Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another day on the Mississippi..

The Mississippi River keeps going up and up. I’ve seen it higher in the past, but this is the highest it’s been in at least three to four years as I recall.

I went out of Champlin tonight and the temperature was 65 degrees, but it felt cool because of the strong easterly winds. My canoe was being pushed around quite a bit tonight going both ways, upstream and downstream.

I didn’t want to venture to far from the shoreline going downstream so I had to be careful of the strong current and the effect of the strong winds to stay out of any sweepers.

I saw a couple boats tonight as soon as I got on the water. Then, later on I saw one of the immature eagles and two beavers.

Tonight’s paddle was two hours long and yesterday I spent a couple hours at the club lifting weights.

I plan to do the Snake River Canoe Race this Saturday in my J-193 C-1. It’s going to be interesting with all the recreational canoes in the swift water and standing waves. There shouldn’t be a problem with the rocks this year. My goal is to stay upright in the standing waves otherwise it’s going to be cold.

Snake River Water LevelAt River Mile 41.2 (Mora)The Snake River Canoe Club monitors the water level in Snake River during the two or three weeks preceding race day. Current readings will be posted here each day. Readings are taken at the DNR gauge at Mora. We believe the river is not canoeable if the level is less than 2.5 feet. We will switch the race to Knife Lake if the level is less than 2.75 feet. For comparison purposes, the level was 3.0 for the 2004 race and 4.3 for the 2006 event.Please bear in mind that, on this part of Snake River, water levels can fluctuate a great deal. An inch of rain will raise the level a foot or two within hours, and the level can drop again nearly as fast. Therefore, this gauge is the only reliable indicator for this part of the river. The USCS gauge located below the Cross Lake Dam is not a good indicator because there is a four day lag between Mora and Pine City. So check here often!

April 29, UPDATE:
We expect the water level to be near six feet for the 2008 Snake River Canoe Race on Saturday. This will result in excellent finishing times with little chance of hitting rocks. At this water level you will see fast current with standing waves about two feet high in some rapids. The water is still quite cold so it will be imperative that you wear your PFD and get out of the water as quickly as possible if you inadvertently go for a swim.

(I had to delete the table with the dates and water level since this program changed the format). You'll be able to check out the table by clicking on the above link, then click on Snake River Water Level.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Second "Rookie Racers" of the Year

There was a small group that got together tonight to paddle. It was cloudy and cool, temperatures in the low 40’s but no wind.

I was very early as was Duane Strike. A few more people showed up and we all waited a little longer than usual before we paired up just in case some other people showed up late. We had six C-2’s tonight, 12 people. There were a couple other people who showed up tonight, but I don’t know why they didn’t paddle. I'm sure we had enough canoes.

I was paired up with Kurt and it was his first time to Rookies. Kurt and another guy, John, showed up to learn how to paddle correctly. There were (are) planning to do the Border to Border triathlon. I had heard earlier that it wasn’t going to be held but this was 3rd hand information.

We usually don’t get the Border to Border people out this early in the season to learn how to paddle. They usually come out when it’s much warmer out and shortly before the triathlon.

Kurt told me he had done a Quetico trip last year and he does the j-stroke. The j-stroke is a no-no in this group. The j-stroke is a very inefficient stroke and is never used in racing. Kurt also told me he never had been in a C-2 racing canoe before and I heard him mention something about an aluminum canoe. Well, that being the case, I though it was best that I wore my PFD tonight. The Mississippi River is still pretty cold. Kurt did well in the canoe

We got on the water a little late night at about five after six. The forward stroke seems very straight forward when it’s described to someone, but there’s a lot to think about when actually doing the stroke. New paddlers always revert back to their old style of paddling when they stop thinking about the stroke or only one part of it or when they get tired. A person needs to come out several times before grasping some parts of the technique.

Kurt has a lot to learn as all new rookies do, but he did a fine job on his first attempt tonight

The rowers were out tonight as well as one barge. We arrive back to the put-in after paddling for one hour and thirty-nine minutes. A short paddle tonight.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Ironman Bike Ride 2008

This morning was a much better morning than yesterday, weather wise. There was no snow and there was no gale force winds blowing. Just a light breeze out of the NW. The temperature when I got on the road to drive to the ride was 30 degrees.

The last time I did the Ironman ride was about 1990 when it was in Buffalo, Minnesota, but today I would be driving to Lakeville, Minnesota..

I left my home at 0600 hours for the 40 to 45 mile drive, but with very little traffic on the roads the time went by quickly. When I got to the Lakeville High School it was a hub of activity. I parked in the High School lot, but there were cars parked all along the road leading to the school. There were many cyclist already leaving the lot and other on the route.

I went inside to check in and get my yellow paper bracelet. I had ordered a t-shirt and cap, but they told me I had to pick those up after the ride.

This is a ride and the earliest you can begin the ride is 0630 and then there is a cut off time that you need to start but I don’t know what it is as I planned to be biking by 0730 hours. There were cyclists leaving the lot as more cars poured in to prepare for their ride.

