A better gift

Last night was the paddle team end of season party. It was great time, not least because there were some of the members of the team who haven’t been paddling much or at all with us since the Long Lake race and it was good to see them again.

Last year there was a bunch of awards, mostly gag awards but some serious. This year there was just one award – I was given an award for “Most Improved Paddler”. That was very touching, if a little embarrassing to be singled out like that. It’s a great award – I’l have to scan it and post it here soon. But earlier, I got a better award.

I was paddling with Dan, Stephen, Mike and Frank, and Dan said to me that next year I’m going to have to do the Rochester Open Water Challenge in my Thunderbolt. And I said I’d have to get a lot of practice in the waves before hand. And Dan said “See, last year you would have said NO WAY”. He’s right. After this year, I’m starting to believe that anything he says is possible if I just work hard enough at it. And that’s a great gift – confidence in myself. And it’s a gift that was given to me by myself, but forged at the hands of Dan and the rest of the team.

When Mike says that next year we’re going to have to do 7mph instead of 6.5, I think of how we’re going to have to add more interval workouts to our training. When Doug says that I could do the 90 Miler next year instead of in a few if I put my mind to it, I think about what that means in terms of training volume. When Bill says I should do the Gananoque race, I say … ok, I say “not without a surf ski” because I don’t want to dump out in the St. Lawrence in a boat I can’t get back into. And when Dan says I could be paddling challenging waves in this incredibly tippy boat, I remember how tippy the Looksha felt this spring and how now it’s a stable old barge.

So to everybody on the team, I say thanks. Thanks for a great season, and thanks for the gift of confidence.