There was a discussion on Facebook about Greg Barton’s speed comparisons. In this document, Greg compares the speed of various Epic kayaks over a 10km flat-water course. He gives estimated times for both himself, and a theoretical “Intermediate” paddler. Somebody pointed out that his “intermediate” paddler paddles the 10km course in 51:55 in a V10 Sport (my favoured boat). That’s 11.6 km/hr, or about 7.2 mph. Several paddlers I respect agreed that that’s an ok speed for an “intermediate” paddler.
I’ve been racing for over 10 years, and during the season I train 7-8 hours or more a week. I don’t think I could train more even if I were retired – it’s not a matter of time to train, but more about what my body will take before it falls apart. I’ve worked very hard with many great teachers to improve my technique and abilities. But in spite of all that, even when I’m not carrying all the extra weight I put on this year, I’m lucky to exceed 10.4-10.6 km/hr for a 10km race. It makes me very sad to think that I’m not considered an intermediate paddler. It makes me wonder why I ever bother.
But then I remember days like I talked about in Flow State where I just feel so connected with my boat and my body as I stroke through calm water. I guess I’ll just keep training and racing for myself, and try not to care if everybody is laughing at the slow fat load making a fool of himself.