All about kayaking from the San Francisco Bay Area

Archive for March, 2010


I’m in the market for a vhf marine radio.  I’ve read some of the gear reviews from blogs and it appears the two major brands seem to be ICOM and Standard Horizons.  I’d like it to be a transceiver and at least IPX-7 rated.  I don’t know if I need it to float as it’s tethered to my PFD.  I appreciate your feedback…….

eat well, sleep well……….paddle fast



Today was all about getting 6 miles under my belt utilizing my new Forerunner.  It worked great!  I haven’t really looked at the data or analyzed it, but it was really great to see my exact distance and monitor my speed.  I worked on my forward stroke with the new wing paddle and interestingly, when I felt “the groove” my speed was up. Funny how that works. (:

It was a really calm and sunny day.  I started out about an hour before high tide this AM.  There was the slightest breeze the last mile or two.  I stayed in the sloughs today.  There were lots of birds……..

I went out the main channel and turned south into Westpoint Slough just before entering the bay.  I paddled 3 miles which took me past some very modern business buildings.  What a vista if you worked there.  I turned around at three miles and headed back.  The tide was on ebb as I headed back into the marina.  I saw five or six other kayaks, a few paddleboards and dragon boats.  The young sailors were out too. I have a 3-day weekend, so I’ll be going out again Monday.

eat well, sleep well…….paddle fast


The Colorado 100 will be my first ultra marathon kayak race.  I was a swimmer in college and I’ve played many sports throughout my life; some team and some individual.  My last endurance race was 113 miles on a road bike.  I trained 3 months specifically for that event.  I put in lots of miles and also some intervals.

I have less experience as a kayaker than a cyclist, and I will be following a training program posted by the event organizers. It is said to provide you with a strong finish, and that you could do less and still finish the race.  I previously mentioned my ultimate goal is to finish (though I do have a finish time in mind). You can find the training page at the race site.  Basically, beginning Labor Day weekend I will start a program that puts me on the water 4 days a week.  I will do a 6 mile time trial each month as one indicator of my improvement (I hope).  Saturdays will be long. slow distance (the first week is 12 miles and builds to 50 miles sometime in August). The other three days of the week are less mileage with a specific paddle pace each day; either slow, moderate, or fast.  What’s a fast, moderate, or slow pace you ask?  All determined by percent of your maximun heart rate.  Yes, I will be wearing a HR monitor for the majority of my training. Fortunately I’m familiar with this technology from cycling, and will be utilizing the Garmin Forerunner 305, which by the way, also has GPS.

Forerunner 305

So, at the same time I’ll have reliable data on speed and distance.  Another feature that’s great with Garmin products is not only all the information the device records and stores, but then you can download all the data and get different reports and analysis of your performance.  For myself, I find looking at this information a great motivational tool.  I borrowed the idea of mounting the device on a Sticky Pod which sticks (via an industrial suction cup) right on the deck of my kayak.  I’ll try to upload a picture of this soon.

Besides paddling 4 days, on Tuesdays I’ll be cross-training on my bike.  I may throw in a little swimming, but I haven’t decided that for sure yet.  Finally, 2 days off a week. And, of course, lots of stretching. I’ve considered doing some Yoga, but I took one, short Yoga class about 20 years ago and hated it.  But, I’m trying to keep an open mind!

I have to be honest, most my friends and colleagues think I’m crazy for even considering a 100 mile race.  Even my partner thinks I’m crazy.  Can’t you do a shorter race?  Why does it have to be in Texas? A guy at work asked, “Do you get a trophy at the end?”  When I shook my head no, he asked if I got anything?  Honestly, I think the real question everyone wants to ask is, “why are you doing this?”  I’m going to borrow a quote from Amelia Earheart,

“Please know that I am aware of the hazards.  I want to do it because I want to do it.”

I can’t really explain why.  There’s an attraction.  It calls for my attention.  It holds my gaze.  I dream about it, even in the daylight. It’s all that is……….isn’t that metaphysical?


Well, I know I should be easier on myself, but today I spent all the time getting ready, loading gear and kayak, and driving to the put -in.  All went well, boat unloaded, gear OUT of the car next to the kayak.  Oh no, where’s that PFD?

I couldn’t believe it.  I’d left it hanging to dry over the shower rod after last Thursday’s outing!  I contemplated whether I should go without one (I’m an excellent swimmer).  I knew that really wasn’t a wise decision, even though the weather was calm and I could stay close to shore all the while; I was also solo. I thought, here’s one of those times when you’re decision-making is tested;  a process that requires discipline. Well, I didn’t go.  I packed everything up and drove home. Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s done something so stupid! I guess it’s a training day with a HR monitor on the bike.


Sorry no pictures today.  I went solo after work.  Put in at a public boat house.  Boy was it busy.  Both some college and high school rowers practicing.  I am so blessed; it was another beautiful day and hot. 81ºF!  Did an easy 5 miles practicing with my new wing.  Could have stayed out longer but had arranged to call someone letting them know I was safe, so I had to call it a day.  Next week I’ll definitely stay out longer.  It was still very light at 6:30PM.  A slight wind at first, but glassy water after my day’s session.  It was so nice  I sat and watched the light fade on a bench over looking the water. Hope the weather’s cooperating for you all too, as spring is around the corner.


I was supposed to be on the water today, but…………when you’re a mom some of the best made plans don’t work out.  My daughter called with a horrible earache in the middle of the night.  Only being an hour away I went and got her because the student health center is closed on the weekends and I wanted her to see her physician ASAP, as finals start Monday.  She’s got her meds and back to bed, and I’m left trying to figure out the logistics for the rest of the weekend until she wakes again.

On another note, after a couple of sessions with a few different paddles I finally bought one.  I tried a couple of Werner’s, which I really liked.

the Cyprus

I paddled with the Cyprus for a couple of hours.  It is really light and I really like the way it felt in my hands and through the power phase of my stroke.  Later in the week I took a 2 hour paddle with a wing.  I am grateful for the personal instruction I received, and when all was said and done, I couldn’t resist that little “airplane blade.”  Told you I broke the bank again!

Epic Mid-Wing

new boat and paddle

So, sometime this weekend I’ll be on the water to measure out some training distances and practicing with my new paddle.  Very cool, because I’m getting to know some locations near work which put me on the water within minutes. In a few weeks I’m hoping to go around Alameda Island which is a 12 mile outing, and with the time change this weekend I’ll have a few more hours of sunlight to my day.  Just excited about all the new things I’m learning and areas I’m discovering.  Which I might add, are just out my back door.


A  short post to tell everyone I had my first sunset paddle into the dark today after work in my new kayak.  Loaded my kayak at 6AM this morning before work and parked in a secured area all day while working.  It took me only about 15 min. to get to the docks from work where I met  a friend who’s helping me with a variety of items like gear selection and training.  Tonight’s agenda was to try several new paddles and work on my forward stroke.  It was gorgeous weather and calm water.  All types of boats out today.  Simply had a glorious 2 hr. paddle.  This was the second day trying different paddles, and I broke the bank again and bought one tonight.  I’m simply in love with it (almost as much as my kayak). I’ll post some pictures soon.