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[whitespace] Runners at Lexington Run Wild: Ditch the hectic city or the overcrowded burbs for a tranquil hike or a bike ride around Lexington Reservoir.

Sports & Recreation

Best Place to Practice for Your Upcoming Appearance on Jeopardy

King's Head Pub & Restaurant
201 Orchard City Dr., Campbell 408.871.2499

Tuesday night trivia at the King's Head in downtown Campbell used to be one of the valley's best-kept secrets. Not anymore. According to owner Sam Summerscales, about 150 trivia buffs come each week to compete, forming teams--which average about six people--with names like Beer Swillers and Lies Police. There are three rounds; contestants are asked 15 questions each round on a variety of topics like sports, history, geography and pop culture. Here's a sample question from a recent trivia evening: "Name the actors who played Hawkeye Pierce, Trapper John, Frank Burns and Radar in the TV and movie versions of M*A*S*H." The winner of each round wins, fittingly, a round a drinks. Summerscales boasts, "It's a fun, quick night." We agree. WB

Best Weekend Getaway on a Tight Schedule

The Inn at Saratoga
20645 Fourth St., Saratoga 408.867.5020

The Ritz it's not, but the Inn's spacious suites all look out onto a lovely eucalyptus-lined creek, and even though the decor is a bit Ho-Jo, the amenities (champagne, videos, newspapers, etc.) are wonderful. For the lovey-dovey, there is a double hot tub suite. Best of all, it's only a short drive away in pretty little Saratoga, meaning it's possible to get out of the daily dotcom grind and still have plenty of time for dinner at the fabulously tiny Sent Sovi or the double-dipper's paradise, La Fondue. Many are so glad they don't have to drive three hours each way to get to their getaway that they just write off Big Sur completely. TB

Best Recreation Among Natural Assets

Alum Rock Park, S.J.

Sulfur may not seem like a hot commodity, but once, the pungent, mineral-rich waters at Alum Rock Park were the hip destination for health-conscious valley denizens, who flocked to the park for the waters' believed curative powers. The park shed its status as the local Baden Baden in the 1960s, although lots of carved stone structures remain from its turn-of-the-20th-century heyday, like graceful bridges and small hillside niches and huts that accessed the mineral springs--some still do. Nowadays, the park's main attraction is simply its abundance of natural beauty. Sheltered in a forested canyon, Alum Rock Park offers numerous hiking trails that snake up the canyon walls, and wide, rolling lawns and picnic areas that are favorite family party spots. Plenty of 21st-century folks still take the waters, in a way: a summer's day will find the park's inviting creeks full of visitors happily splashing around. HZ

Best Luxury Hotel for the Driven Biz Traveler

The Garden Court Hotel
520 Cowper St., Palo Alto 650.322.9000

Anyone who's anybody stays at the Garden Court Hotel when they're in SiliValley on business. Sure, we've grown to expect a T1 line in every room and access to a fax/printer, but the small, Mediterranean-style Garden Court takes executive perks a few steps further. In the lobby, the San Francisco Chronicle, S.J. Mercury News, Wall Street Journal and LA Times are all deliverable to one's door in the morning. In each balconied (albeit pastel and wicker-laden) suite is a CD player and small CD selection, a VCR with a list of complimentary deliverable videos and a book of jogging routes with little pin-on laminated route cards. On each floor there's not only an ice machine but also a cabinet full of glassware (great for entertaining surprise guests), and room service is provided by the esteemed though chain-y Il Fornaio. Our favorite part: open the desk drawer to find a full stock of office supply essentials. TB

Best Place to Make Gains on a Hike

Mission Peak
East end of Stanford Avenue, off Mission Boulevard, Fremont 510.562.7275

Looking to break in a new pair of hiking boots? Check out one of California's most underrated summits in Silicon Valley's own backyard. Mission Peak rises steeply to the east behind the city of Fremont and is a famous backdrop to the entire South Bay. Those who climb the peak should come prepared with some snacks and plenty of water. The entire trip, up and down the beautiful mountain, takes about five hours. Those who make the hike will be rewarded with awesome views of Mount Hamilton to the south, the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west, Mt. Tamalpais to the north and Mt. Diablo and the Sierra Nevada to the northeast. At the top of the mountain, overlooking Silicon Valley, life seems just a little bit simpler. Walk off some stress enjoying Mission Peak's 2,999 acres while passing up fenced-in cows grazing on green grass. CL

Best Place to Turn Off the Cell Phone Without Feeling Guilty

Willow Glen Yoga
1188 Lincoln Ave., S.J. 408.298.9642

Believe it or not, within Silicon Valley there are ways to relax and leave the hectic ups and downs of life behind. And finally, there is a place where cell phones don't ring, stock markets don't crash and road rage is nonexistent: Willow Glen Yoga. Many people say they can't spare an hour and a half to stretch out those cramped legs that are squished behind a desk all day, but those who do discover it's one of the best workouts they can invest in. Take a deep breath and clear the calendar. This quaint studio tucked in downtown Willow Glen offers all different levels, from beginner to yoga guru. Those stepping into a yoga studio for the first time can take a six-week course to introduce their tense bodies to the ancient art. Movers and shakers who want to strengthen and build strong muscles should check out classes on flow and form and alignment, too. CL

