My Paddle Racing in 2005 – Texas Water Safari, Colorado River, Virtual Race
End of the year, time for some summaries and reflections. I am describing below all races in 2005 which I paddled and/or trained for. As usual I had a lot of racing plans, but I missed two major races.
“Adventure in small boats.” 300 miles from Fort Desoto in Tampa Bay along Florida west coast and then through Everglades to the finish at Key Largo in early March.
I participated in EC2003 with Surfrigger, my outrigger canoe, in a scouting/training mode and, in the following year I returned back in my Sea Wind canoe to complete EC2004. In the winter 2004/05 I was training again in Sea Wind for EC2005.
The real challenge is to manage to go for the race. Paddling the race seems to be easier. A complicated work situation. A long distance to drive to Florida. Chief had to change the race date in the last minute. There were many reasons I din’t go to Florida this year.
I started to work on flying to the next EC instead of driving. I even assembled my Feathercraft Expedition K1 folding kayak and started to experiment with a single blade paddle and a higher seat. I was also researching another folding kayaks. I managed to do some test paddling in Bergans Ally 560 folding sea kayak from Norway. I entered Ally in my 5 mile virtual race. Then, Chief announced the Ultimate Florida Challenge for 2006, so I decided that it would be worth to drive to Florida to paddle 1200 mile race in Sea Wind.
31 miles with 5 portages over diversion dams on South Platte River from St. Vrain River (Wildcat) to Kunner.
There is not much flat water racing in Colorado, so I am trying to set up at least some informal races. So far, I haven’t attracted much attention. On May 1st I run South Platte River Marathon in the X-treme canoe alone without any competition: 4:39h.
I am going to paddle and/or race this course again in 2006 (probably last Sunday of April). I am thinking about extending the course a few miles upstream of St Vrain River to make it a little bit more interesting. I may also run some shorter races on South Platte, e.g., St. Vrain – Evans or Evans – Kuner.
“The World’s Toughest Boat Race!” 260 miles nonstop from San Marcos on San Marcos and Guadelupe Rivers to Seadrift in Gulf of Mexico.
It was our 5th year of Texas Water Safari experience. In 2001, we came to Texas as observers and I paddled about 1/3 of the safari course in my home made CLC Patuxent 19.5 kayak. In 2002 and 2003 I completed the race solo in Spencer X-treme canoe with Connie as my team captain and finished in 78:19 and 66:05 hours respectively. We came again to San Marcos in 2004 but the race was postponned twice due to flooding and we couldn’t make the later dates.
In 2005 I paddled solo again and finished in 69:29 hours. My 2005 safari was slower than my 2003 race. I believe that the weather was hotter and there were more obstacles in the river after last year flooding (at least I was hitting them more often than in 2003 …). Good news: no injuiries, minimal damage to the body and no stomach problems which were really annoing during my two previous safaris. I used the same sport drinks but had more clear water than before. I was taking endurolytes pills every two hours or so. It seems that for each safari I am packing less food than for the previous one.
It’s not getting any easier. I had a few mishaps: swimming at night in a rapid below Cuero Dam, going through a strainer above Thomaston later the same night, waiting 40 minutes for my team captain at the last checkpoint (OK, my fault – I arrived too early), getting lost in a bay (couldn’t check my gps when fighting with waves).
This year I took a digital camera with me: a tiny waterproof Pentax Optio WP, not much larger or heavier than a power bar. The camera survived the safari without any problems. Connie was also shooting with a help from companion TCs with my older Canon PowerShot S40. I compiled our pictures into our 2005 safari story.
10 miles on Colorado River from Dotsero through Glenwood Canyon to Hanging Lake Parking, flat water with 3 drops offering some standing waves. This is the only annual flat water race in Colorado. It has been organized for years (decades) by Jerry Nyre from Canoe Colorado.
There were only seven boats attending the race in comparison to twenty boats last year. It was my second race in Sisson Nucleus 100 kayak. I was racing Patuxent 19.5 in 2002 and couldn’t race in 2003. I had a pretty good race, much better than the previous one. Last year after racing season I figured out that I suffered from some exercise induced asthma. So, now I am using inhaler before any intense workout. I also took a long warm up before the race by paddling a mile or so upstream above Dotsero.
I lost to Mike Lesnik in his X-Par Missile about 4 minutes at the finish in comparison to 6 minutes last year. I still have room for improvement, especially, in rapids and turbulent water, however, my Sisson is not the fastest boat for this race. My official time was 1:14:15 h. I took the camera for the race and shot some pictures before and after the race.
“You deserve a good paddling.” 100 miles from Bastrop to Columbus on Colorado River in Texas. It is a new race bringing together recreational, adventure and competitive paddlers. No portages, easy river. Of course, it does not mean that this 100 mile race is easy.
I enjoyed the race in 2004. It was very well organized by Mike Drost. I believe that everybody got some award from the race or just from random drawing. I got a free entry card for the 2005 race.
I trained for the CR-100 again. I was ready and almost packed for a trip to Texas in the end of August. However, Worf, our Newfoundland was sick and wasn’t getting any better. We had to stay home to spend last days with our old friend.
The 2nd year of the virtual racing: 5 or 10 mile time trial on a loop course with a gps to record time, speed and distance.
I made several entries into the 5 mile race: 6 entries in Sisson Nucleus 100 with average speed from 5.76 to 6.21 mph, 2 entries in Sea Wind (~ 5 mph), 1 entry in Spencer X-treme (6.06 mph), and 1 entry in Bergans Ally 560 (5.16 mph). I didn’t enter the 10 mile race since I still have problems to maintain a decent speed over the 5 mile course.
The virtual race will stay the same for 2006. I am considering adding a 1000 m sprint race.