I hit the timer on my cycle computer and I was officially on my way at 0724 hours with only 100 miles before I was finished. The ride began from the high school and we were headed to the west toward Jordan. I didn’t have my balaclava on when I left the parking lot but I did stop after the junction where the 100 and 62 mile route splits. Now that felt much better!

A group of “real” cyclist came past me. I’m a canoeist looking like a cyclist today. They were a little unorganized in their pace line as they were passing me. In fact, one of the cyclists mentioned this to me as he rode next to me. When they all passed I grabbed the rear wheel to the last cyclist for a little drafting. The pace line was not smooth and after the second slow down and speed up I heard the sound of a crash up ahead. I could see at least two cyclists go down after the 5 to 6 cyclist in front of me started swerving in different directions. Another cyclist couldn’t avoid the first two that were already down and he went down. I headed off to the right onto the dirt shoulder and safely got around.

The first rest stop was at the Jordan High School after 23 miles. I admit it was nice to stop. Going to the west we all had the cool wind from the NW in our face. I had some food including one of about eight or nine muffins that I would have throughout this ride. They were small ones! I didn’t stay but only about 10 minutes before it was off to the next rest stop in Belle Plaine only nine miles away.

Shortly after I left Jordan High School a tandem cycle came up along side of me. The guy made a comment about my custom Terry Osell bike. This would be the first of four people who would comment on the bike today. I couldn’t remember if it was 1989 or 1990 when Terry built this bicycle for me. I just checked my records and I picked up the bike from Terry on 04-23-90.

We introduced ourselves and the guys name was Tony and I’m sorry I can’t remember his wife name, but they live in Elk River. We talked about the BWCA and they just recently started to go. In fact, their first trip was last year and they have a trip planned for this year.

Well, the tandem kicks butt going down hill but I would catch them on the incline. We rode together until the next rest stop in Belle Plaine.

I did pretty much the same thing at this rest stop. (32 Mile) I had another blueberry muffin, also.

The next rest stop was 22 miles away. It was an uneventful ride to the stop, but it was nice to get off the bike again. I use to work in the Hennepin County Jail in the late 1980’s. Another deputy and I were assaulted by an inmate who wasn’t on his psych meds. The inmate picked me up and used me as a battering ram, ramming my head against the brick wall several times. Besides the stitches in my head I’ve had problems with my neck since then and it gets very sore riding longer than a couple hours at a time. So it’s nice to get off the bike to stretch the neck muscles.

After this rest stop at Montgomery Middle School it was on to the next rest stop at Lonsdale Legion Halland we now all had a slight tail wind.

Eventually, I made it to the final rest stop at Greenville Park Elementary. Besides having another muffin I also had a bowl of hot pasta. Oh, boy, did that taste good.

I then heard one of the volunteers say that a sleet storm was approaching. Sure enough the sky was very dark to the west. Well, time to get moving. We would all be heading to the north and heading back into a head wind.

The wind began to get stronger and it began to sleet/rain when I was about 45 minutes from the finish. It started off slowly then gradually it built up. It seemed like I kept saying to myself that I only had about a half hour left. I kept on pedaling but I kept getting slower and slower because the wind kept getting stronger. No matter how much peddling I did it seemed like I always had a half hour to go. Eventually I was able to get through the half hour mark and I was pulling into the lot of the school at my Suburban at 1534 hours.

I was on the road for a total of eight hours and 10 minutes with all my stops at the five rest areas, but actual biking time was seven hours, 7 minutes and fifty-two seconds.

I put my bike in my Suburban and went in the building to get my t-shirt and cap. On the way out I bought a cycle jersey commemorating this ride.

If you ever get a chance to ride this ride it’s very well organized and it’s fun. There are three different distances to choose from, 30, 62 and 100 miles. Although the ride was probably in the 30’s for most of it, it’s not bad if you’re dressed for it.

Tomorrow, I plan on going to the second Monday Night Rookie Racers of the year on the Mississippi River. Now I need some of those cyclists who kicked my butt today to show up so I can kick some butt on the water.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Midwest Mountaineering Outdoor Expo

Kevin Callan, Kim Young and unknown/helper
Kim Young (Quetico Kim)

Kevin Callan
I had good intentions this morning. Although it had snowed some over the night that really wasn’t the problem. It was the wind! It was blowing 15 to 20 mph out of the NW to W with even higher gust.

I drove to the put in on the Rum River in Anoka. There wasn’t anyone else in the parking lot getting ready to paddle. I wonder why? The first problem I encountered was the wind but I had a second problem which was the temperature; but not because I was cold. The temperature was 30 degrees and my ropes securing my canoes to my Suburban were frozen. I worked on the first knot for about 10 minutes trying to loosen it before I gave up and walked down to the river to check it out. I wasn’t going to cut the rope because I had other knots to loosen if I was going to paddle today.

