Bare Burro – 5k running race in SoCal

There aren’t many better things to do in spring than welcome the return of warm weather with some nude recreation. If you live in Southern California, or plan to visit in early April, one of the best ways to do that is at the 7th annual Bare Burro nude 5k race at Olive Dell Nudist Ranch – on the 10th of April.

It’s become a very popular event, attracting over 300 runners,

Bare Burro racers start run

who challenge themselves on a run through the foothills surrounding Olive Dell Ranch near Colton, CA – just check out the aerial footage above! It’s a challenging course over dirt roads and trails, beginning and ending at the clubhouse and pool area. It’s become a favorite with several running clubs including the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Palm Springs frontrunners – meaning that there is some very spirited competition and highly competitive finishing times. It’s also popular with those who prefer a more leisurely pace, including some who use it as a great reason to do a 3.1 mile naked hike in the hills.

Olive Dell Ranch naturist resort California

After the run, all of the facilities of Olive Dell are open for the day. There’s a big swimming pool, huge jacuzzi, lots of lounge chairs and deck space, restaurant, refreshments bar, showers, and for those with extra energy – a chance to continue to hike and run the local hills.

Bare Burro run race Winner

Awards are presented to top finishers in all age and sex categories, with special plaques for the top three finishers overall.

Olive Dell Ranch welcome

Everyone is welcome! Runners range from around 20 to over 80. Men, women, gay, straight, singles, couples, anyone looking for a fun day of nude recreation with several hundred similarly minded people.

Registration is open on site at the Olive Dell Ranch or online. It’s $30 through March 31, $35 through April 9 and $40 if you register on-site and race day.

Here is a promo from the last year, but keep in mind that the date was different!

PS This is a guest entry from Don/Things To Do Nude/

hypnotic fire spinning… that’s our “burning” man!

This blogpost is a bit unusual for this blog, as it is dedicated to just one video, and it is more of an artistic value than informative re naturist activities. Though, of course it features a naturist, and a very active one. (On the other hand, you needn’t go much further than the previous post to see that naturism and art can be a great blend.) I shot this video when I went to Sunny Bowl, yet another naked volleyball tournament, at Sunny Rest, a nudist resort in Pennsylvania that readers of this blog may know from my reports on the annual 7k trail race there. I love these events as they attract many people who are both into sports and hanging out naked – my favorite combo – but then there is always even more to them than just sports. So, this time too, our games and parties were accompanied by excellent music with DJ Ashley Crawford and a great fire show, which is what the video is about. As I watched the original videos, I had a tune in my head that was just released right after that weekend (‘Opus’ by Erick Prydz), and somehow it clicked that it would fit perfectly to the fire spinning show. I first thought I’d select just a a few short clips and combine them into a minute long video, but after playing with different speeds, I wanted to overlay the video on the whole track. I highly recommend watching this video in the dark for the best, hypnotic effect; put it in full screen mode, turn the music up, sit back and enjoy!

On another note, watching this naked man spinning fire poi, it’s hard not to think of Burning Man – he’s a perfect personification of the festival! By the way, preparations are in full swing for our theme camp, Gymnasium. If you have a ticket and would like to join, contact us, we have place for a couple more people! Too bad that this guy won’t be there, but I’ll see him and many other naturist volleyball friends at the Naked Volleyball SuperBowl, which is right after Burning Man.

trail running race at Sunny Rest, PA

naturist 0006 Sunny Rest Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a trail race that has now become a yearly tradition for me – 4th time at the  ‘Bouncing Buns’ race at Sunny Rest, PA, with the 5th result overall out of about 130 participants. Most of my naked runner fellows couldn’t join me this time, including Casey, who came first last year but had an injury this June. My result  (30:51) has improved by a lot compared to the previous, but it wasn’t as good as in 2013 (even though I was 7th) and 2012 (when I was 3rd). But it doesn’t really make sense to compare the results here rigorously, as the track and length of the race varies from year to year. This time the trail was a bit easier in terms of lack of very steep uphills/downhills and extended parts where you had to run over wet rocks and roots, like last year, but there was more running through the tunnels of rhododendron bush and a pretty long uphill part towards the end of the race (where some of the frontrunners almost stopped). In other words, it was still lots of fun 😉

Here is a recap video for you that we made with Peter, so you get an idea of what it was like. It was the first time I used my GoPro camera in this way, so next time it’ll be better (I have some ideas for free-running/chasing vids, stay tuned!)

