Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turkey and Skin

It’s been a busy holiday weekend, all about family. My son and daughter were home and we joined Paul’s family for a wonderful Thanksgiving feast. Alan had to get right back to school to finish a major project; but Tana stayed the 4 days. We went to movies, played games, and had a wonderful visit.

Not much time to paddle, I tried to get out early Saturday morning, but on the way to the lake I discovered I had an axle problem on my kayak trailer and had to return home. It’s going to need some parts. In the meantime, I’ll just have to figure out how to deal with the kayak on and off the minivan myself.

By Sunday afternoon, the house was empty and quiet again. Earlier in the weekend I bought the paint to cover the canvas on my SOF, a beautiful brown called ‘Tree Bark’. I just finished painting the first coat.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fundraiser for Eye of the World

If you follow my blog you know my son and 3 friends leave next November on their world sailing circumnavigation titled Eye of the World.

Eye is a 3 year interactive traveling classroom. It's quite an ambitious plan, built on innovation, exploration, discovery, and diversity. What an adventure.

Their first big fundraiser is scheduled December 7th; a 5k morning fun run and an afternoon Oyster Roast at the James River Marina in Virginia where the sailboat is dry docked for the winter.

Tickets (or other donations) can be purchased on the Eye's website.

We'll be there.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Like many paddlers I know, I often have a GPS on my deck to monitor my speed and distance. I use it both as a toy, and as a training tool assessing my technique and fitness with speed.

The past few months, my GPS was reporting some changes in my regular speed, or I should say lack of. Over the many years that I’ve paddled my sea kayak, I’d worked up to a comfortable average pace of 4mph on a regular 20 miler. But lately, it’s felt like I really have to struggle and work to get there.

I couldn’t help but wonder if this was aging, some technique issues with a double blade since the last 3 years I’d spent much more time with a single blade in my Kruger Dreamcatcher. Maybe it was paddling with my new Lumpy paddle; I’d ordered a narrower blade to fit my hand better.

Well today I had an “Ah Ha” moment.

This morning, Sara (above) and I met for an early morning paddle. We each needed to be off the water by noon, and wanted to get in about 12 miles. It was quite windy, 10-15 mph with lots of white caps and wind driven waves which made the paddle a lot of fun.

While paddling and with the strong headwinds I was watching the GPS to see the winds effect on our speed, it was reading between 3.0 and 3.3 mph. On the return I mentioned how much the winds were affecting our speed, and that I felt I was working really hard just to get 3 mph. Sara said she thought we were doing okay; her GPS was regularly reading 4, often 4.5, and at that moment it actually read 4.7 mph. Impossible I thought, yet she had the newer GPS. I liked her numbers. Not only was my GPS reading slower speeds, but we also seemed much slower to me.

THEN I noticed that the units had been reprogrammed and my GPS was reading knots, not mph; very good news. Sorry Bill, it’s wasn't the paddle, in fact the paddle is perfect.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lifes Disappointments

Life is full of disappointments. It appears that the 2009 Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race is not to be for me and Kristen. Our troubled economy and the seemingly bleak looking future have affected our sponsorship for the race. BubbaGirl our primary sponsor so graciously continued to express commitment even in the face of difficulties with the economic uncertainty. But a kayak race with a big budget seems a bit ridiculous, at the very least frivolous, and certainly selfish. Kristen and I gave BubbaGirl an out, and it was taken.

When Kristen and I decided to race this event together, we did so with the understanding that all expenses needed to be covered by sponsorship, so as not to burden our families with additional sacrifice. Now without a sponsor Kristen and I have agreed that we cannot continue with our original plan. A special thank you to Paul, who after hearing this news and seeing my disappointment, offered to help me work it out, someway. It’s just too much.

The good news is that life is also always full of wonderful people, and other adventures and challenges. There is little time in life to mop around for one missed opportunity. This past year I’ve been particularly blessed with some new paddling friends and groups that have offered many wonderful and varied paddling experiences, and with many more to come.

So life continues and so will my adventures. For now, I’m focusing on the WaterTribe Everglades Challenge in March, and maybe I’ll breathe a little sigh of relief that I can stay the Challenger and relax about trying to be the Racer :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Brawn with Dawn

That is the title I'd given my weekly Tuesday morning fitness paddle on the calendar of my local Kayak Meetup Group. I was hoping a cute name might entice a few to come out for a regular early, albeit cold, workout.

Launching at 6:30 AM, an hour long paddle pacing at 4+mph, and with a few short intervals.

Tuesday morning I met Elizabeth, and we paddled about 4 miles during a beautiful sunrise. Elizabeth, a very interesting young woman was a great paddling partner. We chatted about kayaking, canoeing, and sailing, and finished with a 1/2 mile sprint to the finish. I look forward to paddling with her again.

Training begins!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another Salty Paddle

Sunday after the race Camille, Sara, and I had planned to join the Carolina Beach Women’s Kayak Group (CBkayak) for a nice day paddle. It’s too long a trip to the coast (3 hrs) not to take advantage of every opportunity to get our kayaks in salt water. And this is a group we hope to have some joint adventures with in the future.

There were 12 of us who met at the Ft Fisher Basin around 10 that morning. Ft Fisher is near the mouth of the Cape Fear River, where the Cape Fear Inlet provides outlet into the Atlantic.

It was not the leisure paddle we had planned after the previous days race, winds were 20 mph with higher gusts, lots of white caps and wind driven wavelets. And Virginia had accidently miscalculated the tides so it was a bit of a revisit in conditions. But still a recreational paddle with no need to hurry today.

