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What's your favorite outdoor activity in the summer?

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
This may or may not be for an upcoming blog post, but I'm wondering: what's the Divas' favorite way to stay active outdoors in the summer? And why?

For me, it's road biking. It's a great workout, and it's fun to get out on the roads and see the beautiful landscape here in Vermont, though there's some great biking in New Hampshire and Maine, too. Last summer we did also some biking on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, which was great because it was flat, flat, flat -- something we don't have too much around here.

Here I am with my DH, riding in Maine last summer.

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bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Mountain biking, natch! I have a four inch gouge in my shin from hitting myself with my own pedals - what could be better? ;-)

Seriously, I love how gritty my skin feels after being out sweating in dirt. I love challenging myself with rocks and roots. That decision point - do I ride it, or do I walk it? I love the feeling of fear followed by elation as I approach something, commit, and then succeed! (Sometimes that doesn't work out, but that's the chance you take.)
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
Usually mountain biking (we have great places here in SC - almost all with ocean views and good climbing to get those views), but now am thinking about a road bike. @ski diva is that a skirt (skort)you are wearing?
 

newboots

Angel Diva
Hiking and backpacking. Flowers, wildlife, scenery, solitude, quiet.

This reminds me, someone needs to start a summer fun/what I did on my vacation thread.

I'm with you, Christy. I can hike competently, which I couldn't say for mountain biking or other things that actually require skills! I love the quiet. I live in a small city, quite near a main street, and I just love the quiet on my nearby mountain. I love pushing myself to keep going uphill, while I can stop for breathing and water any time. I like feeling strong.

I love camping, too. I sleep well, better than I do anywhere else. I love waking up as the sun rises, without even a window between me and that sunrise.
 

Tvan

Angel Diva
We just got new hybrid bikes and we've been riding all our local rail trails. And I run 3 days a week...but that's year-round.

We have kayaks, canoes, and a speed boat since we live on the lake, but we haven't been in the water yet this year.
 

SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Skiing, of course!

But when I leave Mammoth I'll be doing a ton of mountain biking, mostly in Vermont.

MTB is more physically demanding than skiing, and I find that the short intense bursts on the bike really enhance my running stamina. I like the skill-based aspect of mountain biking, too. As with skiing, you reach a point of basic competence fairly quickly, and then progress after that is all about subtle distinctions in form and body position. And like skiing, it takes practice and a lot of time and intentional effort to improve.

Like Monique, I really enjoy all of the decision-making you have to do on a trail ride, and the way you're never in one position on the bike for long, constantly moving around depending on the terrain. Downhill biking is an absolute adrenaline rush. Trail riding is a fun and rewarding workout. It's all great!

@bounceswoosh I have a nasty lump/gouge on my shin because EVERY. TIME. I go DH riding, my front tire shoots a rock, as if from a cannon, right into the exact same place on my leg. What did I ever do to rocks!? I'm thinking about wearing one shin guard.
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
I have never been mountain biking but think I'd love the lift served type.
I must be different... I actually like the climbing, it's such a good workout. Now granted at Mammoth BF and I were not having fun climbing in the "quicksand" and did ride the lift to 11,000 ft. But mostly at sea level climbing to 1,500 feet is not so bad and a good work out... Also, the ride down is usually with an awesome ocean view here in SC. Have mtn biked at Squaw, Kirkwood, Northstar and I really feel it at elevation .......One year we did a ride called the "Flume Trail" which was supposedly for intermediate skills but the drop offs scared the bejesus out of me.
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I love camping, too. I sleep well, better than I do anywhere else.

Gah. The sleeping part is the only part of camping I dislike, but it makes everything else pretty rough. I am a miserable, frozen lump even if it's 50+ degrees outside of the tent and I'm in a zero degree bag, so I can't fall asleep for hours. Then inevitably I have to pee and get up and lose the warmth I've acquired at like 4am. It leaves me too exhausted to do much but sit around the camp fire during the day and shoot the breeze. So, you know, not all bad ;-)

@bounceswoosh I have a nasty lump/gouge on my shin because EVERY. TIME. I go DH riding, my front tire shoots a rock, as if from a cannon, right into the exact same place on my leg. What did I ever do to rocks!? I'm thinking about wearing one shin guard.