I was thinking of paddling about three and a half hours today, but with the wind I thought maybe 2 hours. Since I couldn’t get the rope undone it was probably best that I just go to the health club and do some cardio. It sure would be a very cold swim if I went over today.

I drove back home and changed into some workout clothes to go to the gym. I did an hour on the LifeFitness cross trainer.

Next I was off to Midwest mountaineering’s Outdoor Expo. I arrived about 11:30 hours and went downstairs to the Expedition Stage to see Kevin Callan’s presentation, Northern Ontario’s Kopka River Misadventure. The room was filled with people watching a presentation on the Apostle Islands. I saw Kevin waiting in the back of the room like I was so I said hi to him. Last year when I spoke to Kevin he wanted me to e-mail him about my thoughts about the section of the trip I would be taking between the Maligne River and Minn Lake. I e-mailed him my trip report, Quetico’s Trees, Rocks and Water: A Solo Journey.

After Kevin’s presentation I went back upstairs and saw Cliff Jacobson sitting at a table where he was selling his books. I first met Cliff when I was the racing director with the Minnesota Canoe Association. I bought a couple books that he signed for me. I know I have at least one of them maybe two them already. Oh, well…

I walked around and spoke to a few vendors before I went to see another one of Kevin Callan’s presentation, Ontario’s Best Canoe Routes, across the street in another building.

It was approaching 2 pm and the earlier presentation wasn’t over so I walked in the room while everyone else waited in the lobby. I walked in and saw it Kim Young, Quetico Kim, as she is known on some forums finishing up her talk, Making the Quetico Quest. I have corresponded with her through e-mail in the past so after she was done I went and introduced myself. Although I didn’t listen to her presentation I know she had an article in the Winter 2007 The Boundary Waters Journal by the same name.

I left for home after I listened to Kevin. Once home I started getting my cycling gear ready for tomorrows Ironman ride. I would like to do the 100 mile ride, but I’ll see what the weather is like tomorrow before I make my decision.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Cool Week-end...

(Photo of me taken by me on Argo Lake, Quetico on 07-08-07.)

The week-end is here and the weather is not quite what I wanted. The last two days have been cool and rainy. I decided to take yesterday, Thursday, off (rest day) since I hadn’t had a day off from doing some type of physical activity for 18 days.

Today, I went to the health club to lift weights. Tomorrow, I’m planning on getting out fairly early in the morning to go paddling before I head to Midwest Mountaineering for the Outdoor Expo. I heard there is supposed to be snow in the morning…..

This Sunday is the Ironman Bike ride. I checked the weather forecast and all it has done for the past week is go downhill and get worst. Right now the temperature is forecasted for a high of 39 degrees with rain or snow in spots. I still have a day for it to change again.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I contacted three other guys last week and expressed my interest in filling their last spot to go on a wilderness canoe trip to Wabakimi Provincial Park with them. This park is 150 miles north of Thunder Bay. Well, I have been accepted to fill the last spot. This trip is August 9-­23th. I will write more about this trip at a later date.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Palisade to Aitkin 2003 Canoe Race

Earlier, on 04-10-08, I posted a photo of the top four canoes in the 2003 Palisade to Aitkin Canoe Race which was a 31 mile race on the Mississippi River. It was the photo I posted under the post, Marathon Canoe Racing Information. Here it is…
When I was the racing director for the Minnesota Canoe Association (MCA)
I would write a short narrative about the different races and I would have it published in the HUT! Magazine. This was the name of the magazine put out by the MCA before they changed the name to the Minnesota Paddler.

Here is the article that I wrote it in 2003.


Deux Pipe Paddle Race (7-19-03) and Palisade to Aitkin Canoe Race (7-20-03)

We had a good showing this past week-end at both races. The first race was in Duluth called the Deux Pipe Canoe and Kayak Marathon Race. The race is on the St. Louis River and it took about an hour and a half to finish it. I haven’t received those race results from Ron Deter as of yet. Once I get them I will post them. The top three C2 canoes were Kjell Peterson and Todd Ellison; Steve Peterson and Scott Ankeny; and Joe Manns and Chuck Ryan.

After the Duluth race several of us went over to Kjell and Anna Peterson’s for a little together for food and conversation.

Toward early evening people went off in different directions to spend the night before re-grouping for Sunday’s race in Palisade. The Palisade to Aitkin Race is a 31 mile race on the Mississippi River that would start at 08:30 AM.

I went to the campground in Palisade where I saw Fred Rayman sitting on a picnic table reading a book. He had been there about an hour before I got there. We went to the river that runs next to the campground to check the water level and it appeared to be about the same or slightly higher than last year. It was good news because there was very little water in that section of the Mississippi River just a couple weeks earlier. It would have been a long hard race if the water was low. Dave Lawler and Bill Briggs from Canada were next to arrive then the Arenz brothers, Devin and Brett.

