Next Level Kayaking (Moving Targets) and other Hobart kayak training

After my careless mountain bike riding where I hit a tree flat on my back as I was going over the handlebars (with my feet vertically in the air), I've decided to try and stick to a lower impact sport for a while.

Ben Maynard's 'Moving Targets Group' within his Next Level Kayaking business has been a great motivator.  After two weeks with this group, I've become motivated again thanks to the groups of 25+ enthusiastic paddlers every session.

Kayak training in Hobart through the winter takes a fair bit of dedication with short daylight hours, regular cold weather & strong winds but training with a good group makes this easier as everyone motivates each other and you don't want to miss a session because you know that if you miss a session, that all the other guys that turn up & train hard are getting a big advantage over you.

Besides the Next Level Kayaking (NLK) sessions, I've been going to a few kayak/surf ski sessions at Lauderdale - Frederick Henry Bay - with 'South Arm Peninsula Paddlers'.  Those sessions have also been great - especially when there has been a strong southerly wind and the points from Clifton to Seven Mile Beach are up.

On most of my winter sessions I've been paddling my Grafton Time Bandit because it can handle rough water but it is enclosed and warm in the cold, windy weather.  I have a Fenn Swordfish for big downwind paddles.  I used to have an Epic V10L (the older model) & sold that about 12 months ago, so I have been without a racing ski.  To rectify this I've been testing a few skis and just ordered a Fenn Elite S (carbon hybrid model).  I loved the test paddle of this ski and I'm looking forward to taking it out in some good, wavey conditions when it arrives next week (15 May).

back in the kayak again - after mtb injuries

Saturday 11 April 2015

After breaking my ribs on 22 March 2015 & other impact injuries (muscle/ligament/blood in lung) from hitting the tree, I headed out in my Grafton - Time Bandit racing kayak today to test out the healing.  I took my time bandit because at 12kg, that was as much as I could lift onto the car.

I headed out at Midway Point where the conditions get tidal flow moving water combined with a good breeze to make it interesting.  I only did 8km but I started feeling a bit of 'movement' which felt like the ends of unhealed ribs grating against each other.  I don't know if I was imagining that - but something was grating.

It will still take a few weeks to be able to put in a 'racing' effort where I can really drive hard with the paddle.  I got up to 11.5km/h today for a while but I started to feel a twinge in the injury spot.

I will try a careful mountain bike ride soon and make sure that I don't crash.

another 'strava-related' mountain bike injury

22 March 2015 - hit a tree at 30km/h & broke ribs

After breaking my shoulder on 26 Dec 2013 when riding my mountain bike in the Clarence mountain bike park (chasing my Strava best times on mtb trails), I had a long period of rehab to get strength back.

Even after 18 months, my shoulder was still permanently hurting.  You would have thought I would learn a lesson from this...

On 22 March 2015 I headed out for a ride after work in the same place.  I was going hard and trying to do some personal best times for some sections of track.  I had just completed some good sections and then had a go at a section known as 'fun time'.

I started well and had more than my normal amount of momentum and speed up.  As a result when the track reached some twisty sections on loose dirt I ran a bit wide on a bend and ran off the track heading for a close tree at 30km/h.

I was heading right for it and somehow as I tried to brake and brace myself for impact I think I must have been going over the handlebars and my feet ended up in the air.

I hit the tree flush on my back with my feet in the air and then crumpled onto the ground - winded & groaning.

As I struggled for breath, which came back to me after about 30 seconds, I then started assessing whether I had broken my back or neck.

I knew I was hurting from the big impact.  I crawled off the windy single-track in case more riders came through.  My small backpack had broken a strap and I hung it over my head with one strap and struggled to my feet.  My chain had also come off and the handlebars were a bit bent.

I got on the bike and rolled back down the track to my car.  It took a lot of effort to lift my bike back onto my rack and drive home.  After washing the dirt off I got a lift into hospital for x-rays.

I had a 3 hour wait for the x-rays to find out what I already believed ... that I had broken ribs - on the right side of my back.

26 March 2015 update ... Now after 4 days the injury is still very sore and sleeping is worse than sitting upright because when you lie down it squashes your ribs.  I try and sleep sitting up on the couch.  When the pain medication wears off - any movements result in sharp pains that make me squeal.

The lesson from this is ... only go hard on the mountain bike up hill where you are going slowly & falling off doesn't cause major injuries.  Don't do any more fast downhill sections.

14 March 2014 - arm update ...

With the help of twice-weekly physio & my twice-daily home arm rehab exercises, my shoulder has been improving well.

I've started kayak paddling again.  The first attempt was extremely painful and I could only do 4 strokes before I had to stop due to the pain & tightness.  A few days ago I did a 20km paddle of a loaded sea kayak in Lake Pedder in s/w Tasmania.

So far, so good.

8 Jan 2014 broken arm update

I had a specialist appointment today & another x-ray.  I found that I have broken the round ball at the top of my right arm bone - where it goes into the shoulder joint.

It is now 2 weeks since the injury and apparently it should be less painful in about another week.  Currently it is very hard to sleep because my uncontrollable arm will flop to one side & I get a sharp intense pain.

To move I first have to use my (good) left arm to pull my non-working right arm across my chest and then roll onto my left side so I can push myself up with my working arm.  It can be a tricky manoeuvre and every incident sets back the recovery a bit.

26 Dec 2013 - mtb stack - broken arm

On 26 Dec, the plan was for a quick ride at Belbins Rd area with Christian, Karina, Sam & other enthusiastic riders, then head home to watch the Ashes Test & the start of the Sydney/Hobart yacht race.  My day was all mapped out.

I should have taken the hint when things started going wrong early.  I had 2 early minor 'over the handlebar' episodes on Double Bridge Gully (strava segment).  They were low impact & only took a little bit of bark off.  They happened because I was pushing hard & was breathing heavily & that is when I make more mistakes.

After 2 'Double Bridge Gully's', I continued along a fire trail then a short, fast bit of single-track down then up a short rise back onto the fire trail. When heading back uphill, I left the gearchange too late & when desperately changing to a low gear, the chain came off & jammed.  It was jammed quite hard & took a few minutes to clear.

A few minutes later it came off & jammed again.  I think one of the early stacks bent the rear derailleur hanger & was sending it off.

At that point I spotted Christian & Karina on a firetrail across the gully, so I headed after them.  I stopped near them at the strava 'Death log loop' start/finish.  We headed around for a casual lap which went alright.  As I was becoming more familiar with the death loop single track, I could use less brakes & keep up better momentum.

At the end of that lap Christian said he would do another one so I chased after him.  I was rolling along pretty well & reached the final drop which doesn't freak me out anymore.  As I went down the drop, I got off the brakes earlier & rocketed down into the gully & up the other side.  I believe that just before launching into orbit uphill, I hit the brakes as I went over the edge & landed on the front wheel or just shot myself over the handlebars.

I went flying thru the air like a chubby, drunk superman & landed on my chest, elbows.  mainly the right elbow because it possibly pushed up my shoulder very hard & resulted in a broken upper arm (humerus - but not funny).

I lay in a heap, groaning & winded next to Christian & Karina.  They moved my bike & got some of the dust off my face.  I think I said my arm or shoulder was stuffed.

After lying there for a few minutes mentally assessing the damage I started staggering 2km back to the carpark as Christian took my bike & Karina took my backpack & helmet.

My dad came to take me to hospital while Karina took my car (thanks again).  As I cradled my right arm, every bump sent shooting pain.  I couldn't lift or move my right arm at all.  We went to Calvary and I staggered into A&E with bloody knees & elbows & covered in dirt.

The A&E waiting room was overflowing with the sick & injured.  They called Hobart Private Hospital & found that they were less busy so we went there.

