Connecting with the wilderness, mainly by sea kayak, but not solely.

Archive for December, 2009

With the Changing Seasons Comes the Pool Sessions

I don’t take in all the pool sessions, but I do like to get in a few, especially before the snow comes and brings with it the misery of loading/unloading in the snow and cold.

This last Sunday was the second of the season’s pool sessions sponsored by the Badger State Boating Society (BS2 (supposed to be a superscript 2, but I can’t figure out how to do it)).  Back in the early to mid-’90s, BS2 would have monthly meetings at a bar just northwest of Milwaukee.  I’d go to the meetings and talk to others about sea kayaking, I was always in the minority and that was ok, the love of recreating on the water brought us together.  We’d have a holiday party with big Mike dressed up as Santa, and me as an elf (complete with green capilene underwear and bells).  One year we arrived via a canoe being pulled by some of the club members pretending to be reindeer.  Oops, the canoe was wider than the door.  Everyone had a great laugh, lots of food and drink, along with lots of gifts provided by the local outfitters, of which I was one.  Well, I sure have digressed, but it does bring back some fond memories of nearly 20 years ago!!!

Now, BS2 (that’s BS squared), has given up the monthly meetings at the local club house, and are mainly a group of whitewater paddlers who openly welcome us “long boaters” to share in the wealth of the clean and warm waters of the Schroeder YMCA for a series of pool sessions between December (or late November this year) and March.

As one can imagine, you get a few (5 this past Sunday) sea kayaks in a small section of a large pool, and while there’s not much room to do a lot of paddling, there’s plenty of space to do some rather stationary activities.  The whole idea is to hone the skills in the comfort of the pool during the winter so when we go on the open waters we will be better paddlers.

Here’s some video I shot at the last session–Rick is getting a lot of coaching in rolling and high bracing.  By the way, the video was taken with my Pentax Optio 20W, not my big “fancy” video rig.  Hope you enjoy, and that you too will take advantage of your local club’s pool sessions.  (The music is Jaime RT, Butterfly and the Talking Cat.)

Rollin’ and a Achin’

Over at Silbs Says he is wondering why he is so stiff and sore after a pool session where he was a rollin’ around in the water for a couple of hours (“I Don’t Get It” 12/1/2009).  And, while I wasn’t there, I suspect he was putting his body through all sorts of gyrations that it had not been through for a long time–perhaps since rolling camp 3 or 4 months ago.  I’ve observed him, and others, doing all sorts of rolling, especially some of the Greenland movements, really twisting their body, and throwing their arms out-n-about.  These movements are usually way out of the normal range they put their joints through, and they wonder why they are sore the next day?

Now our fellow blogger and sea kayaker, and roller in his own right, DaveO from the land of purple and gold and all things favre–though we won’t hold that against him, has suggested in a comment to Silbs that the aches and pains are nothing that Bushmill’s wouldn’t solve. I’m not so sure Bushmills’ would “solve” the problem, but certainly could make one forget about those issues for awhile.  Or, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this,” patient says as he hits himself in the head.  Doctor replies, “don’t do that!”  There, problem/pain solved.  Not so easy with kayakers though–when given a body of warm clean water, a boat and a paddle, what’s a kayaker to do?  Roll it!  Then roll over and do it again, and again, and again . . . .

I would submit that for a more permanent solution one should check out Sea Kayak Dot Net where you will find a great series on exercises to do to strengthen one’s self for the paddling and rolling that we do.

I’ve discussed the “get fit to paddle” theme before, so it may come as somewhat of a “beating a dead horse” but I can’t emphasize enough the need, as well as the positive correlation, between being fit to paddle and being a fit paddler.  (Keeping Your Edge, December  27, 2007.)

Ok, so you paddled a lot this past summer and now that winter is here (at least colder air and water temperatures, and snow forecast today), you will cut back to limited, or no, outdoor paddling but maybe a pool session or two between now and next “session”.  Do you really think that you are going maintain the same level of fitness and paddling ability where you left off?  As sea kayakers we need to maintain three levels of fitness:  cardio (endurance), strength, and flexibility.  Just like that three legged stool, without maintaining all three we are going to be wobbley when we get in our kayaks.

There’s plenty of information available to help guide us, here are a few of my favorites (in addition to the aforementioned Sea Kayak Dot Net):

Something to think about, something to do, and certainly some good study materials.

As for me, I visit the athletic club 3 times a week, go through a series of stretches and core exercises virtually every morning, and I watch my weight (didn’t gain any over Thanksgiving, and didn’t starve either!).  I also study the reference materials, and search for more.  Most importantly, I have fun!  Now, if I manage to do this with my work schedule, you can too.

Get fit to paddle and be a fit paddler!