Monday, June 16, 2008

Week of 06-09-08 to 06-16-08 (and Chippewa Triathlon)

Chuck Ryan (Chippewa triathlon)-Photo:Natasha Laumei

I haven’t had time to post anything for the past week. I’ve been busy with logistics for this past week-end for the Chippewa Triathon and the Red bridge Canoe race. As well as preparing for this past week-end I’ve been busy doing some planning and ordering equipment for the upcoming AuSable Marathon Canoe race and the two week wilderness canoe trip to Wabakimi in August. I had to order some Canadian topo maps, waterproof pack liner, NRS storm boots, and some other gear for the upcoming Wabakimi trip. I ordered some Hammer Nutrition products for the upcoming AuSable Canoe Marathon.

Monday, 06-09-08

Ed and I got out for a 3 hours paddle on the Rum River. I took my GPS and we went 16.5 miles. When we’ve been going out on Monday we just do an easy, steady pace to recover from the hard paddling done on the week-end.

Tuesday, 06-10-08

Another easy day paddling. I went on the Mississippi River in my C-1 for two hours and five minutes. Afterwards, I went for a thirty minute run. I’m starting to feel better during my runs. What I mean is that my stride feels more fluid instead of feeling sluggish, but again that’s my perception. When I was done running I did some ab and back exercises followed-up with stretches.

Wednesday, 06-11-08

No paddling since I figured I would be paddling hard tomorrow at Hoigaard’s. I will be paddling with Devin Arenz, so some of you know what I mean about paddling hard. I’ve only paddled with Devin one time back in 2003 at Al Rudquist’s, Al’s Round Robin. Those of you who are familiar with Al’s race, then knows you paddle with a different partner for approximately 10 minutes. It’s a total sprint.

When I confirmed with Devin last Sunday he said we could use his canoe. Devin likes his Gilles canoe and I’ve never paddled in one. Some added pressure!

Thursday, 06-11-08

The weather cooperated for the Hoigaard’s Canoe Race. There were really no waves for this evening’s race. That would be one less thing I would have to concentrate on while paddling in the Gilles.

Devin and I got on the water for about 10 minutes prior to the start of the race. I had to move the stern seat as far back as it could go and my butt was touching the gunwales on both sides. This made my feet come closer together on the adjustable foot brace making me feel like I was attempting to balance on a balance beam.. I like to have my feet further apart giving me more of a three point center of gravity.

The Gilles is turned by mostly leaning the canoe. The feel is completely different than my V1 Pro.

Last week Hoigaard’s was cancelled due to bad weather, but two weeks ago I was caught a little off guard at the signal for the start of the race.

This week we were all lined up ready to go when I heard what sounded like a muffled signal to start the race. I yelled; go, to Devin as everyone else took off. Devin and I got a quick start in the twitchy canoe, only to be called back along with everyone else. False start! I know I was not the only one fooled.

I commented to Devin that I couldn’t keep the canoe flat at the start and he said it was common to be off a few degrees! Well, I was going to get another start with the canoe shortly after we all lined back up.

The race was started and we were off to another good start. There would be one canoe that we would have to concern ourselves with and that was Todd Ellison and Kate Ellis. We did pulled some other canoes up to the channel that goes to Lake of the Isles, but after that it was Devin and I and Todd and Kate.

We were approaching the second buoy. I noticed at the first buoy the Gilles handled completely different than the V1. The stern of the V1 slides around the buoy whereas the Gilles when leaned just sits there like a keel. The Gilles needs to be leaned to get it to turn otherwise it rights itself and then it doesn’t want to turn. My problem when I initially went into the lean it feels like the canoe is going to keep going over, so I brought it back to center. Devin is a good, fast, powerful paddler and the last thing I wanted to do is cause the canoe to go over. I couldn’t get myself to maintain the lean. I wish I could have had some practice time doing the leans around the buoy and not trying to experiment during the race.

