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.

Provisional Results are in

Well this weekend saw the Start of the Marathon Races for the year with the Back2Back at Murray Bridge.

Before I jump in, When I got home, one of the things I did was to check and see if the HCC entries had opened, and yes, Entries did in fact open over the weekend.  I wasted no time in submitting my Entry and was the first paddler to do so!  All support and sponsorship greatly appreciated  – HCC 2013 Profile

A quick summary –

  • Day 1 – 2:30:15 for 20.4km @ 8.1km/h
  • Day 2 – 2:25:03 for 20.1km @ 8.3km/h

The Conditions were pretty good with the Temperature between 10 and 20 both days.  Saturday afternoon saw just a little bit of wind from the South, and Sunday saw a good strong 25km/h+ North Easterly that was pretty harsh for part of the course.


2013 Back2Back Day 1 Map


Above, Saturday course is (starting at the bottom) Start from the Swanport Sailing Club up to the Town Bridge, Back to the Southport Bridge, then back up to the Town bridge and finally back to the Sailing Club to finish.


2013 Back2Back Day 1 GPS Plot


I was pretty happy with a consistent speed for most of the day, the “dip” was when I stopped to see if a Capsized paddler required assistance, but with 3 other Paddlers already stopped, I could not really offer any more help than they already had.

On to day 2….


2013 Back2Back Day 2 Map


Day 2 on Sunday Morning we again started at the Swanport Sailing Club but this time went upstream and turned around a Buoy near Avoca Dell, then back.


2013 Back2Back Day 2 GPS Plot


That Wind that I mentioned earlier, well my speed plot really shows what it was like! Yes, we had a reasonable head-wind for about 3.5km before turning around the buoy.  With an out and back, of course, this means a tail wind as soon as you do turn around!

If I look back at my post from earlier in the year my target was to be under 2:30:00 each day.  Well, 15 seconds out for day 1 is so close that I count this as a success, considering that I did stop to check on a capsized paddler and not ask for a reduction in time.

I just did look back and pull up my 2012 Results and note that I was about 10 minutes faster on day 1 and 13 Minutes faster on Day 2.  All things considered, a good weekend.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to try out a few new things as preparation for the RPM (as this is why the event was originally started).

I tried out some changes to clothing and seating.  Clothing, last year I suffered from Cramps in my legs from the cold – so I got some Long Neoprene pants to try.  Day 1, I wore just the neoprene and suffered for it – yep, got leg cramps during the night!  This was the first time in over 2 years that I had paddled without compression pants.  Day 2, added the compression pants as the bottom Layer – I will see how that works out and get it right before the RPM.  The Neoprene’s worked very well in so far as when getting into the boat, only my shoes got wet as the Neoprene kept my legs dry right from the start.

The Next thing was to grab a couple of sheepskins (Thanks to the generous donation of off-cuts saved from the bin from Pip) and add 1 to the seat.  As my seating has been very good to me, I didn’t really expect much from it – but I was surprised.  Yes, it was a very worthwhile addition and I will use one from now on!

Now, with only 4 more weeks of training until the RPM, it is a case of getting as much boat time as possible to sort out the last few little issues..