Celebrating Ventura Countyâ€™s minutiae
By Stephanie Kinnear 02/08/2007
Do it like Rocky
The best spots to get a great outdoor workout
We canâ€™t all be professional athletes; we canâ€™t all be the next Rocky Balboa. However, thereâ€™s no reason we canâ€™t feel like weâ€™re training for an Olympic event. Itâ€™s February and the weather is beautiful. In Ventura County, who needs a gym? Try one of these five outdoor workouts and see if you donâ€™t feel just a little bit like Sylvester Stallone when youâ€™re finished.
Sprinting a few flights of outdoor stairs and then doing a little bouncy, arms-in-the-air victory dance at the top is arguably the best way to feel like youâ€™re training for a heavyweight fight. And while we may not have the Philadelphia Museum of Art, we do have stairs. The ones in front of City Hall in Ventura are picturesque, but you might look a little silly celebrating after bounding up five steps. Instead, try the stairs that run up from Ventura Avenue to Wall Street. Itâ€™s a long flight and, by the time you reach the top, youâ€™re guaranteed to have worked up a sweat. The stairs start behind Ventura Ave. and end at Wall St. in Ventura.
You donâ€™t need to be Lance Armstrong to benefit from a good bike ride. And, really, whatâ€™s the point of spending the afternoon on a stationary bike at the gym, when Ventura County has so many great bike paths to choose from. The most scenic (and challenging) is probably the trail that starts at Olive Street, just west of Ventura Avenue, and ends in downtown Ojai. Getting up there takes some serious work, but coasting back down is the payoff. This route is about 22 miles round trip. Novices might want to cruise along the Beach Promenade in Ventura instead.
Keep your chin up
Remember that humiliating moment in gym class in the sixth grade? When the teacher made everyone do as many chin-ups as possible? Were you one of those kids who hung there motionless (except for those flailing legs), straining, your face turning red, veins popping out of your neck? Want to relive that embarrassment? You should: Chin-ups are a great upper-body exercise and you donâ€™t need a gym to do one â€” you just need a playground. Find a local elementary school and get started (just try not to burst any blood vessels in your forehead).
The track at Arneill Ranch Park in Camarillo rocks for a number of reasons. First: Itâ€™s not located at some heavily trafficked intersection. (Itâ€™s in a nice, quiet residential area.) Second: Itâ€™s not associated with any high school, so you donâ€™t have to suffer the embarrassment of being lapped by lanky teenagers as you huff through your first 400 meters. Third: Itâ€™s a dirt track, which is nice and forgiving on sensitive joints. And, fourth: Itâ€™s an old-school, quarter-mile track â€” which is nice for those of us who donâ€™t understand the metric system. The park is located near the corner of Sweetwater Avenue and Dunnigan St. in Camarillo.
Take a hike
You donâ€™t have to drive to the Santa Monica Mountains for a good hiking trail â€” weâ€™ve got a few right in our own backyard. In Ventura, you can hike a number of different distances at Arroyo Verde Park. The trailhead is near the entrance of the park and, depending on your stamina, you can make it a long trek or a short one, as there are a number of opportunities along the way to leave the trail and head back to the park. In Ojai, there are a variety of amazing hikes for all fitness levels. If youâ€™re serious about it, pick up Day Hikes in Ventura County from Amazon.com.