Summertime Fit, Colorado-Broad Style
Lisa Ingarfield | @tritodefi
Colorado is a beautiful state and there are so many ways to take advantage of what the outdoors has to offer. However, sometimes starting a new adventure or joining a new group can be intimidating. Based on my experiences as an active woman in Denver, who sometimes gets shy in new settings or groups, I have pulled together my top six recommendations for activities to try this year. Each activity or group is open and welcoming to first-timers, and four of the six are designed just for women. They are all welcoming and accessible options to help you overcome any intimidation factor. No matter your ability level, these are great ways for you to get outside this summer and try something new.
Tri Bella and Outdoor Divas Triathlons
Ever wanted to try a tri? There are several triathlons that occur over the summer months in Colorado, but these two are designed just for women and are especially first-timer friendly. Each cap the number of folks who can participate so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. If you are looking to challenge yourself with something new in 2017, these two options could be the way to go. Both usually sell out, so sign up soon.
Check out the Without Limits website to register and learn more about each race.
Climb a 14er
Climbing a 14er is on many people’s bucket list. It is a great summer activity for you and your family or a group of friends to experience together. There are 58 14ers (mountain peaks above 14,000 feet) in Colorado, so there are plenty to choose from. Mount Elbert (northeast ridge) in Twin Lakes, and Grays Peak (east slopes) near Bakerville are two of the easier climbs. Mount Elbert is actually the tallest 14er, but has a fairly mellow climb to the top (you gain about 4,700 feet in elevation over approx. nine miles). You won’t be scaling any cliff faces for this one. Be sure to leave early, as parking at the trailheads can be difficult to find and you want to summit before any afternoon storms roll in. Make sure to take a sign with the name of the mountain peak and its elevation so you can memorialize the moment with a selfie. You can do additional research about other beginner-friendly climbs at www.14ers.com (routes are listed by difficulty) and get your summit on your calendar.
Open Water Swimming
Yeah, I know. This one sounds funny in landlocked Colorado, but there are many places in the Denver Metro/Boulder area where you can open water swim. If hiking isn’t your thing, or you are experiencing an injury that limits your mobility, swimming is a great way to stay fit with minimal impact on your joints. And for those of you used to laps in a pool, open water swimming presents a new challenge (there are no pool ends to hold on to)—not to mention swimming at sunrise is a wonderful feeling. Some places you can investigate include: Aurora Reservoir, Grant Ranch Open Water Swimming through Swim Labs, and Chatfield State Park Reservoir. I recommend you swim early, because you are less likely to run into stormy or choppy conditions, and the experience of wading into calm open water as the sun rises is indescribable. A wetsuit can help alleviate any nerves you might have, because it adds an extra layer of buoyancy. You can rent them at a number of places, including Tri Bella, a women’s triathlon store in downtown Denver (www.tribella.com).
Women Bike Colorado (WBC)
This group was established in 2015 as a response to the growing number of women interested in biking but also because men outnumber women cyclists 2:1 in the USA. Let’s get those numbers up, ladies! In 2017, the WBC is enhancing its presence and serving more women by developing group rides, diversifying their membership, and building on the already flourishing women-biking community. This is a great way to get involved, get outside, and meet women who love to cycle whether it be road biking, mountain biking, cyclocross or easy Sunday rides in the sun.
Bold Betties Outdoor Activity Group
Bold Betties, a woman owned and led company, is designed to build connection among women through outdoor activity. Central to the group’s mission is removing the intimidation factor that sometimes prevents women from engaging in new adventures. The group, which exists in multiple states, has five chapters in Colorado including one in Denver; great news for Denver women looking to make new friends and take on new challenges. If you want to get involved in outdoor activities, are not sure where to start, or are nervous about taking on a new outdoor adventure, Bold Betties can help you out. They are committed to making the outdoors as accessible as possible for every woman regardless of her financial capacity or physical ability.
Volunteer for Girls on the Run (of the Rockies)
Girls on the Run is a wonderful organization dedicated to building young girls’ confidence and self-esteem by helping them train for a 5k. Each year, GOTR looks for coaches and for folks to run or walk with the girls in their 5k. Volunteering for GOTR means you can get outside, have fun, and support a young girl as she works to accomplish something really cool. And you don’t even have to be a runner to help them out A win-win, if you ask me.
Visit Girls on the Run to learn more about how to get involved.