Thursday, October 30, 2008

What's On Tap for the Weekend - Tohickon!

It's become an annual trip for Rick and I -- the Tohickon Creek Dam Release every November to watch the crazy kayakers jump over rocks (yes, they do that!), spin, surf and flip over in rapids. They do it in the Spring too, but the November trip has been on our calendars for 3 years now. It's in Ralph Stover State Park, near the Delaware River just below Allentown, PA. Here's a press release on the event - its quite the happening East Coast ordeal in the whitewater world each fall. The past couple years we went to watch, take pictures, and video our friends that have been doing for a while. Rick nor I ever felt we had the skills to do this Class 3 creek -- until this year. Rick's doing it! I'm SO proud of him and know he'll be just fine. He's been studying that video he shot last year and feels like he knows the river and what to expect. He's been rolling, rolling, and rolling and never missing all summer. That's the trick to any whitewater river -- if you get in bigger water, you better your chances of flipping and you need that roll to "save" yourself. Or in my case, you just pop out the boat and "swim" and end up losing your paddle and floating down a rapid, bumping your knees, arms, and whatever else along the way on rocks and ending up with black and blue marks all over your bod. NOT cool - and certainly not the skill for a trip like this (thus, why I'm not going!). But Rick's ready. He's hooked up his buds for the weekend - Tony Labato, probably Tim Garland, and group from the Harrisburg Canoe Club (Lee Thonus et al) and Donna Mummert is going in a duckie (an inflatable kayak). And me? Well I'll be enjoying watching them all from the comfort of my bicycle seat on the dry, WARM shore line. There's bunches of press releases on it -- here's DCNRs also. And here's Rick's Pix from past years.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Biggest Loser - for Kids

And its at the local Elizabethville YMCA! Well not really, but they could start filming there if they wanted to get a good show going! Hubby and I are back into the Tuesday/Thursday routine of stopping at the YMCA on our way home from work. We arrive around 4:45 and start our workouts shortly thereafter. Somewhere around 5:00, the gym fills up with a group of about 10 or 12 nine to twelve-year old kids. They laugh, giggle, scream, kick, holler, jump, push, fight and generally act like kids -- taking over the equipment for a good portion of the time Rick and I are trying to workout. I keep waiting for one of them to fall flat on their faces on the treadmill as they speed it up more and more and more to see how fast they can make it go. Keep in mind, the Elizabethville YMCA workout room is about the size of a large bathroom - its close quarters (construction is underway to triple the size of the workout area). Even noise-blocking headphones don't drown out this mayhem. At first, we were both fairly irritated, but now that we've gotten used to the commotion and know it ain't going away, we're ok with it. The personal trainer is in charge of these kids and he's really doing a good job getting them into a routine of physical fitness. He takes them into the gym, then looks to see if there's room in the workout room and if there is, sends them in there for workouts on the weight machines or cardio equipment. You see, these kids are ALL alot like the folks on Biggest Loser. Everyone of them is overweight and not just a little overweight. They are visibly chunky and pudgy. And they are just kids! Its sad to see, but at the same time good to see the trainer working with them. Here's an interesting article on overweight kids in America. Did you know 15% of children are overweight? Rick's grandson, Jenson, is a good example. He's 13, and I can't call him obese, but he's noticeably pudgy and guess what his favorite food is? Yup -- McDonalds. I'm sure he's hot for the Burger King that just went in too. But have no fear for Jenson - his mother is a nurse and knows about nutrition, so she's working with him. It could just be hereditary also -- Rick was a pudgy kid too. But when the kids get that taste for processed burgers and fries (and realize its SO cheap!), its hard to break them of that habit. Interesting topic.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our WW Kayaking Playground Close to Home

This is a picture of the Dauphin Narrows. Its located in Dauphin County, about 5 miles north of the state capital of Harrisburg. The Susquehanna River narrows between two mountains, creating a faster than its normal lazy flow among rocky outcroppings; thus, the ultimate training ground for perfecting skills for whitewater kayaking. My hubby and I spend a bunch of time here in the summer - at least once a week during daylight hours (its already ended for the season), and weekends too when there's no flow anywhere else due to low rainfall creating low water levels. Right now, Rick is keeping is skills sharp that he's worked on all summer by paddling in the narrows for his final (maybe) river run of the year -- the Tohickon Dam Release on Nov 1. Jill will be hiking and watching from the river bank for this one.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

49 today. Barf.