Dave and Bill drove through Grand Rapids and said there were tornado warnings out and that the storm was moving in a SE direction. Well now, we are directly in that path. We were watching the sky and we could see a bank of clouds that could be described as odd coming our way. This cloud cover went over us still moving in the SE direction causing us some concern and the wind picked up a little but no rain. The cloud cover went over us and it now appeared to be breaking up above us. Now there was lightening in the direction of Duluth. The next morning Joe Manns who was staying near Duluth said they received some heavy rain during the night.

Those of you who camped out at the campground last year sure remember the many mosquitoes that were out of control, but this year they were some what under control till dark. We all stayed out of our tents for awhile after dark but we were all on the move swatting the little pest.

The next morning cars began showing up at 7am for the registration. There were 18 canoes in the Pro class and one recreational team had started earlier for what would be their 6 hour and 2 minute paddle down the Mississippi River.

There were going to be several fast teams that were going to be on the water. My partner was Al Rudquist. I’ve only been in a canoe once previously with Al for about 10 minutes in the Rapids Round Robin over the 4th of July week-end. He had no idea if we would be able to out sprint some of the teams if we waited to the last minute to sprint to the finish. We both have many hours of training this year so we decided to start the grind about 45 minutes from the finish. Sounded easy enough to me…right!

The race actually got started at 8:45 AM. There weren’t any real hard sprints for any long duration at the start. There were about 9 or 10 teams that eventually got up next to one another and we were riding as one big group down the river. One by one some of the canoes began to drop back as the sprints continued around the shallow corners of the river.

After a couple hours the following teams were still as a group Jason Larson and Kjell Peterson, Joe Manns and Brett Arenz, Al Rudquist and I. Todd Ellison and Dan Hassel were back a little ways but they would move up when we eased the pace slightly.

We had made the left turn in the river at the junction where the diversion channel goes straight with the three teams still together. I remember Joe and Brett starting another sprint and we all responded. We were still in a pack as the sprint slowed. Dan and Todd tried squeezing into the group but we weren’t going to have none of that and Al started the sprint. We dropped Dan and Todd immediately. This would also be the last I would see of Brett and Joe. They may have hung on a bit but I was now focused on the hard paddle.

Al had started the grind that we talked about earlier before the race. We were paddling hard as Jason and Kjell continued to ride our side wake. I heard Jason tell Kjell that Al and I were only trying to wear them down. I heard Kjell’s reply and I can’t remember his exact words but he re-phrased what he had just said to something else to make it sound as he wasn’t paddling hard. This hard paddling went on for about 30 minutes. Al and I made a right turn around one of the bends in the river and dropped Kjell and Jason back a couple waves. Al then told me we had to go faster. Well, we had to step it up another notch. All I can say is that I’m glad that I’ve been doing all the training that I have this year. I still wondered how long it would be till the finish because I knew there wasn’t going to be any let down until we crossed the finish.

We did pull a little further away but I really could tell by how much. There was one point where I leaned the canoe the wrong way causing us to lose some ground to Kjell and Jason. I saw Jason and Kjell trying to move up over to our left. Actually I could hear Kjell breathing harder that I’ve ever heard him. I can only assume Jason was breathing heavily but I couldn’t hear him. Jason and Kjell were still behind and to my left a few minutes from the finish when I heard some words between Jason and Kjell. I figured at that point they must have each planned on doing something but it was in conflict with each other. Al and I crossed the finished line in 3:47:7, Jason and Kjell were 3 seconds back. The last 40 to 45 minutes was a very intense paddle to a very good race.

There were cash prizes given to all 18 teams that finished the Pro class. T-shirts were given to the two in the recreational class.

The Minnesota Canoe Association and We-no-nah Canoes provided the money for the cash prizes.

Black Bart Paddles provided a paddle for the random drawing.

Bemidji Woolen Mills provided two Paul Bunyan Jac Shirts.

Pearson Candies provided the bite size Salted Nut Rolls for all of us to enjoy. I have to mention that Anne Manns won the 25 pound Salted Nut Roll that was given away in the random drawing.

The Aitkin Chamber of Commerce provided free Sub sandwiches and drinks for the paddlers.

Thank you to Carroll Kukowski of the Aitkin Chamber of Commerce for her support.

Thank You to Ann Manns for timing the racers and dividing up the money for the cash prizes.

Thank you to Anna Peterson for taking pictures for me.

Thank you to anyone I may have forgotten.

