And it Starts again.

.. The training for the next event that is.

Well, it actually started a little while ago, but with now just 11 weeks to go, it is time to put together a program and stick to it as much as possible so that I can achieve the 13h 15m time for the HCC.

Last weekend was a reminder to me that I should not have stopped paddling over winter – with a trip down to paddle the 12km in the Onka Canoe Club.  It was not too cold, but it was windy! with a nice 40+km/h wind and the flow of an incoming tide at around 3km/h to contend with.  The 12km took me 1H48 – which I was not really very happy with!

After that horrible effort, it was back out again to do some paddling – and I put in a 18.5Km paddle in Westlakes.  Once again it was pretty slow and I only managed a speed of 7.6km/h (2h 27).  It was quite windy, and when I checked, I was putting up with 30-40km/h Northerly wind – which put the wind in my face for about 60% of the time slowing me down.

So, from here on, I need to be getting out and paddling as much as possible – and resuming my Thursday evenings.  I will be supplementing my paddling with a couple of cardio Sessions each week as well.  At the moment, I am doing a mixed session of Treadmill, Rowing Machine and Bike, with a typical session being:

  • Warm-up on the Treadmill  (15 minutes)
  • 3600M on the Rowing machine (21 minutes)
  • 6km on the bike (15 minutes)
  • 2200M on the rowing machine (13 minutes)
  • 4km in the bike (10 minutes)
  • A cool-down on the treadmill to finish (15 minutes)

During the Cardio Session I push pretty hard and keep my HR nice and high for the whole 1.5hrs.  Over the next few weeks, I will probably add an extra set of Rowing/Bike to the mix and try and get the time up to over 2 hours. Yep, when you can’t get to the water, you just have to have a plan for the alternatives.

Well,  the best laid plans can come un-stuck and this afternoon they did for me – at least for a little bit.  I took a tumble and caused a bit of damage to one of my knees – but hopefully it will only be a few days before I am back on my feet and can get back into it!


with only 4 days to go…

.. and all the training out of the way, there is still a lit left to do – the packing,checking and re-packing of everything to be able to have a decent go at a 3-day 208km Marathon!

Well, I have done around 15km or so each Thursday night, at least 30km each weekend and even though I wish I had another 2 -3 months to get ready, I don’t.  After almost every Sunday after paddling 30+km, I kept thinking that no way am I ready, maybe I should only be doing the 100km race instead, then only to come out on Thursday and have a ripper of a session and wondering what I was thinking about only doing 100k’s!

With such a short prep, I am pretty pleased that I did in fact manage to do at least 30km a week in the start, and managed to finish up on doing close to 50km a week.

Final steps are to look at my Race Plan  for the weekend, just a simple plan of where I should be at what times to stay ahead of the Record I have my eyes on breaking, double checking that I have the fuel to make it to the end.

Well, lets just see how much I break the 28:31:52 current record by!  This record calculates out to a mere 7.3km/h average, and all my training is pointing towards around 8km/h – and I will plan for the worst of being a bit slower, just in case of headwinds and of course the longer distance, so I hope to bring this down to about 26:45:00.

Lets break it down a touch

Day 1  76km / 7.8km/h = 9:45:00
Day 2  69km / 7.8km/h = 8:52:00
Day 3  63km / 7.8km/h = 8:08:00

It would be great to do it faster, but unless we get a good strong tail-wind it is unlikely

Lets just see what happens and how it all pans out over the weekend.

West Lakes Classic…

Sunday Morning (19/05) I headed down to Westlakes to do Participate in the WLCC Classic – which is a “marathon” event with a choice of 3 distances – 6, 12 or 18km  –  1,2 or 3 laps around a “Y” shaped course.

I opted to do the 12km course and was fairly happy with my 8.3km/h 1:26 (approx by my own timing) time for the 12km.  Conditions were reasonable, with cool temperatures and wind around 20km/h from the N/E. this wind direction put you into the wind for a bit over 1/2 the course.  The Classic is more about the social Pancake breakfast after the event than the actual event 🙂  It is another good prep Event for the RPM, and a time to catch up with some other Marathon Paddlers.  As usual, the Kids in their K1’s blasted past me, but then again, I didn’t see any of them out doing another 20+km after the Race either.