Due to my inexperience in the buoy turns with the Gilles, Todd and Kate, would pull ahead of us. Devin and I would work hard to catch back up before the next buoy. Then the same thing would happen around the buoy and again Devin I would work hard to catch back up.

Coming back on Calhoun Lake Devin and I were in the lead while Kate and Todd were riding our stern wake. We were a few minutes from the end when we started paddling hard. Todd and Kate went wide to our left but they could never catch up to us.

Devin and I crossed the line first with a time of 1:04:04 and Todd and Kate had a time of 1:04:10.

Men’s Racing:

1 Chuck Ryan / Devin Arenz 1:04:04
2 Ed Arenz / Brett Arenz 1:05:42
3 Rick Lorenzen / Fred Rayman 1:07:08

Mixed Racing:

1 Kate Ellis / Todd Ellison 1:04:10
2 Bonnie Peterson / Steve Peterson 1:04:51
3 Joe Manns / ??????? 1:07:59

Woman’s Racing;

1 Anna Peterson / Emily Peterson 1:08:23
2 Io Harberts / Natasha Canfield 1:14:52

The above times I wrote down when they were announced at the award ceremony.

I requested from the Hoigaard employees who were running tonight’s race if they would send me the results so that I would post them on my blog. I requested the results from them the first week also but I never received them. Tonight they didn’t print any hard copies of the first weeks race results to give out, either.

My two other LeVas paddles arrived today. I still have to cut them down to size and put on the handles. I’ll do that later next week.

Friday, 06-13-08

This is the day before the Chippewa Triathlon at Cass Lake. I took a vacation day today so I could pack and get ready. I also planned to stop in Grand Rapids to see my father and step-mother. I haven’t seen them since they arrived back for the summer from Florida.

I left the cities around noon and got to Pokegama Lake about 3 pm. I stopped in for about 45 minutes to say hi before heading over to Cass Lake. I arrived at the race headquarters, Cass Lake Elementary School, one and a half hours later. I saw a few people I knew but it was only 5:15 pm. I checked in and was given our (Bill Briggs and mine) race packet. I was also told by the volunteer about the new start location for the canoe leg.

I read the posters on the wall noting some other changes last from the previous years. The canoe portion wasn’t going to start on Cass Lake because the water temperature was still only 52 degrees. I was told there are about seven or eight teams every year who go over into the water when paddling this section of Cass Lake to go around a buoy before heading south through the channel heading into Pike Bay.

The race would start in Pike Bay. The second change I noticed was that there would be an additional short portage over the second culvert. Normally this isn’t blocked. Later, I spoke to a team who went through it and they had to push debris away at the end of the culvert. His partner also dropped his paddle and he luckily was able to grab it without too much difficulty.

The third thing I noticed was the bike portion was extended to 30 miles. I believe in the past it had been around 24 to 25 miles.

I spoke to Bill Briggs from Winnipeg earlier in the week and he said he expected to in Cass Lake around 6 pm.

Since I last did this race in 2002, I thought I would drive to the new start area to see what the parking was going to be like and then I drove to the area where the canoe leg would end / start of the bike about 8 miles south of Cass Lake.

After checking out the parking area for the start I thought it would be better just to park at the rest area where the start is normally and then paddle 5 to 10 minutes to the start.

Once I got done doing that I drove back to the school. I asked if anyone had seen Bill Briggs and no one had seen him. I spoke to some more people. I also spoke to Tony McKeown about Sunday’s canoe race in Park Rapids, the Red bridge Run.

Well, I decided to head over to John and Wanda Arenz’s residence about 10 minutes away. Bill had made prior arrangements to stay there and camp in their yard. There were several other racers who would be spending the week-end there. I planned to sleep in my Suburban. John and Wanda have a farmstead with plenty of room for several people.

Bill Briggs had been at John and Wanda’s for about an hour prior to my arrival. Fred Rayman was there. There were going to be several more people arriving later in the evening.

