All about kayaking from the San Francisco Bay Area

Archive for July, 2010


I’ve still been paddling, but with my daughter home from school and her birthday it’s been a couple really busy weeks.  As my long, Saturday paddles build in distance I’ve been challenged finding new places to go where I can be on the water longer than 6 hours.  A couple of long river paddles were organized and then fizzled but a very experienced, new kayak  acquaintance showed me some wonderful places this past week in a couple of rivers.  Here’s the San Juaquin River.

Since the CR100 is in a river I’m trying to spend my last month of training; well, training in a river.  It’s also probably going to be 90º plus during the race, so getting to these rivers in central California provides me with hot, river conditions.  So this last week, one day, I did some river reconnaissance and was lucky enough to paddle 22 miles in two rivers, the Stanislaus and the San Juaquin.  The plan was to go up current on the Stanislaus but we met an un-portage-able set of rapids about 2-1/2 miles upstream.  Luckily where we put in, the San Juaquin ended at the Stanislaus.  We turned around and went up the San Juaquin instead.

It wasn’t so different paddling upstream than some of the tides in the bay.  What was different was that the water was so calm and smooth, no boat traffic, and we saw less than 5 people all day.  We hit a little wind on the way back, but nothing like the higher winds we’ve been having in the bay this year. And heading back to the start is all with the current.  Really fun, and psychologically helpful when you’re tired towards the end of the day.

I took this weekend off from paddling, but I’ll be back on the water Mon., and all next week.  I’m going to head out on the San Juaquin next weekend shooting for 30 miles.  I’ll probably be solo again, but it was sure nice spending a lovely day on the water with my new friend. Thanks Wayne!

eat well, sleep well………paddle fast!  Training miles:  238



I  use to think I was flexible.  In some areas I believe I am.  When it comes to my training, once I make a plan, I’ve discovered it’s difficult for me to make alterations.  I did take the work week off from paddling which is usually 3 days in the water. I was still holding my breath and hoping I would get to paddle the Sacramento River this Sat., but it was not meant to be. So, I returned to the Oakland Estuary with the goal to complete 25 miles (my 3rd attempt).

With 6 days off the water I was ready to return; my body well rested.  I adjusted the Perpetuem formula by increasing to the maximum dosage for my weight, and I doubled my electrolyte capsules. Besides lots of sun and in the boat over 6 hours, it’s also been quite humid here.  I vowed to drink water every 15 min. and sip my liquid food at least every half hour.  I also took some ibuprofin right at the start and made a mental note, that if I needed more, what time a 2nd dose would be allowed.

I planned my route from the beginning and was not going to deviate. This way I didn’t need to expend any energy planning while on the water.  I was going to do all 25 miles in the estuary (with a little jaunt into San Leandro Bay), which required me to pass my starting point 3 times.  I find that psychologically difficult, but I wasn’t going to think about it once I climbed into the cockpit.  I was pushing off from the dock by 6:30 AM.  It was cold and foggy, with hardly a breeze (I was blessed with hardly any wind all day).  I had the water to myself in the early morning hours, except for a few huge container ships being escorted by tugboat out to the bay.

I had the first hour against the tide; 4 miles to the tip of Alameda Island.  I turned around and went with the flow for about 9 miles, and turned around again.  Well, you get the point.  Back and forth and back again; with the flow and then against it.


Here’s my speed over distance.  My average moving speed was 3.9 mph, which I’m pretty happy about as the incoming tide is pretty swift around a couple of areas where the estuary thins by bridges.  My fastest pace was 6.8 mph.  The extreme dips in speed is where I’ve stopped paddling to drink or eat.  The total moving time in my kayak was 6 hrs. and 13 min.

I went through a period this week where I was ready to throw in the towel.  After a few days analyzing the previous two Sat.’s, I realized I had probably “bonked.”  The hardest part is when you’re bonking you don’t know it.  It took a few days of rational thought this week to figure out what I could do to try to make a difference in my performance.  I’m still considering the possibility of training too much, besides just the nutritional adjustments I’ve made. I have some family obligations where it would be very difficult to do a long Sat. paddle.  So, I’m going to continue my weekly regimen and alternate long paddle weekends. Keep your (my) fingers crossed; here comes 35 miles!

eat well, sleep well…………paddle fast.  Training miles: 185


Today is a multi-topic post.  First off, I disappeared for 24 hours to Half Moon Bay for a wee vacation over a three-day weekend thanks to our national independence.  The three of us headed for a small hotel in Montara for the night and out to a nice dinner on Saturday. Sunday we sat at the beach and watched Chloe exert enough energy for the three of us as she chased sticks, played in the waves and cavorted with every dog that passed by.  Here’s a picture about an hour before sunset from the restaurant on Saturday.

