Fitness Travel Guide

Meet your health goals for the year by putting your money and calendar where your mouth is and booking some fitness travel
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Mar 2, 2015 | By Ryan Moses

From our brothers over at Myles Apparel, who are offering up fresh perspectives on fitness.

ccording to legend, Medieval knights would travel from near and far for the final feast of the Christmas season to recommit themselves to another year of honor and chivalry.  The rite consisted of each knight reciting Les Voeux du paon (The Vows of the Peacock) while placing his hands on a roasted bird, which was then divided evenly among the group and eaten. Great party, right?

Chances are your New Year’s Resolution was a tad less ceremonious. Chances are even better that your vows had something to do with improving your health. And if you’re like over 90 percent of resolutioners, chances are you’ll come up short of your goal. Here’s a fun way to swing the odds back in your favor: Put your money and calendar where your mouth is by booking some fitness travel this year. Pick a city you’ve always wanted to visit, and it most likely hosts a race or obstacle course event that provides the perfect excuse to go there this year. Devote some vacation time to your goals and you’ll be motivated in the months leading up to the race to stick to your training regiment. And unlike a gym membership, entry fees and plane tickets can’t easily be cancelled.

The cost to sign up usually increases closer to the event date, so January is the perfect time to save some money while laying out your plan for the year. While you’re at it, invest in some workout gear you’ve had your eye on, then put it to use training for your vacation. Here are some events to check out in the first half of 2015, along with recommendations of what to eat, drink and do while you’re in town.

Fight For Air Climb


Chicago is not a city for the faint of heart, especially before April, and definitely not at this event where participants will race up the 45 floors of one, two, three, or all four of the Presidential Towers. Fight For Air Climbs are a series of events hosted in skyscrapers around the country that raise money to benefit the American Lung Association. Sign up and start making friends with a flight in your area.

While you’re there:

  • Restaurant: The Publican - This Anthony Bourdain favorite is an homage to beer, pork, and oysters set in a European-style beer hall.

  • Coffee Shop: Star Lounge Coffee Bar - West Side shop run by Dark Matter Coffee

  • Store: Haberdash - With three locations in the city, this shop is the best source for cool, classic style in Chicago.

  • Bar: Ezra’s - Not really a bar but one of the best small-batch booze shops in the country. If it can’t be found anywhere else, you can find it here.

  • Site: Chicago Lakefront Trail - A 20 mile jogging and cycling path hugging the shore of Lake Michigan runs through Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park, and Jacksons Park, and links several attractions including the Museum of Science and Industry, Soldier Field, and Navy Pier.


Salado Smokin Spokes


Spend the weekend in Austin and head 50 miles north to ride in this scenic cycling race through the Texas countryside, where the weather is perfect for a long ride this time of year. The event offers routes ranging from 15 to 102 miles over rolling hills around Stillhouse Hollow Lake.

While you’re there:

  • Restaurant: Lamberts - One of the best barbecue joints in one of the best barbecue cities out there. The lounge upstairs features live music nightly.

  • Coffee Shop: Wright Bros. Brew & Brew - Wake up or wind down at the full espresso bar with 38 beers on tap.

  • Store: STAG - Offers everything a modern gentleman needs, from fashion to accessories to antiques to artwork.

  • Bar: Mohawk - This venue features three bars and two stages and hosts some of the best shows in a city known for live music.

  • Site: Hamilton Pool Preserve - The natural pool with a waterfall curtain was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed thousands of years ago, making for one of the most beautiful swimming holes of all time.


Epic Race


The Epic Series is a functional fitness take on the endurance obstacle course craze. The course is made up of at least 12 CrossFit and Strong Man inspired challenges, such as kettle bell swings, pull-ups, and tractor pulls. Between each challenge competitors carry a cumbersome object around a track. If that sounds brutal, it is, but at least in San Diego you’ll know the weather won’t present any additional challenges.

While you’re there:

  • Restaurant: Cucina Urbana - Italian kitchen and wine shop with a California twist.

  • Coffee Shop: Little Italy Coffee Bar - Serving up Bird Rock Coffee, a local farm-to-cup roaster.

  • Store: Aloha Sunday - Finely tailored men’s style inspired by the island life.

