Thursday, June 21, 2007

Racer or Cruiser?

Marek, also known as Mountain Wayfarer, has posted a list of Paddling, Training, and Racing Blogs on his fit2paddle blog. I am honored that my blog is included among the group, which includes many blogs I regularly visit myself. However, being listed among these accomplished racers has me wanting to explain myself a bit, especially since I don't really consider myself a real racer.

Don't get me wrong, I am a very strong endurance paddler, and I'm not that slow. I am also very competitive, at least such that I've always got the next race planned and on the calendar, and am always training. But my racing is done for the shear pleasure and fun of it. My finishing times are not very impressive, and in fact I often end up taking all the time offered by an event. As such, it's easier to call myself a cruiser rather than racer, though I sometimes think many misinterpret or underestimate my definition of cruiser. Being a cruiser is very different than cruising. When on the water I paddle hard.

My finishing times are usually the result of pairing up with others during a race. A nice social and fun thing to do, but it'll kill you if you have a time goal in mind. The more paddlers in a group, the slower the group. I also love to camp. In my WaterTribe challenges, unless I'm having to paddle all night to meet a deadline, camping is usually my undoing.

This past years Everglades Challenge was more vacation expedition then challenge actually. With ideal weather, the miles went by very fast, and I found I could actually spent almost as much time off the water as on the water, paddling and camping with fellow challengers every day and night, and still getting to Key Largo a day before the big party. I'm almost embarrassed to post the table below showing my on-water and off-water times, this is supposed to be a race.

Table of Paddling Hours during 2007 WaterTribe EC

Footnote: During the 1200 mile WaterTribe Ultimate Challenge in 2006, I paddled every day of the 3o days, averaging 5 hours off the water each night, and had a few all nighters, quite a bit harder.

So, I'm not an example of a real racer. But just the same, I think I fill a niche of paddler who loves a challenge, albeit hard challenges, having as much fun as possible, and finishing.

Speaking of finishing, this is where I draw the line, and where my competitiveness really come in. For me, to not finish is complete failure, it is not in my vocabulary, it is not a possibility. I train to race, I train to finish.

Maybe next year I'll train and race to place :)


Capt'n "O" Dark 30 said...

Who are you and what have you done with Sandy Bottom!!

You're a "cru-acer" :-)

See ya when I see ya..

Midwest Paddle Adventures said...

Hi Dawn:
I really appreciate your recent posts about training. I think I'll try and stay in your wake during the MR340. I'm excited to meet all the Kruger paddlers.

Thanks for your sharing,