Maybe you also remember that “floating bed” in the woods at Sunny Rest 2 years ago. Well, now it’s gone (pretty much entirely rotten), and the only thing left are the ropes hanging on the trees. We thought it was fun to climb walk up the trees using those 🙂

naturist 0005 Sunny Rest Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

We weren’t the only ones around to climb trees

toad 0000 Sunny Rest Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

or hang from them either…

caterpillar 0000 Sunny Rest Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

(Some trees were actually full of these caterpillars – what’s happening this year? Not enough birds to eat them?)

As we went on a hike, we saw a very old rusty car in the middle of the woods,

naturist 0002 Sunny Rest Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

which by now is impossible to guess how it got there, being completely surrounded by trees. It reminded me of the abandoned settlement of several houses, also in the woods of Pennsylvania, that we discovered 3 years ago, and where a car with bullet holes also rusted… But here, it was just this one car with nothing else around…

If you go to the edge of the forest, you may get some picturesque views of the fields.

naturist 0001 Sunny Rest Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

But I don’t think you’re allowed to venture out [naked] onto those fields. The forest itself is quite picturesque too; here is a “field” of ferns.

naturist 0004 Sunny Rest Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

(Seemingly even bigger than the ‘sea of ferns’ at Lake Como resort in Florida.)

This time we witnessed the beginning of rhododendron blooming season,

rhododendron 0003 Sunny Rest Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

as this majestic bush was adorned with flowers of

rhododendron 0000 Sunny Rest Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

fifty (???)

rhododendron 0002 Sunny Rest Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

shades of pink.

rhododendron 0001 Sunny Rest Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

I hope to get back to ‘Bouncing Buns’ race next year with a bigger team again, but I’ll be back to Sunny Rest Resort even sooner – the weekend of 25-26 July is SunnyBowl, a pretty big volleyball tournament there that promises to be fun! See you there?

WNBR in Northern Hemisphere is coming!

World Naked Bike Ride will gather thousands of cyclists in many cities of the Northern Hemisphere to promote cycling as a mode of urban transportation, as well as body acceptance. The dress code is “as bare as you dare”, but in my opinion being naked is the best way to get the message across: cyclists use the power of human body for commuting in the city – so, show that body! – and yet we are the ones who are most prone to the truly indecent exposure to the traffic and vehicle pollution. In most cities, including my current hometown NYC, the ride will be held on Saturday the 13th. You can see the list of participating cities here, though it’s not entirely updated – look up if you have a local World Naked Bike Ride near you!

You can see my reports from WNBR in NYC 2013 and 2012, Boston WNBR 2014, as well as from Madrid in 2009Philly Naked Bike Ride was in is the biggest one I’ve participated so far. As long, as NYPD doesn’t disturb us like last year, we should have a fun ride all along – come and join WNBR NYC if you’re around:
Bodies assembly at 4:00pm, ride departs by 5:00 pm sharp. Arrive early for body painting, trainings, teach-ins, and socializing! Volunteers plan on coming early!
Grand Ferry Park; final route will be communicated to riders who show up only. More details on WNBR NYC wiki page!

wnbrNYC2015

Bare Burro naked 5K run

When I wrote about fun and active naked events this spring across the US, I forgot to include a naked running race in Southern California that certainly meets the criteria: Bare Burro 5K Run at Olive Dell Ranch this Sunday, 19th! Now, that my friend Don has sent me a video he produced to promote the event, I’m racing to share it with you!

Good luck and have fun!