Chuck Ryan

Here were the results that day…


Palisade to Aitkin Canoe Race – 31 Miles
July 20, 2003, Mississippi River

C2 Pro
1 Al Rudquist (MN) / Chuck Ryan (MN) 3:47:07
2 Jason Larsen (MN) / Kjell Peterson (MN) 3:47:10
3 Joe Manns (MN) / Brett Arenz (MN) 3:48:26
4 Todd Ellison (MN) / Dan Hassel (MN) 3:49:21
5 Devin Arenz (MN) / Fred Rayman (MN) 3:49:38
6 Bill Briggs (MB) / Dave Lawler (MB) 3:52:02
7 Stephanie Larsen (MN) / Scott Ankeny (MN) 3:52:44
8 Emily Peterson (WI) / Steve Peterson (MN) 3:56:27
9 Pete Colas (MN) / Dan Cruser (MN) 3:58:58
10 Doug Berg (MN) / Ed Arenz (MN) 4:00:28
11 Al DuBois (MN) / Kate Ellis (MN) 4:00:35
12 Io Harberts (MN) / Lee Jarpey (MN) 4:01:21
13 Kenn Ketter (MN) / Becca Heath (MN) 4:06:47
14 Dave Dahl (MN) / Brett Thunstrom (MN) 4:08:12
15 Elmer Bloch (MN) / Joe Dunaisky (MN) 4:15:20
16 Candace Koska (MN) / Keith Canny (MN) 4:16:18
17 Lisa Schulte (MN) / Theresa Alto (MN) 4:37:47
18 Todd Hohenstein (MN) / Heather Hohenstein (MN) 4:50:07

C2 Recreational
1 Anthony Babrio (MN) / Thomas Murtha (MN) 6:02:00

Roland and Bob....

Roland Ring-Jari in the bow and Bob Carrigan in the stern
What a beautiful night to be on the Mississippi River. The temperatures were in the high 70’s. I arrived at the landing and took my C-1 off the Suburban. Another car pulled into the landing and I didn’t recognize the guy. He eventually walked over to my C-1 and began asking questions about if I was just starting, where I was headed, and how long I would be gone.

Those of you who know what I do for a living should know that I wasn’t to open about answering any of these questions. I began asking him some questions and he mentioned he was going to paddle tonight and he was waiting for Roland Ring-Jarvi. I recognized Roland’s name and he introduced himself as Bob Carrigan.
I explained to Bob my reluctance in answering his questions when he first approached me.

I remember Roland Ring-Jarvi and Bob Carrigan when they were at the Midwest Mountaineering Outdoor Expo last year giving a seminar on paddling the entire length of the Mississippi River. They both paddled the entire length, but over a 10 year period.

Roland pulled into the lot and picked up Bob and they drove off. Before they left Bob told me they were going to start at Roland’s home about 6 miles upstream of the landing . They were going to paddle a short ways upstream then return downstream back to his car.

I got on the water and began my upstream paddle. The water level was up at least 6 inches maybe more from the end of last week. I saw the eagle again in pretty much the same area I have noticed them in the past. Eventually he left the area and flew away from the river. I mentioned in an earlier post that the tree they had their nest in up until last year blew down. I’ve seen them now fly in the same general direction away from the river so it appears they aren’t nesting right on the river anymore.
Some of the trees are begining to bud out. Especially the Willows and Maples.

I continued upstream past the “horse farm” thinking I would paddle until I met up with Roland and Bob. I saw them about 5 to 10 minutes past the “horse farm”. They were in an aluminum canoe practicing for the Snake River Canoe Race. I mentioned that I saw Doug Berg and Dave Dahl practicing in a aluminum canoe on the Rum River last week.

Both Roland and Bob in one canoe and Doug Berg and Dave Dahl in another canoe did the Missouri 340 mile canoe race last year.

Roland and Bob have also done the Yukon River Quest Canoe Race in 2005.

Roland, Bob and I chatted while we paddled back to the landing were my Suburban and Bob’s car was parked. I got back and noticed that Todd my friend and local DNR Conservation Officer had left his business card on my vehicle saying, hello.

Tonight’s paddle lasted 2 hours and thirty-five minutes.
Yesterday was a lifting day at the health club. I spent a little over two hours there.
I sent my money in to race in the Snake River Canoe Race. Looks like I'll be doing it in my C-1 in the solo class. It appeared most everyone else had partners in the C-2 pro class although I didn't look to hard.


Monday, April 21, 2008

1st Monday Night Rookie Racers of the Year

I went to my first “Monday Night Rookie Racers” practice since I stopped leading this practice in 2004. It’s been four years and this was only the second time that I’ve been in a racing C-2 canoe.

The only other time was when I was out in my C-1 and there were some other racers in their C-2’s. We were a ways up stream of the Anoka Champlin Bridge when we came across two guys who were paddling the length of the Mississippi River. We paddled along side of them until the bridge. I then jumped in Dave Dahl’s C-2 at the park just south of the bridge on the Anoka side and we then paddled down to the Coon Rapids Dam with the them. I never knew if these two guys made it or not.

I have come across several canoeists who were enroute to paddle the whole way down the Mississippi. Champlin is about 450 miles from the headwaters of the Mississippi. I also came across Martin Strel who swam the entire length in 2002. Here are a couple links about him and some photos.

Back to canoeing… when I left Brooklyn Park area tonight it was raining , but it didn’t look like it would be and all nighter. The temperature was 74 degrees so even if it did rain it wouldn’t be bad. If it was colder I would just adjust what I needed to wear.

It took me about a half hour drive from work to get to the East Bank River Flats where we start. I saw several people that I knew and said hi to a few while I prepared my canoe. I even put on my new license on it.