The following people were at John and Wanda’s. Of course, John and Wanda, their two sons, Brett and Devin Arenz, Bill Briggs, Fred Rayman, Todd Johnson, Anna Peterson, Emily Peterson, Andy Gilbertson, me and Ed Arenz arrived Saturday evening.

It was time for bed after visiting and almost every one was planning on getting up around 5 am. The race starts at 7 am. Bill and I planned to leave the house by 5:30 am to drive to the start of the bike leg / end of the canoe to drop off his van and my bike.

I was a wake by 4:44 because that was when my alarm was set on my watch. I went in the house and heated up some water for my oatmeal that I had packed in the Suburban.

There was some rain during the evening and a few drops earlier in the morning. It was cloudy but it didn’t look threatening and it looked like it was trying to clear up. John Arenz had checked the weather on the computer in the morning and the forecast looked pretty good. Hopefully that would hold true.

We dropped off Bill’s van and my bike and headed for the rest area to park and get ready for the start of the canoe portion. Bill was still undecided if he was going to do the running portion. He hasn’t been doing much running and there was a portage in tomorrow’s race in Park Rapids and there was about 2 miles of portaging today. The canoe was prepared and off we went. We put in on Cass Lake and paddled through the channel to Pike’s Bay. We were at the start 10 to 15 minutes prior to the start. The announcer was telling everyone to get their canoes in the water. The race was going to start on time even though it was obvious that there were going to be some people not at the starting line at 7 am. The announcer was making the comment that there were several people parked at the rest area in anticipation of starting on Cass Lake, either they didn’t read the change that was posted at the race headquarters or they were just late.

I’ve been to some races where the race won’t start until the slowest person arrives even though everyone has to wait for them and there are other races that start on time with or without all the people. I’m always early so it’s not a problem, but I plan ahead.. I find if the race starts on time and someone isn’t at the starting line they probably won’t be late the next year.

Several of the racing canoes gathered to the far left of the starting line between the two buoys. There was one recreational canoe where both paddlers were holding their bent shaft paddles backwards. They were surprised when I told them both that they were holding their paddles backwards. They were close to our canoe and could possibly be a concern at the start depending on how close they got to us before the start, but the biggest threat/ concern was another recreational canoe that was lined up at a 45 degree angle toward the racing canoes slightly to the front of us. I don’t know if that was their plan or they were just clueless on how to line up for the start. The way they were positioned they would have taken out several racing canoes at the start. I decided to tell them that they needed to line up properly like everyone else. Everyone was told to raise their paddles to signal they were ready to race. Shortly afterwards the race was on. Devin and Brett pulled out in front followed by Joe Manns and Emily Peterson, then Marsh Jones in a kayak, then Bill and I.

Bill and I rode Joe and Emily for a short while before falling off and we never got back on their wake. Somewhere we passed Marsh, but I found out later he pulled out. I don’t know why! Bill and I were the 3rd ones to begin the first portage behind the Arenz’s and Joe and Emily to get to South Pike Bay. This was a short portage. Then it was into a small stream before the second portage.

Well, I didn’t realized how fast Bill Briggs was at running. I hadn’t done a portage with a canoe in about 5 years and I’ve only been running maybe 7 times in the last three weeks. This is also the number of times in the last four years.

I was doing everything I could do to keep up with Bill, but in the process I couldn’t keep the canoe level. I definitely wasn’t prepared for the length of this portage and it was tougher than I remembered it to be. I was hoping Bill couldn’t hear my heavy breathing. There just wasn’t enough oxygen in the air.

Bill and I talked about this later and he thought I was pushing him. I told him, no, that he was pulling me.

Kjell and his partner were gaining on us on Twin Lake. We both ended up to the portage to Little Twin Lake together. They pushed passed us but we were able to ride their side wake on Little Twin Lake. I don’t really remember the portage between Little Twin Lake and Lake Thirteen. The only thing I do remember was that it was nice to see the water again.

