Sep 17, 2012

Triple Crown on Saturday? Why Not? SUp race on Sunday: should be interesting... Funfilled weekend of outdoor fun!

This week has been GORGEOUS! Wow Vancouver is beautiful in the sun and there just isn't enough daylight to stack everything you want to do in a day. I was lucky enough to be working outdoors at Deep Cove Canoe and Kayaks all week. I was teaching SUP and taking people out on kayak tours and got to guide students from Mulgrave School for a wonderful three day adventure on the Indian Arm. Upon my return on Friday Andrew invited me to join him and Paul on a local adventure for Saturday. We were to climb and descend all three local mountains on bikes in one day....

Triple Crown

climbing my seymour

top of mt seymour

We met at 8:30am at John Henry Bikes. We started off with riding our road bikes to the water for a true beginning of the sea level to mountain top ride. We first rode to the top of Mt Seymour. We all felt good, chatting away. We were a funny crowd: Paul looked like a road biker with the proper attire and bike, I was half way there with the carbon bike and spandex but sort of ruined it with my camelback, Brooks seat, and mtn bike bike shoes, and Andrew looked like a commuter on his frame he welded himself, straight bars, handlebar pouch, baggy shorts, and mtn bike bike shoes!.... I was drinking nuun and had some trail mix as my food/nutrition while riding. It seemed like the ride up Seymour was easy with all the chatting and sunny weather. I get nervous on steep curvy descents on my skinny road bike tires so I let the boys go ahead while I enjoyed using my brakes!
climbing the last bit of Grouse

Top of Grouse

Following some cinnamon buns and lunch at the car we switched bikes and headed up Mountain Highway to get to the top of Grouse/Fromme. We rode up the road until it switched to gravel, a place we were familiar with as it is where we have ridden many times for mtn biking.  We then past the highest trail all the way to the very top of Grouse resort and onto the top of the peak chair near the windwheel. Grouse was rockin with tourists and tourist attractions from ziplines, to bear and log shows, paragliding, and hiking! We took a quick break and then made our way back down the mountain. I managed to fall on some of the gravel road so felt a little shaken and passed on the first actual trail down (the boys rode seventh) but then joined the boys down bobsleigh and then all the way back down to the water/cars.
Top of Cypress

We took another food break and switched bikes for the final mountain: Cypress.. It was the farthest one out of town and had quite the climb from the water to the highway. Once on the hill climb I was starting to feel little pains in my back and neck... I needed a couple of quick breaks to get things stretched out.. Paul was a machine and zoomed ahead while Andrew and I plugged away pedal stroke by pedal stroke. It was very rewarding making it to the top and I was getting excited for our celebratory beer and food but we were still quite a ways from our car... we needed to get all the way down and across the north shore..... After a quick stop at Ambleside we finally made it to our cars at about 7pm! LONG DAY! It was about 10 hours and 20 minutes 3200m elevationa and about 140km in length! WHOA! I feel like I am now part of a special club.... Another CHECK OFF THE BUCKETLIST for sure!

Ambleside Beach

In hopes of a quick recovery I kept myself hydrated with NUUN and beer! and filled my tummy with delicious Banditas burito! I wasn't too sure what else to do? I needed to recover quickly: in 14 hours I had a 15km SUp race.... I figured food and whatever rest I could get would be the best thing....

