K2inCanada's Blog

October 1, 2016

Team Sports

Filed under: Canada, Sport, work — K2 in Canada @ 8:11 PM

I used to do more team sport when I was young. I played Handball as a teenager and Volleyball throughout University and beyond. Always found it harder to stay in semi-competitive team sports here in Canada. Maybe I didn’t look in the right places. And if I found some, it seemed expensive. And then I fell in love with kayaking….

Anyhow, I never liked soccer – may sound weird being German – nor basketball – I was always kicked out for too much fouls! But then last year the company I work for came up with a 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament and off course I had to sign my team, Carlos and Alex and I, up for it. It was a double elimination tournament, 15 min or 15 points limits and we got eliminated in two games not making it to regulation time ever but at least scoring a total of 8 point in those two games. Well my fellow team members scored, I didn’t. But even though our performance was less than mediocre, we had a lot of fun. We practiced quite a bit beforehand which did help somewhat. Great team building! Teams with a wide variety of skill levels signed up and the games were mostly fun to watch. Some were a bit rough. No skill, no speed, but bulk and height, causing a couple casualties. And of cause the trash talk beforehand was fun. Now you would think the one time would have been enough for me to realize I really should not try to play Basketball but as this year’s tournament was announced again in early August, my team was the first one to sign up :-). It’s the team spirit that counts not the skill level. Mind you Carlos ditched us this year, he wanted to take pictures instead, so that opened up the opportunity to add someone with skill – Michael joint. Our goal for this year’s tourney was to get at least 10 point total in the two games we would be playing and maybe even make it through regulation time once. This year’s games were only 12min – achievable we thought. Unfortunately, our first game was against the biggest, strongest, tallest although not most skilled team and we lost.  We only had speed on our side which was not enough. Program Management (us) against Product Management (our team mates) – a constant fun rivalry off and on the court! But we did not get destroyed. I think we got 8 points in that game and even got our opponents worried for a minute or two which really made me smile. There easily had 200lbs and 5″ on us. And I scored a basket!!! Our 2nd game was a bit more even in regards of size and speed but the other team had more skilled players. And Michael was out for that game – traveling for business – and I had to find a sub. Found us a young, tall, athletic engineer, Logan, that had just started with us a couple months before and he had helped me huge on one of my projects. He also had come out to our early practices a lot so I thought it was more than fair having him as sub. He wasn’t really a regular basketball player but had a lot more skill, height and speed than Alex and I. He scored 10 point for us that game. I shot one more basket (2pts) and Alex scored 3 foul point. You do the math – we WON!!! Nobody was more surprised than us :-). We lost the next game against a very skilled team, last year’s champions. But it was close and a lot of people were cheering for us. Even the other team. These guys were from the shipping team and played the cleanest most fun to watch basketball of all the teams. They could have crushed us but made us feel like were in the game too. Awesome! I was cheering for them for the rest of the tournament but unfortunately they did not win. To my “disappointment”, Product Management won :-).

We’ll be there again next year even though the 3rd picture below shows why I really should not play basketball :-).



July 17, 2016

Canada Day Long Weekend: 3. Almost messed that up

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Sport, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 10:57 PM

I am falling behind again with my blogging. Day 3 of the Canada Day long weekend.

Jeff said our neighbours were quite noisy most of the night. I heard nothing – slept like the dead. It was warm and sunny and we were ready to crawl out of the tent when the alarm went of at 7AM with plenty of time to spare to get to the start of the Okanagan Trestle Tour, so we thought. Leisurely took down the tent, sat down for a muffin breakfast in the morning sun and watched a male deer walk through the camp site.

