Arguably one of the most anticipated, popular, and well-visited venues of the Spartan Race calendar is the glorious surroundings of Vail Lake, Temecula in Southern California. Boasting not only mountains and hills that simply refuse to quit, but a range of different types of terrain that will constantly keep you guessing. It’s the ideal place to test Spartans that are serious about their goals. Rocky trails, brush trails, sand, grass, swampy areas, even the beautiful lake from which it takes its name; even if you think you know the venue, it will always throw up surprises to make sure you don’t  – or can’t – become comfortable. Best of all, while all of this is going on, the famous Californian sun will kiss you while those wine valley zephyrs dance over your skin.

Running across the landscape of Temecula is a joy.

But priorities for the travelling Spartan are, as always the first thing one must consider – accommodation. Good rest the day before. Temecula is nestled north of San Diego, but much closer, you’ll find that it’s sandwiched between Hemet and Escondido. As such, you have the choice of three places all well within spitting distance of the venue that has ample parking, regardless of whether you are aiming for the Beast on Saturday or the Sprint on Sunday. Maybe you’re considering the 12-Hour Hurricane Heat. Either way, you’re covered.

One thing that is a nailed-down certainty is that after burning hundreds and possibly thousands of calories over the picturesque scenery, you’ll want to eat heartily .Thankfully, Temecula has more than its fair share of restaurants and diners. But as any knowledgeable Spartan will appreciate, Temecula is famous for something a little different. Set in the heartland of wine country, it would be remiss to not sample what it has to offer. When in Rome, as the expression goes. There are many places to see and visit in the area and thankfully, what could be a wealth of information that actually saturates to the point of confusion, is actually neatly arranged in this website right here. Check out the various activities, too, as well as places to stay, eat, and of course, tickle those taste buds with a nice glass of wine or two.

Of course, if wine isn’t your thing and you much prefer shorts, or maybe just a good old-fashioned beer, there are a wide range of places where your thirst can be quenched. Check out the range of places right here and choose which sounds best to you, based upon the reviews of past patrons and customers.  If you’d prefer to keep up with the big game, there are a range of Sports bars, too. Maybe you just want to shake your stuff after claiming your finishers medal and who could blame you? Check out this link for places to celebrate at. The folk of Temecula like to party, so why not join in with the festivities?

Temecula encompasses all types of terrain.

Regardless of whether you prefer the grape or the grain, the responsibility of any Spartan remains the same. If you’re drinking, don’t drive. Use one of the taxis in the area that will make sure you get back to your accommodation safely and without being a bother to road users or pedestrians alike. Remember that when you wear that finishers shirt, you set an example that other athletes look up to!

Remember that Temecula is renowned for having those warm winds whip up the sides of those hills, bringing the sand and dust with it, so prepare for a long, warm, dry race. Consider wearing a camelback as, while there will be water stations, some folk may find the need for more fluids than others. Remember to never leave a fellow racer wanting. Share fluids, gels and salt packets. No Spartan left behind.

See you at the finish line!

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By: Tony Matesi

CITI FIELD

Welcome to the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world, the Queens borough of New York City. With a population of over 2.2 million people in Queens alone, the borough represents over 100 nations and speaks over 138 different languages. Don’t worry you won’t need a translator, English is still the most commonly spoken language.

Citi Field is the home to Major League Baseball’s New York Mets and is located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, adjacent to the previous team home, Shea Stadium, which is now the Citi Field parking lot. Citi Field has the capacity for 41,922 Spartans! This stadium is no stranger to hosting events other than baseball either, on July 17, 18 and 21, 2009, Paul McCartney performed a series of three sold-out concerts at Citi Field. On top of that, Citi Field hosted its first soccer game between the national teams of Ecuador and Greece on June 7, 2011. They tied, 1-1. Now, Citi Field will be invaded by Spartans. You will conquer the course while spectators watch you fight through the modern day colosseum. Become part of Citi Field’s history.

What’s the weather like?

Normally the weather is quite perfect for a Spartan Stadium Sprint with an average low of 41° and high of 60°. Don’t let those comfortable temperatures fool you though, New York has a way of playing tricks. You’ll want to bring clothes for any situation. With a record low of 25° and a record high of 88° and all this talk of the Polar Vortex, we suggest coming prepared for anything. You know how it is, shorts weather one day and the next you are bundled up like an eskimo. Pack accordingly.

The Course:

The Stadium Race series provides a unique look at stadiums. Come to Citi Field to experience the standard Spartan Race obstacles along with some unique Stadium Only obstacles as you tear through the stands. Run across the baseline, climb into the dugout, navigate in and out of the bleachers, and catch a quick glimpse of the locker rooms. Conquer the Citi Field Stadium. Become a Spartan.

Where to sleep?

With Citi Field being so close to LaGuardia Airport the options for a place to crash are plentiful. There’s the Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn LaGuardia, Corona Hotel, Sheraton LaGaurdia East Hotel, the Flushing Grand Hotel, and the Fairfield Inn New York LaGuardia Airport/Flushing all within a very close radius to the ballpark. Book one of these nearby locations before they fill up! Trust us this is a race you won’t want to miss.

Tonight we dine in

After doing some extensive research there were a few select spots that kept popping up as must see spots in Queens, NY where Cit Field is located. First up is the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. As you’d guess its a beer garden, they offer up barbecue and Czech recipes. If you’re feeling up to something a little more fancy there’s the Water’s Edge Restaurant. Yes it’s located on the water’s edge and provides a magnificent view of the Manhattan skyline. No matter where you decide to dine the one place you must go to is the Lemon Ice King of Corona. Delicious flavored ice to celebrate a Spartan victory sounds delightful.

Nightlife:

If you’re looking to get out and shake your tail feathers after conquering the course – be smart, don’t get toasted the night before – we found some killer spots to check out while you spend your weekend in Queens. Soak in  some live entertainment, craft beers, burgers, sausages, and soulvaki at the German beer garden, Studio Square. Alternatively you have an opportunity to  transport yourself back to the 1890s with the speakeasy feel of Dutch Kills. Stop in and enjoy live jazz and ragtime music and the impressive hand-cut ice that is served in all their signature drinks. Are the European nightclubs more your scene? Check out the Central Lounge where the DJs spin hip-hop and dance music while you’re served sushi under the twinkling candlelight.

Family Destinations:

If you plan on bringing the whole family and want to offer them some options that expand their cultural knowledge be sure to check out the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Park. This giant globe is the symbol of Queens and is an excellent place for outdoor activities. Nearby, you can check out the Queens Museum of of Art where you can view the Panorama of New York City, an extremely detailed scaled model of the city.

Dabble in a little theater action and catch some improv by checking out the Secret Theatre. During the weekend of April 11-13 you can catch the following shows, A Full-ish Deck, Pirate Pete’s Parrot, and A Sunday Smile.

There will also be a few events happening in Queens that area including the Myrtle Avenue Festival taking place on April 13, 2014 on Myrtle Avenue between Forest Avenue and Wyckoff Avenue. Young kids can take part in an egg hunt at the Barnyard East Egg Hunt on April 14, 2014 between 12pm-4pm at the Queens County Farm Museum.

New York, the Big Apple. There’s a lot of opportunity for a Spartan. It’s a massive city with more to do than we can write about, so go fourth and explore! We’ll see you on the course, Spartans. AROO!!!

Credit: sheratonjfk

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