K2inCanada's Blog

April 22, 2018

Spring Cleaning

Filed under: Canada, Home — K2 in Canada @ 1:06 PM

Most people clean their house in the spring – we clean the truck. Unfortunately, I forgot a before and after picture. It took us over 2hrs and we are still not done. Took the canopy of for the first time ever since we could not see through the rear window any longer. The worst part is getting rid of the sticky bits that our tree drops in the spring. Nothing but hard scrubbing with isopropanol gets those off. So much for giving my arms a rest after the hard paddle yesterday 🙂

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What goes up

Filed under: Canada, Kayak — K2 in Canada @ 1:00 PM

…must come down. Up as in paddling up Indian Arm around Croker Island in the double surfski. It was a bit blowy when we left, maybe 20-30km winds out of the south-southeast, blowing right down the arm, and we got a phenomenal ride to the end of theArm. We were cruising along at ~12km/hr. At some point we caught some big motorboat wash and were riding the wave for what felt like 20-30sec at close to 20km/hr.  It was a sunny day, 10C and we dressed light for a hard workout trying to beat our record around Croker. I was comfortable enough on the way out but then we rounded the island and were facing into the wind. It was strong and our speed dropped below 10km/hr. And I was getting COLD. The sun was hiding behind some puffy clouds till almost Best Point. I was ready to go to shore and put on some more clothes but then we hit sun again. Still should have put my coat on, the cold does drain your energy quite a bit. We tried hard battling into the wind for about half way back but shortly after Best Point we packed it in. It was just too windy. It took us 1hr 18min to go up the 16km, it took about 2hrs back. I was dead tired, my legs threatened to cramp up and I was shivering. Seems like lately Jeff and I are underestimating the conditions quite a few times – never used to be like this. I hate getting old. Lucky for us the Maplewood does not only serve beer and food but also hot tea :-). And our waitress turned up the fireplace for us.

This past week’s TNR was the dreaded time trial around Jug which I had to do in my single. I dreaded it because I thought I would get beat by my good friend Jodi who has not paddled for a year and I hate to loose. She is a personal trainer, owns an gym, is super fit and strong and a pretty good paddler. We used to have great battles when she first started out paddling (surfski and K1) but after a couple years she left me in her wake. She took a year of racing to fix her shoulder, something I never had the patience for. On Tuesday, she did me a great favour and started ahead of me. So far ahead, that I could not even see her at first. I had a great first half and finally had her and Cynthia in sight. I managed to catch up to Cynthia first but that’s when I died and lost my rhythm. Which was surprising because usually I like distance paddles and get stronger with time. Guess I was trying too hard at the beginning. Time to do some more intervals. I managed to hold off Cynthia but never caught up to Jodi, 100m ahead. At the end I only finished about 15sec faster than Jodi. Next time trial will be in August and she will kill me by minutes :-).

Thanks again to Vivian for the pictures. Results and write up: http://www.deepcovekayak.com/raceresult/april-17th-jug-island-time-trial/

April 15, 2018

2 Paddle Weekend

Filed under: Canada, Kayak — K2 in Canada @ 4:23 PM

Well, the skis are put away for the season. Mind you, Cypress got 20cm of fresh snow Thursday night but then it rained all day on Friday. There may still be the odd snowshoe in our future but this weekend we paddled twice. The weather was supposed to be miserable but somehow we got lucky both days. Saturday we took the double for a long 3hr paddle. It was supposed to be windy but there was hardly a ripple on Indian Arm and the rain held off until we drove back home. We even picked up the pace a bit for the way back and only had the current against us. Today we took the singles. Tuesday’s race is the time trial and Jeff does not want to do it in the double. We may be winning the TNRs in our double lately but that’s all due to Jeff`s power from all the double poling he did this winter and me barely being able to keep up. Tuesday will tell the truth, sigh. Anyhow, we had a nice 2hr paddle today in our singles. The sun was out and the wind only picked up near the end (headwind of course). Only waves we had to deal with was lots of motorboat wash. I tried to pick it up a bit near the end like yesterday but on my own there is just no speed in me :-).