Not sure why I got the feeling that having so much time before the tour start felt a bit off. We seemed to be so rushed last year trying to get to the shuttle buses on time. So eventually I asked Jeff if he was sure that the tour started at 9AM.  “I guess I could check the info they gave us yesterday” he said. And yep, there it was written black on white. The buses will leave at 7:30AM from Penticton for the Myra Canyon start between 8 and 10AM. When we read it, it was already 7:40AM and we were a good 15-20min up the hill still outside of Penticton. RATS! We missed the shuttle bus. But Jeff was right – the actual bike portion of the tour started around 9AM :-). Now what!? We had turned a well organized event into a complete rush and worry experience. We jumped into action, threw everything into the car and started driving thinking we would just drive ourselves to Myra Canyon and just leave the car there. Eventually the panic subsided a bit and we started thinking again. How do we get the car back as the bike ride ended in Penticton while Myra Canyon is outside of Kelowna. That’s quite a drive and there were no afternoon bus shuttles. Maybe a suggestion for next year? We can’t be the only ones (idiots) that missed the buses, can we? Anyhow, that’s not going to help this year. So we thought about taking a taxi back – I am sure that would have been expensive. Then finally the brain started functioning properly again and we remembered our good friends in Peachland (see previous post). Peachland is right in between Kelowna and Penticton. And Mary drives a standard as well. And they are both early risers. Mary picked up the phone right away when she recognized the number knowing we were in trouble. In a couple minutes we had our ride organized. We picked them up on the way to take our car back at least to Peachland. Mary also functioned as the perfect navigator so we made it to the Myra Canyon start, but just in time for the cut off at 10AM. The drive was even longer than I remember with the last 10km on a good logging road but it was slow going. ALL the bikes were gone – including ours from the looks of it. Back to near panic. We had seen a moving truck come down the mountain just before we got there. Did they already sent our bikes back down? Lucky for us we saw one of the volunteers following the tour as a mechanic whom we knew from paddling. There bus had broken down and they also got a bit later start than planned. But he knew were our bikes were. We WERE the only ones unaccounted for and they had already been worried what to do with the last 2 bikes left :-). So at the end we did get to do the tour and it was even better than last year I thought. Trail seemed in better condition than last year, a bit less slippery in the middle section? But we did have to get through some huge puddles. We didn’t stop as much for pictures and finished a bit faster. Weather was great – not too hot, but a constant sometime pretty strong headwind. And I seem to have to pedal my bike constantly, even downhill, to keep up with Jeff who was coasting for half of it. I was really tired after the 80km and the just over 4hrs in the saddle – except for short stops on all the food stations along the way. Well worth it!

Mary and Keith had dropped the car off right in Penticton at the Convention Centre (where we would have caught the bus in the AM IF…). They are really best friends!!! And even though they could not have known, they parked the car in the exact same parking spot we had parked the day before to drop the bikes off. There is lots of parking around the Convention Centre and we could have easily have been searching for a while. And because of that we did not stayed long at the finish line BBQ. Way too early we were on our way back to the coast. Way to early because we are talking July long weekend here and the traffic to get back to Vancouver is usually horrendous. So we took our sweet time. Stopped in Keremeos for ice cream and to buy some fresh Okanagan cherries and peaches.

We stopped again in Manning Park and Lightning Lake. We were originally thinking to go for a swim but it was actually cold and still very windy despite the sunshine. Too cold to even sit outside with the ground squirrels and read our books. So we went for another short 1hr hike around Lightning Lake. The setting sun produced some great views!

Finally by about 9PM we were on the road again. We still hit traffic once we got to Abbortsford but at least it kept going at an okay pace and we were home before midnight. But by the time we got to bed it was well past my bedtime and it was REALLY hard to get up at 6AM the next morning to be at work for my 7:45AM morning workout with the boys.

Awesome weekend! Lesson learnt – always double check the start times the NIGHT before :-).


April 12, 2014

Another first for me

Filed under: Canada, Kayak, Sport — K2 in Canada @ 10:57 PM

What a day – beautiful sunshine and temperatures in the mid teens. Quite nice for April!!! And what were we up to on such a fine day – we went downtown for a 5k/10k running race. If you know me or are following my blog you know that I hate running. But my friend Krista has been after me for a while now to go and do a running race together. She used to be like me – love to paddle, hate to run. But a couple of years ago she set herself a goal to become better at running. And she sure succeeded and is running a few times a week now enjoying it – at the cost of paddling mind you. Haven’t seen her in a boat in quite some time. I think she owes me one now :-).

