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Wade on the Trail with his dog

LMQC Boomer Blogger Alan Sivell urges people to get off the couch and onto local biking and hiking trails before the snow flies and winter arrives to the QCA.

By Alan Sivell

If there is a trail you have wanted to bike or hike this year but just haven’t gotten around to it, don’t put it off. Do it today, if possible. Tomorrow, for sure.

Because winter is coming.

And winter, while it has some seasonal pleasures, often arrives early and stays late. Spring? You never know when it’s going to show up or how it’s going to behave when it does get here. Summer seems to go on forever.

But fall is fleeting.

The leaves are turning, the shadows are getting longer and the days are getting shorter. As I biked in the late afternoon yesterday, Mary Hopkin’s song, “Those Were the Days,” kept running through my head.

“Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end.”

Yes, the song is about a romantic breakup, but it sums up how I feel at this time of year as we “breakup” with the last of the good weather.

And fewer hours of daylight, it’s harder and harder to find time during the week to get outdoors and enjoy the last gasp of fresh air.

But get out you must. Make a plan. Don’t leave getting an outdoor work out to chance. The indoor workouts are coming.

The bike paths in the QC are my go-to trails. But at this time of year, I try to lock in workout memories that will carry me through the winter. I get off my beaten tracks and tackle more remote trails to lock in workout memories.

The Hennepin Canal is a favorite. Even though it cuts across plenty of Illinois farmland, there are still lots of wooded sections to help you enjoy the season. And it’s remote enough so that you can be alone with your thoughts and wallow in the nostalgia of the season, if you wish.

The Heritage Trail that runs from Dubuque to Dyersville is another favorite. Again, it runs along some farmland, but much more of it is treed. And when you get a few miles out of Dubuque, you are mostly on your own. You can really drink in the wonders of fall.

During these last few rides and hikes, I suggest consciously trying to take “pictures” with your brain, to be stored for later use this winter when you are on the elliptical at the gym or on your home equipment. If you aren’t mindful about capturing these images, it’ll be just like your wedding reception or that big family reunion: a blur.

Then, when you are bored with your 99th indoor workout and no music on your phone or show on Netflix can snap you out of your doldrums, you can dig into your memories of fall workouts and see the colors of the fall leaves and hear the crunch of them underneath the wheels of your bike.

Get outside today. Make time every day. Because fall is fleeting.

Winter is coming.

Alan Sivell

Alan Sivell

St. Ambrose Professor, Pizza-lover, Bulge Battler

Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life.