April 14, 2018

A Pig in Sheep Clothes producing Kobe Beef

Filed under: Animals, Humor — K2 in Canada @ 9:41 AM

Saw the picture on facebook this AM which reminded me that I love pigs. When still living in good old Germany my biggest wish was to see wild boar roaming free in the forests. Unfortunately I never did. The closest I ever came to a “wild” pig was on a hiking/camping trip to Corsica many many years ago. I still have a scar on my thumb to show for the encounter. I never tried to feed wild animals ever since :-). Now I am looking for bears rather than boar when hiking – hence the below picture triggered my brain.

 

Obviously I had to find out a bit more about it. Mangalica are an Hungarian breed that almost went extinct. Now they are a prized breed for the tasty, fatty meat they produce – just like Kobe beef is a high fat, tasty beef. Apparently this is healthy meat: high in unsaturated fats, natural antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. The tasty pork now forms the backbone of Hungarian haute cuisine. In Budapest, the mangalica even gets its own culinary festival. Who new?

April 12, 2018

Liquid Sunshine

Filed under: Canada, Hummer, Kayak, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 10:37 PM

Well it is early April and the weather is behaving as it should. A bit of sun, a bit more rain and some wind. We made the best of it I think.

Spent Saturday morning bird watching at our balcony door. Besides quite a few hummers, there numbers seem to get bigger and bigger every year and they are sucking the small feeder empty in almost a day, there were a bunch of woodpeckers around picking at our tree.

In the afternoon we went for most likely our last cross country ski in Manning. It was a +2C day, overcast and light drizzle on and off which once in a while tried to be snow. Conditions were soft and slow but overall good to ski on – just everything took a bit longer and Jeff was almost ready to put his skis back on to look for me by the time I made it back to the car. Ooops. It was “The Stache” weekend at Manning as their long time GM Mike Baker retired. So everyone who put on a mustache was supposed to get $10 off. Well, that offer actually only counted for the downhill area. Oh well. Jeff and I still dressed up since we have to be thankful to Mike Baker for keeping the snow on the road at every Cascade Cup loppet! My mustache worked so well, it stayed on for my full 3+hr ski 🙂

 

Sunday was a paddling day in the Cove. Started out nice and easy up the Arm at a quite leisurely pace but for the way back Jeff had us do 1′ on 4′ rest intervals. Doesn’t sound as hard as it felt! Especially as we always seem to have a headwind on the way back. We were supposed to have current help us but that sure did not feel like it. And yes it rained a bit but also some almost sun.

 

Anyhow, the training did pay off. This Tuesday and we won the TNR AGAIN! Ex sprint national team member Wes Hammer was out and I was sure he would show us back into our place. But he has spent the winter at school becoming a teacher and we were able to hold him off. I am sure it won’t tale long for him to crush us all again as he used to do last year and the year before and the year before that :-). The weather was actually much better than expected – no rain and a bit of sun even. Still kinda cold standing around for the prizes at the end.

 

For Amy’s race report and full results go here: http://www.deepcovekayak.com/raceresult/april-10th-lone-rock-return/  Thanks to Viv from DCO for taking the pictures.

And a race video if you liked the last one: https://youtu.be/hlv5pYjN988

April 7, 2018

Start to Finish

Filed under: Canada, Kayak — K2 in Canada @ 10:30 PM

This week was the first TNR of the season. Apparently this is the 20th season of Tuesday Night Racing in Deep Cove. I think we started doing them in 2002. Back then everyone was in sea kayaks – we have come a long ways from there. Now surfskis and SUPs dominate the scene. But many of the paddlers are still the same :-).

Since Jeff has not been in his single for a while and we’ve gotten a couple of nice long steady paddles in in the double already, we took the double surfski out. I wasn’t sure how my body would react to actually getting my heart rate up and race. But it’s a short race, just around Grey Rocks, and I figured we should survive. We had a reasonable start and soon were leading the pack. Usually Jeff and I are riding Shane’s wash but this time him and Bob were sitting on our double for almost the whole time. Crazy Jeff had to put in some sprints every so often to see if we could drop them. All it did it make me nearly faint from the effort :-).  But the boat felt good and our timing was on. We managed to hold off Shane in the sprint to the finish line by an inch with Bob finishing just behind us. It felt good to win the first race :-). Race video below (if you don’t want to watch the whole thing, you can see Jeff and I at 1:30, 4:50 and 8:15).

