Aug 24, 2012

Homeward Bound: Biking in Tahoe, Oregon and the Gorge Paddle Challenge Race Report


To recover from the Tahoe-Nalu SUP race Andrew and I did some riding around the Tahoe area. We first headed to South Lake Tahoe to check out Mr Toads Wild Ride. It was a long haul UP, luckily I like UP.... the first part of the down was technical with a nice film of dust making it extra slippery... I was in the wrong headspace...thinking about the race that just passed and my future in the sport of SUP etc..... not helpful when trying to mtn bike down slippery boulders... needless to say I realized my thoughts were on cloud nine so took it easy and decided to march down some of the more difficult routes. Luckily, the technical sections didn't last too long and I was able to get my head back in the game and enjoy the rest of the descent. It was fun.....After about 5 hours we were back in the car and in search of a beach. We found one in Tahoe City. I got out on the SUP and practiced some bouy turns until the thunder and lightning seemed loud enough to scurry me off the water. We enjoyed some shopping and headed for the summit of Mt Rose. We spent the night on the summit as it was very close to the trailhead of our next ride: Tahoe Rim Trail into Flume Trail.
   TRT and Flume trail were very scenic indeed, flowy and fun. It is a shuttle ride and luckily we knew some amazing folks in Tahoe (Jennifer and Craig) that offered to pick us up at the end of the ride. We actually rode the flume trail the opposite way then most in order to get a little more of a technical descent later on in the loop! We enjoyed ice cream and burritos at the end of the ride!

BEND Oregon was our next destination. We were running out of time so our stop in Bend was short but sweet. We magically happened to be in the city when my old adventure race teammates Jason and Chelsey were in town (a rare occasion). They were kind enough to lend us a bed and make us some delicious dinner. Jason also pointed us in a direction of  a nice mtn bike ride. We rode the Mazrek trail the following day. It ended up being a longer than intended ride but fun nonetheless. We climbed up the road to some waterfalls then had a steep singletrack climb into a 13 mile singletrack descent. All not that far out of town.

Following Bend, we headed to our last stop on our 3 week road trip... Hood River. We had been here before but it is a lovely town with a great vibe. I had my second SUP race here.

Gorge Paddle Challenge
Chasing Allsion

My second PRO/Elite SUP race. Still no specific SUP training, still riding mtn bikes and camping, still had some firsts....
The wind conditions were set for a huge downwinder on Sunday so it was short course on Saturday. We arrived on Friday in hopes of some wind so I could practice some wave riding.... no luck.... it was dead flat so instead we went shopping! I got myself an adjustable seat post specialized style, a lightweight down jacket AND... that was expensive enough for one day! I eventually got out for a little paddle on the Starboard carbon New. Andrew and I enjoyed dinner at a taco stand by the road.... Delicious!

Saturday proved to have slight winds, enough to feel the headwind and ride the downwind and cause some chaos... The start was crowded as we ll headed to the left side to avoid being pushed downwind of the first bouy turn. I decided to start BEHIND the fast people and it worked out okay... it was roomier and so I could actually get some strokes in. I still need to work on my starts as I don't seem to paddle hard enough right away.. I am an endurance athlete in every way.... it takes me some time to get in my grove but in these one hour races... every second counts (as I am quickly learning by my close finishes with others....). I had a pretty terrible first lap and was about 8th place.... but into our first headwind I quickly realized I had a strength... HEADWIND... not the most fun strength in SUP but I suppose a useful one in certain races... I paddled passed a load of ladies and found myself in 4th behind Allison.. Unfortunately for me that is where I stayed for the rest of the 4 laps of the course. Allison is a really strong paddler and we are very similar in strength..... It is exciting and I look forward to paddling against her in more races... I finished about 7 seconds behind her in 4th. Not too bad for my second elite race with no specific SUP training.

Sunday was the downwinder. It was blowing hard. I was nervous not for the race but to not like it, to not finish it, to get ultra annoyed with the conditions..... It was my first downwinder.... it won't be my last but I do need A LOT more technical practice in order to be efficient and fast. The best way I could describe my emotions was that it really was FUN but very frustrating at the same time. I tried different tactics in catching waves etc but I just wasn't getting it enough and tons of paddlers were flying past me no matter what I did... Not my best result but that wasn't on my radar anyway for the downwinder... it was all about doing something new, something a little scary, and finishing with a smile on my face.... I look forward to the next one!

We took off after the race and made it back to Vancouver that night....

We are now finally back in our apartment but living in a flexible manner as we are renovating....

Battling for 3rd.... Couldn't catch Allison.... 