I feel like shit. I'm losing fitness. My muscle tone is pretty much gone. I'm totally in perimenopause and wake up soaked and then I'm bitchy all day. The lights are going out at night earlier and earlier (so even less exercising). I started WALKING for exercise at lunch. That's pathetic when I have a shower in this building (too lazy to drag stuff and change and I HATE being rushed and I PEE my pants running so I'd be all pissy on river front). Blah. Blah. Blah. Happy Birthday to Me.

I DO love my husband tho. He's keeping me focused. He so sweetly reminded me how GOOD I looked the fall/winter of 2005-2006. And THAT's because I was at the gym pumping iron 3 days a week for an hour at time. He knows what I need. What would i do without him? Thank you Ricky Brown.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Last Whitewater Paddle of the Season

Today was the last White water paddle of the season. It was on the Lehigh River at a higher-than-normal release level -- about 1240cfs. All summer, we paddled at about 750 cfs, so 1250 was considerably bigger. After 3 years of only one flip (because of someone running into me), today I swam twice (for non-paddlers, that means I didn't get a combat roll and had to "escape" from the boat by taking off the skirt and "swimming" to safety -- not something you really want to do in rapids). My detailed report is below. We joke about Dave Geesey -- a really good paddler who never seems to mess up; thus, the "Dave Geesey School of Paddling."

When I signed up for the Dave Geesey School of Paddling, it seemed like the right thing to do -- eloquent, smooth, controlled, and precise handling of the boat-- never needing the Rick Brown School of Learn-to-Roll from a Video and winter roll sessions. The curriculum said all these paddling moves would come naturally with time -- and they sorta did for 3 summers; except for the one time an unnamed paddler kinda rammed me in the side of my boat pushing me up on a rock in the Nescopeck and dumped me in the water (and the other time in a foot of water in the Dauphin Narrows never really going "under" - does that count?). I can't say the paddler interferce was technically a "swim" since it wasn't my fault. 1240 cfs in the Lehigh River is just a little bit bigger than the 750 cfs I've grown accustomed to all summer. Those lessons taught in the DGSP were practiced repeatedly all summer, and the summer before, and the summer before that. But there were two lessons I either wasn't paying attention, was stoned, or skipped. They were the lessons on what to do when you hit rock, and what to do when you go over a bigger-than-normal drop with a bigger-than-normal wave at the bottom of it. I've seen the DGSP lesson on rocks -- boof, slap, slide, and grab it with your hand when all else fails. And I've seen the drop, kick, and punt moves off ledges too. So I officially flunked those two lessons and it showed today. The first was at triple drop. Tony went over the ledge so nicely -- just like HE went to the DGSP. "I can do that -- I did it two weeks ago", I thought. Wrong. 1240 cfs caught me off guard and over I went. Did I even think about that Rick Brown School of Learn to Roll? No. I thought of where is that handle and get me out of here fast. The next lesson I didn't learn was in No Way. Drat...I'm at that same spot as I've been at three times this summer and there's NO WAY to go! Today my boat decided to sit sideways on a rock with the slant of the rock putting the upstream edge IN the water. Imagine the thoughts of the DGSP running through my head as I hung there for about 20 seconds figuring out what the heck to do. Plunk. Upside down again. Double Drat. Now I get to float down the remainder of this rapid. Thank God for the Magic Boat guiding me - I probably would have tried to stand up like a rafter. Oh, and thank God for the absent minded forget-my-PFD, "Jeff", who so kindly picked up my paddle that some absent-minded paddler left fall out of her hand. I'm now going to write the DGSP and ask for my money back. And the Rick Brown School of Learn-to-Roll from a Video? Sometime in January - Cumberland Valley School District.

