Friday, June 14, 2013

2013 Wild Woman Triathlon

This is a low key, un-timed sporting event for women, a fun outdoor morning of enjoyable exercise with no pressure to push oneself unless you desire to. It is staged at Independence Grove, the crown-jewel of the 30,000 acre Lake County (Illinois) Forest Preserve District. The participants kayak 1.5 miles, hike/run 3.1 miles, and bike 13 miles, and a potluck lunch follows the competition for those so inclined.  The annual event is open to 150 women who are divided into three groups of 50.  Each group begins with a different activity and then cycles into the other two events, making it reminiscent of an exciting three ring circus spectacle, with plenty of action for spectators to observe and enjoy.

Unlike other triathlons I've observed, this one displayed a unique dynamic since no clock was running -- all the women encouraged one another, smiled and laughed often, and as I biked from location to location to capture video and stills, nearly every participant smiled and waved and said "Hi!" to me as I passed them (and none knew I was documenting their race.) And the camaraderie at the staging area/finish area was a delight to behold as ladies made new friends and reunited with old friends.

Here is a brief video of the events.  The movie also showcases the scenic beauty of Independence Grove and you'll hear the ubiquitous birdsong in the video footage, regardless of which of the dozen-plus locations I was at to capture the activity.

This event is sponsored by Trailbound Trips, a women's outdoor adventure company. I especially appreciate the Mark Twain quote on this website: "Twenty years from now, you will be disappointed more by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sierra Club Outings

The Sierra Club is one of the oldest and largest grass-roots environmental organizations in the world.  It was begun by John Muir in 1892.  Part of its mission statement is to "explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth," and Muir fervently believed that the best way to get Americans to protect the natural wonders of our country was to get them out INTO the wilderness.

"If people in general could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish. (John Muir)

This concept was demonstrated in 1903 when Muir invited President Theodore Roosevelt to visit Yosemite with him, and that visit convinced the president to enhance the protections of Yosemite.

The Sierra Club annually offers over 300 of these outings, and over the last decade, I've participated in these 13:

  • Here is a brief video showing video footage and still photos of these outings: