A friend remarked this weekend that I’ve improved ridiculously fast in my kayaking skills since the last time he’d seen me practice my rolling in a pool in early March. He said it was due to spending so much time in the boat(s).
I was reflecting on this and decided to actually add up all the hours just to see how much time I really have spent padding. The results surprised me.
Since January 31 I have spent the following number of hours paddling:
- 14:11 – pool and lake rolling practice (This doesn’t include the rolling I do every time I get into the water. I want to keep this skill strong and fresh.)
- 19:57 – class I rapids and sea kayaking
- 10:40 – class II rapids
- 13:27 – class III rapids
- 1:28 – class IV rapids (which was over my head but I was lucky)
Which adds up to almost 60 hours in the water with a paddle in my hands.
Since the beginning of April (less than 6 weeks ago) I have paddled 6 different rivers and 3 lakes, some of them multiple times. A bonus to this is that I’ve explored more of wild NY state in the past month than I have the past 10 years of living here!
I have used 7 whitewater boats and 4 sea kayaks. I rolled all of them successfully except one of the sea kayaks that has a high seat back.
By the time Memorial Day rolls around there will be 4-5 more waterways on that list, most of them class III and III+.
Which, considering I only just started lake paddling in earnest in July and began whitewater in late September *is* kind of stunning, I suppose.
I feel so driven:
- I just love it. Try to keep me out of a boat. I dare you.
- I want to make up for lost time, now that I’m physical condition to do it
- I want to cram as much progress in as possible before I lose my physical ability to handle it (One of my paddling buddies this weekend is in her 60s and an incredible boater, so perhaps this is less of a worry than I think it should be)
Despite all this, paddling is really more of a *reason* to stay in shape than a *way* to stay in shape because it involves a lot of time sitting in the car driving to a destination and sprinting-type exertion once I get there.
Which means I absolutely have to keep up with the spinning, strength training, and swimming so I’ll have the power and stamina to handle boating all day for multiple days in a row as will happen in two weeks.
And I have to pay attention to technique to avoid shoulder injury and ice the tendons in my right wrist that became inflamed during the sea kayaking trip two weeks ago.
It’s a shame I don’t enjoy cycling as much because that does burn carbs. I do love cycling, but not as much as paddling. It doesn’t grab me the same way.
There’s nothing like approaching a drop, where the world ends over the edge, with your heart pounding and fear running through your veins, and your mind focused on getting down cleanly and eddying out at the bottom to avoid getting mushed up against a dangerous canyon wall…
Gee. That doesn’t sound very fun, does it? But it is, I assure you!