Pictures by Paul (thanks!) and a write up by Paul HERE

Board the Fjord SUP race
The wake up call came and I was nervous to see how my body felt. I surprisingly felt pretty good, just a little tired and really hungry.  After coffee and some granola, fruit and yogurt, we were off. Andrew being the best hubby in the world dropped me off in Deep Cove. I kept hydrating with nuun throughout the morning and ate a banana about 30 minutes before race start as I remembered getting really hungry during round the rock last weekend. Following the race briefing I jumped on my Starboard BOP 12'6x26.5 carbon board (Thanks Trident Sports!) and did a little warm up paddle. It was flat out there... there were 8 females in the 12'6 category so some competition to be had! It was gonna be a constant push all the way to the end on the flat water.... I found my start position just beside the dragon boats... I was happy with that as there weren't too many people right around me and thus less chance of bump and grinding off the start line. I had a decent start and managed to stay in front of most of the mess. I found myself a rhythm and went at it. Being on a 12'6 board I was naturally slower than the 14s but still I found myself surrounded by a bunch of 14 boards which is cool. Eventually the pack spread out and I was kind of on my own for most of the race. Not having anyone around to chase or get chased by I did find myself day dreaming a little but was able to snap myself back in the game once I realized I was thinking about other things. The body felt alright, my back was a little sore throughout the race which was definitely from biking as I have never really experienced back pain in SUP race, and my arms felt a little more tired than normal but the legs weren't as shaky as I thought they would be and my energy felt pretty good. I kept sipping on my nuun and focused on my breathing. The weather was perfect really and the course stunning! It was a wonderful race all in all. I got to meet some new folks from washington state which is awesome and also enjoyed the company of fellow canadian SUPers...
I managed to win the 12'6 category which felt good, I am gonna have to keep on top of my fitness as the competition is growing! Thanks to everyone at Deep Cove Canoe and kayak Centre for making this happen and for all the SUP athletes coming out to support and race!

Pictures HERE

Thanks Nikki Rekman for my new Werner Grand Prix Paddle...can't wait to use it on the water!

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!

Sep 11, 2012

The Battle around the rock: Race Report for Round The Rock SUP race

I'd been working a lot through the week before the race, commuting a ton, working outside and with people, and then trying to throw in some fun with friends..I was tired and was very pleased to be able to sleep in on Saturday. Andrew was away for the weekend road biking up mt baker, so I had the apartment to myself. My goal was to RELAX and get some stuff done around the house. I managed to relax some but I couldn't help myself and went out for a little run, did a little yoga, and some exercises... but all in all it did make me feel good and it was nothing compared to what I usually get up to... so I was pleased with myself. I was definitely feeling run down.... not so young as I think I am I guess:)

photo by Kelvin Humenny. Finish of RTR SUP race

The race: Round The Rock
I had some trouble deciding what board length to race. I originally wanted to paddle the shorter board length and try  and beat out the longer board lengths but then for some reason I was switching my mind... I wanted more practice on the length that I normally would race and thought that would be good but then I couldn't figure out if I should paddle something longer because it was a longer race?!? As it turned out I ended up racing on what I originally intended to race... a 12'6 board. I was happy with this.I raced the BOP 12'6x26.5 Carbon Starboard race board. I had a Starboard Enduro paddle, and wore Andrew's Oneill neoprene booties. I drank Nuun as my hydration and ate nothing but was STARVING half way through the race:)

It was choppy out there..Unlike when I am in a kayak, I actually really don't mind the chop in a SUP race and sometimes even pray for it:) Its strange but I am good at it. I feel balanced on the board, and am able to power through strokes where others might be loosing some time in more of a balance stroke. Maybe its 'cause I am little or maybe its because I am focused and sometimes don't even notice, or maybe because I have broad shoulders and strong lats?...not sure.... but I like that I like all conditions! I am still working on learning to read water a little better for downwinders.  Anyways, after a very early morning ride to Seattle, we arrived with plenty of time to spare... it was chilly and windy...