For race write up by Amy from Deep Cove Outdoors and full results go here: http://www.deepcovekayak.com/raceresult/april-3rd-grey-rocks-return/

April 2, 2018

Easter weekend

Filed under: Canada, Kayak, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 10:13 PM

I did not want to go back to work today. What a nice relaxing Easter Long Weekend we had. Friday we slept in and then took the double surfski around Croker Island. The temperatures were much more agreeable than last weekend despite a good headwind on the last portion of the way back. It was a solid paddle. Spent the rest of the day eating and drinking and hummingbird watching and lounging around on the couch.

Saturday we slept in and then drove to Manning for an afternoon ski. Conditions were pretty decent for this late in the season. They still have a good amount of snow but the trails are going through freeze-thaws. It was 5C and sunny while we skied. Quite nice, really, even though the tracks were a bit of a mess in sections. North Gibson and Strawberry Flats was one of the best trails. And off course we finished off with a hot tub visit, beer and a huge plate of nachos.

Sunday was supposed to be another paddling day, after we slept in of course, but the wind was howling with gusts up to 40km/hr. So we were humming and hawing on what to do instead. We finally ended up loading the double surfski onto the car and drove out to Deep Cove. The launch site was protected well enough and we hugged the shore towards Cates just getting hammered by the odd gusts. At Cates Point, we turned around and rode the wind waves back. We did that 3 times. And for good measure we threw in 14 x 1min on 4min intervals. It was hard work and it got pretty cold when the sun hid itself behind some big clouds. But it felt good. Let the racing season begin :-). TNRs starting tomorrow.

I am almost finished with my Newfoundland blog – it’s only 14 pages so far and that is without pictures! And there are so many more stories I missed to tell last year. Hopefully I will be able to catch up before summer.

March 27, 2018

Tough, tough race

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 10:47 PM

Well, the Mexico Spring Loppet at Nickel Plate in the South Okanagan, BC, Canada, is done and we did not win the trip to Mexico. Even if they would have called my name, I am not sure I would have been able to get up, walk to the front of the room and put a smile on my face for the picture. Don’t get me wrong, for Nickel Plate to be able to give out a price like that was fantastic. In hindsight though I wished I could have bought a ticket without having to ski first…

I secretly had been looking forward to this skiathlon loppet – something different. 14km classic technique followed by 15km skate. I am a classic skier but I put in some 10-12km skate skis over the last couple weeks at Cypress to get prepared. I actually felt like I can do 15km skating no problem, even though I knew I would be slow. Nothing to loose really. But then Jeff showed me the course. I know the area pretty well, especially the trails they used for the classic loppet (30km) they used to hold there in previous year and it used to be one of my favourite loppets. I figured they cut the loppet course in half and use the west side trails around Cannonball for classic and the east side trails up to “Eagles Nest” for the skate portion. The later is the bigger hill but I was okay with it. But when I saw the actual course it went like this – Classic up to “Eagles Nest” x 2 and for the skate they created a new course, with trails I am not at all familiar with. All I remembered from those trails was that they go down the hill quite a bit which means there must be quite a bit of an up to get back to where we started and after that, we had to climb up to Cannonball still, x 2. I was a bit more worried.

We didn’t leave home till mid afternoon Sat – see previous post. It was quite snowy in sections along HWY 3 to Princeton. Winter isn’t done yet! The special treat – we saw a big herd of elk near Princeton. Very cool!

We spent the night in Keremeos, and had dinner at the Thai Restaurant “Benya”. We just made it in time before last call at just after 8PM. Our usual go to place, The Branding Iron, was closed for what looked like a private function. Anyhow, the food was good and not too spicy for a pre-race meal. The night was a bit rough sharing the room with our sometimes a bid noisy ske/paddle buddy JG but I think I did get some decent sleep.

