Saturday, July 31, 2010

Endangered Species and the San Antonio Team!!

What do these two things have in common? We saw both on our hike this morning at Bastrop State Park in the Lost Pines region of Bastrop County. What a cool experience to see a tiny Houston Toad in the first ten minutes of our hike! This thing is about the size of your thumb and was hanging out on a bridge we crossed. I've never seen one, and never expected to see one given how small they are and the fact, oh yeah, they're endangered! Tasted just like chicken too! (Just kidding!!)

A little further down the trail we ran into the San Antonio Hike Team! Totally random, wish we could have coordinated so we could have hiked with them, but its alright, we'll have time to bond in Big Bend and hopefully on some hikes before!

This was by far our hottest hike and also turned in to our longest at 11 miles due to a hole in the space time continuum that somehow had us end up south of where we started when we were walking north the whole time (or it may have been a missed intersection and an unmapped trail, but I'm going with the wormhole theory). Anyway, the shade made all the difference in the world so everyone made it through and did great!

The team is rocking it! Fundraising is going well, fitness is improving, things are going well. We are looking forward to more great hikes and paddles in the weeks ahead!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

First out of City Hike, and man was it cool!

Well, we had our first hike outside of the City today at Pedernales Falls State Park, and boy did we get off to a cool start. What's in that pic is a 5 foot rattlesnake the Ranger had caught right before we got to the park. Yeah, a bit of a wake up call for our team about what we can run in to out in the woods. Very cool to see, and when they laid it in the grass, it nearly disappeared.

We went about 8 miles on the Wolf Mountain Trail, got in some good climbs and descents, saw some great views, and a dung beetle pushing a ball of poop. Rick told us that the dung beetle uses the balls of poop to help attract mates. Who knew, its not just human guys that use BS to woo women...

Needless to say, it was very, very hot so we got a good lesson in the importance of hydration. At least a liter of water per hour is key to staying hydrated and well on the trail. Can't stress that enough!! Ed and Carl are showing how to do it!

So, there it is! The team is doing great, working on their fitness and having a great time experiencing a Central Texas summer on the trails!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Things are Rocking!!

The Austin TNT Big Bend Hike Team 2010 is pounding out the miles, working on their fitness, and raising money to crush cancer!!

The group is starting to gel and get to know each other. We're building relationships and making lifelong friendships! Last week was our Mission Workout, we had our very own Tom Wilkinson told his story and Liz Yankiver played Amazing Grace on her bagpipes. It was AWESOME!! Just more evidence that this is the greatest TNT team and event in the history of ever!!

Our hardworking group has raised over $5,700 in just over two weeks!! That rocks, lots of success and creativity raising money. That's why we do this, the money raised by the team goes to research and patient services. Along those lines, our Honored Teammate Dan has reached a huge milestone! He's in the first stage of remission, which is freakin' awesome! The research that led to the medicine he's taking was funded by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society supported by TNT athletes. That's what it's about!!

Here's the reminder to all my TNT teammates, there is no SAG in Big Bend. If you can't finish a bike ride, a tri, or a marathon, somebody will pick you up and take you home. In Big Bend, there is no free ride. This means the workouts are very important! If you're not making the team workouts, please be doing workouts on your own. This is critical!!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call me, or email.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Off to a Great Start!!

Alright, TNT Big Bend 2010 is off to an amazing start! We have 14 athletes (with hopefully more on the way) getting prepared for the trip of a lifetime to Big Bend! It started with Kickoff at the Radisson where we heard the reasons why we we do this. A great talk from Mike Thompson about his fight and win against cancer really drove home the purpose of TNT and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Our first team hike was on the Town Lake Hike and Bike trail, a good shakedown for the Team and an opportunity to get to know one another. Our honored teammate Dan, who is fighting cancer now, is going to be training with us over the next few months.

The first hike went well, only four lost hikers! No, seriously, 4 of our teammates took a wrong turn, but did find their way back. Lesson for me (the Worst. Coach. Ever.) is to NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING! I didn't even think about the fact that not everybody has been on the Hike and Bike trail. My bad!

Since Fitness is a key part of the TNT mission, we will be meeting as a Team every Wednesday for more fun, in addition to workouts the other days. The group met at 6:30 and a brief rain shower cooled it down, a definite blessing. The Team was introduced to Squats, Lunges, Push ups, Sit ups, Swings, all kinds of fun! The idea was to present core exercises they could do at home without a bunch of equipment. A short workout followed (squats, lunges, sit ups, scissors, and swimmers, and a trip up Murchison hill x 2). Everyone did great! There will be some sore muscles tomorrow, but folks are ready to get their fitness on!!

So, its not too late! If you're interested in joining in the fun, please contact us!! Visit the TNT website for details and get in on the trip of a lifetime while helping put an end to cancer!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Update on the Schedule

Alright y'all, the schedule has been drafted and while its not set in stone, its a starting point! We've lined up some great activities that will not just prepare you for the hike, they will introduce you to much of the best of Texas! We will be taking advantage of our proximity to the Hill Country to do hikes that combine hills with scenic beauty, and small towns to visit when we're done with the work. We're also planning two overnight events before the big hike that will combine hiking one day and canoeing, just like our Big Bend excursion. So, here's some of the places we're going:

State Parks:
Enchanted Rock, Bastrop, Inks Lake, Hill Country State Natural Area, Lost Maples State Natural Area

Other Sites:
Mission Trail San Antonio, LCRA Lake Bastrop Parks, Barton Creek, Wild Basin, and Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake to us old timers)

In addition to hiking, we're going to canoe, maybe Stand Up Paddle, definitely spend a day tubing on the Guadalupe, and other fun stuff to be announced!

If you're still wondering if this program is for you, remember, all the fun you have is for a much greater cause, putting an end to blood cancers. The money you raise goes to fund research and patient services to help those struggling against cancer.

Please spread the word to your friends, get involved, and be ready for the time of your life!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Are you Ready for an Incredible Experience?

Hi everyone! My name is Chris Holtkamp, and I'm excited to be the Hike Team Leader for the Central Texas TNT Fall hike to Big Bend, TX! This is going to be an incredible experience for all of our participants. Whether you're an experienced hiker, or someone who has never laced a pair of boots you will have an amazing time! For details about the TNT program and how to sign up visit here!

We're going to kick off the program on Thursday, June 10th with a party at the Radisson downtown and our training starts Saturday, June 12th! We will meet under the MOPAC bridge on Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake to us old time Austinites)!

The best part of this program is that you will get to hike and experience the outdoors all across Central Texas as we train for our big trip! We will visit State Parks and other attractions throughout the area as we prepare. If you want to get to know Texas, this is your chance! Our program will culminate in our trip to Big Bend where we will hike the fabled South Rim, home to 100 mile views and the second highest peak in Texas. We will also canoe the Rio Grande. This will honestly be the trip of a lifetime.

I'm looking forward to working with the team, helping all of you to accomplish your fitness goals and learn to enjoy the outdoors as much as I do! I hope to use this blog to introduce myself to all of you, and for you to share your stories with each other and the world! Team in Training is such as excellent program allowing you to set and achieve your goals while helping to put an end to blood cancers! What more could you ask for?

Stay tuned as we kick off what promises to be the best TNT program ever! Link to this blog, stay informed, follow our adventures, and please support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!!