Friday, February 27, 2009

Qajaq Preview

Ron Steinwall with Novorca Paddles and Alex Pak have been working diligently this winter on a qajaq. Last fall during the Traditional Paddlers Gathering Ron had brought along a small replica of the design he and Alex had been working on, this design has gone from cad drawing, to replica, and finally to a full size qajaq. I'm looking forward to trying it in the pool this weekend at the ISK Pool Session.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pool Sessions

I always enjoy Sunday pool sessions. If it's the camaraderie with fellow paddlers or just the opportunity to get out of Winter mode and play in the water for just a little while ... either way ... It's worth the effort to deal with chlorinated water, the frozen tie down straps, and frozen gear (after you leave all the wet neoprene in the unheated hanger) for just a couple hours of splashing around in warm water. Our small group of paddlers did chalk up a first roll for our efforts, with Matt getting some good solid rolls in. I've even been able to get some good consistent narsaq rolls in with the SOF, also a reasonable balance brace .. fun stuff! The hand rolls are still elusive though. I can feel it .. it just isn't happening yet. I've done some nice hand rolls in Alex's Yost Sea Ranger, but not in my boats yet. It seems to be a matter of body mechanics that are not quite right yet. Today I spent some time working with a couple new paddlers getting the beginnings of a roll going. Some would say age would have a bearing on learning to roll .. I beg to differ. I believe it has everything to do with a little bit of confidence, and desire.
Lots to look forward to this Spring! Some Spring skiing in northern Wisconsin come mid March, Canoecopia is coming soon! I am looking forward to meeting up again with all the people that put on this great event in Madison ... I may even have to buy something this year. Not sure what yet I really need yet, but I'll think of something.
When you look in the back of the Jeep this time of year there is quite a mix of stuff .. kayak on the roof, snow shoes, skis, paddles, neoprene, and tennis shoes ... makes you wonder about the typical Minnesotan.

Then again, maybe I'm an exception!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pool Time

I'd like to get out of town for some skiing this weekend, but some projects here are making it hard to do that. So, since I'm here for the weekend, I'll need to dig a boat out of the hanger for Sundays ISK pool session. I've not taken the SOF to the pool yet this year and really should spend some time with it. It about wears me out if working on rolls for two solid hours for the pool session, and having the Nordkapp to climb on and do some other things makes sense. But I do need to get the SOF wet. Maybe I can spend the last half session working with some others on their rolls.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Looking Ahead

After three days of isolation from a nasty bug I managed to pick up from some co-workers I was in no shape to go out and ski a 42k race. As it was I felt fortunate to get out and cheer on the SKOAC kayak and Cross Country Ski Team in the 58k Relay race. They did a great job of keeping the team in the top 10 finishers again this year. Well done!

Thoughts are now turning to Spring, and the paddling season. Of course with 40f temps and all our snow melting into huge puddles, it feels like Winters icy grip is letting up and giving us all a break from the sub zero stuff we were getting not so long ago. I'm sure we are in for some more cold and snow, it just seems like the end of Winter is close. A couple pool sessions, one or two more ski trips to Northern Wisconsin, and I'll need to start planing the first Apostle trip ... last year we were on Oak Island for the first weekend in April.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Loppet Weekends

A really great weekend of skiing and hanging out with fellow paddlers/skiers. I managed to get through the 25k Hoigaards Classic race last weekend with out to much trouble, I'm not real good with the warm skiing conditions. Over dressing and choosing the right kick wax were my primary problems. I'm so used to skiing in the sub-freezing temperatures that when it warms up it throws my game off. Now with the 42k Vassaloppet coming up next weekend and temps again above the freezing mark I will need to re-think my usual plan and waxing strategies. Number one ... Klister or grip tape are going to be in the plan this week! Not sure exactly yet as I've not much experience with either .. none with the grip tape. With Thursday weather to be much like the forecast conditions for the Sunday race, I'll be out doing some testing.