Active Naturists team gets gold at the Bouncing Buns trail race :-)

naturist 0000 Sunny Rest, PA, USA

Last weekend my friends and I teamed up for the naked trail race at Sunny Rest naturist resort in Pennsylvania, and we scored two trophies, including the absolute first! Yes, one of us, Casey, ran that tough 6km trail in just 27 min 47 sec. David brought another trophy for the 4th male under 39 years old (8th total).  I was 13th, but I was happy I could run the race at all, as I wasn’t sure how my ankle would feel still not fully recovered from the injury that I got after I was run over by car in January. This was my third year attending the race, and although the route have gotten shorter from 7 to 6km, it has also acquired some steep slopes this time. Probably for this reason, besides the injury, my result was 3min longer than last year despite a shorter track (32:16). It’s a pity another prize-winning ‘Team America’ from last year didn’t show up this time, but there was more than enough competition with 159 participants.

I was also recognized by one of the readers of my blog, who actually said he was inspired by it to participate in the race. This kind of comment is probably the best praise I could expect from my blog, this is what keeps me motivated to run it!

After the award ceremony, we ate lunch and I was glad to find out that the restaurant at Sunny Rest has improved tremendously and offers now a diverse menu of pretty good quality. Then we rested from the race in the pool and hot tub… but not for too long, as we also wanted to play volleyball. We had a few fun matches but needed even more rest afterwards, so we mostly hung out at the sauna and hot tubs in the evening. Next day, our activities started with yoga at the lawn near the tenting site followed by a short hike, partially on the trail that was used for the race.

naturist 0001 Sunny Rest, PA, USA

The outskirts of a field proved to be a good spot for nude photography.

naturist 0002 Sunny Rest, PA, USA

We also played some touch rugby in the afternoon, inspired by the recent match of Nude Blacks in New Zealand.

naturist rugby 0000 Sunny Rest, PA, USA

We played with just 3 players in each team, but it was still a lot of fun.

naturist rugby 0001 Sunny Rest, PA, USA

We all concluded that we should play it more often, so maybe we’ll build up a team some day. And maybe it will be as successful in rugby as in running? 🙂

naturist rugby 0002 Sunny Rest, PA, USA

WNBR NYC and Free Form Festival: free, arrested and then freer than ever!

Last Friday, the weather in New York city wasn’t the most cooperative for the World Naked Bike Ride, and yet a couple of dozens of hardiest cyclists showed up at the Grand Ferry Park. We welcomed the thunderstorm by dancing naked in the downpour, and as the rain was calming down, we took off to the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Despite the weather, there were still people on the streets, and we got cheered by pedestrians, other cyclists and car drivers alike! We got some friendly smiles and hand waives even from police. When passers by asked us why we were naked, I replied that skin was waterproof 😉

By the time we got to Washington Square Park, it stopped raining altogether.

WNBR 2014 0005 New York, NY, USA

But some of us seemed to miss water already 🙂

WNBR 2014 0000 New York, NY, USA

I wish New York accepted nudity, at least in parks, and as these rides show, general public doesn’t seem to be opposed to it, once confronted to a cheerful naked crowd.

WNBR 2014 0010 New York, NY, USA

The World Naked Bike Ride aims to promote safe environments for cyclists and public in general, and who would argue that if you can feel safe in your city while being naked, it must be as safe as it gets?

WNBR 2014 0004 New York, NY, USA

Then we headed out to the Hudson Greenway and took some more pictures with iconic views.

WNBR 2014 0001 New York, NY, USA

As to the banner, I personally don’t think NYC should be car-free altogether, but it would definitely become a better city, if half of the drivers switched to bicycles 🙂

WNBR 2014 0003 New York, NY, USA

Unfortunately, our ride after that didn’t go as peaceful and proved that it wasn’t the weather we should have been worried about:

WNBR 2014 0008 New York, NY, USA

All of a sudden, we were overtaken  by an undercover police car (disguised as a yellow cab!) and then even more police came and blocked the street. We can only guess why, but they also arrested two of the participants!

WNBR 2014 0009 New York, NY, USA

It was pleasing to get support from bystanders. One of them shouted that he thought he happened to be in Iran. However, this didn’t stop police, and our two arrestees were detained till next evening! Your can read more at the blog of one of the organizers of New York’s WNBR, Ben, as well as an article from Gothamist.