Joe Conrad was taking attendance just like I did before. I gave out certificates at the end of the year to the paddlers that documented the number of times they had been at the practices.

I ended up with Emily Peterson as my partner and she paddled in the bow. She’s not a rookie, but that was ok with me and it was a pleasure to paddle with her. Emily was starting to race about the time I stopped so I’ve never have paddled with her. Thank you, Emily for tonight’s paddle.

Emily and I got on the water at 1757 hrs and we paddled up stream toward the new 35W bridge that is being replace from last years collapse. We turned around and paddled back to where we put in and waited with the group for a couple more paddlers to get on the water. The paddlers were bunched up early on but as we took off the canoes spread out on the river.

The rowers also use this section of the river. They sometimes they complain about us and we sometime complain about them. Tonight, the lady driving the boat who was watching and coaching the rowers didn’t have any concern for the wake she put off near me and Emily as she went by us.

The wind was in our face as we went downstream. The river was choppy from the wind and from the wakes of the ten C-2 canoes. Emily made the comment at least the wind will be at out backs on the way back up. Emily and I did take on a little water from the waves but we just opened up both bailers. No big deal.

It was cloudy and it began to rain on the way back up stream. Several of us put on rain jackets while it came down. It stopped shortly afterwards and I took my jacket back off.

There were several sections coming back up stream that the wind was in our face. That wasn’t supposed to happen, because it was in our face going downstream.

Emily and I got back to the put-in one hour and fifty-five minutes after we started. It was nice to be back in a C-2 especially with a competent paddler such as Emily.

We carried the canoe up to my Suburban where we took our gear out of it, put the canoe cover on and place it on my vehicle. Emily made sure the wind didn’t send my canoe flying while I got the straps out and secures it to the roof rack.

When I drove home the sky let loose with heavy rain and some thunder and lightening. We just got off the river with a few minutes to spare.

I have next Monday off from work so I plan to go again next week.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Helmet Cam during Canoe Race

I thought some you might be interested in seeing this video. It’s a helmet cam of a canoe race in which Justin paddles his C-1 during the Klondike race in Michigan earlier this year.

I like it because of the music by Cactus. I remember in the early 70’s buying my first Cactus record in Hastings, Minnesota ( I was living in Michigan at the time). Anyways, I like the music. A lot of these video’s are put to some lame music (at least to me).

Enjoy! Go, Justin!!!


Where did the week-end go....

I’m sitting here at my computer thinking how fast this week-end went by. Yesterday, Saturday, I went to the Rum River to paddle. I didn’t see any of the other racers at the parking lot nor did I see them all day. I had the river to myself.

When I started at 0919 hrs there was a cool northerly wind following the river channel as I went up stream. The temperature was 44 degrees, but I had to put my knit cap on my head the cover my ears to keep them warm. I went back up to the 7th Av Bridge just like Friday.

I really got into a groove coming downstream and it felt good. I reached the landing at 1315 hrs making today’s paddle three hours and 55 minutes. The temperature only moved up four degrees.

I had to go shopping after paddling. I picked up some West System Epoxy from West Marine. Then I went I bought a couple items for biking. I went to Erik’s Bike Shop in St. Louis Park and to their Maple Grove Store.

Next Sunday I have the Ironman Bike Ride. It was probably 1989 or 1990 when I did this ride the last time. I used to ride with a group which at that time was called the American Youth Hostel that is now know known as the Twin Cities Bicycling Club. I quit and I haven’t been a ride since they demanded that everyone wear a bicycle helmet. So guess what…I had to go buy a helmet! I was going to get the Giro Ionos but they didn’t have the color I wanted so I got a Specialized S-Works. I picked up a pair of Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Cycling gloves as well as a Pearl Izumi Zephrr jacket. I think I’m all set for clothes, but will the body make it 100 miles.

I haven’t come close to putting in those kinds of miles this year, but I can suffer with the best of them

Afterwards, I went to the gym and lifted weights for a couple hours.

Today, Sunday, I wanted to get on the water a little earlier than I had been getting on there lately. I checked the forecast the night before and although it said the temperatures were to get around 70 degrees it showed the wind speed approaching 20 mph around noon. It never happed.

I went back to the Rum River out of Anoka. I was on the water one minute before 8 am and the temperature was 41 degrees. I didn’t need a hat with the light wind. I really enjoy paddling the early season because there are no boats or at most very few.

It was back up to the 7th Av Bridge. I had noticed just in one day the river had come up a few inches and the current was a little bit stronger. Again, I was feeling good and getting stronger. The sounds surrounding the river seemed quieter being it was a little earlier in the morning and the wind wasn’t blowing in my ears.

I was coming back downstream when I came upon some of the racers who were stopped for a break at the island. I saw them after doing 3 hours of paddling. They told me they just got there. I stopped for 4 minutes to say, hello. I turned around and went back upstream with them until they turned around and then we all headed back for the landing Today’s paddle was 4 hours and 29 minutes. The day started off cloudy and cool and by the time I got back I was just in a t-shirt, it was 58 degrees and the sun was out.

