Wednesday August 12th 2015
Riding side wash and surfing waves in shallows is great, but sometimes it makes sense to ride the stern wash. Creeping up a tricky shoreline with a big current out to the side, on narrow waterways or through obstacles are examples. You can’t pass a boat while on stern wash , but sometimes there are hours of racing before you need to position yourself for the finish. However, it can be tricky to stay in the right spot the whole time since it takes skillful cooperation between the bow and stern paddler. To practice this, we will have boats tie a rope between the stern of one boat and the bow of the next. Notice what you need to do to steer and keep pace to keep the rope slack. Practice riding stern wash, a buoy turn around the dragon boat, then switch.
Let’s protect the equipment and people’s joints. Please, if you are going to contact a boat, say ‘CONTACT!’
If your boat or paddle is getting close to someone’s paddle, say ‘WATCH YOUR PADDLE!’ or just ‘PADDLE!’
Super shallow conditions with many sandbars means there are a lot of opportunities to see the waves build up behind a boat. Shallow water doesn’t leave much space for the waves to go down, so it swells up and creates visible swell at the surface. If you have a boat wash riding off you, you can accelerate coming into these shallows and knock them off your waves, since these big waves are very hard to climb. If you can anticipate it and put your boat in the right spot, you can ride these waves (‘surfing’).
If you are being out-accelerated in shallows, you have a couple of choices: 1) move out on the first wave (So you are further to the side of the lead boat) and surf that wave in and up; 2) slide back onto the second wave, feel when it lifts your stern and then surf forward onto good wash riding again.
Today we will paddle upstream of the dock past the bridge and then downstream over the sandbars. This isn’t normally where we’d want to go when we go downstream, but gives us a good chance to practice surfing.
Another great opportunity to practice this is downstream by the Bessborough by the wake boats; practice feeling when the stern rises and then add some speed to catch that wave.
Wednesday July 29th 2015
Good changes are synchronized, quick, and maintain the glide of the boat. When things aren’t going well, they take too long and can disrupt the boat run.
Here are some tips for good changes:
Wednesday July 21st 2015
Portages can be critical moments in a marathon race. There is no wash to ride when you are running so teams will often use the portage to try to break up a pack or otherwise gain an advantage on their competitors. While being able to run fast is never a bad thing, there are many other aspects of a good portage that can enhance your running advantage or make up for lack of running speed.
Tips for a good portage:
Wednesday July 15th 2015
To prepare for the Saskatoon races this weekend, we will review of some important aspects of racing, with a few mini-races to practice.
Review of starts:
Wednesday July 8th 2015
Refueling and Water pits
As the name implies, marathon canoe races can be long and that often requires taking on fluid and fuel during the race. Long distance paddlers get good at eating and drinking on the go, and find their favourite snacks and drinks to help them stay fueled and hydrated. Some typical brands used by SCC racers include Vega, Cliff, and Hammer. As with any racing strategy, it is a good idea to try out your race plan several times in advance to make sure your hose is long enough, your drink powder doesn’t give you a tummy ache, and you are carrying enough for the distance. Bring your water bottle and snacks with you on longer paddles so you have a chance to test them out.
At big, long races like the Marathon Au Sable or the Classique, paddlers need to replace their empty water bottles during the race. Typically this is done by a pit crew which brings full water bottles out to paddlers so they don’t have to stop. ‘Pits’ (changing bottles) can be done on land when paddlers are portaging, or on the water when the pit crew takes another canoe out to meet them.
This week we will practice dropping and replacing water bottles. This will help everyone see what water pits are like, and will also develop our steering, balance, and communication in the boat.
Please bring a waterbottle to practice (and tube if you have one)!!
Wednesday July 1st
In marathon canoe racing, paddlers are often required to make at least one buoy turn and typically buoy turns are challenging! The problem is that marathon boats are not designed to turn sharply - so those that master the buoy turn will help enable you to catch and pass other canoes and give your boat a distinct advantage.
During this session we will work on setting up a good line to the buoy, leaning the turn, going to sides, making a tight quick post turn, and keeping the boat speed up to accelerate out of the turn.
Wednesday June 24th 2015
There are two places to ride wash: the side and the stern.
Regarding right-of-way while racing: Riding on the side wash gives you more speed and/or a bit of a rest, but also presents some risk. The boat that is ahead has the right of way, even if it is only 1 inch ahead. When you are going upstream and following the shoreline, the boat on the shore side usually leads. If the boat on the shore side is not ahead, they are vulnerable to being ‘scraped off’ or driven into the shore, and are better off dropping to stern and riding there. Either boat may decide to do a sprint and try to drop the other boat. It is often better for the boat on the outside to ride a little higher so that they can respond to a sprint.
Bow paddlers: stay alert to the speed and cadence of the other boat, you will need to respond to their sprints as well as steer to stay on the wash.
Stern paddlers: communicate with your bow paddler about where you like to ride wash - how far up or back, and how close to the other boat. It may also help to let them know when you decide to go to stern or to sprint to get up beside them. This may lose you the element of surprise, but it is better than fighting your partner if you are working towards different goals.
Wednesday June 17th 2015
Marathon races are not usually won or lost in the first 100m, but it can be important to get in with the right pack for wash riding. Here are some tips:
Wed June 17th 2015
Now that the water levels have dropped, there are more shallow spots and sandbars to navigate on the river. When going downstream, you aim for the deepest, fastest water and avoid the slow sandbars. However, when going upstream the shallows near the bank is the best place to be. Shallow water adds more friction to the boat and can suck the boat down, BUT if you paddle quick, light, and fast, you can ‘pop’ the boat so that it lifts up and glides on the surface of the water.
In order to ‘pop’ the boat up, a different stroke is required: further up front, positive angle, and very quick. This feels like doing just the first half of the stroke, but the stroke rate comes up a lot. The up-front, positive angle helps make the boat lighter, and the quick strokes keep the boat moving along so it doesn’t have a chance to sink down between strokes. The last few weeks have been preparing for this, so go back and review: strong catch, light boat with positive paddle angle, and steering by leaning so you can keep the stroke rate up.
Bow paddlers: as you move up along the shoreline or sandbars, think about responding to shallow, sucky water with quicker, up-front strokes to pop the boat.
Stern paddlers: be sure to keep in time since it is hard to pop a rocky or bouncing boat.
Watch out for rocks!
Group Paddle Focus
Details for our weekly group paddle training sessions. All sessions start at 6:30pm at the Victoria Boat House.
May 10: Welcome
May 17: Marathon Stroke
*May 24: Steering POSTPONED
May 31: TBA..
June 7: Intro to riding wash
June 14: Reading Rivers
June 21: Shallows
June 28: Buoy Turns
July 5: TBA..
July 12: Race Starts
July 19: Portaging
July 26: Race Nutrition
Aug 2: Group Paddle
Aug 9: Side & Side Wash
Aug 16: Group Paddle
Aug 23: Equipment
Aug 30: Group Paddle