Using the Speedstroke kayak ergometer

As part of my new kayak racing fitness training, I’ve been doing some sessions with Dan on his Kayak ergometer, a kayaking equivalent of a stationary bike or a rowing machine. It’s a great training tool, but it’s not perfect.

It uses a fiywheel like a rowing machine. The first couple of times I used it, I used a fairly gentle “catch”, which means that when you lift up the paddle shaft as it passes your knee, there was still resistance, which obviously wouldn’t happen in a real boat because the paddle would be out of the water and moving through the air. Last night I discovered that if I really hammer the catch, you actually get the flywheel up to speed early on, which means it stops resisting if you slow down a tiny bit after lifting. That felt a bit more realistic to me, but was hard on my elbows and they were sore at the end. One of the reasons I loved the paddle I bought, a Bacsa VIII-max, is that is is long and narrow which gentles out the catch a bit. I’ve got to figure out a way to gentling out the catch on the Speedstroke.

Dan refers to the Speedstroke as “the most important boat you’ll ever own”. Seeing as how it’s just about the only way to work on your fitness and technique for 1/3rd of the year in this part of the world, I can totally understand why he says that. Too bad it costs as much as a good racing boat.

We worked a lot of torso twist. It made me realize that one of the things really holding me back from getting good twist is this gigantic pad of unstretchable fat on my stomach. I really need to work on getting rid of that. Too bad diet food tastes so unappetizing. I keep hoping that I can paddle enough to burn off enough calories that I can live on sugar and fat.