“Spend as much time as possible on mountains, in small boats, or otherwise out in the weather; if you never get wet, cold, exhausted or scared, you won’t properly appreciate being dry, warm, rested and safe.” ~ Peter Jay

"I’m an adventuring river rat at heart. Put me on a floating piece of driftwood and I’m happy." ~ Christina Glauner

"There’s folly and foolhardiness on one side and daring and calculation on the other." ~ C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels

Sunday, May 30, 2010

South Dakota Kayak Challenge

Yesterday I participated in the first South Dakota Kayak Challenge. On Friday, I drove down to Yankton for the pre-race meeting and to camp in Riverside Park, the starting point. After the meeting, we shuttled cars to the finish line at Bev's On The River in Sioux City and took a bus back to Yankton. Ryan Snuggerud was also racing and he camped next to me. We also planned to stick near each other for most of the race.

View SDKC in a larger map

There were racers from Ontario, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and, of course, South Dakota. Boats ranged from surf skies to sea kayaks to recreation kayaks. Even the race veterans (MR 340, Texas Water Safari) were impressed with the number of racers for the inaugural event. After the race, I am told, the first overall racer said that it was his toughest race.
That maybe because of the typical South Dakota winds we experienced. We had winds in the 20s mph and gusts up to 32 mph. The temperature was in the low to mid 90s.
Looking over the map (above), Ryan and I did a good job of trying to shave distance by cutting across the river curves. My gps data shows 67.3 miles for the course, under the 72 river miles.
We also had another paddler hanging with us through the race, Justin Herreman of Black Hills Paddlers fame. As the race went on, we grew more tired. Three quarters of the way through the first section, I put my rudder down because I realized I would wear down too quickly if I was constantly leaning/edging as I fought against the headwind. Ryan and I got out and stretched at every check point, plus on one sandbar. As we neared the finish, Justin and I sprinted out, giving the patrons at Bev's On The River and Jolly Rogers a show. I was into the marina mere seconds ahead of him (Justin) with Ryan right behind.
We were exhausted, but I believe everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event. Thanks again to the volunteers, sponsors, and racers that made this a successful race. Here's to next years race!

We came across the finish line (marina entrance) roughly around 9 PM, 14 hours after the start. Results will be online Monday afternoon, but I though I heard that we rounded out the top 20 or 25. In my sprint with Justin, I was paddling a minimum of 8 mph and hit 8.5 mph.
EDITED TO ADD: The results were posted today. Justin and I were tied for 9th in the adventurer class. We finished at 8:53 PM with Ryan just a minute behind us.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I can't believe I am saying this, but I want more wind!

After camping through a torrential downpour, T-storm, and gale force winds on Friday night, I took Indy home to catch up on his sleep. I on the other hand tried to go paddling around La Framboise Island to play in the waves (on Saturday). Though by Saturday afternoon the wind was dying back down. I did get some playing in, but it was no where near as windy as when John and I did the same last summer. I ended up paddling around the  whole island as well. The high yesterday was 89 degrees... great day to be on the river. There were lots of boats out and lots of shore fisherman taking advantage of the free fishing weekend. I once again had the Pentax Optio W80 mounted to the bow of my Current Designs Storm GT for the endeavor.
This bodes well...

From 2010-05-22
This the sort of thing I bought a waterproof camera with interval shoot and a camera mount to capture.

From 2010-05-22
Cooling the horses off, I presume.

From 2010-05-22

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bad River

I went for an evening paddle last night. I put in at the causeway and paddled over to the mouth of the Bad River. I then began to continue upstream. The Bad River had a high turbidity... it seemed even higher than normal. I decided to turn around just before the second railroad bridge, so as to make it back home before it got too late. I ended up covering just over 6 miles. Again, I was carrying my camera mounted near the bow and set to interval shooting. I haven't stated this yet, but I also have secured a mounting plate for my gps to the kayak deck.