As they assessed the injury I let out a few yells of pain.  I couldnt move my arm anywhere away from 'elbow down next to my side & hand across my chest.  Moving it for the x-rays was a nightmare.  It would have been impossible without the morphine.

With the x-rays the doctor said it was a bad break to my humerus BUT there was worse news.  It would need a rod inserted to help it heal & there were no Orthopaedic Surgeons available for possibly 2 weeks.  I couldnt believe this.

They gave me a prescription for the pain & put it in a sling &off I went.  You probably can't put plaster on an upper arm break... ?

My main concern was that my unprotected arm would start healing just in the sling for a few weeks & when I eventually get surgery it would be set back to square 1 again.

I spent 24 hours at my parents house & found that I could do most things so I got dropped back at home.  I couldn't drive but I had a shop 5 mins walk down the road.

I have worked out ways to do most things 1-handed & I am making very good use of picking things up with my toes.  I open bottles/jars by sitting on the floor, holding the bottle between my 2 feet as I turn the lid with my good hand.

Its very hard to get comfortable in bed.  Any movement shoots pain up my arm.  Every time I get up or sit down requires planning ahead to ensure I don't damage anything.

Now its waiting time for the orthopedic surgeon to review my referral, then get an appointment, then surgery then start healing...

Enjoy your riding.

(this took ages to type one-handed)

new toy excitement - Alpacka Packraft

With great excitement I unwrapped the package today containing my new packraft from Alpacka.

It is a 'Denali Llama' single raft - with a 4 piece paddle.  The new model raft has pontoons that allow you to put gear inside the raft to lower the centre of gravity (compared to having a pack strapped into the front of the raft).

I have never used one before but I have a few adventures planned for it:

1. initial familiarisation on flat water for a few paddles
2. test paddles in grade 1/2 white water
3. test paddle in grade 1/2 with overnight gear for a trip
4. test in grade 2/3
5. test in grade 2/3 with gear

The trip aims are:

1. The full Huon River from Lake Pedder down to Huonville.  You have to walk the first few km's to below the first gorge where there is very little water below Scotts Peak Dam

2. walk from Scotts Peak to the Crossing River into the Davey River, down to Port Davey & paddle to Melaleuca

3. a walk & paddle trip in Port Davey/Bathurst Hbr (flat water paddling - no rapids) from Melaleuca out to Spain Bay then walk down to South-West Cape & back to Melaleuca via south coast.

4. a walk in to Lake Judd (near Mt Anne) then a paddle around Lake Judd
5. a paddle around Lake St Clair & walk up Mt Ida
6. exploring in Lake Pedder & Lake Gordon & Macquarie Hbt/Birchs Inlet

then who knows what else...

20 November 2013 - Let your car gps take you on an adventure

After a great day & night staying at a friends shack in Orford, I planned to go for a mountain bike ride somewhere in the Wielangta Rd forest area.

I drove to the Thumbs lookout reserve area and headed up a fire trial that had a boom gate (to stop cars & trail bikes).  The start of the track is near 'Flash Tier' on my 1:25000 map and I was aiming to get to the Three Thumbs peaks a few k's to my north, but also to find out where the track went.

Quickly the track was heading to the south, but I needed to go the north to the Thumbs.  I took every option to the north but I kept reaching dead ends where the track just petered out.

After spending a few hours hitting dead ends I headed back to the car.  Near the car park there is a walking track to the Thumbs but I was hoping to find a fire trail to ride on - unsuccessfully.

I then set my car gps to plan a route home using the 'shortest route' options - knowing that this could take me through some 'short cut' tracks.

Initially it was plain sailing continuing down Wielangta Rd but then I had to turn right at Franklins Rd.  The trouble was that when the gps said I was at Franklin Rd there was no turn - just dense bush.  At the next narrow gravel rd to the right I turned up a small rd/track and was soon crossing rising creeks in the fairly heavy rain and dodging boulders.

After about 20 minutes of challenging terrain I reached a 'regular' gravel rd that ended at a locked boom gate.  I turned back and just like my bike ride I started checking all the side route options.  Again each track became steeper, muddier and narrower until they became just bush again.

On many occasions I found I had to reverse back along the challenging track after reaching the end and not being able to turn around.

About 6 hours after I started my 'short cut' in the car I got back to Wielangta Rd and then had a 20 minute drive home following the normal person route.  I used up a whole day taking short cuts but had a great time. 

My little subaru forester with cooper tyres was great in the mud & I used the low range gears a lot up some steep climbs.

16 Nov 2013 - Seven Mile Bch peninsula ride lap

After a few emails with John about bike adventures & other stuff, I was a bit inspired so headed to Seven Mile Bch for a lap around the peninsula (and the rain & miserable weather had finally broken).

The whole peninsula is soft sand so the ride would be resistance training.  I started on a sandy track and after 5 minutes I was struggling in the soft sand.  I was surrounded by pine trees (it is a pine plantation) and I tried to ride on the thick bed of pine needles so I didn't sink in as much.

After a further 5 minutes I decided to head out onto the beach because I knew it was low tide and I would continue on the soft sand as well.  This was faster, except for the strong s/e sea breeze.

I reached the eastern end of Seven Mile Bch opposite Dodges Ferry and then turned north up the channel with the sea breeze.  I was surprised that the Pied & Sooty Oystercatchers were less spooked by a bike than when I walk along this beach.

As I headed further north, opposite Lewisham their are wide sand flats at low tide and lots of oysters.  Progress would be unpleasant on a bike at high tide but at low it was fine.

Eventually I turned another corner and had views back up to Midway Point.  There was about 500m of dry sand flats from the shoreline to the water.  I continued to the Five Mile Bch car park and then headed back into the soft sandy pine plantation to get back to the car.

I was stuffed from the soft sand riding but it was a pleasant afternoon with lots of sea birds & some large patches of soldier crabs.

2/6/13 - too many work days

I'm in the middle of 8 straight work days so there is very little time to do things away from work.  In a short gap there was a mountain bike track work day at Clarence MTB park.  This was put on by the mountain bike club & led by qualified track builders 'Dirt Art'.

We spent a few hours getting guidance on how to most efficiently maintain tracks and plan them in the first place.  I had to head back home and study for an exam for a work course until late.

3/6/13 - off for a training course for 5 long days.

30/5/13 - good intentions...

After working until midnight last night, I had good intentions to get up at 8am and to do some mountain bike riding at Tolosa MTB park or Clarence/Belbins area.  The result - after not setting any alarms - was that I woke up at 2pm with no idea what time it was.

I only had time for a quick breakfast/lunch/afternoon tea before heading off for Thursday kayak training.

After the pain of 'un-fitness' at the New Norfolk race I was mentally preparing myself to hurt more in training to improve for races.  I need to improve strength & fitness (& get lighter) to be able to stay on the wake of the group at the starts without ruining myself.

Tonight was a good turn-out of roughly 20 paddlers in still, warm conditions with a very light northerly wafting breeze.

We headed off in 3 groups for longer efforts down to Sthn HQ & back to the DSS which was 5.5km.  This was hard work and I held a similar pace to my 10km race pace of 11.5ish km/h.  On the second effort I started a bit slower & we turned when Ben/Ian reached the half way point & headed back.  As I was struggling on the way back I forced myself to keep my stroke together so I didn't fall in a heap.

I was still sweating 30 mins after the session as I got some groceries at the 'stupid big red hand' shopping centre.

27/5/13 - kayak race & mtb training

26/5/13 - Derwent Canoe Club race on the Derwent River at New Norfolk.  The race was 10km & I started in the fast group, knowing that I would end up at the back of that field.  The div 2 group left 5 minutes before and I was hoping to catch a couple of them.

At the start I didn't get on the fast wake because I haven't done enough paddling yet, especially fast sprint starts.  That should be better in the next few months.

I caught up to Steve after about 3km & stayed on his tail until roughly 6km then paddled alongside.  Steve had a better bridge turn & finished a bit stronger.  This 10km paddle just reinforced that I need to do lots more work.

