Sports & Recreation

Writers’ picks

Kovar’s Satori Academy of Martial Arts helps you hit your mark—whatever the height.

Kovar’s Satori Academy of Martial Arts helps you hit your mark—whatever the height.

Photo by wes davis

Best alleyway bike outfitters

Edible Pedal

Getting takeout chow delivered via bicycle on the grid is a pretty great idea, but the local outfit that transports lunch to your door also sells and repairs bikes. Headquartered in the alleyway next door to Old Soul Co. between 17th and 18th streets near Capitol Avenue, Edible Pedal is full of drool-worthy two-wheelers, and if you let shop owner John Boyer “geek out” over your prospective new ride or help you tweak or repair your existing one, you might find yourself really enjoying every moment on your bike like you didn’t know was possible. Really. Also, the shop’s got fantastic accessories for your travels, like bags and even locally made plus fours to match your smart ride. 1712 L Street, (916) 822-5969, S.

Best ping-pong gods

Sac-Rec Table Tennis Club

Sac-Rec Table Tennis Club organizer and California Table Tennis Hall of Fame inductee James Therriault can return just about any ball. If you saw him on KCRA during the local NBC affiliate’s Olympic Games coverage, you get the feeling he can outplay you merely by never messing up. However hard you hit your shot, he can travel to the ball and lob or chop the shot back over the net. The Sac-Rec Table Tennis Club meets weekly for round-robin tournaments, so you can give the sport a try—and even challenge Therriault himself. J.M.

Best sports bumper sticker to put on your car

Sacramento Mohawks

Thankfully, this town does have a team we can believe in, a team that shows we are a world-class city. The Sacramento Mohawks are our premiere homeless soccer team. They have traveled across America to play in the Street Soccer USA tournament and even have had a few players represent the USA in the Homeless World Cup in more exotic locales. This is not about money, arenas or hanging with the Kardashians: This is about hope and redemption. Sponsored by the Volunteers for America and the Mather Community Campus, it’s all about helping people get out of a bad situation. Sometimes you have to realize that the homeless work harder every day than you do. Why don’t you have a Mohawks sticker on your car? -Mohawks/219345694773586. G.G.

Best DIY outdoor workout

William Land Park

William Land Park, which stretches out between 11th Avenue and Sutterville Road and Freeport and Riverside boulevards, can seem a bit overwhelming in its sheer vastness. But fear not, fitness freaks, there is a method to all this green madness. A clearly defined jogging path loops around Land Park Drive (and will register just under 2 miles on your pedometer), neatly skimming the perimeter around the wading pool, baseball field, et al. Don’t feel like doing the walk-run thing? There are also several self-guided exercise stations for sit-ups, pull-ups and other core-strengthening calorie busters. 3800 S. Land Park Drive,
. R.L.

Best way to get up close and personal with the American River

Sacramento-Sierra Nevada Standup Paddleboard Club

Grab an oar and join the Sacramento-Sierra Nevada Standup Paddleboard Club to catch a kick-ass workout, if not a ripping wave, while traversing the winding waterways of Northern California. Like the big sticks the pros ride, the stand-up paddleboard, or SUP, typically measures between 12 to 18 feet long, but is twice as thick as a longboard and blanketed by a thin foam pad that covers most of the deck. Typical club excursions include trips to Lake Natoma and Folsom Lake, the American River in Sacramento, and Lake Tahoe sponsored by Sierra Standup Paddleboard, which also rents equipment. The club meets weekly during the peak summer season and in the winter as weather permits, and while its members include elite racers, all levels of paddlers are welcome., L.H.

Best place to get away from it all—without going very far

Auburn State Recreation Area

Not far from downtown Sacramento, about 35 miles up Highway 49, is a slice of nature that is so beautiful it will make you forget you are only 40 feet from a major highway. You can set up your beach chair and have a picnic on the rocky coast at the North Fork of the American River or stroll along one of the official state park trails to really see what our backyard has to offer. If you are more adventurous (and fit), you can trek down steep but well-traveled inclines to reach secluded watering holes at various spots along the highway. You can boat, bike and even hunt if you have a permit. Travel up Highway 49 until you see signs for Auburn SRA. L.G.

Best gloppy mess

Mud Factor

Remember the mud pies you created as a tyke out of that concoction of sludge made of water and dirt? The cool “batter” oozing through your small hands as you formed the gloppy mess into something that vaguely resembled a pie is a sensory memory many of us share. Thanks to the organizers of Mud Factor, the adult version of yourself (there’s beer at the finish line!) can go play in the mud October 6—there’s just one catch, instead of your backyard, you’ll be navigating a 5K obstacle course on the Sacramento Raceway. L.H.

Best place to tackle an Aussie

Sacramento Australian Football League

Australian-rules football is a bit more rugged than American football. No pads, no helmets, but plenty of tackling, scoring options and cardio. Sacramento’s Australian Football League now has a pair of pro teams—the Sacramento Suns and the Lady Suns—part of the United States Australian Football League. Don’t just take my word for it, though, sign up for SAFL’s recreational Ausball league, which uses flags instead of tackling and features co-ed teams. Three seasonal leagues happen throughout the year. J.M.

Best playground for the senses

Project Play at Mahany Regional Park

Kids learn more and engage better when their play area is rich with sensory experiences that are visual, tactile and auditory. Autistic children have an especially difficult time engaging in their surroundings. Project Play at Mahany Regional Park is designed for optimum sensory play, which is ideal for little ones that have to work extra hard to connect with the world. Children can splash around at the water mountain finger park, listen to prerecorded animal sounds, swing in specially designed swing sets and interact with all manner of play-structure adventures. The ground is mostly made of rubberized mats, so those in wheelchairs can comfortably roam the playground. There is something special for everyone at this sensory park. 1501 Pleasant Grove Boulevard in Roseville. L.G.

Best Incredible Hulk impersonator

Mark Bell

Mark Bell received heaps of praise for publicly admitting to juicing. His confession happened in his brother Chris Bell’s documentary film Bigger, Stronger, Faster. Anyway, Mark is a former boxer and wrestler, owns Sacramento’s Super Training Gym and invented a bench-press training accessory called the Sling Shot. In the past year, he’s been squatting more than 1,000 pounds, bench-pressing more than 800 pounds and deadlifting more than 700 pounds. Bell coaches a team of competitive powerlifters from his gym, and he and his wife also publish Power magazine, which highlights strength athletes. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. J.M.