Erging at Stephen’s

[youtube F8HlKZJiboI]I did a long work-out at Stephen’s today. I think my technique is coming along nicely, except I drop my head down and to the side too much when I get tired. Jim says I look like I’m leaning back, but I think that’s because my gut gets in the way. The front-view video is from about 40 or 50 minutes into the work-out, and the side view is from the first ten minutes. One thing I worked on was trying to get more rotation – when I thought about it and worked on it, my stroke rate dropped from around 72-74 down to about 64-66, but my speed stayed the same. I didn’t see much change in my pulse, but my heart rate monitor was cutting in and out all the time. I guess I should find out from Dan whether he thinks the longer slower stroke will lead to good results in the water as well.


I went over to Stephen’s house to erg tonight. The past two Wednesdays I’ve gone to Doug’s, but he was busy tonight. Stephen’s house is a bit of a haul, but gas is cheaper than buying my own erg. Plus it’s fun to hang out with different paddlers and talk about stuff.

We did 5 minute intervals, alternating. Stephen hasn’t calibrated his erg, so I think the speed it was showing was a bit fast. I would do a set with the resistance set to about 5-7, then he’d do a set at about the speed with the resistance set to 7-9. My heart rate was in the middle 150s. After we both did 6 sets, Stephen had had enough, because he’d done a hard workout yesterday, so I did a steady 15 minute piece at about the same speed. The last couple of minutes of my piece, I sped up and raised my heart rate into the 160s.

It was a great work-out. Plus I got to inflict my CD of “Kilted Generation” on Stephen.


The Facebook “Suggestions” box, which normally shows me people who know somebody I know or groups that a Facebook “friend” or two has joined, is currently suggesting “We can find 1,000,000 people who DO believe in Evolution before June”. There are only two problems with that:

1) Evolution is a fact. It doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not, it just is. The only people who are swayed by arguments about whether something is true or not by how many other people “believe” in it or not are idiots. The world didn’t suddenly start orbiting around the sun because a majority of people “believed” Galileo and Copernicus, it was always that way. And it didn’t stop doing so when Galileo renounced his theory under torture. And anthrogenic global climate change isn’t going to go away if you stick your fingers in your ears and go “LA LA LA I DON’T BELIEVE IN YOU”. (I’d say that idiots who can be swayed by majority belief arguments aren’t worth arguing with, but unfortunately they hold a lot of political power in this country.)

1a) As a scientific fact, I don’t think “evolution” deserves that magisterial capital letter.

2) The fan group, rather than presenting facts or arguments about evolution, is actually more about making fun of people who believe in one or more Gods, especially Christians. So maybe they should state that as their purpose, instead of making it about evolution, a scientific fact that many theists, even Christians, understand is true.

Another cold paddle

This morning, Doug, Mike and I agreed to meet at BayCreek for a paddle. I’d scouted it out on Thursday when it was about 42 degrees out, and it was remarkably free of ice. But as I got in the car to go, I noticed that the temperature this morning was only 25 degrees. Not quite as pleasant. I won’t be paddling without pogies today.

I arrived at the parking lot to see that Mike was already there, but he’d gotten his car stuck in the snow. I helped push him out, which is not exactly the sort of warm up I wanted. Doug arrived almost as soon as we’d gotten Mike out, and we didn’t waste any time getting ready. As I’ve done so many times before, I realized that I’d left my GPS on the table where I was getting ready. Oh well.

The creek had a bit more ice around the edges, and the water was cold and dense. The shallowness of the water and the swiftness of the flow meant that we didn’t make very good speed, and we had to constantly hunt from side to side to find water deep enough to paddle in, even if it meant being in the main brunt of the current. Often we ended up in single file because it the only deep water was too narrow for side by side paddling.

After 15 or 20 minutes, I was finally warmed up enough to take off my paddling jacket. There was a very narrow fast bit just downstream from where the weir used to be, and Doug and Mike waited for me just above that. As we warmed up, we started really enjoying it. I have to say, in spite of the ice forming on my jacket, in my beard, and on the top of the boat, I was warmer paddling this morning than I am sitting in my office right now.

In spite of the cold, we saw geese, ducks, swans and one kingfisher. We also saw lots of people walking their dogs in Ellison dog park. A few of the people looked at us like we were crazy. They were probably right.

By the time we were ready to turn around, I was dragging behind the other two guys a bit. After we turned around, I enjoyed the feeling of actually making some headway so much that I went out hard and lead them through a line that went from deep fast part to deep fast part. I think I managed to keep the lead for about half a mile before first Mike and then Doug pulled past me.

After we “finished”, we decided to paddle out into the bay to look around. We could see some motorcycles running around a pylon course on part of the ice, and the ubiquitous ice fishermen, and there were were out nearly half a mile from shore. We hit ice a few dozen feet short of where the time trial turn-around was, so I said “to hell with it” and paddled out into the ice. My Looksha does an ok job of breaking thin ice, but when I went to turn I got about 90 degrees around before I hit thicker ice that I couldn’t break through easily and turn at the same time. That’s when it hit me how silly this little stunt was. I had to paddle backwards a bit, breaking ice with my paddle for every stroke, and then once I got into thinner ice, turn for home and paddle back, still breaking ice. Not the smartest thing I ever did, but not dangerous. At the worst, I would have had to paddle backwards around the curve that I’d already cut in the ice, and I didn’t have to do that.

It was a great day out, and I’m hoping there will be more thaw days.

Mapping out the season

NYMCRA has announced their points calendar for this year. It’s only seven races this year, instead of the ten last year. Assuming that these races are going to be on the same weekend as last year, here’s what my race calendar looks like so far:

Probable Date Race Points Race Comments
15 May Round The Mountain Y I didn’t do this one last year because it was too early. It was pretty rough. I may need to use the Looksha.
5 June Tupper Lake 9 Miler N Not a points race, even though it was last year. It was my first real long distance race, and it’s very well suited to me, being a river without massive waves or long shallow stretches.
12 June SLVP Madrid Y Up near Ogdensburg, NY. 9 miles with a portage. I know nothing about it, but the Google satellite view shows Madrid is on a river with a lot of shallows.
26 June Rochester Open Water Challenge Y I’m hoping I’ll be comfortable enough in waves by then to use my Thunderbolt, or maybe borrow a surf ski.
10 July Armond Bassett Y This was my first 10 miler last year, and in spite of the thunderstorms and my bad pacing, I’m looking forward to it again. It will be a perfect race for the Thunderbolt.
17 July Electric City Regatta Y 12 mile race in Rotterdam, NY. I don’t know anything about it, but the web page says it starts on the upriver side of a lock, so it’s probably an up and back race.
1 August Owasco Lake Challenge Y I missed this one last year because Vicki and I went to Pulaski with the Huggers Ski Club. I heard it was a good one.
8 August Great Race N This isn’t a points race, but I enjoyed it this year and Vicki is talking about maybe doing the short course.
25 September Long Lake Long Boat Regatta Y My favourite race last year.

I’ll probably fill in some non points races too. I enjoyed Tupper Lake last year, and even though it’s not a points race, I’ll probably do that one.