I was very happy about how our ride went last year, and there is no reason why it should have ended so bitter this year. I’m especially puzzled why this happens in seemingly liberal New York. I bet many spectators of our ride on Friday had that “only in New York” moment, but what they probably didn’t realize was that in many cities of the world and US, the World Naked Bike Ride actually attracts many more riders, and what happens only in New York perhaps is that participants of such rides get arrested. Hopefully, it’ll be better next year. And there’re still some more rides this year too, including WNBR Boston next Saturday, June 28 (read this announcement about at Boston Magazine).

 

Last weekend, I went to Free Form Festival at The Schuylkill County Fairgrounds, PA,  and it was a nice and necessary breath of freedom after I witnessed the arrest at WNBR.

Free Form Festival 2014 0000 Pennsylvania, USA

This festival celebrates anything positive and artsy, anything that brings people together and raises the spirit, and social nudity is a part of it.

I started off with a naked lunch, which by coincidence seemed to be all Tuscan style – featuring Tuscan salami, Tuscan bean salad, and Tuscan salami – despite I bought those at different places without thinking about it :p

Free Form Festival 2014 0004 Pennsylvania, USA

Free Form Festival follows the format of Burning Man, just at a smaller scale and with grass instead of dust.

Free Form Festival 2014 0003 Pennsylvania, USA

I didn’t take many photos, as it was more about having fun and interacting with people.

Free Form Festival 2014 0001 Pennsylvania, USA

Even though nudity is not common there, it’s definitely welcome. As you can see at this photo from a contact workshop, where we pretended to be a school of fish, nobody had a problem with following a naked dude.

Free Form Festival 2014 0002 Pennsylvania, USA

At night, everybody gathered for the effigy burn, and a few people, including me, were dancing naked around. One of the fire spinners got naked too, and had a solo performance on the side. Also, a guy whose dance style was more like Tai Chi got naked too and taught me a couple of principal Tai Chi moves. Then he brought me to a creek with cold water behind the amphitheater. And that was my experience of duality – this year’s theme of Free Form Festival – fire and water, heat and cold, light and darkness…

Hopefully, events like the World Naked Bike Ride and Free Form Festival will make world a more open, accepting and freer place, so that you can feel safe even naked!

some upcoming events this month

WNBR NYC 2014

World Naked Bike Ride will gather thousands of cyclists in many cities of the Northern Hemisphere to promote cycling as a mode of urban transportation, as well as body acceptance. The dress code is “as bare as you dare”, but in my opinion being naked is the best way to get the message across: cyclists use the power of human body for commuting in the city – so, show that body! – and yet we are the ones who are most prone to the truly indecent exposure to the traffic and vehicle pollution. In most cities, the ride will be held on Saturday, 14 June, but in New York City, it’s on Friday the 13th. This will be a hell of a fun ride: an awesome way to finish off the work week, to say the least! You can see my reports from WNBR in NYC last year and 2012, as well as from Madrid in 2009; Philly Naked Bike Ride is in August, and with 3500 participants last year is the biggest one I’ve participated. Although I don’t know the reasons why WNBR is held on a different day here in New York than in most the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, I’m glad that it’s on Friday, because it lets me go for the weekend to yet another amazing event.

Free Form Festival brings together the vast East-Coast creative arts community from 12-16 June at at The Schuylkill County Fairgrounds, Pennsylvania. With its aim to “increase diversity in our local artistic landscape”, it will surely be interesting and fun, and by the way, it is an officially clothing-optional event too! Tickets are still on sale and may be purchased by clicking here. Who else is going?

I’m also looking forward to ‘Bouncing Buns7k Trail Race in Pennsylvania for American Cancer Society on the 21st of June. 7km is the longest distance that I’ve seen for a naked or clothing-optional race – it’s good to be challenged, moreover for a good cause. Well, in 2012, I passed the challenge pretty well, coming in third! I ran a bit faster last year, but with fiercer competition, I had only 7th result. This year, I cannot hope to run faster, as I’m still not 100% recovered after my ankle injury, but will I have less fun? Of course not! With 150 or so naturist folks of all shapes and ages, everybody can feel comfortable in their own skin. However, I’m going with a couple of fellows again, and it doesn’t hurt to have some healthy competition, just like with the friends in ‘Team America’ that I got to know last year. The event is organized by Pretzel City Sports and you can register for the race at their website: $25 before June 9, $32 after. Part of your registration fee will support American Cancer Society, and afterwards you get an opportunity to hang out at Sunny Rest naturist resort, where the trail race will take place. It’s a great opportunity to run just the way you like. The event is clothing-optional, and we’ll certainly opt for the style of the [authentic] Olympic runners 😉 Also, if you have any doubts about running naked, have a look at my brief overview that links running and our naturally naked (furless) body from an evolutionary perspective – I hope it’ll make sense to you. Besides participating in the race, we also plan to do some yoga at Sunny Rest, as well as play badminton and volleyball.

