Put down the bong, open up the shades, change out of your bathrobe, and turn off the Xbox. It's summertime — and time to get back in shape and back into the sun. After all, you're not going to have any hot summer flings looking like one of the People Under the Stairs.
To help you in this endeavor, we've put together a list of outdoor recreational clubs to help you get in shape and get back those friends you lost during your six-month hibernation. You'll find that the rec-sports crowd parties just as hard as it plays. And who knows? You might just find romance while trying to keep your lungs from falling out of your ass.
To help prepare your body for the strenuous physical exertion to come, a healthy stretch seems a good place to start. But don't come to yoga expecting to relax. The Warrior pose might seem easy at first, but after you've been holding it for five minutes, you'll be praying to Shiva for mercy. Luckily, the members of Pink Lotus Yoga are a laid-back bunch. During the summer, the group takes its mats outdoors to various locations, including Rocky River Park and behind Adelbert Hall on the Case Western Reserve campus. A word of wisdom, however: If you're going to try a headstand, you'll want to avoid setting up your mat on a hill.
The Skinny: Visit www.pinklotusyoga.com for a list of class times and locations.
Now that you're warmed up and (hopefully) still possess functioning reproductive organs, it's time to speed up your workout. Northeast Ohio is a biker's paradise, whether you prefer gliding over smooth asphalt or rolling over downed trees and boulders.
If the open road is your home, check out Lake Erie Wheelers, a Cleveland bike club made up of every sort — from casual cruisers to protein-gel-slugging human machines with calves the size of your waist. No matter where you fall on that spectrum, you're bound to fall in with a pack that's going the same speed. But if it helps get your legs pumping a little faster, the Wheelers often have food waiting at the finish line. No shortcuts, fatty!
The Skinny: The club sponsors rides throughout the summer, ranging in length from 10 to 130 miles. Visit www.lakeeriewheelers.org for more details and a schedule of rides.
Slightly More Manly Biking
If spandex isn't your thing, and your body can take some punishment, mountain biking offers a more rugged, get-your-entire-body-dirty sort of experience. The Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association sponsors group rides at trails all over the state and beyond. Terrains range from beginner, like the smooth dirt loop at Quail Hollow in Hartville, to the white-knuckle boulder fields of the "Rock Wall" at West Branch State Park. But having somebody who can call for a rescue helicopter isn't the only benefit of riding in a group. After shredding it up in the dirt, you can nurse your wounds and trade wipe-out stories over ice-cold tallboys.
The Skinny: Visit www.camba.us for more details and a schedule of summer rides.
There's no better way to update your social life than by joining a sports team. And whether it's no-holds-barred touch football or a casual game of sand volleyball you seek, Cleveland Plays coed sport and social club is your one-stop shop. By far the most relaxed and popular of the leagues is the beach volleyball circuit at Whiskey Island, a sand-in-your-shoes, beer-in-your-belly type crowd, where teams have such pro-sports-sounding names as "Balls." Whether your team wins or loses here, everyone celebrates afterward at the marina's watering hole, the Sunset Grille. Ahh, cold beer — the great equalizer.
The Skinny: Call 216-632-0623 or 216-269-5019, or visit www.clevelandplays.com for more information.
Slightly Less Manly Team Sports
If you're looking for a more high-impact sport where it's still cool to have long hair and wear Billabong shirts, Ultimate Frisbee may be perfect for you. But be warned: The game of Ultimate — sort of like rugby with a Frisbee — involves a lot — and we mean a lot — of running. The Cleveland Disc Association holds leagues every summer from June through August. Teams are divided among three tiers, from pro to schmo, so don't be scared to suck. There's always someone on the field who's closer to collapsing from exhaustion than you.
The Skinny: Summer league games begin June 4 and will be held every Wednesday through August 6. Visit www.cleveland-disc.org for more details.
The best way to see Cleveland is from the water, but until you save up enough money to buy that yacht, you'd better learn to paddle. One way to do that is to join a rowing crew of the Western Reserve Rowing Association, which offers summer leagues geared toward the novice. Even if you've never held a paddle in your life, the WRRA instructors will show you everything you need to know to get you going and keep you from drowning. Your dues buy you 15 weeks of coached practice plus three races, at the end of which you'll have toned arms, great friends, and possibly a brand-new beer gut from all those late-night crew parties.
The Skinny: Summer League Registration costs $385. Visit www.wrra.cc/news.php or call 216-621-WRRA for more information.
Way Cheaper Water Sports
If you'd rather captain your own ship, sea kayaking on Lake Erie allows you to set the pace — or, if you prefer, drift. The best place to put in is at a sunset tour led by 41 Degrees North Coastal Kayak Adventures. You can choose between taking off from the Rocky River Marina and then traveling along the cliffs and coves of Lakewood's rocky coastline, or setting sail from Whiskey Island into North Coast Harbor, where you'll paddle alongside the historic SS Mather oil freighter and under the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The Skinny: Sunset tours are $35 per person. Call 1-866-KAYAK-41 or visit www.kayak41north.com for more details.
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