Friday, July 16, 2010

Kathleen & Cheryl's Excellent Water Adventure

A couple of workouts ago Kathleen asked me if I planned to do the time trials when I said, 'sure' she suggested that since we'd get a good ski workout early in the week why not play hooky from the Thursday Vakava workout and do a Hoigaards canoe race instead (races are every Thursday all summer). Well, it's been quite a few years since I raced canoes seriously but Kathleen is just getting into it this year so I thought 'oh what the heck'. I haven't been in a boat this year so I made sure I got two canoe training sessions in the weekend before. One of the sessions was with Kathleen on a very windy day on Pleasant Lake. We stayed upright in our racing boat (just barely) so I figured we were ready for anything. Fast forward to July 8. A nice hot day but no wind at Lake Calhoun. I got registered, got the boat ready, got me ready but no Kathleen. I wasn't too worried until about 10 minutes to race time - still no Kathleen. I knew she wouldn't blow me off so I figured something must have happened so I started frantically looking for a back up partner, trying to talk solo racers into ditching their boats and going tandem. I even asked the race starter if he'd partner with me (canoe racers never wait for the starters horn anyway). All the boats were in the water when Kathleen came running up. She'd been caught in traffic but she made it so we jumped in the boat and got a great start. She took the stern and for a beginner she did a great job stearing. I guess if you're going to race with a neophyte, pick a rocket scientist - she's a quick study on reading the water, waves and boat angles. Well into the second half of the race all was going well and we had some decent teams within sight coming out of Cedar into Lake of the Isles. Water was calm, no boats next to us and suddenly the boat leaned too far to the right and before we knew it we were swimming! Damn! We tried popping the boat up to get the water out but we couldn't get it flipped AND empty so we had to swim it to the edge of a bridge where we could get a toe hold on the bridge wall. The water was warm and it was a hot night so the water actually felt pretty good. There was a fisherman on the other side of the bridge who enjoyed the show and a few of the old time canoe racers who paddled by as we we struggled to get back into the race took full advantage of our prediciment. I must admit I had a hard time paddling when we got started again because I was laughing. I figured we lost about 6 minutes but hey, we finished the race and still won the women's division. Neither one of us knows why we tipped but after the race Joe Manns said he saw a 4' muskie in the vicinity so my theory is that the 5' muskie knocked us over.

Overall I had a great time paddling with Kathleen. She's amazingly strong in the boat and I think if we did a couple more races we could hang with some of the regular racing women. So if any other Vakers are looking for some awesome cross training, try canoing. Kathleen might even take the stern with you. Just watch out for that 6' muskie lurking on the west end of Lake of the Isles.

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