Last but not least, as the beach season has commenced, it’s worth mentioning that there is a Groupon sale for the Seastreak ferry from Manhattan to Sandy Hook beach: $25 instead of regular $45. Unfortunately, unlike in previous years, there is no $30 coupon on Seastreak’s website, and you can only get one groupon ticket…

Bouncing Buns [and more] at Sunny Rest resort

naturist 0000 Bouncing Buns 7k trail race, Sunny Rest, PA, USA

Last Saturday, I ran the 7k trail race ‘Bouncing Buns’ in Pennsylvania, and although I improved my result by 1min (29:48) compared to the previous year, when I came in third, this time I was only the seventh overall. The competition has become more intense thanks to the guys like Kirby, who was 3min ahead of me and came in second. However, a race like that is first of all a fun social event. Especially when you come with a group of college friends; Kirby was a part of ‘Team America’ brought together by Brianna, for whom it was also the second time at ‘Bouncing Buns’. She and 2 of her friends were in top 5 female runners!

naturist 0001 Bouncing Buns 7k trail race, Sunny Rest, PA, USA

And I guess everyone wished they had such a group of friends to hang out naked with in their college years, great example for the young generation!

As in last year, before and after the award ceremony, the participants continued to hang out at Sunny Rest resort, either chilling by the pool, or playing volleyball, ping-pong and badminton, despite the soreness after the race. Active naturists at their best! 😉 My 2 friends and I stayed overnight, after we found out that we indeed were entitled for a free night camping; this wasn’t clear in the beginning, so if you come next year make sure to claim the discount!

In the evening, Will and I went for a hike, partially by the trail where the race took place. It’s funny that neither of us (and I’m pretty sure almost all fellow runners) did not notice that right at the beginning of trail there was a bed ‘floating’ in the air!

naturist 0000 Sunny Rest, PA, USA

Well, it was of course hanging on the ropes attached to the trees, but it felt as if it was just floating through the forest above the green sea of ferns!

naturist 0001 Sunny Rest, PA, USA

Later on the trail, we met a couple on a quad, and the woman proudly announced that the bed had been used in a shooting for Penthouse a couple of days before. Well, I guess we won’t compete with them, but I’m quite impressed with how my photos came out…

Walking naked on the trail felt perfect and relaxing, although I still felt some soreness in my calves after the race. We noticed quite a lot of spiky vines by trail, but luckily the trail itself was cleared up of those.

naturist 0001 spiky vine @ Sunny Rest, PA, USA

At the first intersection, we followed the Hard Trail of course, which started with a tunnel of rhododendron bushes.

naturist 0002 Sunny Rest, PA, USA

Later, parts of the trail became a bed for a cool spring, which great on a hot day like that!

naturist 0005 Sunny Rest, PA, USA

Other parts of the trail were covered with soft fresh grass.

naturist 0003 Sunny Rest, PA, USA

We also encountered this very shy tortoise that was hiding in its shelf with all efforts.

naturist 0000 tortoise @ Sunny Rest, PA, USA

We hiked till we reached a beautiful meadow, where we saw the quad couple again, and then went back to Sunny Rest for a dinner. Last time, on similar occasion we returned after 9pm and could only get take-out fast-food from the restaurant, which frankly wasn’t that great. But this time we got to try their proper menu, and it was very decent, especially after a day full of sport activities!

naturist 0004 Sunny Rest, PA, USA

running barefoot and Vibram “Barefoot” shoes review

In continuation of my post about running, I would like to add my thoughts on running barefoot, which is an increasingly popular trend now. I definitely support the movement, especially if you run bare, why not run barefoot as well?

