Happy National Outdoors Day!

Who knew such a day existed?  I didn’t, but I celebrated this morning with a bike ride.  I was up 30 minutes before my alarm with the sun blazing into our bedroom.  We had slim pickings for breakfast, but I managed to pull together some eggs and toast.  I have been doing a lot more running during the week, so I had planned on getting in a bike ride this morning.  I haven’t taken my road bike out yet this year because it needs a check up and I was worried that one of my tires was leaking.




After breakfast, I crept into the garage in my PJ”s to fill my tires and check out my bike.  My brother mentioned that my tires looked a little stripped but that he thought they would be okay to ride.  I packed up my biking gear and placed the BOY’s cell phone next to the bed, where he was still snoring, just incase I ended up needing a tow.




The sun was shining, but there was a nice breeze cooling things down.  I was happy to get out early because the weatherman was predicting 90 degree heat today!




My neighbors have to think I am nuts posing for pictures outside my house every morning!  Lucky for me, most of them are not early birds.  One other piece to to this bike riding puzzle (besides the tires) that has prevented me from getting out, involves the dreaded ‘clips’. 




Last summer was my first time riding a road bike and riding with clip-in pedals.  It was a rocky start and I ended up with multiple skinned knees and bruises.  Since I haven’t been out on my road bike in ~6 months, I was really nervous to get back on.  I wasn’t sure how much I would remember and how easy it would be to get back into the habit.




I headed out down our empty street and practiced clipping and unclipping a few times before getting to the forest preserve path.




It went pretty smoothly and as I headed out onto the path, it occurred to me that I did not remember how to change gears.  The gears on this bike are different than my hybrid (where I can see the numbers), and I was still working on switching smoothly and efficiently by the end of last summer.  Instinctively, my right hand went right to the shifter and started moving the gear.  I remembered to look down and realized that I was exactly where I needed to be for the flat portion of the path.  I crossed a few busy roads and fell right into an easy rhythm of switching gears.  About half way around the path, I stopped to check my tires.  They looked good and so I decided I could ‘head for the hills’!  That is Barrington Hills, a town just north of us and a great place for road bikers.  Which is exactly what I found…I stopped at a stop light and got swept up in a group of bikers.




Before we could even cross through the intersection, the train lights started blinking and a long CN freight train came into view.





I stayed a little ways back from the riders and took the wait time to rehydrate and take a few pictures.


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Which was super embarrassing when another two group of riders came up behind me as I was snapping photos of myself.  By the time the train passed, there were at least 20 of us huddled together enjoying the gorgeous day!  We all took off heading in the same direction.  These roads are smooth and shaded and this early on Saturday morning, cars are scarce.  We rode together for another 5 miles or so and I chatted briefly with this friendly group of riders.  They scooped me right up and made sure I safely made it through the busy intersections.  As much as I enjoy riding with other people (this was a huge treat!), I was still a bit insecure about my clips and took it easy trying not to throw off the other riders.  Small world story…it turns out that my 8th grade advisory teacher was riding up in the front of the pack.  I didn’t reach her by the time I turned around, but it would have been nice to say Hello and show her that this bossy, loud mouthed pre-teen turned into a pretty decent adult (and bike rider)!




About 40 minutes into my ride, I bid farewell to my new biker friends and turned around to head back home.  I figured that a ~90 minute ride would be a good starting point as I readjusted to the road bike.  A few miles from home, I started to get excited about my successful ride (no falls), but I knew that I wasn’t home safe yet.




21 1/2 miles later, I cruised back into the driveway and parked my bike in the garage.  My tires held up great, and Look Mom…no skinned knees!  Although this picture pointed out to me that my legs are embarrassingly hairy, which I immediately took care of!


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My bike still needs to be taken in for a check up, but I am so happy that I got through my anxiety about relearning how to ride the roads and even keep up with some other local bikers.  My legs were a bit sore by the time I made it up the stairs, but I was in a great mood all day.  What an amazing outdoor workout!!!


How did you spend National Outdoors Day???


Here are a few of my other favorite outdoor workouts and adventures…


Hiking in Door County




Swimming and Kayaking




Walking Along the Beach




Exploring Chicago








Tri Training (and BRICKS)





Hope you make it outdoors this weekend!

3 thoughts on “Happy National Outdoors Day!

    • Ahh…the BRICK! It is such a challenging workout, yet I always feel amazing when I am done! I definitely need to find a Biking 101 lesson to be a little more indpendent and confident with my bike maintence!

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