Sunday we had an excellent breakfast at a cafe right next to the local airport, the Three-Zero Cafe.  It took us a really long time to order as everything looked and smelled delicious.  We vowed to come back soon so we could try some of the other dishes.  I settled on a combination of pancakes with some eggs and lots of coffee!  Being next to the airport the cafe was filled with lots of plane memoribilia……….

Three-Zero Cafe

This last week included 42 miles of training.  One day this week, Wednesday, was a 6 mile time trial which I repeat once a month.  It was an exciting week as my 9 mile Monday was relatively easy (and beautiful), and Wed. I beat my previous TT time by 8 min. I was feeling really good about my progress and performance.  I was a little anxious about Saturday’s distance because I was unable to complete 25 miles the Saturday before.

However, I approached Sat.’s distance like that of the first leg of the race where the first checkpoint is about 25 miles. Mentally I was telling myself I just had to complete 25 miles.  The day was looking good as there wasn’t a speck of wind and the water was almost completely flat in the estuary.  I planned to go north 4 miles and then retreat 8 miles covering the eastern side of Alameda Island. Then depending on the tide round the southern tip continue on for awhile and see how far I could get.  I wanted to do about 12 miles before I again turned around and headed in the direction of my starting point.  Well it was dead flat when I got to the northern tip of the island (the first 4 miles) and I figured this would be the time to try to circumnavigate it.  I went for it and I did paddle the entire way.

7/3/10 Circumnavigation of Alameda Island

Unfortuneately at about 13 miles I started to get horrible muscle aches in my torso.  I immediately took some ibuprofin and hoped it would make enough of a difference that it wouldn’t interfere with the distance I’d hoped to accomplish.  I kept my mind focused on passing my starting point and doing as much mileage back up the channel before turning around again.  Mentally, I didn’t think I could pass the starting point yet again for the third time without heading for the dock and finishing my day.  I seemed to lose my focus at about 16 miles.  I was entering a really busy part of the channel and decided to turn back (south again) and head for Coast Guard Island.  I passed my starting point for the third time and as I paddled past the west side of the island (Coast Guard Island) I knew all I had left was getting around that island and heading for home.  I didn’t think it would be more than 20 miles or so, and it was just shy of 21 when I finished.   I was completely spent, and as I sat in my cockpit a bit trying to feel good about what I had accomplished all I had were doubts about ever being able to paddle 25 miles.  I know I’d done a lot.  Twenty-one miles is something to feel good about, right, but all I could think about was if I can’t even complete 25 miles in training how was I really going to be ready for 100!

I continued with my doubts the rest of the day. Should I just give up now? I was supposed to do 30 miles next Sat. with my coach.  Was I going to embarrass myself next weekend?  Maybe I was just too old for this?  Maybe I wasn’t good enough for this?  I felt distressed about the fact I was doing all the training and my body wasn’t cooperating with the plan.  The first friend I talked to suggested maybe I was training too hard.  Maybe I needed a break; some time off.  My first reaction was, “no, I have a scheduled training regimen. I need to stick to it.”  The next friend I talked to said 21 miles wasn’t that far from 25, and I’d gotten around Alameda Island, something I’d been trying to do for a month.  She seemed totally convinced I would find answers to my apparent dilemma.  Well, I didn’t have too much time to sulk as I was leaving for my Half Moon Bay adventure. I’d have to put a hold on my obsessing.

Twenty-four hours later and I was feeling a little better about my Sat. paddle.  I was recognizing that yes, 21 was really close to 25.  Also I was willing to try something different.  I’ve decided to take the whole week off and only paddle the 30 miles this upcoming Sat. on the Sacramento river.  It feels like a risk not to do the mileage planned for the week.  But it feels right about taking a break and seeing what I can do Sat. with more rest.  I’m also wondering if I’d taken in enough calories.  I’ve been using a liquid endurance formula for athletes.  It’s possible I need a higher dosage of calories.  So, next paddle, I’ll increase the calorie content of my drink.  I realized later I didn’t take my supplements regularly (electrolytes) and I also missed some doses.  I think my physical discomfort  interfered with my focus on taking water, supplements, and calories on the planned intervals.

It’s a week off for me.  I’ll keep you posted.

eat well, sleep well…………paddle fast.  Total miles:  160