In my childhood, I was encouraged to walk barefoot by family during summers; they didn’t put much explanation to it, just said it was healthy. I didn’t really practice it seriously, and got interested in the idea again after I broke my foot almost 3 years ago. I quickly came to a webpage of a group from Harvard University that had been doing extensive studies on running. One of the conclusions of their work published in the most respected scientific journal Nature was that barefoot running style may actually “protect the feet and lower limbs from some of the impact-related injuries now experienced by a high percentage of runners”.  I would suggest you to go to the website of the Harvard Uni group for more details and videos explaining the benefits of barefoot running, and if that doesn’t convince you, there is a more graphic and visually pleasing website of a minimalist shoes producer Vibram, which is, I must add, also naturist-friendly 😉 The take-home message is that while running barefoot, you use all those muscles and tendons that are otherwise left untrained if you only walk and run in traditional shoes, AND the pattern of the foot strike changes from heel-strike to shock-absorbing and collision-reducing fore-foot strike. In other words, you make your feet and calves stronger and learn how to step more cautiously (without actually thinking about it).

When I did my search now before writing this post, I found several articles claiming the opposite, for example that ‘Doctors see uptick in foot injuries from barefoot running shoes‘ (also see this one). However, none of those articles has been published in a peer-reviewed journal, and their claims that the new industry of the so-called minimalist shoes is nothing more but fashion do not have much base in my opinion, as the industry producing [currently] traditional running shoes is much bigger and has much higher capacities for advertisement. They acknowledge, however, that those injuries may be related to too sudden a transition from running in thick-sole to shoes to running barefoot or in minimalist shoes.

That’s where I totally agree with these articles: before running your first marathon barefoot, get some experience by first walking barefoot and only then running, slowly increasing the speed. I think the ultimate goal should be being able to run totally barefoot (if not totally bare ;-)), but you could use minimalist shoes as intermediate stage. That was why I wore them for my first trail race.

While I am now totally comfortable with hiking barefoot, I am not sure I could really run fast on a rough terrain like a forest trail with pebbles. That’s why I opted to stay in my Vibram Sprint shoes for the race, and I felt it gave advantage over runners in regular shoes.

First of all, such minimalist shoes are much lighter, and you do feel it! Every step you take just feels lighter. Second, having flexibility in your feet and toes being able to move, even though slightly, helps with the grip, which is especially helpful on an uneven terrain. Third, this flexibility allows you to use only fore-feet, which I found very helpful when running uphill.

There are several companies and numerous models of such minimalist shoes. I used to have Vibram FiveFingers Classic, probably the most minimalistic of all minimalist shoes.

I really liked them and they served fine for jogging and travel, but after I lost them in a trip, I decided to try another model and went for Vibram FiveFingers Sprint. They turned out to be much more flexible, and they have three velcro straps that allow very fine adjustment, so they fit the feet just perfectly.

In any case, I would strongly recommend to try those first, even if you find better deals online.

There are many other models that look more elaborate, but I think that makes them less minimalist, which defeats their purpose. In my last hike, I kept my Vibram shoes on for the first couple of hours, and after I took them off I actually felt a relief – compared to walking even in these light and flexible shoes, walking barefoot feels even lighter, not to mention that you feet don’t get sweaty. That’s why I consider minimalist shoes just an intermediate stage. Of course, all of this implies walking at warm temperatures. Also, I would rather wear such shoes in the city than walk totally barefoot; there’s just too much spit, chewing gums, and occasional dog poo or even broken glass (at least in New York City).

So, once you get used to walk barefoot or in minimalist shoes, learn about differences in running barefoot and shod. Maybe you will be able to break old habits and will re-learn how to run naturally, but I found it helpful to get some guidance from my friend Pétur who is an instructor of MovNat system. One of the techniques is basically seeing running as continuous fall forward with lifting your feet to prevent the actual fall; this technique is supposed to save a lot of energy. Perhaps following this technique was what helped me to run 7k trail race pretty fast without much previous training. Another reason could be that I got some natural ‘doping’ for breakfast: I ate some red beets, because I read they boosted stamina :p