27/5/13 - MTB ride after work - When I finished at 3pm I headed for Clarence MTB park.  It was beautiful in the sun but very chilly in the shaded areas.  I mainly did practice in the spots that I've had trouble with - the tight, steep switchbacks.  In each spot that I couldn't get around I kept going back to re-try it.  On a couple I managed to work them out but some I am still stuck on.

I spent about 15 mins doing continuous laps around the short pumps track and I was slowly improving as I worked out how to pump the bike for momentum.  I finished with a ride up the xc course to Tunnel Hill & back, getting to the car just after dusk as the temperature plummeted with clear skies.

24/5/13 - Kingborough MTB Park

After a nice lunch with an old friend (not old but hadn't seen her for a long time) at Blackmans Bay, I headed to Kingborough MTB Park for a bit of exercise & to work on my skills.

Things I want to improve are - my jumping is hopeless because I didn't play on bmx's enough as a kid & old people don't heal as quickly when you crash - and I crash a fair bit.

Usually I leave the ground when I don't intend to - when I am going hard racing or chasing someone and go over an obstacle at speed & leave the ground unintentionally.  When I think about it too much or don't attack the obstacle enough bad things happen and I spend time removing gravel from my wounds.

I started warming up at the mtb track with a couple of laps of the longer xc track, then did some hard laps.  My previous best time around the 1.35km course was 5m29.

Today my hard laps were:

1.   5.56 warm up
2.   5.16
3.   5.07
4.   5.02
5.   5.02

After that I had a go at the jumps with mixed success - slowly building up a bit.  Then I worked on the pump track gradually gaining confidence & technique until I was attacking it.  I finally stopped when the the dusk had turned to night.

23/5/13 - Thurs paddle

There was a big turnout for Thursday night kayak/ski training.  I was in a tippy kayak so I couldn't do much looking around to count them but there would have been 20+

The warm up was 2.2km up to the sth end of Macquarie Pt wharf.

Next was 6 efforts along the 620m length of Macquarie Pt wharf with about a minute between each effort then the 2.2km cruise back to the DSS.

We did the efforts in 3 groups to keep everyone close together by the end of each lap.  The pace was on & they hurt a lot.  This is the sort of training that is hard to motivate yourself to do by yourself.

22/5/13 - mtb ride & eye scratch

On my ride to work, I headed through the Clarence MTB Park (Meehan Ranges).  I had been wearing dark riding glasses but when I got into the dense trees, I couldn't see the track properly.  I took off my glasses to see the rocks & roots more easily but I managed to scratch my left eye as I rode through a branch.  I got a bit of 'stuff' in my left eye & it was really irritating.

20 mins later at work I managed to wash the 3mm bit of stuff out but my eye was very red & inflamed.  I went to an optometrist & they found a scratched cornea & I had scraped of some of the top layer (whatever bit that is) - which they found by putting dye in my eye.

The lesson from all that is wear clear riding glasses in the dark areas for protection.

20/5/13 - mtb ride

I was working 4pm to midnight so I decided to make a decent ride of the trip to work so I rode through the Clarence MTB park from Belbins Rd to Flagstaff Gully link rd & stopped to practice a few areas on the way.

The main area I needed to work on is looking through corners & physically turning my head, shoulders, chest & the inside knee to the direction I want to go through the corner.  I stopped and repeated a few tight corners to improve the way I went around them & was a bit better as I left.  It will need constant practice to make it second nature.

The ride home at midnight with Ralph was a bit chilly initially as we headed up Cambridge Rd/Mt Rumney area - but well & truly warm by the top.

19/5/13 - work, ride, paddle, snooze

On what was supposed to be a day off, I struggled out of bed at 5.30am (after going to bed at 2am) to head to work for the City to Casino fun run - traffic patrol & road closures.  It always confuses me why annoyed motorists honk & yell at police for shutting roads - as though we are just doing it to annoy them - for no reason.  It was just as crazy when people were angry that we were shutting roads at the Dunalley fires so the Fire Brigades could work without more people being put at risk & so the power companies could get poles back up.  Police get all the abuse for shutting a road so the other emergency services can do their jobs.

Anyway, after work I headed out to Clarence MTB park for a ride.  After lots of recent crashes & lots of cuts & grazes, I didn't have my heart in it today.  I went for an hour & then headed back to the car.  I had also bought my surf ski to work so I drove to Howrah beach for a paddle in my Epic V10L.  I haven't been on it for a while and it will take a while to get the feel of it.  I really need to get the feel for it on the flat first.  Today there was a 15kt s/w swell so I did a few runs into it then turned back downwind.

By the time I got home I was worn out after a lack of sleep last night & I lay down in the sun for a nap. Nice!

18/5/13 - kayak training - Howrah

After a night when I fell asleep on the couch in front of the heat pump, I woke up with a dry, sore throat & dry eyes as the tv was belting out the sound of the Nascar qualifying session.  I wonder when tv's will detect that the watcher has fallen asleep & just turn themselves off?  Or maybe they will be wirelessly connected to your heartrate monitor & blood pressure so they can tell if you are bored.  The ratings people would love that feedback.

Anyway... I had a few big drinks to recover from my heat pump dehydration then headed off to Howrah for kayak (or ski) training.

There was a good turnout of 13 paddlers on the sunny morning - with 2 new Epic V14's on the water and lots of V10 sports, a Think & 2 Grafton kayaks.  I was using my Grafton Bandit because it is good in all conditions, comfortable & isn't too unstable if the conditions get bad.

We left Little Howrah Beach & headed from point to point up the eastern side of the river to the Tasman Bridge which was about 6km upstream.  Near the bridge there was a 2-3km/h flow but off Bellerive Beach & Howrah there was nothing of note.

On the way back from the bridge we did a couple of longer efforts.  I was using my new Jantex Gamma medium at 209.5cm which is the cruising length that seems to work for me.

After the paddle most people headed across the road for coffees etc.

By the time I got home the day was turning nasty so I was glad to get the paddle in the sunny part of the day.

17/5/13 - Smarties trivia

I don't think there is any quality control at the Smarties factory.  I have counted as low as 46 in a pack up to 57.  Would it be weird to take weigh the smarties packets on the scales in the fruit & vegie section to see which have the most inside.  Yes, you are right that is a bit extreme.  Instead I give the pack a shake & the one with the least shaking space is the 'winning pack'.  That is how I found my 'PB' of 57 after my previous PB was only 53.  The day I only got 46 I was ready to riot!

Maybe I have too much spare time ...

13/5/13 to 16/5/13 - kayak & mtb training

Monday 13/5/13 - enjoyed a lovely sleep in & did no training after long hours of work at Kingston on the weekend.

Tuesday 14/5/13 - headed to Cremorne to paddle with Christian, Karina, Pete & Andy.  I wanted a challenge so I paddled my 'tippiest' kayak.  There was a fresh northerly, so as we left Cremorne there were reasonable rolling swells to head into.  I wasn't expecting to be out in this & hadn't worn a spray deck but the Evo Edge has a high deck & cockpit area & didn't take any waves in.

The run back with the swells was great fun but with the trailing rudder, I had to keep running ahead of the waves to be able to steer.  By the end of the session the kayak didn't feel wobbly any more but it is a little snug.

After that I headed up to Christian's to work on a mountain bike track on his property.  Initially I wandered around the bush to get the lay of the land and then went around with track tape to plan a route.  After that we did some work on a downhill section.  It all looked ok until trying to ride it and found that the features were all too close together as a result of being on foot & not appreciating the speed of a bike & how quickly it can move.  We ended up having to move a few corners to make it more user-friendly.

That evening was a mountain bike training ride on Tangara trails.  We left Mather Place & headed generally down the trails to the eastern side of Gellibrand Dve & back up the water's edge to the west of Gellibrand.

