Sports

A new brand of fixie competition ramps up for Saturday

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“We're just trying to make it look pretty.” N8 Van Dyke, an SF illustrator, is posted up in the Marine Westar Services Bayview warehouse, unrolling wheatpaste designs on the concrete floor. In other corners of the building, burly men hustle about towing heavy boxes, performing mysterious, industrial functions. But we're (I didn't do any of the work, per se, but having watched the process for the better part of a half hour I feel entitled) involved in a different sort of badassery – creating ramps for what might be the biggest fixed gear competition like, ever: Saturday's Red Bull Ride + Style. Read more »

Roller derby: the San Francisco treat

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Drizzly March was a slow time for San Fran sports fans -- the last Super Bowl Sunday pig-in-a-blanket put to bed a month before, the NBA trade deadline past and playoffs a distant dream; and today's April 1 major league baseball opening games an agonizing countdown away. Short of swimming through the dreary rains to San Jose’s Shark Tank, what’s a rowdy, rooting beer-guzzler to do?

Heading to Golden Gate Park to cheer on some equally rowdy rollers might not be the first thought that comes to mind, but it’s exactly what thousands of die-hard derby-goers did on March 19, when the storied San Francisco Bay Bombers elbowed past the Brooklyn Red Devils in the American Roller Skating Derby league’s world championship game. Read more »

Tennis's top three switch positions: A final look at the BNP Paribas Open

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“For me, you are the greatest player ever.” So said Novak Djokovic to Rafael Nadal after defeating him in the final of the BNP Paribas Open. Djokovic's compliment is sharp in a number of ways. On one hand, it can be interpreted as a diss on Roger Federer, a player often touted as the greatest ever, with whom Djokovic has at times had a testy competitive relationship. On the other hand, it can also be seen as Djokovic giving Nadal a taste of his own medicine: how many times has Nadal called Federer the “greatest” after notching another win during his dominance of their rivalry? Read more »

Umbrella weather: A glimpse of the future during the BNP Paribas Open

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In San Francisco, you need an umbrella for the rain. In Palm Springs, you need an umbrella for the sun. Under a solar glare, the men's side of the BNP Paribas Open would bring a final four made up exclusively of slam-title winners. Yet its most revealing and perhaps best-contested match occurred before the final weekend, on a packed secondary court, where two representatives of the game's future – Milos Raonic and Ryan Harrison – dueled as afternoon gave way to evening.

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The net: Young victory and top-ranked tennis musings at the BNP Paribas Open

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The process of parking and getting to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is a bit of a roundabout involving dusty lots and a bus ride. On the morning of March 11, day five of the two-week BNP Paribas Open, touring tennis professionals drive up and sidle through a lot by the main stadium, some passing two-story two-dimensional images of themselves on the building's wall. Read more »

Looky-loos and show ponies: A day in the life at the BNP Paribas Open

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On one side of the main stadium at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, white picket fences separate the players, their entourages, and assorted tour types from the fans. There's a small plot of green grass near the practice courts, where the athletes jog after matches, or – like Scotland's Andy and Jamie Murray – kick a soccer ball around to pass the time. The setup has a looky-loo and show pony quality, like a human version of horses being led around before a race, though in truth, the BNP Paribas Open presents one of the most free and easy atmospheres in terms of player-fan interaction, with many of the pros walking through the complex amongst the general public. Read more »

Aerial revolution

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Consider the rise of the extreme athlete: generations of youngsters (and increasingly, brave older folks) competing to see who could pull the sweetest stunts and survive. Ever wonder how is it that a person can make the transition from earthbound and bipedal to gravity-be-damned dare-devilry? When exactly is the moment that a skater, skier, or snowboarder just lets go and trusts their body to take them up, over, around, and (hopefully) gracefully down to the ground?

Last Tuesday, I attended a press event at House of Air – the newest member of Crissy Field’s collection of renovated airplane hangars in San Francisco’s historic Presidio – where I was treated to a glimpse of how such a transformation might become reality. Not to mention a new way that a public sports facility can play with its community. Read more »

Not your guru's asana

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Why put 12 year-old aged balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy into a chocolate truffle?  Well, because it tastes surprisingly great, for one thing. But also, according to Dave Romanelli, one of the presenters at last weekend's flexibly diverse San Francisco Yoga Journal Conference, because it can heighten your yoga practice. Enlightenment through chocolate? We’ll take it.

New York-based Romanelli taught a class called “Yoga  and Chocolate,” and like many of the conference’s fifty presenters, he brought a yogic flavor to the conference influenced as much by his personal path to the mat as ancient teachings. In other words, fundamentalist ayurveda this was not. Read more »

Expert opinion: how best to love your Oregon Ducks

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There are sports fans who watch every game, know all the stats, own all the gear, take it upon themselves to achieve championship-level drunk status upon every win and loss their team achieves -- and then there are real sports fans. Those are the guys that cobble together high-quality parodic hip-hop videos with their buddies that become their football team's anthem and Youtube blockbusters, getting them flown around the country to perform -- and getting star-struck coeds to swoon at the tailgate.

That'd be Jamie Slade, Brian McAndrew, and Michael Bishop, whose Supwitchugirl team starred in and edited the Eugene, Oregon party anthems "I Love My Ducks" and "I Love My Ducks (Return of the Quack)," as well as a host of other tunes dedicated to frat juicin' brobots and bathroom water conservation -- even at the price of party foul.  Lucky us, SFBG had the inside line on these young bucks and got Jamie Slade, the group's tallest member with its curliest hair, to email with us about ways you can be the ultimate Ducks fan at the team's championship title run on Mon/10 against Auburn University -- or front like you are, at least. Read more »

#thechampisherethechampishere

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The white collar brawlers had their final showdown on Friday. Nate won, in case you were interested in the two tech guys who put their geekiness on parodic center stage. Kai Hasson and Nate Houghteling (a former SFBG intern, heyyy!) quit their startup jobs to start producing a web series a few months ago: White Collar Brawler, which was about training to beat the crap out of each other in the boxing ring. Which they did -- kind of, no broken noses or nothing -- last week at Berkeley's WestWind karate school in front of a packed crowd.

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