Have you looked at G-Form shin protectors? They are very light weight, pack down to almost nothing, and would almost certainly help with this. I've been wearing G-Form elbow and shin guards the last few times I've gone down long technical descents. I'd still wear bulky protection for true downhill, but for trails, it's great.
 

Kimmyt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Mostly with kids it's been hiking and camping. I manage to get out for the occasional climbing day but they're pretty few and far between now and my skills are seriously atrophying.
 

Mary Tee

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
waterskiing! paddling (sup and kayak) and road biking.
 

geargrrl

Angel Diva
Misc comments:
sleeping while camping. No sleep was me. We now have cots that I use with a thermarest and wow, so much more comfortable. NOW I can sleep at night. A Tylenol PM or melatonin will help too, and I'm not adverse to ear plugs. Up here in the PNW where it starts getting light at 4 AM or earlier, I'll use an eye shade too. I know it sounds like a lot, but the difference between sleep/no sleep is huge.

MTB and pads. I wear knee/shin pads every ride, not just for downhill. I wear elbow pads about 1/2 the time. Around here it's common enough that no one gives you crap about it, even if you are a strictly XC rider. Once I explain that even if I just tip over into the gravel, it saves some skin, people get it. As a coach, I really encourage pad wearing for all rides.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
Up here in the PNW where it starts getting light at 4 AM or earlier, I'll use an eye shade too.

Oh yeah. Or when you've been backpacking all day and it's all you can do to make dinner and you want to go to bed at 7:30, but it's light until 10. I drape something like a shirt over my eyes.

I agree that the right gear and set up can keep you warm. I get cold super easily but I'm okay down into the 20s*, even when backpacking where you really can't bring the kind of stuff you can bring car camping. Granted I am sleeping in multiple layers including a down sweater with the hood up. But car camping you can bring blankets for the bottom of the tent--this and a good sleeping pad, so you are insulated from the ground, make such a difference. My dream is that they invent a super thin light packable ground sheet to put inside my tent that keeps it warm that I can take backpacking.

This post does not make backpacking sound very fun.

* When I say I am okay down into the 20s I should also say that that is contingent on my Iowan husband getting up first and bringing me breakfast and coffee in my sleeping bag, then me and the dog both refusing to get out of the sleeping bag until the sun hits the tent.

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bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'll use an eye shade too. I know it sounds like a lot, but the difference between sleep/no sleep is huge.

I actually use one all the time - even at home. I'm just super sensitive to light, and apparently according to my eye doc, my eyelids don't close completely. Lovely.

The cot idea is intriguing. But I think fundamentally my issue is the cold. My body temp plummets when I go to bed and stop moving around. I freeze. Then around 4-5am, I start burning up. I usually wake up at home at that point with the blankets all shoved toward DH's side and take off my PJ top just so I can sleep! But I've been known to wear a fleece to bed at any time of year when I just feel too cold to sleep. If I do that in a 70* house, imagine camping ...

MTB and pads. I wear knee/shin pads every ride, not just for downhill. I wear elbow pads about 1/2 the time. Around here it's common enough that no one gives you crap about it, even if you are a strictly XC rider. Once I explain that even if I just tip over into the gravel, it saves some skin, people get it. As a coach, I really encourage pad wearing for all rides.

I've yet to find a knee/shin pad that doesn't abrade my knee as I pedal - tried tens of them. Got sick of spending money to be disappointed. I found a pair of Kalis that work the best for me, although unfortunately they can't be removed without taking off shoes. The G-Form is a decent compromise, although I actually had to buy the XXL knee pads and wear them as shin guards because the sizes seem to be based on the typical cyclist build. I also overheat extremely easily. Anyway, it's a tradeoff, just like everything else. If there were no penalty, I'd wear them all the time and not particularly care what others think. I am sure they already take note of the overweight lady on an eye-catching ("smoke" anodized with red accents) mountain bike, climbing so slowly she's barely making forward progress, face so red she looks like she's about to have a stroke, with men's downhill baggies and a cyclist top. *shrug*
 

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