4th place
more race pictures HERE

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

Aug 11, 2012

Tahoe Nalu SUP Festival

I have been riding my mtn bike for 13 days out of the last 15 days... It's been AMAZING but most would probably say not the most ideal SUP training.... Well, I have my theories.... and been hoping that it is decent training for the next two BIG SUP races I have entered. I figure since I haven't been able to train on a SUP board for a year; two extra weeks wouldn't make that big of a difference?!?... I felt pretty good after my first race back at the Eastern CAN champs, winning helped:) Thanks to our road trip and my amazing hubby Andrew, I was able to try out two bigger races. Races with big prize money and hence PROS. These races could give me a starting point and let me assess where I stand up against paddlers that paddle all year, race a ton, and for some it is their career.

I finished last year off with a high winning many races around BC and feel that now I want to try and expand my racing further. I know I need to get back and figure out some proper training for SUP and I know it will still include all the activities I love to do but just in different percentages... I believe that my love for multi sports has helped me get me to the level I am, a level with very little SUP specific training... I am KEEN to see where my natural talent combined with specific training can take me... I want to be among the top ladies... right now I think I can get there... but it will take hard work.... it shouldn't and won't come easily....

Photo by Jennifer de Jung

Tahoe Nalu Day 1

10 miles
I was racing an older starboard Surf race 12'6 x 26.5
I was using a starboard carbon enduro paddle
We had to carry pfds so I had the mustang inflatable waist pfd

We started in knee deep (if you were tall and thigh deep if you were short like me!) water all in a line. It was a there and back course. I kind of just got in line... probably too far left but I am knew at this.... I had a BAD start. I jumped up on the board right away and just couldn't get a stroke in as we were squished together and got boxed out and had to just sort of wait until I could actually get my paddle in the water... I got a little flustered but eventually managed to wiggle my way around folks and get a rhythm... unfotunately I could see some ladies out in front already... I just put my head down and paddled. I managed to pass a few and keep my eyes on Brandi and Candice but knew I probably wouldn't be able to catch them (but that didn't stop me from trying...) The water was bumpy and had some awkward waves here and there.. I did stay upright the entire race... on the return I was pretty nervous not to draft some men (illegal to draft people from other categories) so I kept to myself on the outside of the line which maybe was a mistake? Don't know... I will have to ask about strategy. At some point a girl I had passed on the way out...passed me about half way back... I tried to dig deep but just couldn't catch her again... She beat me by about 5 seconds... OUCH... !

I got 4th but 4th to some of the best of the best so I can't really complain... actually I am quite happy about this. I was 5 minutes behind Candice Appleby (really probably the strongest female in the SUP community at the moment...) My future goal: to give SUp ladies like Candice, Brandi, etc a run for their money!

Coming to these races is difficult mentally... 1st: I don't know anybody 2nd: I don't have the experience others do 3rd: I am used to be being known as one of the top females.

It is important to do things that are uncomfortable, scary, unknown,.... I think it is the only real way to improve in all aspects of yourself. Although I get weird jitters inside, and nervousness of the unknown I really love putting myself out there!

more photos from Day 1 racing

Day 2

Race start beside the fast Candice Appleby

sprinting into the finish!


In short: FUN and very difficult at the same time. Three loops of a W shaped course, three starts, all loops counted for points. My strengths the first paddle to the first turn.... each turn I managed to lose some ground.... I NEED to practice my pivot turns! Ha, awesome experience though, got the heart rate way up there and look forward to more of these paddle festivals....

4th overall among the elite women!

It has been an awesome experience competing against these FAST ladies... it has definitely inspired me to get myself organized and start training specifically for SUP and just see where I can place among these incredible athletes! So, I have to say I am proud of my accomplishments this weekend and excited for the possibilities that may come in the future!

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!


Aug 7, 2012


My summary of our time in MOAB: Cool landscape, grippy slickrock, somewhat annoying to ride on sand patches, funky dessert trees, lovely alpine singletrack, camping in canyons, long rides starting before sunrise, sketchy but very cool trails on the edges of cliffs, lots of time to hang in the shade....

Andrew has added more favorites from our first two days of riding PICTURES HERE! We rode slickrock and Poison Spider into Portal.

PIctures HERE from our Whole Enchilada ride (Do this ride if you can, was really too much fun!)

hopefully this is good training for SUP?!? I think so:)

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

Aug 3, 2012


We have just spent the last week playing around the Sawtooth National Park in Idaho.... WOW! It is a little hidden gem of awesome alpine mtn bike trails, hiking trails, creeks, rivers, and lakes. If I was into fly fishing this seems to be the spot for that too! We have met so many nice people on the trails and around town as well! I highly recommend checking this area out if you love the outdoors.

PHOTOS of first part of trip to Idaho and first couple days of Idaho

PHOTOS of second part of Idaho

I will write more about our rides/camping/etc later.... the coffee shop is about to close.... NEXT: Lake Tahoe area for more mtn biking and SUP training and RACING!

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!