We were out for a couple of hours for the 25km hard ride.  I have been getting sore thumbs and had an x-ray last week - thinking I had stress fractures (maybe I am a hypochondriac) & there were no cracks but they were still very sore.  I realised as I was riding over bumpy ground I had my arms straight which resulted in all the forces going into my hands.

We were told at the MTB Skills course that the 'attack position' was feet level and chest & head low with elbows bent and pointing out.  As I realised that I wasn't doing this, I also realised that the straight arms were also probably causing my sore thumbs.  I will have to really concentrate on my body & arm position or I will have broken thumbs.

Wed 15/5/13 - recover from last nights bike ride while I was at work - feeling wiped out & sleepy.

Thurs 16/5/13 - Good day at work, catching up on all of my paperwork, then headed to the DSS for kayak training.  It was a cool, night with a light s/w breeze.  I used the Chrono for an extra challenge because I want to use it in the Huon races so I had better do some training in it.  It is definitely faster than the Bandit in calmer conditions but it is less stable & a bit 'less roomy'.

The numbers at training were low, probably because Ben couldn't be there (thanks to Ian C taking the session) and it was a cool, windy night.  Some of the reliable, regulars weren't there - Bucks didn't turn up 5 mins after we got on the water & there was no sign of Cathy's car on the Esplanade - stuck at work setting a good example???

We did 3 extended efforts down to Taroona, sharing the wash-riding and returned with the runs doing 2 long efforts on the way back to the DSS.  It was a hard night but chasing faster people is great to get more out of you.  Ian, Andrew P were up the front as I fought with a rapidly improving Alex & Jodi steaming along.

12/5/13 - MTB Skills course

After at late night at work & 3hrs sleep I headed to Tolosa MTB park for a mountain bike skills course with

There were 7 participants and everyone was keen.

We started with techniques for getting over small obstacles, then the general techniques of vision (looking thru corners), position (riding in attack position), momentum & technique (VPMT).  The key was to continually apply these to all aspects of riding. 

Next were uphill corners - with the important parts being looking thru the corner & physically turning your head, shoulders & body to where you want to go, as well as momentum & having the right body position fwd vs back.

Next were downhill corners applying all of the V.P.M.T. then over drop-offs with the key points being momentum, extending your arms/handlebars fwd & keeping your vision up so you are looking ahead not focused on the edge of the drop off.

After 4 hrs everyone still seemed to want to keep going and could probably have gone for another 4 hrs.  The instructors were great and were very encouraging.  I would recommend a course for anyone wanting to improve their confidence & bike handling skills.

9 May 2013 - Thurday 'Ben' kayak training

I look forward to these Thursday afternoon sessions.  They have the intensity of a race every week and leave me stuffed afterwards BUT if you miss the session you know that everyone who went is getting an advantage on you.

Tonight there was a really good turnout of 20+ paddlers.  We headed down to the pontoon off Sthn HQ in groups of 4 or 5 ish in lines - with the back paddler doing sprints to the front of the line then easing back to about 8km/h so the new back paddler can sprint up.

Once at the pontoon we did 2 x 2km efforts - with fastest going off last & chasing.  The went around the corner to the right - to the orange yacht buoy then out to the Garrow then back to the pontoon.

We had a couple of minutes break before the next one.  On each lap the fastest guys were catching everyone by the Garrow area & the buoy turns were good practice for race turns with the congestion.

At the end of the second one I had finished hard enough that I thought I would puke.  The smell of all the bird poo on the pontoon didn't help.

I had been paddling my bandit which I find very comfortable in any conditions.  It isn't the fastest thing I could use in flat water (Chrono or Evolution Edge) but it is stable in the dark & your legs stay warmer than on a ski.  Bucks was in my 'spare' Evo Edge & looked good at he cruised past me with it slicing through the water.

At the moment I am stuck on an average speed of 11.5km/h for longer efforts with the Bandit.  This will improve as I do more paddling over winter (& hopefully lose a few kg).

I will probably use the Chrono in the next Huon race.  It is narrower, has less drag and is a 2 or 3kg lighter but is a bit tippier.  I can accelerate it more easily too.  I would like to use the Evo Edge but it is a little snug to sit in & hard to rotate & get good leg drive because it is a snug fit.  The cockpit entry is a small one too which is great for keeping the splash out but hard to get in on a steep river bank.

First aid & other stuff

Today was our regular work first aid course.  I was hoping to learn some handy hints to instantly heal mountain bike gravel rash - but sadly no!

We did lots of resuscitation practice with defib which was handy.  They didn't cover how not to faint when you over-extend yourself riding up the mountain.

After work I went to the doctor to find out if my thumb was broken after one of my stacks yesterday.  I then went for an x-ray & with my uneducated viewing I couldn't see a crack.  I guess it is just a strain.

All of these injuries make it more important to do the MTB training course this Sunday that I am doing with - where Su Sprott is an instructor.

Tomorrow is a paddling day - Thursday training with Ben at Sandy Bay.  They are hard but enjoyable.

7 May 2013 - Nth/Sth Track loop

Christian had organised a group for a ride from Hobart, up to the Springs, down the Nth/Sth Track to Tolosa Park & back to Hobart which is about a 40km loop.

I knew that I would probably be slowest and it would be a hard day - trying to stay up as we headed up to the Springs.

My last ride on this course didn't end well so this time I used some cross country tyres so the ride up to the Springs wouldn't be so hard.  I knew that would mean there was less grip down the MTB track but so be it.

On the way up Strickland Av we turned up a track past Cascade where there is a crazy downhill course with jumps that would mean certain death for me.  There were lots of ramps with big jumps that I usually only see on youtube videos.

I had to walk most of the way up this track because my legs were already dead from the Mt Roland walk a couple of days ago.

This emerged onto Huon Rd just down from the top of Strickland Av jcn. and we continued up to the Fern Tree shop for a short break.  We then continued up to the Springs with Christian & Sam disappearing quickly into the distance.  Ralph stayed with me to give me some company even though he would have almost stayed with the others.

After I passed Shoebridge Bend, Christian & Sam came up behind us.  They had already done the Spring section down & were heading up again.  At the start of the Nth/Sth track I let the pressures down a bit.  They were 70psi for the road ride & I was guessing they were down to about 30 for the MTB bit.

The others headed off first and I just rolled down the track.  It was a bit damp but in good condition.  We re-grouped at Junction Cabin and then at each track crossing after that.  This ride was the first time I had bothered to ride across the long rocky section in the landslip area.

As we got close to the top of the Tolosa area I had a fall on a bend when I think I might have used front break while turning & lost the front wheel - sliding down the track on my front.  I bent the rear derailleur a bit & just bent it back into place.

As we got to the top of the Tolosa Park there was a great course of bermed corners down to a fire trail.  At that point there are lots of options & we went down the downhill course.  I followed Ralph in an area of deep pine needles & lost the front wheel again on a tight bend as I pushed to stay with him.  This time I caught my left thumb against the handlebars & bent it back.  I hope it is just strained.  (my stupidity & carelessness really annoys me - it is no wonder I am covered in grazes)

I rolled cautiously down to the car park.  I pumped my tyres up again & we screamed down Tolosa St & along the bike track back to my car.  It was nice to finish & sit in the sun at Cornelian Bay as I brushed the gravel out of my latest grazes.

Overall it was a good 3hrs of exercise (37.3km) with a strained thumb & a bit of gravel-rash thrown in.

14 April 2013 - Kellevie 6hr MTB Race

After a bit of training on Clarence MTB tracks & Belbins Rd, Ralph, Prue & I decided to put in a 3 person mixed team for the Kellevie 6hr race.  Each lap was 11km and we changed over after each lap.  We finished a great day doing 9 laps (3 each) & we were all keen for more races.  It had been a fine day & a good track for the fundraiser for Dunalley after the fires.

