Toughing It 

Bay to Breakers? Bah!

SUN 5/15

The 94th annual running of the Bay to Breakers is a grand tradition that must be experienced at least once by every able-bodied Bay Area resident. But the true allure of the race is urban people-watching, not athletic competition. So eighteen years ago, an East Bay running club created an alternative contest in Berkeley's Tilden Park for hardy competitors who would rather run past cows than walk past nude men with ponytails. The Tilden Tough Ten is a ten-mile course that starts at Inspiration Point and proceeds north for four miles along a wide paved path. The final mile of this out-and-back course swaps the asphalt of Nimitz Way for the dirt of the gnarly Mezue Trail. Runners who regard San Francisco's legendary Hayes Street Hill as much ado about nothing may prefer the tougher ups and downs of the aptly named race's middle stretch. Medals are awarded to the top three finishers in fourteen different male and female age groups. The Tough Ten also is notable as the first leg of the five-year-old Triple Crown Trail Championship, which also includes the June 5 Lake Chabot Trail Challenge, a challenging half marathon; and the infamous Dick Houston Memorial Woodminster X-C Race, a grueling 9.2-mile race in Joaquin Miller and Redwood Regional Parks on June 19. To sign up or for more info, visit or call 510-644-4224. – Stephen Buel

TUE 5/17

Wheel World

The bicycle diaries

In 1992, says cyclist and author Dave Stamboulis, he decided the pace of his life was too fast, so he opted out of the rat race and began what would become a seven-year bicycle journey around the world, the hard way, through some thirty countries. It was tough. He went over the Khunjerab Pass in Pakistan, across Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, through the desert of Rajasthan in India, detoured through the MacDonnell Ranges in Australia's Outback, pedaled across Europe, and ended up in California after logging 40,000 kilometers. His bike, named Odysseus, was a Trek 950 Single Track with a lugged steel frame and Shimano Deore components. Stamboulis, without his trusty Odysseus, appears Tuesday evening at REI Berkeley (1338 San Pablo Ave., 510-527-4140, 7 p.m.) to tell his story. – Kelly Vance


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