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Near And Gnar

Swooping through Olde Towne East to the Three Creeks Trail, my hosts—three on two wheels stay in a tight formation. Making turns through intersections, hovering tensed over our frames while we wait for lights to change, I’m the odd bird out on this ride. The ladies ushering me are dressed in matching bike kits of [...]
Jeni Ruisch

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Swooping through Olde Towne East to the Three Creeks Trail, my hosts—three on two wheels stay in a tight formation. Making turns through intersections, hovering tensed over our frames while we wait for lights to change, I’m the odd bird out on this ride. The ladies ushering me are dressed in matching bike kits of black and neon colors, with clip-in shoes, and bikes I could only dream of. We chat about their group as we find the wooded trail, and follow it away from the roadway. Traffic noises fade behind us. Riding together, we control our lanes, and can’t be missed. With them surrounding me, I feel fearless. This must be what it feels like to fly in a flock of birds.

Lady Gnar Shredders is a cycling club with a mission. With sponsorships from Paradise Garage to Oakley; and 30 members strong and growing, LGS aims to grow the sport of women’s cycling through outreach, clinics, training, and good ol’ tread-on-the-ground rides. LGS hold clinics for the three cycling disciplines of road, mountain, and cyclocross. The latter, a bit less familiar than the first two, is a race where cyclists dismount and carry their bikes to scramble up rockslides and jump over hurdles. Heckling is encouraged, and there is usually an after-race beer.

But before you go carrying your bike up a hill, maybe it’s best to put tires to the ground first. Many adults haven’t ridden bikes since they were kids, and will have to re-learn how to navigate on two wheels, now that they’ve outgrown their parents sidewalk. Add this to the sometimes hostile roadway environment, and it’s no wonder why new riders could benefit from guidance as they set out. And a posse.

LGS hosts two group rides: Ladies Who Ride (street cycling), and Ladies Who Shred (mountain biking). These are women-only group rides that are set up to foster camaraderie amongst the female and female-identifying cycling community.

Tori Steen is a rider with LGS. By day, she is a professional orthopedic physician’s assistant, and in the evenings and on weekends, she is a racer across disciplines who ushers new riders into the fold. (614) rode along with her and some teammates and got to the heart of why these ladies love to be on wheels.

LGS started as the brain child of a few strong female cyclists in the Columbus area.  Katie Arnold (a local professional cyclist) initially held a meeting and invited all the female cyclists we could think of to gauge interest, and damn! there was some interest. It was like creating this super team of rad-ass women, it was so much fun, we felt like a superhero squad! And once the team was created, it was one of those “if you build it, they will come” scenarios. We started getting all these new women who were interested in racing asking about our team and it’s continued to snowball from there. Watching this team grow has been one of my pride and joys in life.

My best advice [to beginners] would be to find two different group rides. One should be purely fun and social, this will foster community. The second group ride you find, you should be uncertain if you’re going to be able to hang with them. What will happen in the second group ride is that you will likely get dropped from the first ride (this is OK!), and maybe even the second or third ride too, but one day you won’t get dropped and I’m telling you, there is no drug out there that will make you feel as good as finally hanging on to that ride! You will feel like a badass.

There is a huge disparity between male and female cycling—both in numbers and in access. We’re doing everything we can to increase the participation as well as close the gap between the sexes. When a rider becomes interested in racing on our team, they are assigned a mentor. This is a current member of our cycling team who has had extensive racing experience. The mentor is not a coach, but does help a new racer navigate through the somewhat confusing beginnings of racing, whether road, cyclocross, or mountain biking. If a woman is interested in racing we can offer the tools to help women navigate through this complex sport.

I always say I’d rather have a daily bike ride than a Xanax. Cardiovascularly, it’s a great workout! You can get extremely fit cycling. I also think mentally it’s a wonderful stress reliever.

One of the best parts about cycling is the community. Many rides are very social. Some of my teammates and training partners have become lifelong friends. I have had epiphanies, tears, and laughter while riding. Riding with a community of like-minded people makes you feel like you’re home. And the Columbus cycling community in particular is a very welcoming and encouraging lot of people. You kind of feel like they’re your family.   

We have lawyers, medical professionals, directors of non-profits, actual rocket scientists, computer brainiacs, women working in publishing, graduate students getting their Master’s or PhDs all while still training and racing. Sometimes if feels like if we were motivated to take over the world, we could do it. But for now, we’ll settle for taking the racing community by storm.

Ladies Who Ride group ride meets on Saturdays in New Albany. For more, visit ladygnar.com.