4 May 2013 - Mt Roland

Dad & I were keen to go up to Agfest & I had never been before, mostly due to clashes with work.  We decided to combine it with a walk up Mt Roland.  Dad had been up before from the main track from Gowrie Park so we decided to try the 'face track' that goes from Kings Rd at the 'town' of Claude Rd which is a couple of k's away from Gowrie Park.

After the day of wandering around Agfest we headed to the ex-hydro accommodation at Gowrie Park.  There are cabins & backpackers accommodation but all we needed was a roof & a warm room - and we got both.

The backpackers rooms are small & cosy & were $30 for a single person or $20 each for a shared room.  They had a heater and were very comfortable.  The hot showers there were $1 for 5 mins & had good pressure in their newly built amenities block.

After a very rainy night we headed to the walk start.  The sky was clear & we could see a good dusting of snow on the mountain.  It towered above us so we knew we had our work ahead of us.  You start this track at 380m & the top is 1233m.

The track was in great condition & you climb steeply on a well-cleared, wide track for about 45 mins (at our pace).  At this point there was a giant round boulder with a flat top that was great for a drink break.  From here you head up into the gully that the track uses for this way up Mt Roland.  The Gowrie Park route uses a different way up.  I haven't been up that way but Dad said that this way was steeper.

The route up this gully was a constant, steady climb.  It became more narrow the higher you got & eventually you emerge at the top onto a flattish plateau.  The track was a creek due to the overnight rain & there was snow all around us & alpine vegetation with lots of scoparia.

The route on the plateau was easy & marked by 1m high poles (so you can see them in snow) and the track wound its way around a few hills until the summit cairn appeared just after you meet up with the track from Gowrie Park.

On the top it was blowing a gale and it was bitterly cold.  We only stayed for a couple of minutes and had to get back into some shelter from the freezing wind before we lost use of our hands.

We then headed back to the gully & on the way down we had trouble because there were lots of rocks covered with moss & lichen that were extremely slippery.  At one point Dad (who was a couple of metres below me, slipped and lost his balance and started falling down the steep, rocky track out of control, yelling as he fell.  He went down over a rock ledge & came to rest a metre or so below.  When I asked how he was all he could say was "Winded".

He lay on the ground assessing the damage.  He said he was feeling a bit sore & battered but couldn't feel any major damage or breaks.

After about 5 mins he got up & was able to continue, very carefully down to the car.

Down at the car the sun was out & we had a great, clear view back to the top.  We enjoyed a feed at Deloraine on the way home.  During the trip Dad thought that he may have broken a rib or two as it hurt when he coughed or stretched.

10 March 2013 - Allports Beach to Killiecrankie

We left Allports Beach at 9.30am and after 2km we were on a corrugated gravel road with rotting road kill every 20m.  These 2 factors are the only unpleasant things about riding on Flinders Island.

The road to Killiecrankie was gently undulating, inland from Marshall Bay - approaching the gaps between Mt Tanner & Mt Boyes.

From the turn off to Killiecrankie there was a 5km gentle downhill to the beach.  Just before the beach there was a signpost to a campsite on the right.  We headed down a driveway and we were confused when it went to a private house & a dog came running at us.  It didn't look at all inviting as a camp so we continued to the beach & camped next to the picnic area which had a picnic shelter, gas bbq & a water tank.

The day had been another hot, dry ride so we were very relieved to get some cold drinks & an ice cream from the Killiecrankie cafe/shop (only open thru summer).

Later that afternoon a 'local' asked "Don't you like the campground?" - Well No we didn't like the campground.  That was why we weren't staying there.

That afternoon 4 NSW kayakers arrived from Deal Island.  It was great to catch up & hear the story of their trip.

11 March - Killiecrankie to Palana then North-East River
12 March - N/E River back to Killiecrankie with a day walk up Mt Killiecrankie
13 March - Killiecrankie to Allports Bch
14 March - Allports Bch to Whitemark
15 March - day walk to Hayes Hill near Whitemark
16 March - day walk down the beach south of Whitemark
17 March - Whitemark to Lady Barron
18 March - day walk to Pot Boil Point
19 March - catch the boat back to Bridport overnight
20 March - back to work!

9 March 2013 - Whitemark to Emita

We had a very comfortable night at the Whitemark pub and a hot breakfast.  On the way out of town, we dropped off 2 bags of excess gear with a friend.   We had bought far too many warm clothes and the weather was continuing to be warm & dry.  We also called into the Whitemark Bakery and bought turkey salad rolls for our lunch.

With the reduced gear load we both had plenty of space in our panniers and the bikes felt noticeably lighter & easier to handle.

A couple of k's up the road we came across the Saturday morning market at the recreation ground.  We wandered around for a while then continued up the road.

We cruised north into a headwind, passing the airport, a long straight and over a big hill then down to Emita.  We noted the museum as we rode towards the camp ground.  After setting up camp we returned to the museum for the afternoon.  There was a newly built museum since I was there last.  It was impressive & you could spend hours looking through the historic photo/document folders.

The afternoon was still hot & muggy so it felt great having a swim at Allports Beach.

8 March 2013 Heading to Whitemark

Leaving Trousers Pt we detoured to Fotheringate Bch. It was beautiful with little rocky coves and white sandy beaches and blue/green water. Back to the white granite gravel rd for the easy ride up to the main bitumen rd to Whitemark. It was an easy ride. The afternoon was spent washing clothes at the hotel, relaxing and looking around Whitemark.

7 March 2013 Mt Strzelecki walk

On previous walks to Mt Strzelecki we had to walk the 6km to & from Trousers Pt to the srart of the walk but this time we had the luxury of the bikes to cruise to the start.

We started up the track at 9am in clear skies & hot weather. It would have been better to start at 7am. The track was hard work in the heat & we were very happy to get up onto the peak in spectacular 360 deg views. We could see between Deal Is. & back to Tassie. The sea was glassy calm.

Our legs were feelin a bit weary when we got back to our bikes at 2pm. Back at Trousers Pt we had a swim to sooth sore bodies.

We had dinner at Vistas Restaurant just up the road. My flathead was great & Dad enjoyed his chicken, washed down with some cold beers then back to camp.

6 March 2013 Ride Flinders Trail Lady Barron to Trousers Pt

We left Yellow Beach at 9.30am & headed along the Coast Rd then onto Badgers Corner Rd. This is where the road changed from a good gravel rd to a very rough, soft, sandy fire trail. It would be a nice mtn bike ride without all of our panniers & gear, but it took more effort with our full load onboard.

As the trail roughly followed the coast we passed beautiful bays & beaches. The track also passes through nice forest areas as well and big grasstrees.  By 2pm ish we reached Big River Rd at the other end then had about 10km of gravel rd to Trousers Pt. We cooled off with a swim at the end if the hot, sunny day.

Travel to Flinders Island

Our bikes had already gone to Flinders Is. on the ferry from Bridport so we drove to Launcestn Airport to fly over in a small plane with Sharp Airlines. It was a 30 min comfortable flight. We flew into Whitemark & the weather was spectacular.  We bought a couple of nice salad rolls & drinks to have later & got a lift down to Lady Barron to collect our bikes.

We were relieved that the bikes & gear were all undamaged. We set up our tents at Yellow Bch 2km east of Lady Barron at a great picnic/camp area.

To blow out the cobwebs, we rode up Vinegar Hill for great views all around. There is a lookout off a big granite slab for good viewing.

Back to camp for our salad roll, cup of tea (using my new wood burner stove which just uses little twigs).

Later we had a quick beer at the Lady Barron pub & headed back to see the beautiful sunset up Franklin Sound.

As I lie in my tent typing this with my phone, there are the sounds of wallabies, crickets and Cape Barren Geese honking.

It is a lovely, peaceful place.