Onto the Training

Unlike other Paddlers, I treated the Classic as my warm-up for the day, and about an hour later backed it up with a decent hit-out and went out and did a 22km paddle – a couple of laps around West Lakes.    * I just realized that in all my posts I have never posted GPS plots of either the “Y” course or the “Laps” of west Lakes (I’ll fix that later)

Just like the Morning, the conditions were pretty much the same – with the Wind around the 20km/h (gusting up to 30km/h) from the North, so my course put me into the wind more than half of the time.  I knocked off the 22+ km in 2:48 at 7.9km/h – a tiny bit slow, but not bad considering that it brought me up to 34km for the day.

What I also did, was to do something that I have not done for a long time and that was to do the whole 22km without the Rudder.  this was the first time that I have done any sort of real distance in this boat without it and I was pleasantly surprised given the conditions.  Now, There are not any real “hard” or tight turns that I need to do and I found that over the whole distance  that i did not need to do even a single corrective stroke to stay on course! This really was a surprise to me – as I had (wrongly) assumed that the boat would not track as good as it does.

With the Wind direction (and strength) I had to contend with it really was just a matter of moving 1 leg or the other just a bit to trim the boat, a slight lean at time when turning and that was it.  Over each 11km the wind was never directly in front or behind for very long, and in fact, the different angles were right thru the spectrum.  From a 30 deg (each side tail-wind, to 30 deg each side head wind and then long slow turns from a head wind to a side wind then tail wind, there was never really much effort required to turn and stay on track.

At least now, I know that in the event of a rudder failure that it will not affect my greatly.  I guess i sort of had a gut feel that it would not be too difficult as most of the time ,rudder input is very minor – and really as someone described to me, not a means of steering but of directional trim.  Having the rudder up was probably less drag as well, so I will be doing more paddling without the rudder while on protected waters.

And after you think all is lost…

.. You go out and have a really good, hard session! After the Weekend slow training session I did not really hold much hope – it seriously gave me the thought of pulling back and only doing the 100.  But Tonight’s training session (Friday 17/05) has me back on track with a nice hard 12km paddle in excellent conditions (10-15km/h headwind for most of the first lap, then nothing) at an avg speed of 8.5km/h, which is well over my target speed.

What has been a great advantage on my week-night paddles is having someone to paddle with who is at a similar pace to me – we push each other just that bit. A good hard paddle today, and the West Lakes Classic on Sunday will leave only a few more sessions before the RPM….

The Final Prep Begins

The Next week, is a critical week in my preparation – and it is not Training.  Preparing for an event like the RPM means being organized, and the challenge this week is to plan my Support during the Event.  Experience over the last couple of years has shown me that having everything organized down to the last thing can make the difference between a 2 minute stop and a 10 minute stop!

Yep, I will be making my lists and checking them twice.  Now the lists – I go about everything in a methodical order and put together what I need and when I need it – from Clothing for each day, food, water – everything!  Now It is not just exactly what I need, but there is also a built-in contingency for variables beyond my control – such as the weather.  I already know it is going to be cold (duh – it’s the middle of winter), but it might be wet as well.

All of these daily lists go into my Race Plan – which contains everything from where I need to be at what times, what I need to have prepared the day before, my check-point “bundles”.  Sometimes, I think this step is harder than paddling, but without it, there is certainly no way that I could even contemplate finishing the Event.


.. .you just wonder WTF you have decided to do!

After having a great weekend out last Weekend at the B2B, then a good 12km @ 8.1km/h paddle on Thursday night in near perfect conditions, to come up against the horror of today!  Well, it was everything that you don’t want when you are out training – with overcast and a few light showers along with 40+km/h winds, it made for some tough conditions.

Yep, the wind direction was the worst possible direction, then it changed at the wrong time to really put the slipper in!  Today, with only a few short weeks left to go to the RPM (well 3 weeks, 6 days!), I had to up the distance and put in a 30km paddle – and all I could manage was 7.6km/h (3h57m).  With The distance each day between 63 and 76km each day, I need to be out and racking up 30+ km in training for the next 3 weekends!

I had a really nice first 5km, with about 3 of those with the wind behind me and my avg speed was right up there, but then, I turned back into the wind which picked up and that was literally the last of the tail-wind I had all day (well, not quite, I did have about another 2km of tail-wind towards the end of the paddle).

Yes, I know, it is all good – as I have no way of knowing how much head-wind I will cop in the ‘200 or how much rain etc etc etc, and of course, everyone will be in the same situation.


Well, on to other more interesting matters – the Entries have already opened for the HCC and I was one of the first entrants.  Please Get behind me and sponsor me to help in my $1000 fund-raising goal this year.