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Health & Fitness

The Great Outdoors (Are Always Open): An easy scavenger hunt to ease you into nature

Linda Lee Baird

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Quarantine. Isolation. Social distancing. The words defining our historic (and historically difficult) moment are all about solitude—and we’re bound to be using them for some time to come. But getting through these long days doesn’t mean we need to be inside. In fact, even under the “stay at home” orders currently in effect, getting out in the fresh air is still very much allowed. Spring goes on springing, and the time away from schools and the office gives us the opportunity to soak it in, observe, and enjoy the changes. 

For those who have been disconnected from nature for a few years, or never connected in the first place, here’s a beginner’s guide to the plants and animals you may see around our Metro Parks, woods, and rivers this spring. We went with common species—because it feels good to be able to check things off your list—but think of this as a starting point for paying a little more attention to the natural world around you. 

And if you are one of the many people who is suddenly leading a homeschool, you can use this as an educational scavenger hunt. My “class” will be taking this list up to Highbanks on the first warm April afternoon. 

Birds

Robin

My mom used to point out the “first robin of spring” as March turned to April every year—a sign that the season was changing and more birds would soon be joining their song in the trees.

Hawk

Look up! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… actually a bird. Our flat lands and wide skies are an ideal combination to catch a hawk carefully circling in  the sky.  (Because this is an easy scavenger hunt, any bird of prey can check this box. We won’t tell). 

Warblers

The Ohio Division of Wildlife calls warblers, “one of the avian highlights of spring.” While there are several species that visit our state, the blue-winged, golden winged, and yellow all have bright yellow coloring that perhaps makes them easier to spot in the trees. ODW recommends Greenlawn Cemetery as a local spot to see them.

Animals

Deer

They’re everywhere in Ohio, but there’s still something magical about spotting one in the wild and looking into its tranquil eyes.

Butterflies

Yes, there are many different types of butterflies that live in Central Ohio and yes, they are most active later in the year, but the common painted lady starts fluttering around as early as April. If you find a butterfly of any species this early in the season, we’ll give you full credit. 

Frogs

Head down to the water and open your ears for that familiar croak. You’re likely to spot them chillin’ on the bank or the nearest lily pad, but it’s really fun if you get to watch them swim. 

Baby… anything

It’s spring, the season many species welcome their babies into the world. And if there’s anything cuter than an animal, it’s a baby animal. Ducklings, bunnies, birds nests; anywhere you can spot an animal family will let you tick this box. 

Plants

Fiddlehead ferns

One of the first signs that the earth is returning from winter is the emergence of fiddlehead ferns. Their distinctive spiral sticking up from the ground portends more plants to follow. (They are also supposed to be delicious when cooked, but since this is a scavenger hunt occurring in a public park, please leave them for the next visitor). 

Lilac

You’ll probably smell them before you see them. There’s a reason lilac is dried and used in aeromatics year round, but—lucky us—we’re quickly approaching the season to experience the real thing. Those small, purple buds that smell like absolute bliss? That’s lilac. 

Maple tree

Sure, it’s at its peak in the fall when the leaves turn gold and red, but can you identify a maple before it’s leaves are in full bloom and it’s not producing any syrup? Now’s your chance to find out. 

Fungus

Mushrooms count, but the best fungus in my opinion grows on old tree stumps and boasts beautiful stripes.

Feature photo by Rebecca Tien.

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Health & Fitness

COVID-19 Coverage: Expert tips for staying healthy during your stay-at home

Mitch Hooper

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It's been nine days since Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has placed the state under a shelter-in-place order. However long this will last is unknown, but Dr. Anup Kanodia has a suggestion: use this time for your own self-health.

Dr. Kanodia, an Akron-native, is the owner and head MD at KanodiaMD in Westerville. He did a fellowship of alternative, integrative medicine at Harvard University and went on to earn his Master's in Public Health. His practice focuses on integrating functional medicine with conventional medicine. In addition to owning his own private practice, he works part-time with addiction clinics and part-time with urgent care.

"What we're finding, in my practice, is that a lot of people want to know how do they help themselves in this time. What can they do beyond social distancing and hand washing?" Dr. Kanodia said.

To find ways to cope and grow through this situation, 614Now talked with Dr. Kanodia via Zoom. Here are some of his tips to finding happiness and peace during these stressful times.

1.) Get into a routine

Working, sleeping, living, and eating in the same place can make the days feel like they blur together. Dr. Kanodia says a daily routine can be exactly what you need to help create a separation of your work and personal life as they collide together at home.