Heading to Flinders Island

Looking forward to flying from Launceston to Whitemark on Flinders Island tomorrow.  We then have to get down to Lady Barron to collect our bikes and then continue on a bike tour.

It will be a fairly casual tour - with 2 weeks to soak it up.

Friday 1 March 2013 - Flinders Island preparation

Dad & I headed up to Bridport to drop off our bikes, with panniers packed for a 2 week tour of Flinders Island.  We dropped off the bikes at Furneaux Freight & hoped that they would keep the bikes secure over the weekend before the boat left on Monday.  We didn't have a lot of faith in them.

We are flying over to Flinders on Tuesday to start our trip.

Thursday 28 Feb 2013 - where am I

Thursday 28/2 - I can remember dreaming before waking up and then my eyes slowly opened.  

Initially I couldn't focus but slowly realised that I was lying on ground covered with leaves.  My brain was trying to work out why I was lying on leaves but I had no idea.

I tried to get up but I couldn't and I had no idea why I couldn't get up.  I couldn't work out why I couldn't push myself up with my arms or why I couldn't sit up.

As my head became clearer I found that I was lying face down on a the ground in deep wet leaves.  I tried to roll over but I couldn't.  As I writhed around trying to get up, I managed to wriggle onto my side and tried to climb out of the hole I was in.

It was only then that I realised where I was.

I was climbing out of a hole on the side of the road on the side of the Pinnacle Road on the way up Mt Wellington and I heard a car stopping next to me.

As I crawled out of the hole the man from the car got to me and helped me out - asking if I was ok.  I had no idea if I was or not.  I was totally confused (and had lots of leeches on me searching for a good entry site)

The man (James, a staff training guy from Pure Tasmania/Federal Group & bike rider) steadied me as I tried to stand.  As things became clearer I noticed I was next to my bike and things started to come back to me.

Back to the start of the day...

Ralph & Christian were doing the Nth/Sth Track loop ride & decided to tag along.  They are both faster so I knew it would be hard work.  Instead of getting up early and having a nice breakfast I decided to sleep a bit longer and missed breakfast.  I drove to Tolosa Park and left my car there and rode into Hobart along the bike track.

I was riding my new dual-suspension mountain bike and it had wide, knobbly tyres.  I headed up Strickland Av ahead of the others because I was going slower.  They passed me just after Marlyn Rd jcn.  They were cruising but I was pushing 80-90% effort.
My next mistake was that my drink bottle was in my backpack because I didn't have a bidon holder on the bike yet.  SO as well as not having breakfast I didn't drink on the way up to Fern Tree.

I turned up the Pinnacle Rd & kept plugging away although I was feeling stuffed.  About 1km before Shoebridge Bend I got up out of the seat and went up a chainring - to use some different muscles.  After doing this for about 50m I thought - wow I just need to rest for a bit.

I stopped on the side of the road and stood over the bike, leaning against a wooden guide post that marked a drain that ran under the road.  I took some deep breaths but I realised that I was feeling a little 'light-headed' or dizzy.

I got off the bike and leaned it against the guide post.........

That was the last think I remembered before 'waking up' down in the culvert/drain a metre below the road.  It was lucky that when I passed out, I was still wearing my bike helmet.  When I got home I looked at fainting videos on the internet & virtually all of the videos showed the person falling over with a straight body and there heads getting smashed on the ground (if no-one caught them).

Before watching the videos I thought that your legs would give way first and you would just collapse straight down but it looked like peoples eyes roll back, and they just fall forwards - already unconscious without putting their hands out & land face or head first.

Get fitter
Eat breakfast first
Drink during the ride
and again ... get fitter.

If you ever see anyone about to faint... catch them before they crack their skull on the ground.  I ended up with cuts on my side & legs and smashed my riding glasses from falling down into the culvert.  I wished I had my gopro camera on filming as I dropped into the hole & to know how long I was out of it.

After recovering next to my bike and drinking my 1L of Gatorade I rolled back down to town and along the bike track to Cornelian Bay where I was going to meet Ralph who was bringing my car from Glenorchy MTB Park.

Thanks to James for stopping to check on the guy lying in the hole, Ralph & Christian for riding back down to me to check on me & for collecting my car from Glenorchy.

Monday 25 February 2013 - broken ribs

Monday 25/2 - Thursday 28/2 - continued pain in the right side of my chest, especially when my ribs are squashed.  I feel pretty sure that I have broken ribs on the right side.  The Dr said that it would take about 4-6 weeks to heal.  There is really nothing you can do for them.

Sunday 24 February 2013 - mtb ride

Sunday 24 February 2013

After a night of watching youtube mountain bike videos of the Belbins Rd (Stringy Bark Gully) area, I headed out to meet Ralph & Sam for some laps around a cross country course there.  It was a warm, sunny day so it was very sweaty work.  There is a maze of tracks here so I had to pay attention.  By the second lap around I knew what to expect ahead.  After 4 or 5 laps Ralph & Sam had to go & I stayed to explore more & found another area a short distance up on the left in a gully.

There were steep switchbacks uphill then down to a dry creek-bed then a series of steep left & right berms which ended over a blind crest down to a rickety wooden bridge then a metal bridge which looked like some roofing tin laid onto some logs.  This then either re-joined the xc track that we had previous ridden on or you could head steeply uphill on steep, dusty switchbacks - along the side of a hill with lots of small fallen trees & roots then steeply down onto the previous (easier) xc track.  On that downhill I had one stack where I used some momentum to get over a small log but landed on a bad angle that caused me to lose the front wheel and I went down - giving me a total dust bath.

After a bit more exploring and some sunburn in the heat of day I headed back to the car hoping it wasn't broken into or torched.  The carpark is littered with smashed glass and the remnants of burnt out cars which is never a good sign.  As soon as I got home I sprayed the dust off my bike and had a shower under the hose.

WARNING:  Sport is a health hazard

Later at home while dragging a heavy sea kayak around the back yard I felt a sharp & sudden painful tweak/tear from under my right arm around to under my right shoulder blade.  After a while it was agony from my right chest, under my right arm & around to my r.shoulder blade.

I still had a painful chest & possible broken ribs on the right side from a fly over the handle bars onto hard lump of ground - winding me for a while.  This was about a week ago at Clarence MTB Park.  I should have had my weight back further when I went down into a deep ditch and the front wheel stopped & I continued & my chest landed on the hump of the other side of the ditch.  I lay there groaning as I waited for the air to slowly come back to my lungs to be able to breathe again.

Now I had a muscle strain or tear in the same part of my chest as the possible broken ribs.  I should be more careful.

new toy - dual suspension mtb

Saturday 23 February 2013

I took my new dual suspension Merida 120 XT-M mountain bike out for its maiden voyage today.  I headed to 7 Mile Beach to go along the track to Lauderdale.  I soon found at the 7M Bch end they had been doing track repairs and there was a lot of soft new gravel on the track making it hard to ride.  This only lasted for about 100m and then it was the 'regular' track to Roches Beach.  

My first impression of a dual suspension bike was that it was so comfortable over bumps.  The bike has 3 settings for Climb, Trail or Descend for both front & rear suspension.  The climb setting locked the suspension out, trail gave about half travel & descend was full travel.

As I rode to Lauderdale via the Tangara Trail the new bike felt great.  I visited Dad at home then headed back via the Tangara Trail, over the top of Single Hill & down the steep descent back to track at the end of 7 Mile Bch then back home.

Wednesday 8 August 2012 - back to swimming training

Wednesday 8 August 2012

After a short break of roughly 18 years, I went to do a swimming session.  The last time I went to Clarence pool - it had the 'bubble' over the top.  The bubble was originally put on for a short-term of about 5 years but stayed for 20 (from 1982 - 2002).  Inside the bubble everything was covered in mildew & mould.  