Best Kick for the Investment

West Coast Martial Arts
810 W. Hamilton Ave., Campbell 408.374.1177

In this canine-nibbling world where investors insist on greater and greater returns, West Coast Martial Arts can boast satisfied, though sweaty, clients. The studio's cardio kickboxing classes (think souped-up, super-speedy aerobics with a hard jolt) make the loyal work hard for the money, but the effort pays off in firm buttocks and steely thighs. While kickboxing may look macho, even when it's done to Donna Summer, this form of exercise usually attracts the girlies. For those who have read David Bach's Smart Women Finish Rich, which touts the line that women are better investors, kickboxing certainly hits home. It's a venture that requires both long-term commitment and a sturdy running-bra. The enthusiastic folks at West Coast help ease the pain and keep morale up--not to mention their customers' legs. DC

Best Place to Show Off Your Finger Roll Skeeeeolz

Campbell Park

Drive by Campbell Park at 9pm on a weeknight and almost invariably there are still hoopsters running full-court games underneath the lights. There are few reliable outdoor pickup games in the valley, let alone one that's still running after dark on a week night. There never seems to be a shortage of Nike-clad talent ready to run another game at this place. No doubt, some readers will argue that Cherry Park still has the best games in town. But there are no court lights at Cherry Park. And weekend games are best left to the frustrated would-be stars who couldn't make it to the pros and never pass the ball. Meanwhile, the two courts at Campbell Park feature a good mix of skill levels, from unremarkable role players to one-hand dunkers. One word of warning about the Campbell courts: The baskets have shooter-hostile double-rims. But most of us are there for the exercise, right? WB

Best Underlying Security

Chinese Shao-Lin Center
1631 Meridian Ave., S.J. 408.448.1625

People searching for a martial art with the best and most variety of material should choose traditional Chinese kung fu. San Jose is home to one of nine Chinese Shao-Lin Centers on this side of the Mississippi under Grand Master Sin Kwang Thé. He was appointed Grand Master by the original Fukien Shao-Lin Temple's last Grand Master. Grand Master Thé makes an annual visit to the school in October, where he tests students, teaches special forms like "Tai Chi Iron Fan," and spends a day sightseeing with students. Forms include animal styles such as tiger, crane, eagle claw, praying mantis (pressure point attacks) and drunken style. Weapons include double broadswords, nunchaku and its cousin--the three-sectional staff, spear, chain whip and more. Meditation, tai chi, iron bone and palm training are also options. JT

Best Hedge Against Inflation

Lexington Reservoir
Los Gatos

Keeping the cubicle thighs and love handles from expanding takes work. Fortunately, the valley has perfect weather and plenty of nonurban places to run. One of the best places to lace up the Nikes and hit the road is Lexington Reservoir. Park at Los Gatos High School and follow the trail dividing Los Gatos Creek and Highway 17. Climb the path to the reservoir, hang a left and take it on out until exhaustion. It's impossible to get lost; just keep the reservoir to the right. Speaking of liquid, bring plenty to drink because the only other way to rehydrate is hitting the neighbors' faucets. The full circumference will burn up about 18 miles, but don't be afraid to pull an early U-turn and head on over to nearby Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company for a well-deserved treat. KL

Best Relief from Valley Heat

at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, Downtown S.J.

Some steamy afternoons, heat not only streams down from the sun, it saturates the air and seems to emanate from every building, road and sidewalk in San Jose. On such days the only answer is grabbing a towel and heading straight for the massive fountains of the Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The average age of the plaza's water-splashing patrons may be 8 years old, but nothing can compare to the heat relief and sheer joy of stripping off the socks, running and jumping like an idiot, and heading back to the office soaking wet and giggling like a grade-schooler. MS

Best Way to Get a Kick

Judo at Uchida Hall
San Jose State University One Washington Square, S.J. 408.924.3010

Few high-tech types realize that the capital of Silicon Valley is also a national hot spot for traditional, world-class judo. Long before suburbanites discovered the joys of kickboxing and Tae Bo, Coach Uchida was grappling with building a world-renowned judo program at San Jose State. Uchida was a key player in helping the ancient Japanese art grow to become an Olympic sport, and in the process put San Jose on the map as an international martial arts epicenter. The college has acknowledged Master Uchida's influence by naming an entire athletic hall after him. If only they'd lend him out to high-tech companies, San Jose might learn some healthy ways to manage its world-famous workloads and silicon-powered stress. MS

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From the September 28-October 4, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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