Sunday morning woke us up with brilliant blue skies and sunshine. Nickel Plate had gotten a dump of fresh snow during the week leading up to the event and temperatures were supposed to be between -10 and -2C. Almost ideal conditions for this late in the season. It sure looked great up at Nickel Plate and the ski exchange area was well set up. We got to watch some of the kids races before the main race was to start. Some people were dressed up in costumes as well.

WARNING – a lot of whining from here on. Read at your own risk : -): As usual I lined up in the back and that’s were I stayed the whole time. The classic leg already felt way to hard having to go up right away rather than getting a warm up on the flats. My hamstring still didn’t like the striding too much and I was timid on the hill, loosing grip more often than I should have with my skin skis. Luckily my shoulder/neck was doing okay and I spent some time double poling again but the snow was very slow and soft. Not sun soft but lots of fresh snow soft. I felt slightly better on lap 2 of the classic portion but still came in almost last to the ski exchange area. I was on my own for the whole 2nd lap. All the costume people were way ahead :-). Oh well, I was just there for a ski – only needed to finish 2 laps of 7.5km of skating. How hard cam that be? Off I went on my skates, feeling wobbly as I always do at the start of skating. Usually it goes away after a couple kilometers of easy skiing. But there we no couple kilometers of easy skiing on this course. It went up right away. I slowed down to a crawl on the first hill less than a kilometer into the race. People started passing me, them being on their second lap already. Oh boy, I thought, that’s going to be a slog. And it got worse from here. After the first climb up (I did not even remember that trail going up all that much) there was a steep downhill section, way down. At least with the soft snow I had control snowplowing down the switchbacks, obviously realizing that all this down meant a lot of up. I had to stop a few times on the way up to catch my breath. Tons of people passed me, some of them making the hill look easy but not all. I was not the only one that rested. But everyone else was a lot faster in between rests :-). I finally, finally made it up to lodge level again where the course offered a 500m flat section before it started going up again to the top of Cannonball. Another stop and go slow approach. I was convinced I am going to quite after the first lap. I was sure one was eligible for the big Mexico Trip draw prize based on registration only without the caveat of having to finish. There was one last steep climb left before the end of lap 1. Some of the volunteers were standing on top of it directing racers. Everyone was cheering for me as I stumbled up the hill, maybe you could still call it herring-boning. “Hey, you are almost done”, they called. “Well”, I said, “I actually have to do this again”. “Oh dear” was the reaction from the crowd. Not sure if they were thinking of themselves having to wait for another at least 60min until I would came by again, or because they felt sorry for me for having to be out there for another hour. But that made my decision, I would quit. So I get to the finish line/lap area where I hear the announcer call my name saying I would make the podium – well, he miscounted my laps too :-). I pulled off the course not crossing the finish line to not confuse anyone else and then there was Jeff. He must have finished some time ago, yes he also had passed me, but he still had his skis on. I told him I would DNF and he said “No way – I don’t want to have to read your blog about how sorry you felt for yourself for not finishing”. “I come with you” he said. My resolve to quit weakened, I agreed to continue on. Jeff stayed with me the whole time, trying to cheer me on. I was really struggling though even though I tried to tell myself “You can do this, it’s just a f….g ski”. And with a lot of stop and go slow again I actually did finish. My 2nd lap was 50sec faster. And to my surprise, there was one more person behind me. For people that like to look at the numbers. My time was 3:17. The fastest finisher was 1:27 (which was only 3min slower than my classic portion of the race :-)). The fastest woman was 1:53 (she is 2 years younger than me). Jeff finished in 2:01 – he skates as little as I do – and he beat two of our skiing buddies that are much better skaters than him. Awesome result! For the full results go here.

My body was tired but I think this race was just mentally very tough. I am not used to feel this much out of shape, even though I really am out of shape compared to what I used to. That little bit of weight training in the AM just does not make up for the long bike rides to the lake, the paddling in the evenings, the running I tried for a while, etc. I hate letting myself get old!