We paddled out the basin behind Zeke’s Island and the "wall" into a big bay, then entering a channel with rocks and eddies, that entered into one and then another bay. The "wall" is a mile long concrete and rock jetty between the bays and the ocean connecting the southern tip of Pleasure Island to Zeke’s Island and then to Smith Island. The wall keeps the north/south flow of the river from impacting this fragile estuary (The basin is part of the Zeke's Island Estuarine Reserve). At high tide, the water overflows the wall, at low tide, there are holes that a kayak could pass.

We did get caught with the low tide as we tried to enter one of the bays, but it was just a short drag in a couple inches of fast moving water (and we lost 3 from our group opting to head back) and then we paddled into the bay and over to a sandy beach.

Much to our surprise, it was then just a short hike over a few sand dunes and there was the ocean. We lunched and visited, and enjoyed a short rest listening and watching waves hitting the sandy shore.

Everyone was having fun; it was a beautiful warm and sunny day despite the windy conditions. Not a whiner in the group, just us girls who like to be on the water.

The paddle back was again a bit of a workout, tough current and wind. I’ll take care not to leave my sail home next time; this would have been a great opportunity to play with my Pacific Action Sail in the Explorer.

The ride back was a bit faster with almost tailwinds and following seas, though still quite challenging for those sans rudders or skegs. And once back near the basin, another treat, we were greated by 7 kite surfers doing their thing, racing about and catching air.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

WOW - We all Medaled

Photo: Dawn, Sara, Camille, Virginia

Friday evening, Sara, Camille, and I, all members of our local Women on the Water (WOW) paddling group drove down to Wrightsville Beach to race in the 5th annual Wrightsville Beach Sea Kayaking Race on Saturday, and to paddle again on Sunday with Virginia and her women's group CBKAYAK local to that coastal area.

From the picture you can tell we were all quite successful. I, Virginia and Sara took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively in the Women's Master Division (40-59 yrs), and Camille took 2nd in the Grand Master's Division (60+).

The race was a fund raiser for the NC Coastal Land Trust. There were 47 racers, 14 of whom were women (which was a very successful womens showing). The main event was a 6 mile paddle (which we all did), with a 3 mile fun race.

It was a hard circle race. The first 1.5 miles was against a full current and 15-18 mph head winds paddling towards Masonboro Inlet, then a turn and what we'd hoped would be a 3 mile fly up the Intercoastal. I decided to rename this section 'One-Way Waterway' as all the yachts and boats were motoring down the Intercoastal creating wakes and chop that totally worked against any benefit of wind and current. There was enough boat traffic that the Coast Guard boat acting as safety, was stopping boats at one section to let the racers get through. The 1.5 mile return was a hard slog back into more building headwinds.

Hard yes, but a great workout. I loved it. My time was 1hr 18min 39sec, which also placed me 3rd women overall. I know next year's race is going to be even harder, Virginia is not going to let me win again :)

Some pics below:

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sunday in the Mountains

After such a nice lake paddle on Saturday, I drove up to Boone NC on Sunday to visit my daughter, and check out the Fall colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The colors were disappointing compared to the lake; Tana said it wasn't a good year for color in the mountains, most things went from green to yellow/brown quickly. We had a nice hike up on Grandfather Mountain in the morning.

Even stopped and checked out the bears in the wildlife habitat exhibit. I'm all about getting to know bears these days.

The rest of the day was girl stuff, some great shopping, and out to dinner at a nice Thai restaurant. But the most fun was later that evening when Tana had some friends over and they all taught me how to play Wii Rock Band. Great fun, thanks Tana.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Unusual Sight

Someone sent in a couple more pictures from the Sailing Messabout Paul and I went to a couple weekends ago. The picture above is of Paul and I sailing in our boat the "Dawn Patrol". That we are both in a picture together is such an unusal occurance that I just had to post it.

And because I'm at the tiller (and looking quite relaxed) on one of the really windy days :)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

It's That Time of Year Again

I spent much of today paddling on the lake. Got out there a little later than usual. Woke up to 38F but forecasts were for 70F later in the afternoon, so I opted for the warmth. It was a great 10 mile solo fitness paddle. I don't know if we are at peak fall colors yet, but it sure was beautiful.

November always starts my WaterTribe training, where I need to start building some base for distance. This year is no different than previous ones, though planning to paddle the 300 miles in Class 1 (canoe and kayak), I'll probably need to be a bit more diligent in following my training plan.

Basic Training Plan:

  • Regular 15 mile Fri night paddles
  • Regular Sunday paddles building from 15-35 miles
  • Back to Back Sat/Sun 20-30 mile paddles in February with loaded boat
  • Weight Training/Core workouts/Yoga for flexibility
  • Regular Running, Biking, Swimming for cardio workouts
  • Weight Watchers for weight control

My training goals are to have a comfortable and injury free Everglades Challenge performed in “challenger mode”. After that, there will be a few weeks rest, then I’ll really pick it up with KiwiBird for our Yukon 1000 race in July. We’ll be paddling that one in “race mode”.

As I was packing up, Mimi arrived for a paddle in her new SOF. She's just back from the Delmarva Paddlers Retreat where she took a week long workshop with Brian Schulz of Cape Falcon Kayaks. She made the F1 model, it was quite beautiful.

I'm going to buy the paint for my canvas covered SOF this week!