I did some active rest…grocery shopping before I did 40.3 miles on my road bike. I haven’t figure out my time but it was probably close to 2 hours and 40 minutes. I did a new route (or most of it). It was a beautiful day and sunny.

Tomorrow (and the rest of this week) I have some training in another city but if I get back to my office on time I am going to go to “Monday Night Rookies” on the East Bank of the U of M campus along the Mississippi River. This will be the first one of the year and it will be the first one I attended since I stopped leading this get together. I posted earlier what this was all about. If I make it tomorrow I will write a little something about it.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Cardio day...

Full day of paddling and biking…

Yesterday after work I went to the health club and had a very good lift. I was there 2 hours and nineteen minutes.

This morning I got up and had breakfast and enjoyed my Guatemala coffee. Since I didn’t have to work today, I spent some time on the computer checking e-mails and some different websites and making phone calls.

There are three guys who are looking for a 4th paddler to do a 2 week trip to Wabakimi Provincial Park in August. I received an e-mail from one of them with an itinerary, food list, and the route mark on a map. I then called and spoke to another one of the paddlers in Kansas about the trip. I told him that I was serious and I would put in for the days off this Monday and that I should know by Tuesday. It shouldn’t be a problem getting the days off. We made arrangement to speak this coming Friday. He did tell me that there was another person that was interested. Well, I should know if I’m going in about a week. It appears this is about 140 miles of canoeing. We will take the train to the put-in and two weeks later be picked up by plane.

I am also tentatively planning an 8 to 10 solo canoe trip to the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park in June.

I will write more about these two trips once I know for sure that I’m doing them.

This morning was cloudy, 44 degrees and the forecast was for rain. I decided to go to the Rum River and paddle today. I was on the water by 0944 hours. When I start there I almost always start going upstream. It wasn’t too long before I saw an aluminum canoe coming around the bend and I could see that both paddlers knew how to paddle and were in sync with one another.

It was Doug Berg in the stern and Dave Dahl in the bow. They were out practicing for one of the aluminum classes in the upcoming Snake River Canoe Race. They told me they didn’t expect anyone on the river this morning so they thought their secret was safe. Well, when they said that I snapped a picture.

Right after I saw them it began a light sprinkle. I pulled over and got my rain jacket out of my dry bag then the rain stopped. It never did rain anymore while I was on the water.

Up around a few more bends several more aluminum canoes and some kayaks with high school age kids came meandering by. Every spring I see a bunch of kids from the school out paddling. I believe it’s some type of outdoor class and canoeing is just one aspect of it.

I reached the 7th Av Bridge at 1218 hrs after 2 hours and 19 minutes of paddling. I turned around to begin the paddle back. Besides all the birds, ducks and geese I saw 5 deer. I got back to the landing at 13:38 hours. A total of a 3 hour and fifty-four minute paddle.

As I was leaving the the park I stopped a spoke to Lee Jarpy for 5 to 10 minutes. He was waiting for Ed Arenz to show up to paddle. Ed showed up so we ended our conversation.

I was going to do a couple errands before I jumped on my road bike. After a couple phone calls I decided I could do them after biking. I had something to eat and checked the weather. I waited a bit to see if it was going to rain based upon what what showing on the radar.

After it appeared it wasn’t going to rain I jumped on the bike at 15:48 hours. Sure it began to sprinkle but again it didn’t last long. I thought if it really began to rain hard I would just do an hour. Since it quit I decided to do two hours and then I decided to keep going and ended up with a three hour ride. It was very breezy and it felt cooler that the 50 degrees out. It was a typical bike ride, no matter which way I went it seemed I had a head wind.

Today I even remembered to replace the battery in the cycle computer. Lately, I have just been going by time. My mileage today was 39.6 miles. Not great but it’s a number.

You know, it was such a fun day I might just might have to do it all again tomorrow. I was going to put my C-2 on my suburban tonight and put on the new license, but I ran out of time after I did my errands.

I thought I changed my copyright date to 2008 but it appears it didn’t take. These photos were taken today.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Back on the Mississippi

Yesterday, I went to the health club to lift weights as planned since the wind was to be blowing and blow it did!

Tonight, I got on the water at 15:43 hours and the temperature was 63 degrees. The wind was still quite strong and blowing anywhere from NW to SW. The water level is on the rise and the current was picking up on the Mississippi River.

It was a tough paddle going upstream heading into the wind. There were several times that I was just barely moving forward and actually the wind would blow my canoe sideways further.

I took a photo of maybe the last of the snow along this portion of the river. The two eagles were back and we leap frog going upstream. They kept me company, but I really couldn’t get a good photo them.

After paddling upstream until 19:22 hours I turned around and took advantage of the strong current for my return paddle. What a joy to be going with the wind and current. I got near the area where I saw three loons on Monday. Guess what I saw today? I counted 12 loons.