The race started with a knee deep water start.... I think that is my least favorite way to start as of right now. It is hard to get good momentum for me as usually people's knee deep in my hip deep so jumping up onto the board and getting those first few strokes always seems to take me a little longer than most... it is something I am hoping to practice more!
 We headed into a headwind to begin with... I was okay with this, it wasn't too tough and I am surprisingly good at head winds... I raced in the 12'6 board length category which is a slower one than 14ft board category... this race had a twist to it though. If someone from a shorter board category beat someone from a longer board category in the the first three places than they won their prize ($$). So I had my challenge ahead of me. My ultimate goal was to try and go for the overall title on the shorter board and my intermediate goal was to at least beat out 3rd place in the longer board category. From the start of the race I could see the first two ladies on the longer boards. They were out ahead battling it out. I had my eye on them around the island. As we turned around the first corner around the island we got out of the head wind and had a slight downwind with random side chop thrown in there. I had no one around me so at times I had to look up and find the first two ladies in front of me and remind myself that I was racing and trying to catch them! Some motivation to keep me paddling is sometimes hard for me to keep the intensity when I don't have anyone close to me to catch or someone chasing me.  It felt like I was sometimes falling farther behind and at others like I was slowly making progress towards them. About 3/4 of the way around the island I was pretty sure I couldn't catch them but I never truly gave up never know what could happen in a longer race:) and something interesting did happen a wickedly strong HEADWIND.... OMG it was like a punch in the stomach.... after two or so hours of racing we them had to battle a very very tough headwind and crossing! I managed to pass a couple of male racers and got a lot closer to one of the female racers but not close enough... after the HEADWIND and then the side chop I finally rolled in at 3rd female overall and 1st in the 12'6 board length category. I was pretty pleased with it all.

Congrats to all of the Canadian SUP paddlers you all rocked it. It was grand to be out there with so many BC paddlers! It was also awesome to meet up with some of the northwest paddlers from the states... :)

Kelvin : Thank you for the drive, the support, the pictures, and just being you!

What is next...
Board the Fjord Race this weekend. Another distance race. Another good training race for the famous Battle of the Paddle race down in California. I wasn't going to head to this race as I don't really feel like I am good enough at surfing yet to be of contention or in the lead pack...
I ended up looking at my situation, where I am at, what my goals were and with the help of Andrew and others I decided that I wanted to and should head to BOP this year. I did it 2 years ago just for kicks and am sort of in the same frame of mind but now since I have returned from China feel like I might actually want to take SUP a little more seriously.... I am curious what I can accomplish in this sport physically, mentally and emotionally. I have been searching for a sport that I enjoyed, felt like I had some natural talent, and had goals I could aspire to. I think for now at least I have the closest thing to what I was hoping for. I do LOVE adventure racing, another sport I have raced at a high level but the time, money, and the fact that I need a strong team to train with makes it difficult to fully commit to it. SUP however, is new, exciting, there are communities of paddlers all over, I seem to have some sort of natural ability in the sport, and it takes me to beautiful beaches:) haha... I heart SUP right now...

I got some training to get figured out but the one thing I do know is that I want to keep SUP enjoyable, I want to work hard but not overtrain, I don't want to lose sight of all the important things in my life... BALANCE! it will be key as I step it up a notch but yet keep it cool.... :) Exciting stuff!

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

Sep 8, 2012

Hello Werner Paddles and Nikki Rekman Sales!

I am super stoked to work with Nikki Rekman sales! We finally hooked up at the Vancouver SUP Challenge and I am looking forward to paddling Werner Paddles. Keep checking in for reviews, updates, races, expeditions using new gear!

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

Sep 2, 2012

Back on Local Turf and Loving it! Oceanman and Vancouver SUP Challenge

Great weekend down at Jericho Beach...

This year although I wanted to race the entire oceanman solo style and this race is totally up my alley I felt too scattered to enter the entire oceanman on my own,.  I don't feel comfortable driving our car in the city nor did I feel it right for Andrew to drive me across town, I had no wetsuit nor surfski organized for the race AND hadn't been swimming or surf skiing in a long while...These were my excuses for not racing the oceanman solo... Luckily, Shannon asking me to SUP for team Maui Jim (defending ladies champs) kind of sealed the deal for me to just hit up the relay race and enjoy a laid back team atmosphere.

