SUP in the Fall

Whether I like it or not, the fall season has arrived.  There is a cycle of emotions I go through every year with the weather in Chicago.  In the summers, this is the greatest city in the world, in my opinion.  Then, cooler temperatures creep in towards the end of September and October, but I’m still holding out for those random 80 degrees days that show me summer is still holding on.  I’m in complete denial it’s fall. 

The buzz around the holiday season usually propels me through November and December, however, I’m still in denial it’s winter.  I’m praying it’s tolerant until January, then, maybe I’ll accept that it’s winter!  January and February are the worst.  It’s cold, the holiday season is over and besides hockey and college basketball, there isn’t much to keep my mind off winter.  This is when I need a tropical vacation - it’s pretty much mandatory. 

March arrives with St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness and we might get a tease of nice weather and everyone starts wondering if spring has arrived!  Nope.  April, May and sometimes even June, can be cold.  It’s usually up and down leaving you wondering if summer just forgot what time it was scheduled to arrive and spring decided not to show.  This year was nice and I’ve been paddling since May without a dry suit (more on this in a future post), but you just never know.  I’ve always said that the cold isn’t what gets to you in Chicago - it’s the length of winter!

This brings me back to my current state - denial.  I refuse to wear a coat and I’ll wait until I’m freezing before I turn on any kind of heat!  One of the reasons I signed up for a membership at the Lincoln Park Boat Club (LPBC) was for winter paddling.  As much as I love my inflatable SUP, it can be tedious to transport, unpack and pump up in the cold.  Being able to walk in, grab a board and be out on calm water very quickly sounds a little more enticing.  Not to say I won’t take advantage of the cooler temperatures to paddle on the Chicago River, but I think my paddle boarding time will go up significantly this winter.

My first fall SUP session was over the weekend at LPBC.  It wasn’t cold enough for a dry suit just yet, so I wore yoga pants and long sleeves which was perfect.  I grabbed a board and was on the water in less than 10 minutes.  It was a beautiful, peaceful, relaxing paddle - no boats, just me and the geese. 

The city skyline reflected in the calm waters of the lagoon made me suddenly appreciate the fall season.  I started envisioning the same reflection with snow on the ground and a tiny part of me started getting excited for winter - a tiny, tiny part.  Maybe, just maybe, this off season will help shorten my stage of denial and help me get to that acceptance stage a little faster.