I also want to address a recent comment on pictures I uploaded to facebook. When I took a couple friends out in my tandem, you can see they are not wearing life jackets. They DID have life jackets in the boat. I always wear my life jacket, but I am not going to force any adult to wear one. They are adults capable of their own decisions.

Monday, May 17, 2010

All of my boats have hit the water this year...

Yesterday my tandem managed to get wet. I took a couple more friends out kayaking around La Framboise Island. I was playing with my new Sticky Pod mount and the interval shooting mode on my new Pentax Optio W80 camera. I had the camera mounted to the side of the boat up near the bow. It held really well, but I need to lengthen the interval from 20 seconds to maybe a minute or 5... and probably half a hour for the SD Kayak Challenge.
We stayed outside the channel alongside the island because the water was a bit low. We covered a hair over 6 miles. Nothing else too exciting to write about.

From 2010-05-16

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Taking rookies out...

Yesterday, Chuck and I took a couple of non-paddler friends of mine around La Framboise Island. I paddled my CD Storm GT, Chuck paddled his QCC 700X and my friends paddled my Perception Carolina 14 and Chuck's WS Tsunami 14.5.

I also was playing with my new camera (Pentax Option W80) and mount (Stickypod). I setup the camera to operate on interval shooting, which allows me to set a time interval (i.e. 30 seconds) for the camera to take pictures until the flash card is full or a set number of pictures is taken. It is a very neat feature.

We took our time around the island, stopping frequently to adjust the seats etc. in the borrowed boats and give a few tips on paddling, etc. We paddled through the channel/chute alongside the island... less than a hour ahead of us another couple of paddlers beached their boat, scrambled into the island, and captured more pictures of the moose (Yes, Dave P. was one of the two!).

We did have to use our hands to propel us through the last little bit of the channel/chute. When we got to the dike structure, the water was too low to get the fiberglass and carbon/kevlar boats across, though I went over and back in my plastic boat. So we headed out into the main channel and back around the end of the island. As we were coming around the end of the island, through the main channel, apparently a fishing tournament was ending. 20+ boats started coming through the narrow channel at the end of the island. The water got rough and we had to stop to bail some water on the borrowed boats.

Luckily, once we got past the end of the island, the water turned to glass and the rest of the trip was uneventful. Well, besides my camera battery dieing, a function of interval shooting I believe. I then spent a little time paddling backwards!

This trip was probably the longest it has ever taken me to go around the island, but it was still a blast just to introduce non-paddlers to the sport. We covered 6.5 miles.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May Paddle

Well, after the gale like winds of the weekend and the forecast winds for Tuesday and Wednesday, I decided on Sunday evening that I would paddle around La Framboise after work on Monday. To add a new twist to what is becoming a mundane paddle for me, I invited some "non-paddler" friends to come along; I also invited another Pierre paddler that I have been trying to paddle with to come along too. I loaded all three boats onto my rack and proceeded to the causeway at 6 PM.

From 2010-05-03
For various reasons, all of the "non-paddlers" bailed on me. But Sol B., a SD Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources engineer and fellow Pierre paddler joined me. Once I realized who he was a month or so ago, I have been trying to get him out on the water with me.
We started out by leaving the causeway and heading up to the bridges. Sol had a fishing rod along and wanted to see how well the fish were biting.

From 2010-05-03

There were numerous fishing boats out along the west shoreline, but Sol didn't get any bites as we floated past. So we continued on towards La Framboise Island.

From 2010-05-03
Obviously, I was paddling my (still new) Current Designs Storm GT. Sol was paddling a Perception Eclipse. He also has a Perception Carolina, but the older 14.5 ft. model rather my newer 14 ft. model. The picture above may be the first time I have caught a train crossing the railroad bridge; I was pretty stoked. Also, I am using my new camera, a Pentax Optio W80.

From 2010-05-03

From 2010-05-03

We ended up covering 6.8 miles and had a great time. I am loving having a smaller camera out on the water too! I do plan on trying to get the some of my "non-paddling" friends onto the water again, probably sooner rather than later too.