The giant air compressors pumping air inside to keep the bubble inflated created an oppressive feeling.  During some swimming races one year there was a pop and a giant split appeared at one end.  As it collapsed, everyone made there way to the exits at each corner.

Anyway... back to the story... I turned up to the newly roofed Clarence Aquatic Centre at 8am, hoping to avoid anyone I knew so I could struggle up & down the pool in anonymity.  As I walked in I spotted Don Marsh & Stuart McKinlay

Huon Series Race 4 - Franklin 10km

Huon Series Race 4 - Franklin 10km

Kayak - Grafton Chrono

The forecast maximum temperature was only going to be 10°C but it was zero at the start with frost on the sides of the road, a cold wind and heavy rain showers.
No-one was looking forward to getting in the water.
I didn't get in early enough and did a rushed warm-up.  My hands were freezing at the start.  After some good races in Div 2, I started in Div 1 this time.  I lined up with Trav, Ian C, Seb, Ben M.

Ben & Seb started hard over to my left and Ian was trying to stay on their wash.  Travis was to my right.  We headed up river to the large passage between Egg Islands (not the canal).  After 2km's I started to feel my hands again.  On the stretch up the eastern side of the northern Egg Island we started to pass the Div 2 paddlers. 

At the half way point I came up behind a group of 4 paddlers.  I was feeling a bit ordinary - possibly due to a some hard training during the week and a terrible warm-up.  At the back of this group I paused briefly.  Their 4 skis were making some reasonable waves which would be fine if I was planning to stay there but I needed to keep going past or Travis would catch up.

As I slowly moved past the group I could tell that someone was on my wash but feeling weary I just tried to paddle a steady pace & thought about my stroke.  I counted down the distance on my gps to the end and it was a relief to finish.  I then realised that it was Ian Parker who had come behind me and finished strongly on his V10 sport.

kayak training Tuesday 27 July 2012

Tuesday 27 July 2012
Midway Point paddle
wind - glassy calm with a very slight incoming tide
Kayak - Grafton Chrono
I couldn't pass up going for a paddle as I saw the glassy water when driving home.  I did a moderate lap of my course, said hello to 'my sea eagles' and finished in a comfortable 38.10
After using my big paddle for yesterday's session I returned to the Epic paddle (smaller blade) that I have been racing with lately.

Kayak Training Thurs 26 July 2012

Thursday night group paddle session - Sandy Bay
Thurs 26 July 2012
Kayak - Grafton Time Bandit

After finishing work at 2pm I headed over to the DSS & found Carol about to head out for a paddle.  It was cold and trying to rain but calm.  I quickly got changed & went for an early paddle to the bridge & back (8km).

When I got back there was a good turnout for Ben's session and they were doing some interviews for the upcoming Winter Challenge.

At least 20 had turned up for training and the plan was to head up to the bridge (again) practicing wash-riding, swapping every 3-4 mins.  On the way back we did 2 x 4km efforts.  I was trying out a 212cm grafton paddle which I have found to be slightly too big in the past.  I was hoping my recent training would help me to use that paddle without wearing myself out too quickly.  I soon found out that I need more strength & less weight to use that paddle better.

Training Tuesday 24 July 2012

Tuesday 24 July 2012
Midway Point paddle
wind - calm with a very slight incoming tide of 0.5 - 2km/h
Kayak - Epic V10L
Today was as good as a winter day gets - sunny, calm & not too cold.
I headed out for a lap of my course using my Grafton paddle which is a bit bigger than the Epic paddle that I have been using.
I had a good, strong paddle and saw the 2 sea eagles.  Sometime I have to take my camera to I finished right on 38 mins at 11.4km/h average.  This isn't my best time but ok for my first paddle of this ski in a couple of years.  There was about 1km of shallow water where I was going about 10km/h.

Bushwalk - Fortescue Bay - Cape Hauy - Mt Fortescue return via Cape Pillar Track Monday 23 July 2012

Bushwalk - Fortescue Bay - Cape Hauy - Mt Fortescue return via Cape Pillar Track
Monday 23 July 2012

Dad suggested a bushwalk & we decided to go to Cape Hauy near Fortescue Bay on Tasman Peninsula.  We got down there at 9.15am and there was no-one else around - except for 2 Parks guys with their boat at the ramp.

The track to Cape Hauy has been upgraded to the level of a gravel footpath with very professional stone work - similar to the walk up to Wineglass Bay lookout.  The upgrade will be part of the Three Capes Track.

We came across a few wallabies happily grazing in the morning sun on the early sections.  It seemed that the new track followed a more scenic route looking over Fortescue Bay than the old one.

After a short time we reached a track junction to the right that lead to Mt Fortescue.  We had a quick chat and headed that way.  This is a 'regular' bushwalking rough track that initially follows the cliff-tops with some awesome views.

There were occasional numbered pink tags on pegs which we guessed were marking the route of the Three Capes Track.  The climb up to Mt Fortescue was pretty gradual and we reached the top at 12.45.

The top is about 490m high and is covered in tall trees with a small gap for views down to Cape Pillar and the lighthouse of Tasman Island beyond it.  After a sandwich and a mug of hot chocolate we continued down a much steeper track south towards the Cape Pillar Track.
This had been in shade for a few months and was pretty slippery.  After a few kilometres in the dense bush we reached a rocky cliff that reminded us of Sphinx Rock from Mt Wellington.

We followed a path below the cliff & climbed up at the other end & realised that there was another path we could have taken along the top.  We continued a short distance to a creek and small waterfall.  There was a log crossing here and an old sign pointing across it saying 'Camping' - pointing across the log crossing.

I thought that this might just be a side-trip to a campsite.  There were a few other tracks following up next to the creek and we looked up those but they all faded away.  We returned to the log-crossing to 'Camping' and followed that well-worn track.  It seemed to head the correct direction so we kept going.  It eventually turned to run parallel with the creek that we had just crossed - but was up about 10m higher than the creek - to the south of it.

After a few hundred metres we reached another log crossing with a sign to Camping and another sign the way we had come to Mt Fortescue.  We headed up the only route that didn't have a sign which was up hill towards the Cape Pillar Track.
After some steep & scrubby climbing we eventually reached the sign-posted junction with the Cape Pillar Track.  It was now about 2.45 but the sky was clear & sunny.  We headed back to the n/w and at 4pm we reached an open plain we spotted a 5 men ahead and then noticed the Parks Helicopter on the ground in buttongrass.  They were about to leave & we said hello as we passed. 

We continued along the track with was partly boards (in the boggy spots) and dry, rocky track in other areas.  At 5pm it was getting dark and we got our head torches out of our packs to be ready for the darkness.  We started heading down to the creek near the end at 5.30pm and my eyes were adjusting to the dusk so I didn't use the head-torch.

We reached the road at 5.45pm and strolled back to the car.  It was nice to sit down in the comfy car seats after about 8 hours of walking and a good day out.

Kayak 500m time trials - Lauderdale Canal Saturday 21 July 2012

Kayak 500m time trials - Lauderdale Canal
Saturday 21 July 2012

Derwent Canoe Club put on an afternoon of 500m time trials in the Lauderdale Canal.  The canal is fairly shallow, but sheltered and is a handy, user-friendly spot for testing out times on various craft.

It was fairly casual and you could do as many (or as few) painful efforts as you wanted.  I started in my Grafton Chrono and did a few warm-up laps then a hard on at 2.19.
I swapped to my evolution edge & was surprised that it was nearly the same at 2.20 and I could feel the pain from the previous efforts.

A 500m kayak isn't a sprint.  I approached it by about 30 sprint strokes to get the kayak moving, then settled into a hard, steady stroke - concentrating on keeping my stroke together until trying to finish the last 50m off as hard as I could.

After a few Chrono & Evo Edge efforts I tried a Stellar SES.  I didn't get the leg length set up properly and couldn't keep it straight but it felt ok on the flat.

