I’m back, baby

I paddled for the first time since my shoulder got bad, back in October. I didn’t go far, but that wasn’t the point. It was a chance to see how fit I am (terribly unfit), how fat I am (again, terrible – I couldn’t do up my PFD), how bad my shoulder is (not as bad as I thought based on experiments on the erg), how badly my technique has fallen apart (not bad at all), how bad my balance in the boat is (pretty bad – I nearly dumped several times and the boat was wobbling back and forth like a crazy thing).

I was also checking out the fit of my old rack on my new car. I originally bought this rack for my 2001 Corolla, and with the replacement of a couple of “Q-clips”, it has been on the Corolla, the Prius and now the CR-Z. It’s a little beat-up looking and the bars are ridiculously close together, but it’s on strongly enough that I can grab them and rock the car back and forth. I tied down my surf ski on top, and it actually held on pretty good, but then again I was only going a short distance on slow roads. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere other than Baycreek until I get my V-bars.

The last thing I wanted to check out was my new “million dollar” idea. I bought a coffee maker at the garage sale last month, and I cut out the “bubble pump”, a tiny one-way check valve that allows the hot water to flow up out of the reservoir into the grounds. I attempted to fit it in the venturi of the ski, figuring that would allow water to drain out at speed like it’s supposed to, but not to flow back in when you’re stopped, which is a pain in the ass at the start of a race. Unfortunately, I didn’t glue it in right, and water was flowing in around it. Even worse, it came out towards the end, and when I was getting out of the boat, I managed to lose it overboard.

Oh, that’s another thing I had problems with. When I finished, I approached the dock, and realized I was on the bad shoulder side. So I spun around (which unfortunately involved back-paddling on my bad side). But when I approached the dock, I still thought it felt a bit high. So I went to the other dock, the one the rental boats go in and out of. It’s much lower. I did my usual “sprawl onto the dock as the ski leans over on its side” ungraceful exit, but at least I ended up on the dock and not in the mucky water.

Overall, I probably paddled a little more than a mile and a half. I purposely didn’t bring my GPS because I didn’t want any incentive to go further or faster than I should. I had to rest a lot, but mostly because of how out of shape I am, not how sore my shoulder is. It feels easier in the boat than on the erg – last time I tried the erg, I was barely able to do 1000 metres (0.6 miles) in 200 metre increments. I’m going to try taping over some of the holes in the fan on the erg to see if reducing the resistance makes it more life-like at the slow speeds I’m paddling these days. But I tried to keep a good technique going while I was paddling, and I think that part at least hasn’t deteriorated too badly.

Man it feels good to be back.