As a warm-up we played soccer with her kids and husband. The race went along the sea wall in Stanley Park – quite a scenic run which sure helped. And I probably had my best 5k time – well that’s kinda easy since I never raced before (other than for charity) – finishing only 3min behind Krista and definitely not last. I had people around me the whole time and there actually was some passing going on back and forth. At the end I was happy I did it. Check! The funniest part was the start. The 10k-ers started first. They all crowded the starting line 5min before the start. When the gun went off Jeff was still walking when crossing the start line it was so busy. The 5k-ers started 15min later. They started lining up about a minute before the race. Nobody wanted to be in front – the first person being back about 5m off the start line. I was mid pack sending Krista up front. We all started running at the same time at our leisure pace – I knew I was in the right group of runners :-).

In the afternoon we went for a paddle. I was actually quite windy and Jeff suggested to go back to Jericho to ride some waves. Unfortunately to ride a wave you have to paddle out into the wind and waves first. It was quite wavy out on the beach. The wind almost ripped the boat out of my hands carrying it to the water. Lots of surfers and kite surfers out on the water. I had a hard time even launching my surfski. Jeff was in his boat in no time. I nearly panicked when I finally made it off the beach feeling I would fall off my boat any second. Almost quit right there and then but eventually got a grip of myself – I had done this hundreds of times before!  Nevertheless while Jeff took off I only paddled out for about a km or so and then surfed the waves back. Doing that 3 time helped a lot to get my confidence back and I felt much better afterwards. The surfing in was quite fun and I connected a few nice waves.

Since it was such a nice day we had brought our stunt kites along and spent another 45 min on the beach flying the kits. What an awesome day.

April 2, 2014

I did something (almost) unimaginable this morning

Filed under: Canada, Home, Kayak, Sport — K2 in Canada @ 11:04 PM

… I ran into work. Jeff had been trying to get me to do it for some time. I hate running!!! With all my heart. Worse with a backpack full of stuff – thinking the whole way my yogurt is going to spill all over my work clothes, which it did not. But last night I got so frustrated with my laziness – not making it to the lake after work on one of the nicest days of the year so far, not even manage to go for a short run along the river to catch the sunset, or at least go to the gym to do something – that I decided today would be the day I run into work. PUNISHMENT! Okay, it’s only about 6km and most of it along a pretty nice trail along the Fraser (would be all of it if the trail wouldn’t be partially closed for dyke construction) but for a non-runner like me that’s equivalent to a half marathon. It took me about that long! Mind you it was a great morning for being outside. Nevertheless, I hurt most of the day and it took about 2hrs for my face to change back to it’s normal color. Some people seriously asked where I got this awesome sunburn from – tomato face!!! My colleagues sure liked me running in as it took about half a day for me to recover enough to chase after them again for their project deliverables.

Am I going to turn into a runner – never!!!  This afternoon I did managed to get out of work early enough for a nice 12km paddle on the lake – just so I don’t have to run again tomorrow :-). Balance is improving, now I only need some fitness back.

This link – http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running – though almost made me want to run, before today that is. The thought of being able to eat even more chocolate and chips was very tempting – before today!!!

April 15, 2013

This will take some practice…

Filed under: Canada, Home, Kayak, Sport — K2 in Canada @ 9:22 PM

… but it looks really cool!! The intro is a bit long but don’t give up. Enjoy.

Jeff and I tried to fly our kites this afternoon. The weather was a bit unstable – a mix of sun and clouds with more sun than clouds. But there was only a little bit of wind every time the storm clouds were drifting through overhead. For the most part there was just no wind at all. So we went to the lake for a paddle until those same storm clouds drove us off the lake.

Stormclouds over Burnaby Lake

Storm clouds over Burnaby Lake

April 14, 2013

Feeling 21 again…

Filed under: Canada, Home, Sport — K2 in Canada @ 11:32 PM

..if I just ignore the pain in my back and knees and….

