When Irish guys are smiling, it's probably because the weather is good enough for a pool party. No, not the kind where you get wet -- although true competitors can work up quite a sweat covering all the angles in a tough game of pool. Come spring, Emerald Isle sets up pool tables on its covered deck, where a real sport can take on a fresh opponent and fresh air at the same time. Nine ball in the side pocket!


It's a sweltering summer day, and you and the kids want to get cool but don't necessarily want to take out a loan to do it. Drive west to the year-old Splash water park, thoughtfully provided by the citizens of Golden. It may not have the latest 1.5 million-gallon tsunami scrambler, but with an eight-lane lap pool, a 300-gallon bucket dump, two giant slides (one for inner tubes), and a geyser-shooting splash pad and sandpit for the kids, there's plenty to occupy your time. Kids pay as little as $2.50 per visit; adults may accompany them for $6.50 to $8.50, depending on residency.
It's a sweltering summer day, and you and the kids want to get cool but don't necessarily want to take out a loan to do it. Drive west to the year-old Splash water park, thoughtfully provided by the citizens of Golden. It may not have the latest 1.5 million-gallon tsunami scrambler, but with an eight-lane lap pool, a 300-gallon bucket dump, two giant slides (one for inner tubes), and a geyser-shooting splash pad and sandpit for the kids, there's plenty to occupy your time. Kids pay as little as $2.50 per visit; adults may accompany them for $6.50 to $8.50, depending on residency.
Parents, do you feel your child is getting soft and lacks the killer instinct necessary to survive today's competitive world? Well, forget Montessori and the Ivy League. South Suburban has been hosting this middle-school dodgeball league for more than a year. Games are typically held on Friday evenings (when most kids that age are gearing up for an evening of senseless vandalism). The league uses softer "gatorskin" balls -- not the painful red rubber balls of your youth -- but the effect is the same. For what it's worth, good sportsmanship is stressed.
Parents, do you feel your child is getting soft and lacks the killer instinct necessary to survive today's competitive world? Well, forget Montessori and the Ivy League. South Suburban has been hosting this middle-school dodgeball league for more than a year. Games are typically held on Friday evenings (when most kids that age are gearing up for an evening of senseless vandalism). The league uses softer "gatorskin" balls -- not the painful red rubber balls of your youth -- but the effect is the same. For what it's worth, good sportsmanship is stressed.


USA Triathlon coordinator Jim Flint says he's seen "the good, the bad and the ugly." This year, he decided to produce his own series of tris, and it's all good. From the time-trial start -- swimmers enter the reservoir every few seconds instead of in one teeming mass -- to the rolling bike course devoid of car traffic, to the "pancake flat" running route, the series promises to be a winner. Flint's seen to all the details: a luscious catered lunch, fresh flowers at the hand-washing stations -- even a cardiac doc on hand. "I figure if I'm gonna do this, it should be fun," he says, "even for a beginner." And then there's that cool name: Wouldn't it be nice to be able to say you just finished the Rattlesnake?
USA Triathlon coordinator Jim Flint says he's seen "the good, the bad and the ugly." This year, he decided to produce his own series of tris, and it's all good. From the time-trial start -- swimmers enter the reservoir every few seconds instead of in one teeming mass -- to the rolling bike course devoid of car traffic, to the "pancake flat" running route, the series promises to be a winner. Flint's seen to all the details: a luscious catered lunch, fresh flowers at the hand-washing stations -- even a cardiac doc on hand. "I figure if I'm gonna do this, it should be fun," he says, "even for a beginner." And then there's that cool name: Wouldn't it be nice to be able to say you just finished the Rattlesnake?


Constructed and opened last year, this little-known gem runs from Pence Park, between Indian Hills and Evergreen, to Lair o' the Bear Park, outside of Idledale. Along the way, it cuts through two other Denver mountain parks, Corwina and O'Fallon. Unlike many of the trails along the Denver-area Front Range, Bear Creek is not just a jumble of rocks. It more resembles the Buffalo Creek Trail that runs along the Colorado Trail to the city's southwest: a smooth, wide, hard-packed-dirt single track, with lots of roller-coastery dips and climbs. If you want to get the hard part out of the way first, take C-470 to Morrison and climb up the canyon to Lair o' the Bear. Start grinding at the west end of the parking lot.
Constructed and opened last year, this little-known gem runs from Pence Park, between Indian Hills and Evergreen, to Lair o' the Bear Park, outside of Idledale. Along the way, it cuts through two other Denver mountain parks, Corwina and O'Fallon. Unlike many of the trails along the Denver-area Front Range, Bear Creek is not just a jumble of rocks. It more resembles the Buffalo Creek Trail that runs along the Colorado Trail to the city's southwest: a smooth, wide, hard-packed-dirt single track, with lots of roller-coastery dips and climbs. If you want to get the hard part out of the way first, take C-470 to Morrison and climb up the canyon to Lair o' the Bear. Start grinding at the west end of the parking lot.


Face it: Every so often, running among the alpine splendor, majestic elk and views of the Continental Divide gets, well, boring. At times like those, it's nice to have something civilized to look at. This three-mile stretch of the Highline Canal provides a rare kind of scenery for the jogging voyeur: close-up vistas of the rich and famous. Check out the backsides of 10,000-square-foot mansions! Thrill to six-figure landscaping jobs! They'll never know you were there.

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