's neck and neck, with both stores pulling in an equal amount of allegiance.

Ozone Bike Dept.
3202 Guadalupe, Ste. C

Best Bike Ride

Wheels are rollin' as the Tour de Barton enters its seventh year of being touted as the undisputed champion of this grueling competition. You've gotta figure that if you're making tracks in a town where the world's greatest cyclist has oiled his chain, you're in a good place. On your mark, get set, go!

Barton Creek Greenbelt
Zilker Park to Lost Creek, 512/974-6700
Twin Falls, and off MoPac, south of Loop 360, north of U.S. 290, 512/974-6700

Best Bowling Alley

What is it about bowling that gives it such allure? The sound of the ball crashing into the pins? The glisten of the highly polished floors? Or is it those alluring multi-tone shoes? And if a party idea is what you're looking for, well Showplace is the place. For kids they provide the food, the party bags, the invitations, and the fun. And if that isn't enough, they even clean up the mess!

Showplace Lanes
9504 N. I-35, 512/834-7733
9504 North I-35, 512/834-7733

Best Day Hike

There's nothing quite like being in the Great Alone. Okay, not really alone, with all the readers who have voted in stone this enchanted serpentine path along Barton Creek. But hey, we're good company, we're easily absorbed in this wondrous wilderness expanse, and if we walk softly, we might spot some critters or hear the call of the beyond.

Barton Creek Greenbelt
Zilker Park to Lost Creek, 512/974-6700
Twin Falls, and off MoPac, south of Loop 360, north of U.S. 290, 512/974-6700

Best Day Trip

The results in this category may be not be new, but the experience is always fresh no matter how many times the trip is made. The drive out to the mammoth rock gets you completely out of the rat race. And although the climb looks daunting, even three-year olds and sexagenarians can tackle it. A must-see for out-of-towners, and better yet: out-of-country visitors. The vastness of the view drops jaws every time and inspires loyalty from readers again and again.

Enchanted Rock
16710 RR 965

Best Dog Walk

Where man is outnumbered by his best friend at least 4-to-1, and poop scooping is a cultural norm, Pease Park's Dog-Town Alley, between 24th and 29th Streets along Shoal Creek, is the place to be if you sweat through your tongue. Friends are made and stars are born: You are entering the "no leash" zone -.

Best Local Athlete

To keep Heisman hotshot Ricky Williams out of this category two years in a row, you've got to have a touch of superhuman hootchie-coo in you. Tour de France? Ha! A cakewalk. Coming back from a bout with cancer? Pshaw! No problem for this local superhero of the two-wheeled set. Not to diminish the amazing strength, courage, and personal conviction that went into those two life-affirming feats, but geez, Lance Armstrong, this year's BOA coverboy, makes it looks so easy. We'd like to think that this award also goes out to the Lance Armstrong Foundation and its annual charity Ride for the Roses.(See related feature, page XX)

Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong Foundation
2201 E. Sixth

Best Local Team

This is one arena that makes you really dig being in a town that's not the size of a megatropolis. You can buy tickets for the whole family without taking out a second mortgage, and there's really not a bad seat in the house. You're so close, you can actually see the players' faces in all their toothless splendor. Training sessions begin September 29, at Chaparral Ice Center. Regular season play starts October 16.

Ice Bats
Travis County Exposition Center, 7311 Decker Ln.

Best Nursery/Gardening

This perennial favorite has plenty of perennials of its own to choose from. It's worth the trek to ramble through the paths, pulling a red Radio Flyer behind, as we peruse the incredible selection of native plants. Friendly green thumbers share tips and wisdom as they us help us decide between all-natural compost and chicken poop fertilizer.

4001 Ranch Rd. 620 S, Bee Cave, 512/219-5311
10624 North FM 620, 512/219-5311
250 WL Walden Rd., Georgetown, 512/930-1715
2212 Ranch Rd. 12, San Marcos, 512/754-0060

Best Outdoor Gear/Sporting Goods

Outdoorsy Austinites have been voting REI Number One since back in the day when this national co-op was located on Lamar. And that's saying something in a town as full of nature nuts as ours. REI's dedication to quality and variety are evident in their huge selection, including their competitively priced store brand. Aside from that, there's plenty to keep customers loyal. Is it the rock wall? Their convenient location in the Gateway Plaza? Or is it that their knowledgeable staff is attentive enough to stay patient while you insist on trying on five different kinds of rucksacks? Honestly, we bet it has to do with that little six-letter word synonomous with "co-op": REBATE!

9901 Capital of TX Hwy. N., 512/343-5550
601 N. Lamar, 512/482-3357
201 University Oaks, Round Rock, 512/255-1938

Best Participatory Sport

Disc golf??? Hey, baby, Austin's got yer Pole Hole hangin'. Nah, we're not naughty, that's just the name of those elevated metal chain baskets that act as "holes" in each round of disc golf. What? You thought those were trash receptacles? WhhhoooBoy, just wait'll someone says "Nice up."

Disk Golf / Disc Golf

Best Public Golf Course

We were certainly not teed off to learn that the golf category went down almost exactly as it did last year. Lions gets first while Hancock pulls second. The narrow, tree-lined fairways at Lions Municipal are our readers' bag. But, as we told you last year: Beware the badass dog leg left par 4 Hogan hole! Not to be outdone, second-place Hancock "the Rock" sports a mean par 5 second.

Lions Municipal Golf Course
2901 Enfield

Best Public Sports Venue

On fall afternoons from I-35, we see this giant creature rumbling and pulsating with thousands of waving hands and screaming mouths. It's looking grander than ever these days - it's big, it's imposing, and it's alive with local spirit.

Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
2100 San Jacinto

Best Skating Rink

With ice hockey taking off all over, slipping on a pair of skates and sliding across the rink doesn't seem so strange when it's 80 degrees outside. The little ones love it, trading in their rollerblades these days for a pair of ice skates. And we love watching them stuttering across the ice, gliding more often on their backsides than on their feet in the middle of the mall.

Chaparral Ice
2525 W. Anderson

Best Spectator Sport

People come from all over the state by plane, train, automobile, and giant RV to cheer on the Longhorn gridiron. It's more than a game, it's a way of life. And you ain't seen tailgating till you've checked out the parking lot prior to, during, and after a Longhorn game. Warning: Persons allergic to orange should consult their physician before engaging in any Longhorn activity, particularly football.

University of Texas at Austin
727 E. Dean Keeton, 512/471-3434
Sarah M. & Charles E. Seay Building, Speedway & Dean Keeton, 512/471-1157
UT Architecture Library, 200 Battle Hall, 512/495-4620
University of Texas Department of Art & Art History, 2301 San Jacinto, 512/475-7718

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