Taking stock

Today was another “see if I’m ready for the Round The Mountain Race” paddle. I went out into the Bay, in spite of the fact that my spray skirt doesn’t fit very well and keeps popping open. The wind was steady almost exactly in my face on the way out, but the waves were fairly small and not breaking into the cockpit like they were last time I tried. In spite of the fact that I was managing to keep up a fairly steady 5mph pace into the wind, I didn’t feel very comfortable in the waves, and so I turned around at the 2 mile mark. I felt even less comfortable with the waves behind me, in spite of the fact that they immediately raised my speed to around 5.5mph. After three miles my right shoulder (the opposite from the one that was bothering me all winter) started to hurt, and my pace slacked off down to 5.2 mph for the fourth mile. When I got back, I had thought of going up to the weir and back to add another 2 miles, but I didn’t have the energy and my shoulder was still hurting, so I did a short warm-down loop at 4.1 mph.

On the other hand, comparing my times with last September, which I timed with a watch instead of a GPS, this time I was about 45 seconds faster for the first mile, and about 1:45 faster to “Two Mile Point”, so I should take some solace in that.

But based on my discomfort in even minor waves, my sore shoulder, and my increasingly sore elbows in spite of the vast quantities of Aleve I’m consuming, I’ve come to two sad conclusions.

  1. I am not going to be ready to paddle a 10.5 mile race, including the first three on a windy lake, in three weeks time.
  2. I should probably stop training so hard, and try for 2-3 workouts a week instead of the 3-4 that has been my goal up until now.

Too bad, because I’ve always loved pushing myself to train for athletic events, whether it was the Canadian Ski Marathon, the North American Orienteering Championships, or just a long backpacking trip.

My goal for this year was to finish a 10 mile race. I didn’t say which one. I have decided to make the Tucker Lake 9 Miler my first race of the year, since it’s on a river and won’t have wind and wave problems, and it gives me another 3 weeks to prepare. After that, I might consider the Armond Bassett races in July. Don’t see much else on the calendar that appeals until Long Lake. I’d hoped to get a team together for the Auburn Great Race (since it requires one biker and one runner as well as a kayaker), but nobody is expressing any interest.

Am I ready?

Last evening I went for a long slow distance paddle. It was cold and windy, so I opted for Irondequiot Creek even though it’s too shallow for a good workout. I thought I’d head upstream and see how far I got.

Part of the point of this exercise is to see if I’m ready for the ‘Round The Mountain’ race in three weeks time. Originally my first long race of the season was going to be the ‘Tupper Lake 9 Miler’ (which is actually closer to 7.5 miles) on June 6. But RTM is an attractive race for many reasons, except for that whole ‘only being three weeks away and being longer than I’ve paddled this year’ thing.

So basically I wanted some indication on this paddle if I’d be able to paddle the 10.5 miles of RTM without dying (figuratively or literally). To be a real test I probably should have gone on the river or maybe even on the bay, but trying to squeeze in a paddle on the way home argues against the river, and the windiness argued against the bay.

What a workout!

Dan and I paddled at the Genesee Waterway Center. The goal was to do some 2000 metre intervals. It started off sunny but a bit windy an a bit cool, but it go progressively windier and cooler, and clouding over. There was some sort of rowing regatta going on, which meant we had to go upstream a bit to get away from all the rowers. We did a long warm up upstream but down wind.

The first 2000 metres was 500 metres upstream then 1500 metres into the wind. It felt much harder into the wind, but I was actually going a tiny bit faster. The second 2000 metres was downwind/upstream, but it was really hard. I barely finished it, but I did finish it. Dan gave me some help letting me ride his wash. The third interval was into the wind, which was really biting by then. I was tired, and Dan let me stop after 1000 metres because my speed was dropping.

We paddled back to the junction of the canal and the river, and we did some 500 metre intervals. I was still tired, but I managed to keep up a decent 6.1 mph pace for all three intervals. But after three, I was freezing. We paddled back to the dock just as Stephen was getting ready to leave.

The GPS only recorded while I was doing the actual intervals, so it doesn’t count the distance I did for the warm up, and distance between the first set of intervals. But what it does record is 4.85 miles, which probably means the total workout was nearly 6 miles. It thrills me no end that the sort of distance that last September I was doing as a long slow distance workout is now what I can do as part of a much harder speed workout. I feel my old fitness coming back like an old friend. I missed it.

North East Paddle Race Schedule

I’ve created a Google Calendar for paddle races in the North East NY, and Ontario and Quebec, in the hopes that it will be useful to other paddlers in the region. Please let me know if you find this useful, otherwise I won’t bother next year. Also let me know of any races I’ve missed or any mistakes.

You can add the calendar to your own (if you use Google Calendar) by clicking here and clicking the plus sign at the very bottom beside the Google Calendar logo.

That’s odd

Last week some time some people on the LUGOR (Linux Users Group Of Rochester) mailing list were discussing Time Warner’s new tiered bandwidth pricing plan and naturally the question came up “how do I measure the bandwidth I’m using if I have multiple computers behind my router”. Somebody mentioned the “Tomato” firmware for Linksys WRT54G routers as having some nifty functionality, including graphs of bandwidth use, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Last Wednesday I downloaded the firmware and attempted to install it, but each time I got a message telling me that the firmware upload had failed. So I thought nothing of it. Sunday, my router rebooted because of UPS problems. Monday, I noticed that I couldn’t reach my home web server. So Monday night when I got home from kayaking I logged into the admin console for my router, only to find it’s now running Tomato. Tomato evidently managed to grab all my settings from the old firmware except the port forwarding. But I quickly fixed that, and now I’m getting nifty graphs of bandwidth use. Nifty.