If the Season Would Have Went as Planned....

If everything would have went as planned when I started training for Xterras this season, you'd be reading about my trip to Lake Tahoe. Last weekend was the National Xterra Competition in Lake Tahoe. In 2005, I was pulled from the water after not being able to finish the swim portion in turbulent Tahoe waters. I thought I'd try to go back this year until that fateful day at the Richmond Xterra Championship. Drat. Four of my racing Xterra friends qualified this year -- Christina Bohensky, Sheena Perry, Sue Anne Clarke, and Sarah Lichtenwalner -- but none went. Maybe next year girls so I can read about you all? One other Xterra female racer from the Philadelphia area, Val Hardin, was on the start list, but I didn't see her name in the results. So I couldn't even read about her (she usually wins -- incredible athlete). The race this year was all about Cancer-stricken Xterra Pro Jamie Whitmore and it seems everyone was racing for her. Read all about it on her blog - its moving.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What's a Team?

Interesting question raised by Sheena the ponderer - stop being so intellectual! My last post proudly proclaimed Mr. Brown is ok with me racing on a "team." And that begs the question, what is Mr. Brown's definition of a Team? To be more specific, Mr. Brown's term of "team" is like a team of beach volleyball players -- always side-by-side and moving in tandem to win the match. One looks out for the other and they watch each other's moves all the time. No, a relay team won't qualify -- its too individual. AND, the many mountain bike teams I've been on over the years also do not qualify -- again too individual. So forget the 24 hour or 12 hour mountain bike venues. What he liked about the "team" concept as in adventure racing (team mates must always stay within a certain distance of each other) is someone is there to catch me when I fall 'cause we all know how I get a little tipsy now and then. Does that answer your question Sheena?!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Next Season Already?

Yup....its on my mind already. Maybe its because I didn't get enuf racing in this year... maybe its because I'm having severe racing withdrawal... maybe its because I'm already getting way too fat and need to think about doing something about it... or maybe its because I have THE most WONDERFUL husband in the world who told me he's ok with the idea of me RACING ON TEAMS next year! Only the easy stuff though, and only if I don't go and get training crazy on him (i.e., no plans, no coaches, no heart rate monitors, no schedules to follow and mostly no getting nutty when I can't get out and run or ride) and only if its with a team. The Savage and Cap City are already on the list. Now lets see.... how do we juggle managing an organic backyard that's gonna be quadruple its size next year AND fit in some training.. oops... I'm not supposed to be getting crazy about it. ha!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Summer on the Lehigh River

Every other weekend, since about mid-July, my hubby, me, and sometimes some of our paddling friends - Wayne Davis, Barb Sears, Jenn and Judd Kulas, Donna Mummert, Sam Mummert, Tim Garland, Tony Labato, Dave Geisey,and some of THEIR friends would make the trek to White Haven and paddle the 7 mile stretch of the Lehigh River from White Haven to Rockport. It was always a release weekend of about 750cfs. 750 actually is mild... the river is barely 1 ft at some spots, but there are some holes too. The 750 cfs would make it roughly whitewater class 2-3, leaning more towards the 2 at most spots. This was RICK'S sport of choice, and after my bike crash and being laid up for a month, I told him HE can call the shots for the rest of the summer and this is what he chose. But I enjoyed it too. We always take a "lunch" break (usually a CLIF bar), and we usually stop to surf some good waves. Well, Rick and friends would surf, I watched. It would take about 3-4 hours to do that stretch, and it was a decent workout for a Saturday afternoon. It doesn't help the bike legs, but who cares at this point! I paddle a Wavesport Diesel river running boat, and Rick paddles a Wavesport EZG60 - more of a playboat that maneuvers well around rocks.