Later I had a go in a Think Uno (fibreglass version).  It felt sleek.  I didn't get to try a timed lap as Jon was getting too cold standing around.

Ben ended up with the fastest time paddling Seb's Nelo K1.

Kayak Training - Thursday 19 July 2012

Thursday night group paddle session - Sandy Bay
Thurs 19 July 2012

A big group turned up for the session with lots of new faces.  I took my time bandit as my 'more-stable' option in the gusty n/w wind.  I the warm-up Ian spotted a dolphin cruising past the casino.  A few seconds later 4 dolphins surfaced, following the shore towards the DSS.  We haven't had much rain in the last week so the water was less dirty than normal.  A couple of weeks ago a seal was loitering near the DSS appearing to catch a few fish near the boat ramp.

We headed up to the docks for what we thought was some 2 minute efforts.  This turned out to be 6-7 minute endurance efforts.  At least the days are getting longer and we had half the session in light and partial light.

We started out at the end of the docks near CSIRO and headed into the marina, under the foot bridge that goes out to the marina (near Mures) then back out to CSIRO.
I worked on my starts because that is where I have been losing out to the faster paddlers.  It was good to have Seb, Bucks & Marty to paddle with.  It is a fine balance to work out how many really hard strokes to do before you settle down into your steady endurance rating.  I definitely depends on your training.

At the start of the year my endurance was gone & after one sprint I had nothing left - because I had a year off kayak training - initially due to injuries but then due to apathy & laziness.  But with these group sessions and regular races it keeps you motivated to train in between to improve against the other paddlers.

Kayak Training Wednesday 18 July 2012

Wednesday 18 July 2012
Midway Point paddle
wind - 20-30km/h n/w with a very slight outgoing tide in the same direction
Kayak - Grafton Time Bandit
It seems like the strong spring winds have come early.  We have had lots of very strong wind in the last week from the west to n/w.
Today's Midway Point circuit was a moderate cruise because I stupidly decided to go for a paddle just after having a bowl of cereal & I felt sluggish.  I cruised around the loop at 10.4km/h average in the strong wind in a time of 41.20 for the 7.2km
In the early morning sun, the sea eagles white chest really stood out as it watched me from a gum tree as I paddled below it.

Yay ... my tax return just appeared in my bank account.  After a bit of recent saving as well I have enough to buy an ocean ski again.  I had to sell my Epic v10L to pay for my bathroom repairs 2 years ago.

[The tiles started falling off in my shower and I found that there were gaps in the non-waterproof plaster board behind that had been getting wet.  I removed all the tiles & scraped the wall back, & fixed the holes then Dad helped as we put in waterproof bathroom wall sheeting then laminex 'lamipanel'.  I had to also fix a crack in the shower base then put lots of coats of sealing paint on top.  It was finished with a lovely new frosted glass door.]

After selling the V10L I have gone through withdrawal and missed it.  I have been looking at the available skis for the 'not-very-tall people'.  The options are:

Stellar SES
Fenn Elite - Aussie version with the seat closer to the pedals
Epic V10L
The other issue is that after my test paddle of the Fenn Swordfish I loved the secure feeling in rough weather.

Saturday 14 July 2012 - kayak training

Saturday 14 July 2012

Midway Point paddle

wind - 26km/h nw with an outgoing tide in the same direction

Kayak - Grafton Chrono

The conditions were messy.  I did a 7.2km anti-clockwise lap of my course at a cruising pace of 10.4km/h av - time 41.40

I saw the 2 sea eagles again as I paddled - 1 flying and 1 watching from an old tree.
As I packed up a bloke was taking out an old aluminium dinghy with an even older mercury outboard.  His 'missus' looked absolutely thrilled to be going out fishing in the cold wind and approaching rain.  

I left while he was still trying to start the motor as she rowed the boat - battling the current & wind.

Thursday 12 July 2012 - Thursday night group paddle session - Sandy Bay

Thursday night group paddle session - Sandy Bay
Thurs 12 July 2012

I collected my Grafton Time Bandit kayak from Pure Surf/Nick Stranger at midday.  He had fixed up a few minor chips & a couple of cracks on the boat that I bought second hand from Ash Noble.  

The session for the Thursday night Ben Maynard group was going to be a 60 minute time trial.  At this time of year it is mostly in the dark so I decided to use my bandit kayak for the extra stability in the dark - rather than take my Chrono or Evolution Edge.

From our start point off the end of the DSS boat ramp the course headed to the Casino Point, 'Wrest Point' and around the corner to the big red pole.  This turning mark was about 640m from the start.  The course headed back to the start and into a sheltered area behind the Royal Yacht Club's breakwater & around 3 buoys and back to the start line.  This was right on 1.5km.  The conditions were calm with virtually no wind and a high tide.
At the start Scott Knighton (epic v12) got away well and I was next to Ben Maynard who was paddling a DR kayak.  

At the first turning mark around the red pole Scott was just in front but his v12 couldn't turn very tightly so I got inside him and pulled level with Ben next to us.  Andrew Buckley had turned up late and was putting his Chrono in the water as we were starting - so he had to catch up a bit and also had no warm up.

As I headed into the yacht club turn I managed to stay ahead of Ben & Scott partly due to my bandit's good turning circle.  Into the second lap I tried to get in a good rhythm at 11.5km/h ish.  About 2/3 of the way around the second lap Bucks came up on my left and I put in a spurt to get a ride and stayed on his side for a couple of hundred metres and stayed on his tail to the yacht club turn.  This wash ride managed to open little gap on Ben & Scott.  For the next 4 laps this gap stayed pretty constant of about 20m back to Ben & Scott with Bucks creeping away in front.

At the start of the 8th lap I saw that Ben had pulled ahead of Scott and was close behind me.  I knew this would be the last lap as I started this lap at 56mins approx.  I tried to lift on the way to the casino turn and heard Ben close on my tail just approaching the turn.  I squeezed him out at the pole turn but he still cut his DR kayak inside and picked up the pace.  I managed to stay on his right side as we headed back past the casino jetty when the 60 minutes was up.  I had done 11.43km and pretty much paddled at race pace.  The buoy turns at each end were 180° turns which slow the pace a bit - compared to a straight paddle.

The course provoked a bit of discussion about buoy turns and Ben mentioned that I squeezed him out on the turns.  I will have to concede that I had my 'racing goggles' on - and took every turn as seriously as Lewis Hamilton trying to overtake to get the lead on the last lap of the last race of the season to win the F1 title.  Maybe I took it a little too seriously - but I love a race - even if Ben was just cruising behind me.  It was clear that he had effort to spare when he can still speak while he is paddling.  If I said anything more than 2 words it was taking valuable energy away from paddling.

kayak training Midway Point course

kayak training Midway Point course

Tuesday 10 July 2012 -

As I drove home from work I could saw that the conditions at Midway Point were glassy calm and the tide seemed pretty high.  It seemed like perfect conditions to try for a 'PB' around my 7.2km course around the two islands and the under both ends of McGees Bridge.  My previous best time was 37.50.  I decided to use my sleekest kayak for the attempt - my carbon Evolution Edge.

In my warm-up I checked for current flow under the bridge and there seemed to be no flow at all so it seemed to be high tide time which also gave me less shallow water around the islands - another bonus.  I headed off on the first stretch down to Woody Island at a steady 11.7 to 12km/h.  

My pace slowed a bit in the shallow water around the island but picked back up to 11.5 ish heading across to Barren Island.  Is is very shallow for a long way around Barren Island and I was down to 10km/h.  

I put in a big effort to get back to 12km/h towards the western end of the bridge and went under to the northern side and then sprinted the final stretch to the eastern end of the bridge finishing in a best time of 36m45sec averaging 11.6km/h.  I am pretty happy with that speed because it includes 1-2km of water only one or two feet deep.