  • Bar: El Dorado - A rare craft cocktail bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it offers a generous happy hour of $5 signature drinks until 9 p.m.

  • Site: USS Midway Museum - There are five decommissioned aircraft carriers in the country that host tours. This is the one that most recently saw combat.


The Original Mud Run


We’re firm believers that fitness should be fun and nothing makes you feel like a kid again like running, jumping, and climbing through an obstacle course in the mud. There are 10K and 5K courses and heats for various fitness levels, including one for you and the one exercise partner who never let’s you skip a workout—your dog.

While you’re there:

  • Restaurant: Husk - Focused on gourmet southern food and hospitality where chefs serve the food directly to diners.

  • Coffee Shop: fido - Great breakfasts, signature lattes, and industrial art adorning the brick walls

  • Store: Hatch Show Print - You can lose hours searching through this shop's collections of iconic and contemporary music prints and posters.

  • Bar: Holland House Bar & Refuge - Proprietary cocktails poured with house-made ingredients.

  • Site: The Johnny Cash Museum - More intimate than the Country Music Hall, this museum has many of Mr. Cash’s personal items on display and the walls are even made out of stone from his home.

Force of Nature Mind Body Challenge


Force of Nature is surf and fitness icon Laird Hamilton’s recently launched obstacle racing series that aims to test participants’ limits through natural challenges such as heat and snow. Each course includes 20-plus obstacles spread out over an eight to 10 mile course that are designed to challenge athletes minds as much as their bodies.

While you're there:

  • Restaurant: Serpico - World-class dining from chef Peter Serpico with a comfortable atmosphere that feels like your favorite neighborhood restaurant.

  • Coffee Shop: Burlap and Bean - Espresso bar with local baked goods and a cozy atmosphere.

  • Store: Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction - If you can walk past a spirits and clothing shop with a name like this, then we don’t know what to tell you.

  • Bar: Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company - An unpretentious speakeasy that GQ called the best place to drink in Philly.

  • Site: Philadelphia Museum of Art - Cross “Run Up The Rocky Steps” off your bucket list on your way to the exhibits.


The Dipsea Race


Established in 1905, the Dipsea Race is the oldest trail running event in the United States and one of the oldest footraces of any kind. It takes place a short trip across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco on a challenging 12-kilometer course that winds through the redwoods of Muir Woods National Forest to Stinson Beach.

While you’re in town:

  • Restaurant: NOPA - High-quality Californian cuisine and creative cocktails in a lively open, two-story building in the heart of San Francisco. Make your reservations now.

  • Coffee Shop: Sightglass - Independently owned coffee roasted and served in a huge industrial building.

  • Store: Mission Bicycle - Order a custom urban ride hand built in San Francisco. Also offers rentals for those visitors ready to take on the city’s many hills.

  • Bar: Bergerac - Laid back cocktail bar inspired by the mansion where the Rolling Stones recorded “Exile on Main Street.”

  • Site: Point Bonita Lighthouse - The lighthouse first guided ships to the San Francisco Bay in 1877 and is still active today. It’s accessible via a hike through the Marin Headlands and a suspension footbridge leading to the building.

Images ©: 1. Myles Apparel | New Orleans: Jacques-Imo’sCafe BeignetVegasThe Avenue PubThe National WWII Musuem; | Phoenix: Angels Trumpet Ale HouseCamelback MountainBunky BoutiqueAltitude Coffee LabCitizen Public HouseUSA Today | Chicago: Willis TowerThe PublicanStar Lounge Coffee BarHaberdashEzra’sChicago Lakefront Trail | Austin: LambertsWright Bros. Brew & BrewSTAGMohawkHamilton Pool Preserve; | San Diego: Epic SeriesChicano UrbanaLittle Italy Coffee BarAloha SundayEl DoradoUSS Midway; | Nashville: Mud RunHuskfidoHatch Show PrintHolland House Bar & RefugeThe Johnny Cash MuseumPhiladelphia: Force of NatureSerpicoBurlap & BeanFranklin Mortgage & investment CompanyPhiladelphia Museum of ArtArt in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction | San Francisco; DipseaNOPASightglassMission BikesBergeracPoint Bonita Lighthouse