My return paddle took me only 39 minutes. I was off the water at 2001 hours. Tonight’s paddle was 2:15. I round off to the nearest 5 minutes for my log of the number of hours paddled.

Tomorrow, I’ll probably head back to the health club. For the past two months I’ve been lifting weights for muscle endurance. In a week or two I will cut back on my lifting and get more into the cardio (paddling and biking).


Monday, April 14, 2008

Mississippi River

Change in plans. Today, I was supposed to go to the health club and lift weights. I decided to get in a paddle tonight, since tomorrow the forecast is to have 25 to 30 mph winds and someone mentioned to me earlier that they heard gust of up to 40 mph.

Tonight, I went to Mississippi Point Park on the Mississippi River that is just downstream of the Champlin / Anoka Bridge in Champlin. This is my normal put in spot during the week when I go on the Mississippi.

I was on the water at 17:42 hours and the temperature was 53 degrees. There was a SW wind that was less than 10 mph. I paddled upstream to the “Horse Farm’ and then turned around. I got back to the landing at 20:09 hours. So what is that…took me about 2 and a half hours tonight. It was 50 degrees when I go back to the landing.

I didn’t see any one else on the river, but there were people out walking on the trails along the river and several children playing in the back yards.

The last two times I’ve been on the Mississippi I’ve seen the two eagles, but tonight I didn’t see them. They used to have their nest in a big old Cottonwood tree on an island near where I turned around tonight but sometime last summer the tree fell or it blew down. I don’t know where they are nesting this year.

I did see the two Ospreys’s flying around tonight. I was coming back downstream and I thought I was hearing things. I was hearing a loon call from a distance so I paddled more toward the middle of the river where the sound was coming from. Sure enough there it was and it looked liked two more along the far shore. I have never seen a loon in this area on the Mississippi and I don’t ever recall hearing one in this area, either.

Oh, of course the river is full of different ducks, and other birds and those Canadian Geese.

These were taken of the eagle and the nest last year on 05-12-07.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Paddling the Rum River & more Biking!!

This is what happens when I took the picture and I'm sticking with that answer.

I worked until 0200 hours this morning and got to bed around 0300 hrs. Woke up around 0900 hrs and took my time with breakfast and coffee.

I put the C1 back on the suburban now that I think spring is just around the corner. I decided to paddle the Rum River out of Anoka next to the Fairgrounds. The Rum River just opened up in the last couple weeks.

I got there around 1130 hrs or so and there were some other racers preparing to paddle. I spoke to Rick Lorenzen and Ed Arenz and said hi to Steve and Bonnie Peterson before taking my canoe down to the water. The water level was a decent level with a mild current.

Today, there were four C2 and two C1 on the river. Some of them were on the river earlier and returned and John and Kathy Sullivan were still out paddling.

There was Steve and Bonnie Peterson, Emily Peterson and Andy ?, Steve Yurista and George Strickland (?), Ed Arenz and Julie in the C-2’s. Ryan Peterson and I were each in our own C-1’s.

Steve Peterson is the son of the late, great “Buzzy” Petersen. “Buzzy” Peterson won the AuSable Marathon four times in 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1971. Steve Peterson raced with his father, “Buzzy”, in the AuSable Marathon in 1967 and they took 2nd place, in 1968 they took 3rd place, and in 1971 they took first place with a time of 15:36.40. “Buzzy” also race the La Classique in Quebec winning that race in 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964 and 1965. “Buzzy” was a dominant figure in marathon canoe racing in his day.

Bonnie is Steve’s wife and two of their children are Emily and Ryan. Emily and Steve raced the AuSable Marathon last year and came in 22nd place with a time of 16 hours, 17 minutes and 41 seconds. Both Steve and Emily told me today that they were feeling pretty good up until the last hour and a half of the race.

John and Kathy Sullivan came past us while we were paddling up stream.

We all paddled up stream to the island/sand bar where we took a 10 minute break to grab a bite to eat, drink and socialize. No one was going up stream any further so I paddle back downstream to the landing with them. Jason Larsen and I believe I heard the name, Mike, were just starting out for the day as we got close to the landing. Total paddling time was 2:05 for me. I don’t include any break time as paddling time.

The skies were sunny, but there was a cool northerly wind that was cool on the hands while going upstream for those of us who didn’t wear gloves. The temperature at the start was 41 degrees not including the wind chill. Over all it was a nice day to be on the water.

This was the first time this year that I paddled the Rum River. During the week I go on the Mississippi River which is closer to my home and I’m not in traffic very long compared to trying to get across the Champlin/Anoka Bridge in rush hour traffic. Those of you who know the area know what I’m talking about.

I went home and got dressed to go biking. I got out my road bike and went for a 2:30 ride. It felt good to be back on the road bike, again. It still was in the lower to mid 40’s but I was dressed for it. The blue skies made up for the coolness in the air.

I had a very good day. I’ll probably sleep pretty good tonight.
The pictures aren't in the order or place I would like them, but I'll have to figure it out another day.