Thank you Jeff though for making me finish!!! I know I would have hated myself more for not finishing than finishing last. I did not have to worry about any volunteers out on the course either, other than the timing person at the finish line and the announcer, everyone else was already inside eating – but I liked it better that way :-). Jeff promised me that this would be the last skate race I would ever have to do but I am sure/hope I will try again. Not this year though :-). I wasn’t the only one struggling with the tough course. It was quite hilly and the snow was slow. So maybe, this will get me out of my bad habit of working late and exercising little. Mind you, the last two days I did exactly that…. My excuse, I am still too tired from the weekend.

We saw the elk again on the drive home. I was too tired to stop for more pictures even though the light would have been much better.

March 24, 2018

Holy cold

Filed under: Canada, Kayak, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 3:14 PM

Just in time for spring, the temperatures dropped again, sigh. There was a reason we stopped paddling in the winter. It was wet and cold on Indian Arm today, 3.5C according to the car. We did not bring the right gear! No full rain coats and no pogies. It was okay for the first 50min when we were protected from the wind. As soon as we went out to cross from Jug to Twin we had this icy cold from the east. We were closer to being hyperthermic and only paddling hard kept us going – I could not feel my hands at all at the end. We do HAVE all the right gear to paddle in those conditions but got fooled by the warm weather over that last two weeks.

Last weekend we paddled Saturday in the sunshine for 3+hrs. It was also windy at times but sooo warm, 10+C. On Sunday we went skiing again at WOP. It was cooler than the weekend before, between +2 and +5C I think, but it was still quite warm. Mind you when we left Vancouver in the AM, it was raining in town. 🙂 This time we only climbed up to Loon Lake, via Madeley Lake. The snow was still soft and slow in sunny spots but the differences weren’t as severe as the previous weekend. Grip was on and off and I did hurt my hamstring yet again. Rats!

This past week was the first evening paddle of the season as well. Thanks to my great friend and workout buddy Krista who pushed me to leave work early enough to go paddling. Usually I would be paddling on Burnaby Lake by now but I am getting lazy with age riding my bike up the hill. Hence I took the surfski onto the river. A beautiful, albeit short paddle. No scary tugs 🙂

P1230261 (Medium)

This past week was also the end of night skiing. An okay night to end the season, with a light drizzle and warm which kept the snow soft for good ski control. Ready for the last loppet tomorrow!?

March 11, 2018

Holy sunshine, hot

Filed under: Canada, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 9:58 PM

It was a +10C day today at Callaghan. Blue skies and endless sunshine. Almost too hot to climb up to the Journeyman Lodge but the views were spectacular. If not for my still sore shoulder this would have been the best ski yet this season. Mind you, despite using my skins grip wasn’t the greatest on the way up, or I should say my technique sucked to get grip. Because on the downhill sections, the skis were VERY grippy in all the sunny spots. Past Callaghan Lake the trail enters the forest after the long 8.5km climb up along the groomed road all in the sun – I am sure I burnt my nose. In the forest the trail alternated between sunny spots and shady spots. On the gentle up and downhills I didn’t notice much of a difference but at one point I was going down this steeper short hill which started out in the shade and I gained some decent speed. Half way down I hit the sunny section and my skis almost stopped dead. Of course I crashed, landed on my bad shoulder and overstretched my hamstring. RATS. Luckily the pain was manageable and I continued on hoping that Jeff would come down any minute so I could turn around. But I had to ski on for at least another slow 45min, being scarred hitting any sunny spot until we finally met. It would have been only another kilometer to the Lodge but I had enough and was worried about the long and somewhat steep down hill at the end. I moved my binding all the way back to reduce grip and it helped a little bit but the way down was scary as hell. Lots of snow plowing and very tired legs at the end. Legs were more tired on the way down than up. But every time I went from shade (now there were some tree shadows on the trail) to sun I felt this huge resistance in my skis and it tugged on my hamstring. The difference in speed in the shade vs. sun was incredible. But I made it down without another crash, slowly, and despite a sore shoulder and shaky legs it was an incredible, although long ski! One day I want to do it on a sunny, -3C day with a good dump of fresh snow on the night before. And maybe that day I have energy left to explare the trails at the lodge that Jeff always raves about. I am not picky at all, am I? 🙂

We stopped at the Shady Tree in Squamish to refuel on beer and food. Diamond Head was smoking today – be aware of all those dormant volcanoes of the Pacific Rim!

 

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