There was one more portage before the long portage from Little Moss to Portage Lake. The trail was actually better on this long portage than the second longest one so it wasn’t nearly as bad. Bill also slowed his paced somewhat. I could hear Al Rudquist’s voice on the trail behind us.

Bill and I made to the water and got in the canoe with no problem. We pushed off and I thought we could squeeze through a couple hammocks, but it appears Bill is going to get out of the canoe. Somehow I fell out of the canoe into about chest deep water than was mostly muck/loon shit. The bad thing was I swallowed some of it. I wasn’t sure what Bill was up to since I had my own problems. The canoe stayed upright. Bill had one leg in the canoe and the other on a hammock when I surfaced. I had to crawl up on a hammock to get back in the canoe. I told Bill I was ready and he didn’t even realize I was out of the canoe. Later, Bill told me what he was trying to do.

Al Rudquist and Dan Schaffer came to the end of the portage to put in their canoe. Al thanked us for waiting for them. Yeah, right…

We paddling together across Portage Lake together then Al and Dan made a move to get into the “snake pit” before us. This portion of the twisty stream goes back and forth and there is only room for one canoe anyways.

When we came out there looked like two or three channels to get to the bridge before Steamboat Lake. We passed all of them except for the last since we were following the canoe in front. Bill made the comment on how they knew to go to the furthest cut. There was only one way to get to the bridge by staying in the canoe. I found out later that Joe and Emily tried to get through the second one. Joe Manns was dragging the canoe across the spongy vegetation and Emily said it was the harder to get across than the other portages.

The waves were picking up on Steamboat Lake, but it was only a short distance to the end. Bill and I finished the canoe leg with a time of 2:04:47. This was the 5th fastest canoe time.

I pulled off my wet socks and shoes, then ran over to my Mountain Bike. I put on dry socks, cycling shoes, helmet and gloves and off I went. Since this portion had been extended to 30 miles I knew I would be biking anywhere from 2 ½ to 3 hours. There were a few bikers who passed me like I was standing still.

You really have to pay attention while biking because although for the most part the course is fairly well marked there are some sections that are not so obvious. There are a few people who get lost every year. This year there was one section that could have been marked better. There were a few people who I talked to who had the same concerns as I. I lost 3 to 4 minutes in this section even though I was going the right way but I did turn around and came across another biker to confirm I was going the right way. The only mark was some orange paint on the leaves and after a few bikers had gone through the leaves it was anyone’s guess. There were tracks the way I was going but I didn’t know if I was a two way section of the trail.

There was one biker who passed me in the woods shortly before the paved trail that led back to town. I eventually caught back up and passed him a few miles from the end. Although I wasn’t sure where I was at since this was a different route from the last time I did it. He grabbed my rear wheel as I passed him and pulled him along. I made the mistake of going straight at an underpass to a bridge near the finish. He yelled at me and he made the turn. He crossed the finish line a couple seconds before me.

I finished the bike leg in 2:26:51.

Bill Briggs decided to do the run after all. Bill told me he lost a few minutes after losing the trail for a bit. His time on the run was 0:48:33.

We ended up in 5th place in the Relay Division with a combined time of 5:20:15.

We had food that was provided by the race committee at the finish. Then it was back to John and Wanda’s to socialize and talk about all the things that happened during the race. Later in the evening we had brats, different salads, water melon, rhubarb-strawberry pie with ice cream. I haven’t eaten this much food in a long time.


Sunday, 06-15-08

The Red Bridge Run canoe race in Park Rapids was held. I will post a short narrative with the race results soon.

Monday, 06-16-08

My plan today was to do an easy paddle. I drove down to the Mississippi River and the strong winds were whipping across the river. It looked like it was going to take more effort to control the C-1 than I wanted to expend today.

Instead, I went to the health club and did one hour on the Life Fitness cross trainer. Then I did some leg extensions and leg curls followed up with abs, back exercises and stretches.

I sent our application in for the AuSable Canoe Marathon last week. I saw on their website today that our names were posted and our sprint time is on Friday, 07-25-08, at 2:25 pm.

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