Its always a long day when you are the last leg of any kind of relay team... Andrew and I were the last leg of a huge relay race in Comox Snow to Surf for a couple of years running and although you get the pleasure of running through the finish line you also get the pleasure of having little butterflies in your stomach for an unecessarily long period of time, and just hanging out waiting what seems for forever... Luckily, oceanman is not that long of a race and most of it is within eyesight and spectator friendly so being the last one to go wasn't soo bad in the end. The team was composed of Shannon who absolutely rocked the swim, Sheryl who put in a very solid paddle, Josie crushing the run, and then myself on the SUP. I got to paddle the Starboard Ace Pro Carbon 14foot by 25 inches board. It is so far my favorite 14foot board on the flattish waters. It is very light but still feels long for me as I am sooo used to paddling 12'6 long boards. I have to stand pretty far forward to get the best benefits of the board which always feels kind of funny to me. Anyways, I really like the feel of this board and was happy to race it for our team. The conditions were choppy but not as choppy as last year. We went out on a downwind round a bouy across a headwind, into the beach, with a little run around a bouy, back out in the headwind and home on a downwind. I managed to pass a couple of guys on the board which always makes me feel a little better:) I had a solid paddle. It was short (2km) and short is generally not my forte but I tried to hold on to my speed and power for the entire course. The longer boards are definitely a little tougher to turn but I am slowly getting the hang of it!

Basically we rocked it. We came in 6th overall and first for the women! Loved racing with the ladies!

Vancouver SUP Challenge

Team Starboard photo credit: Ian Hylands

We were blessed with sunshine, great water conditions, music, a very welcoming fun group of SUPers, and an enjoyable atmosphere for a race. Big shout out to Gary, Shanon, and crew for putting on a wonderful event. There was a ton of SUPin to be had in just over 5 hours....

 I started the day with talking/hugging/smiling with and catching up with people that I hadn't seen in over a year!

First event: 14ft race 4km
I was on the epoxy ace pro 14x25 Starboard Board.
A little crazy start. The time I am really nervous in SUP races is the start line.. The starts are sooo nerve racking with expensive boards, paddles, and lots of people aiming for the same area... It is always a little crazy and I am always just praying that I stay on my board and not in the water:) My start was alright here and I managed to get out in 4th place off the start. We rounded the first couple of bouys and I was out in front with the men... it felt good. After the bouy chaos we headed out into the headwind around an anchored barge. I managed to sneak in at 3rd overall before I stopped paying attention and just followed Norm to the WRONG pier.... OOPS.. no biggie in the end other than we paddled a little farther than most! It was great to paddle into my first win.

12'6ft 3km race
I was on Starboard BOP 12'6x26.5 carbon
This race was the most popular among the ladies and also had lots of paddlers in general. Here the battle was tougher and tighter. Shannon was right on my heels, Stu blasted out in front and Mike D managed to pull in a 5th among the men on an inflatable! I felt strong, things stayed exciting around the turns as people were spreading out and hence really there were people everywhere going in ALL directions. Some good hearted madness! Again I pushed hard, Declan was a great board handler and I managed to pull off a second win.

Kids Race
LOVE the kid races. Shannon, Nikki, and I helped out on the water and it was brilliant cheering and encouraging them throughout the paddle. I would love to get more involved with some more KID SUP events and opportunities!

12'6ft Sprints
I was on Starboard BOP 12'6x26.5 carbon
Sprints are my toughest, pushing hard form the start and the entire race is NOT what I am used to coming from an ultra endurance background for the last several years. I managed to pull ahead before the bouy turn and due to being out in front I managed to escape the one bouy turn chaos! YAY! Another first! Cruising into the beach felt great. My body was starting to feel the pain of pushing hard in 3 shorter races but I was totally riding the high mentally!

Team Relays
Mike D, Stu R, and me!
We race the Starboard Ace Pro Epoxy 14ft x 25
We destroyed (to put it mildly:)) FUN!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE relay races, its just plain old madness out on the water and on the beach, the cheering, the change over with boards, LOVE!

I loved seeing old faces, meeting new ones, seeing how Vancouver/BC has built a really fun community of SUPers.... I am in love with SUP! The training BEGINS! Since leaving gymnastics back in 1998 I have not truly focused on one sport... I am a little nervous to miss out on friend events BUT I am stoked to see what I can do with my mind and body in this sport. I am excited to be part of this community and pushing the limits in different ways.

Gary you pulled off a great event! I had my doubts with so little time and so many races but it worked sooo well! Loved it!
Awesome ladies: Shannon, Nikki, Me photo credit: Ian Hylands

next race Round the Rock-Seattle.... bring it on!

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!