When wine is produced, it takes on the characteristics of the soil it’s grown in, the culture it’s surrounded by, and the people who skillfully craft it. Which is why wine tasting is one of the best ways to get to know a new region or even your own local area. Sip California’s wine tasting cards offer pairs a chance to get to know regions such as Lodi, the Sacramento Valley, and the Sierra Foothills by sipping their way through more than three-dozen wineries. Their cards also motivate holders to get out, explore, and try something new. In addition to complimentary tastings at each winery, visitors can also take advantage of tours, discounts on purchases, and unlimited gulps of fresh air.
Devastating takedowns. Escapes and reversals. Lightning-fast pinning combinations. Over the centuries, the art of wrestling has endured as one of mankind's most primal sports. Today, the instructors at Elk Grove Wrestling Academy teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced wrestlers traditional practices. The next generation of grapplers are taught lessons covering the Greco-Roman, folk, and freestyle traditions. This reverence for classic techniques doesn't mean these teachers are stuck in their ways, though; the school also offers courses in fighting forms such as muay thai and MMA.
Racers swing across a custom-made monkey bar as a bath of wet, gooey mud awaits them if they should lose their grip and fall. They come dressed in trash bags to keep clean or go shirtless to soak up as much muck as possible. Either way, the NorCal Mud Run challenges athletes with an extreme outdoor course to test their endurance while inspiring an esprit de corps among its participants. Racers bound through each obstruction in groups and can always take advantage of the bypass route that winds its way around each obstacle should they not feel up to the task.
The trainers at Muay Thai Lao Kickboxing Academy impart martial arts knowledge from both nations at the academy's Sacramento and Elk Grove locations, where punching bags line concrete walls and wait patiently for flurries delivered by padded fists. A full schedule of morning, afternoon, and evening kickboxing classes welcomes men, women, and children ages six and up. Kick-boxers of all skill levels can participate in muay-thai training to achieve a variety of personal goals, such as shedding weight or walking the path of muay-thai champion.
In the horror films of the 1960s and '70s, zombies were represented as hordes of frightening—albeit sluggish—undead. These days, the typical zombie has a little more spring in his step. During zombie apocalypse–themed tag at Play2Survive, the undead chase after humans who seek shelter at several designated checkpoints. Fortunately, the zombies are only fellow participants, who "infect" the living by tagging them. Meanwhile, racers who retain their humanity must reach a minimum of five checkpoints scattered around the course before crossing the finish line. The first survivors in the team and solo categories to make it back to headquarters receive prizes. The top flesh-eaters among the zombies also get rewards, presumably including a spot as a backup moaner on some pop star's new album.
The touring event is the brainchild of Project TMD, a group of friends who spent their college days scouring California for large-scale role-playing opportunities. Eager to share their passion for fitness and fun with others, the Project TMD crew now stages their own events across the state. The group also does its part to provide local high schools with resources for physical fitness and outdoor play. Project TMD encourages Play2Survive participants to sponsor a local high school of their choice. The school whose sponsors earn the most points receives a portion of the event's proceeds—as does the parks and recreation district hosting the game.
Instructor Mike Uhlinger knows the challenges of being a Brazilian-jiu jitsu student—he still trains daily, learning from world champion Cassio Werneck. He also keeps his skills sharp by competing in tournaments and sparring with his wife and assistant instructor, Lenna Uhlinger. Both are present for every class at Mixed Grappling Arts, where they teach adults and children the fundamentals of ground fighting.
Their lessons cover fitness warm-ups, drills, and live training with a partner. All of these exercises focus around the central law of jiu jitsu: that you can subdue a stronger, larger opponent if you use leverage to your advantage. Mike and Lenna give individualized feedback to their pupils as they demonstrate various joint locks and holds, ensuring that each class has a supportive atmosphere in which students can hone their techniques.