"[It starts] with having a regular sleep schedule," Dr. Kanodia explained. "And then getting out of the house first thing in the morning; meaning go for a walk, or go get something. But if you're stuck inside the house all day long, that's going to ruin your mental health."

For folks working at home, he also suggests making your work space separate from your bedroom. Don't work in bed, he says, and try to work in a different room than your bedroom if possible.

2.) Sleep is crucial right now

Sleep is the time our body repairs itself making it a vital part of a healthy immune system. But with schedules out-of-order, the long hours inside can make falling asleep difficult. Things like exercise throughout your day can help at nighttime, and Dr. Kanodia suggests writing before bed if you are struggling to fall asleep as well as limiting blue light exposure.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself waking up much earlier than usual, he says to simply go about your day, but it's important not to take naps as they can throw off your sleep cycle.

3.) And so is staying physically active; better yet if you can safely get outdoors

He says that functional medicine is finding that there are even more benefits to the immune system and overall health of the body through doing outdoor activities and being in the sunlight.

"Walking out in nature is even more beneficial if you could. Sunlight, outdoor light, or daylight helps us make Vitamin D, helps us shutdown sleeping hormones, and helps with depression."

However, there is a limit to exercise. He warns that if you feel tired roughly two hours after a work-out, you might've overworked yourself. Be cautious as being overworked can lead to a lowered immune system.

4.) Continue social distancing, but use technology to stay connected and close with loved ones

Dr. Kamodia suggests folks use applications like FaceTime and Zoom to stay in-touch with their families and friends. KamodiaMD also offers video chats—both in groups or solo—for anyone with questions or struggling in this time.

He also suggests alternative ways to do this such as video games and online games. Additionally, forums and chats are great ways to stay connected, he says.

5.) Keep a positive outlook with healthy outlets

It's difficult to do so in times like these, but Dr. Kanodia says a positive outlook is vital right now. And having a positive attitude doesn't mean you are immune to the fears, rather, it's coming to terms with them, he says.

"We have to accept our fear, [being] overwhelmed, and anxiousness. [...] Stress and mindset are unmet expectations. If I have expectations of how long this will last, if I will get COVID-19, that I don't like working from home; any of these expectations make us more stressed. If I go with the flow, what's the best I can do with this one minute? And keep going down that path."

For this, he suggests finding hobbies that brought you joy when you were younger. For some it's adult coloring, for others it's sports.

"Figure out in the past what kept you calm. Whatever it is that is your stress reliever, now is a good time to do it."

For more information on Dr. Kanodia, or to download his free COVID-19, Cold, and Flu Top 3 Recommendations, visit kanodiamd.com.

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Health & Fitness

5 unique ways to improve wellness without a treadmill

Jeni Ruisch

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big percentage of the resolutions we make every year involve getting in shape and/or improving our overall wellness. But running on a treadmill is only slightly more attractive an activity than, say, waiting in line at the DMV. And unless you can sit still for more than two minutes, meditation is out of the question. If you want to really challenge yourself to step outside your normal bubble, face your fears while finding balance. You’ll conquer your phobias AND the scale.

Float

True REST Float Spa
truerest.com

You can achieve a state of buoyancy akin to floating on a cloud. The key is a pod filled with hyper-salinated water, heated to the temperature of your skin. Reduced Environmental Stimulus Therapy can help your mind find peace.

Flip

Life Energy Yoga
leyyoga.com

Did you ever dream of becoming an acrobat? This exercise consists of poses done with a partner. You can make human pyramids, or even learn to stand on each other’s shoulders, or contort yourselves into knots of fun.

Climb

Infinity Aerial
infinityaerial.com

Raise your skills to the roof with aerial silks, the skill made popular by Cirque Du Soleil and performing artist P!nk. A long swath of fabric pours down from ceiling supports, and the performer uses friction and strength to support themselves in poses among the waterfall of silk.

Dive

Columbus Scuba
columbusscuba.com

The depths of the ocean hold more mysteries than the surface of the moon. Brave men and women strap Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus to their backs every day the world over, and dive into the unknown.

Fly

The Buckeye Bounce Club
thebounceclub.com

If you thank your lucky stars for gravity, and the hard ground under your feet, maybe it’s time to shake yourself free of the terra for a few ticks. The Buckeye Bounce Club is a gym where the workouts are done on wall-to-wall trampolines, or rather, ceiling-to-ceiling, as the walls themselves are bounceable, just like the floors.

Originally appeared in (614) Magazine December 2017

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