Summer Guide 2014 Sports & Recreation picks

Swim all day, golf all night

Justin Bell takes a swing at golf glory at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex.

Justin Bell takes a swing at golf glory at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex.


Adam Elfstrand climbs while Matteo Delucchi belays at Granite Arch Climbing Center, located inside one of those nondescript and ubiquitous Rancho Cordova warehouses.

Photo by Steven Chea

Pride goeth before the climb

Granite Arch Climbing Center

The first time I attempted indoor rock climbing, I was tagging along with a class of reforming felons who were learning to overcome a different sort of obstacle. Symbolism, right?

The sissiest one, I reluctantly sank my feet into special climbing shoes and rigged myself into a crotch-choking harness secured with a butterfly knot. As I began a tentative ascent in beginner’s alley surrounded by children, a tweenage phenom who looked like Harry Potter—all knobby limbs and floppy hair—grabbled up an inverted ledge like he was disproving gravity.

Granite Arch Climbing Center resides in one of those nondescript warehouses Rancho Cordova seems so fond of. It sits among fellow building blocks in what’s called the Sacramento Sportsplex, home to a fitness outlet, trampoline-walled gymnastic center, even a “swimstitute.” Massive as it is on the outside, Granite Arch appears even bigger within, just like the TARDIS. (Look it up.) Spongy rubber floors that resemble volcanic rock after a disastrous magma upchuck run perpendicular to high, angular walls that look, in a certain light, like the somber god-faces of Stonehenge. Except they’re pimpled over with neon grips and clawed at by the unfazed.

The nice-guy cyclist who let us climb for free that day is Bob Balzhiser. He opens his doors to people looking for a metaphor for their trials and tribulations. What they often find is a temple where every knotted wall is to be scaled, no matter how proud. Tower of Babel be damned. 11335-G Folsom Boulevard in Rancho Cordova, (916) 852-7625, RFH

Turn your dad into a hero

Superheroes 5K

Two polarizing Sacramento trends that everybody either loves or hates—cosplay and charity 5k runs—collide on Sunday, June 15, in the Superheroes 5K. It happens to be Father’s Day, and the charity benefiting from the event is the Center for Fathers and Families. Included in the event are capes, water stations, on-course music, a post-race concert, a costume contest and a beer garden. $45 in advance, $50 the day of the race, $20 for minors; 8:28 a.m., the north side of Capitol Mall between Ninth and Eighth streets; J.M.

There's a Map for that secret river spot

Swimming Holes

Sometimes you just need to jump into the river. And sometimes the river is hella crowded. Good thing you have Swimming Holes, because now you know where to find a few good spots off the beaten path. Not only will it hip you to some sweet spots, it also tells you about the local customs; hotels, in case you want to stay overnight; and whether or not clothing is optional. I have used it to find some cool spots up on the Cosumnes River and am planning a trip up to some secret hot springs. Jump in. N.B.

The new arena, er, stadium

Sacramento Republic FC’s Bonney Field

As a resident of Curtis Park, I am sad to see the Sacramento Republic FC depart Hughes Stadium for a more minor-league-soccer-friendly complex in what used to be part of Cal Expo’s parking lot. I have attended sporting events regularly for my entire life, but until a few weeks ago, I had never once walked to a venue directly from my doorstep. The sightlines and amenities at the Republic’s more intimate 8,000-seat Bonney Field are sure to be an improvement, but with more than 5,000 season tickets already sold, it’s already the hottest ticket in town. D.B.

Place to bang balls all night

Haggin Oaks Golf Complex

It’s late at night, it’s hot, you can’t sleep, and you need to burn off some excess energy. Perhaps you would like to hit some balls. In that case, the driving range at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex is the place for you. It’s open 24 hours in the summer! You heard me. You and your buddies can hit the driving range and smash balls all night long, bro. There are even bands performing on the weekends. And there’s beer (not after 2 a.m., but still). Plus, the tee boxes are automated! What more could you ask for? 3645 Fulton Avenue, (916) 481-4653, N.B.

Spot to master stairs

Sacramento’s parking garages

I read on the Internet that it’s bad to run down stairs. Your patella can detach from your knee. Or something like that. Hey, it was on the damn Internet: It’s true. Anyway, let’s talk about the best place to run stairs in Sacramento. My three favorite spots: The Wells Fargo Pavilion parking garage at H and 15th streets (10 stories of hell), the Crest Theatre garage at L and 10th streets (enjoy the urine stench), and the Sacramento State University baseball diamond parking garage (straight-shot climb, unequaled in the city). Do these a few days a week, you’ll have an ass like a not-too-ripe, chilled pluot. N.M.