I had totally forgotten how much fun stunt kites can be, especially on a sunny afternoon on the beach. Jeff’s birthday is tomorrow and I had no idea what to get him. And when I asked he said – how about getting me a stunt kite. We had seen some a couple of weeks ago when we walked along Jericho Beach. So today, after our morning paddle on Burnaby Lake we went to “Kites & Puppets” in the Kids Market on Granville Island and bought some. Of course I had to get one too even though it won’t be my birthday any time soon. And even more so we had to try them out right away nevermind Jeff’s birthday isn’t till tomorrow. The wind was light to moderate and the sun was out. We drove out to Spanish Banks hoping there are fewer people around. With stunt kits it isn’t a matter of if we’d be crashing them into the ground at 50km/hr, it is only a matter of when. I had flown stunt kites way back when I was an undergrad at University back in Germany. So that’s many summer ago :-). The kites have evolved a bit since then – no more trimming necessary and they are assembled in minutes and hop into the air so smoothly, it was great. At least for me. Jeff had a bit more trouble getting his kite off the ground. The first 3 tries went up less than a meter before the kite turned 180 degrees and slammed into the beach. Jeff figured his lines are not the same length. So he shortened one tying a loop. But the result was the same – bang! Finally he noticed that the problem was at the kites end – during assembly he had routed the lines on one site below the cross-bar or spreader rather than above…. no wonder it didn’t fly. With that fixed, Jeff got the kite into the air no problem. It still took a few tries and crashes before he figured out how to steer the kite but he soon was able to master quite a few tricks. We must have spent a couple of hours on the beach. What a day!!! Even in this moderate wind the kite was trying to drag me off my feet every so often. And the sounds they make when they accelerate across the wind is just as cool as a race car speeding by….not as loud mind you. But why people need to stop UNDERNEATH the kites to watch us fly them is a mystery to me…I guess they just don’t know better.

April 7, 2013

Something different

Filed under: Canada, Sport — K2 in Canada @ 12:13 AM

The weather forecast was for heavy rain today. So last night Jeff asked a friend of his if he could take us climbing in an indoor climbing gym. Jeremy has been climbing for 12 years – indoors and outdoors – and he makes it look soooo easy. Jeff mastered all the way up to 5.9 difficulty on the routes. I only got to 5.7. Probably doesn’t mean much to most of my readers but let me tell you, once those little hand holds get smaller and smaller the degree of difficulties goes up exponentially. Never mind overhangs and the worst of all bouldering… The later seems to be pure strength and since I had hardly been to the gym all winter I didn’t even manage the easiest one. We had been to the lake for almost an hour and a half before going climbing since the promised rain didn’t materialize. It was a bit breezy though – crosswind and maybe I was just more tired. While we were in the gym the sun was even shining for a bit. We rewarded ourselves with food and beer afterwards 🙂

October 30, 2010

Running Buddy

Filed under: Canada, Home, Sport — K2 in Canada @ 7:29 PM

Jeff and I started our usual Saturday morning Run & Paddle winter training sessions some time ago now. Two weeks ago  my friend Krista happened to show up. She used to not run at all then started to run a lot when she was on maternity leave with her 2nd child with the goal of breaking an hour running around Burnaby Lake. I have had that goal for MANY years but haven’t even tried for almost as many. She got really close to the hour but then got injured and even worse had to go back to work. So running dropped of her radar screen for a while. So we ran together that day. She actually made me run faster than a I usually do and then turned around after 2km while I still had 1.5 further to go till my halfway point. I significantly slowed down on the 2nd half :-). We missed each other last week (apparently the kids weren’t cooperating) and I ran by myself again – slower overall. Today Krista was waiting for us and I had my running buddy back. But it was way more painful today trying to keep up with her. She ran a bit further than 2 weeks ago but still said she couldn’t go the full distance. I am sure next week she’ll do the distance and the week after I won’t be able to keep up any longer. But I will try!!!

Today I read her blog from last week where she claims I was slowing down for her two weeks ago. I think today’s run fixed that misconception :-).

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