The ups and downs of lake SUP

My paddling experiences this year started with a flatwater paddle on New Year's Day with my partner in crime and muse, S.

Then shortly thereafter, we started regular classes out in Etobicoke, training at Paddle Sport Performance. These were great classes - great weight/cardio training, plus a lot of time on ergs practicing paddle stroke. The race days were awesome - both the team and individual erg challenges. S kicked ass, as expected; I did adequately but couldn't compete with the dragonboaters in the class.

While S was out SUP surfing every chance she could, I skipped the cold of Jan and Feb, but did get back to winter lake surf in March and April a few times.

In May, for my 40th birthday, she and I went to Guatemala for a second time to revisit Lago Atitlan...

... climb near Amatitlan ...

... and hike up to the top of Volcan Acatenango to watch Volcan Fuego errupt!

The same day we summitted we then jogged down and after a couple of celebratory beers & a bag of chicharrones from the nearby tienda, we hopped into a van to head to the beach for a couple days' rest & surf. 4000m of elevation lost in one day!

A couple weeks later, I retrieved my Boardworks 14' Ohana from Surf Ontario, ready for the start of race season.

While S was able to attend nearly every race of the Thursday SUP Series at the Toronto Wind Surf Club, I got to about 1/3rd of the races - fatigue, work, illness, or injury getting in the way of being able to go every week.

The races were a lot of fun - wish I'd been able to go to more of them. By the end of the season, S had picked up enough points to win 1rst place Women's Rec, and I'd finished third Men's Rec.

In July, S & spent a couple days SUPping on the Madawaska River & playing on standing waves.

In August, S & I went to Collingwood to do a race and introduce my mom to the fun that is SUP. I placed a respectable 4th, and S got on the podium, as usual.

Amazingly, there was surf at some point every month this summer. Had some great sessions at Pleasant Beach on Lake Erie, and some good rides at Ashbridges Bay on Lake Ontario, too.

But my best day on the lake this season came - fortunately or not - immediately after an injury. My first wave that day - before warming up and remembering how to do things correctly - threw me off the left side of the board. Unfortunately, I tried valiantly to keep my right leg ON the board, thinking that if I put down enough weight I could keep the board from tipping and dumping me. Instead, I heard a cracking noise and went over. Undeterred, I had the best SUP surf session ever - probably because the ankle injury prevented me from putting too much weight on my front foot, so I was properly sinking the tail.

(Nothing was actually broken - what I heard was likely the joint popping a la knuckle cracking, or perhaps I actually tore some ligament. Not really sure. Didn't hurt that much at the time - just a dull annoyance, mostly.)

90 mins later, we got off the water and went home to ice the ankle & finish packing... because the next morning I was on a plane to Newfoundland with 4 friends to spend a week in St. John's. Planned for the week were: walking, hiking, rock climbing, bouldering, driving 3-4hrs away & kayaking.

Instead I learned way more than I want to about anti-inflammatories like naproxen, KT tape, tensor bandages, ice packs, and just how much pain I can endure. I scrubbed the climbing, reduced the hiking to a minimum, only bouldered a little, and dropped back to secondary driver. Sucks, but if nothing else I know that like with Guatemala, I will definitely have to re-visit the Rock someday for a more comprehensive visit.

It's been 8 weeks since the ankle sprain on Sept 2, and it's almost back to normal - I'm biking a few kms pretty much every other day, climbing 5.10+ & 5.11a without needing the tensor bandage, and just got back out this week for a flatwater SUP. Running is still pretty uncomfortable, but that'll come back eventually. Hopefully, this weekend will mark my return to Lake Erie and Pleasant Beach - this time without the injury!


Show up, paddle hard, win a prize?

I'm still in shock, a week later.

Got talked into going to the Great Muskoka Paddling Experience, and it was certainly quite the experience -- every imaginable type of watercraft was there: canoes, kayaks, OC1s, OC2s, foot-pedalled kayaks, planing and displacement SUPs, and even some prone paddling. Lots of friendly paddlers from all over. It was a very well-managed event with great food next to a beautiful (though cold!) river, which started right below the falls.

Bracebridge Falls - Source: Wikimedia Commons

The most amazing thing about the GMPE this year was the prizes for the 5K SUP paddle race. For anyone willing to race on a planing SUP board, the prize was a Boardworks 14' Ohana or 12'6" Raven SUP board, donated by Kayak Sport Canada.

So, I borrowed a 404 ("Not Found"), which combined with my #200 ("OK")  bib number made for some awesome geeky karma:

Since so few racers came out to represent the novice/recreational SUP paddler - perhaps because it's a new sport? perhaps because most paddlers were already experienced enough to want to do the 10K or 20K races? or perhaps in protest of the new mandatory PFD law? - I was one of only three possible winners of the board. Among the women, only three racers signed up as well, making that an equally tight race.

Three quarters of an hour on the water later, and a crazy number of awards later (so many paddlecraft classes! So many different races! Medals for everyone!) ... this happened:

Frankly, I'm thrilled to have won this (though still surprised). Not counting training paddles, I've done a total of 3 races on a SUP board this year - two at the Toronto Windsurfing Club on Thursday nights as part of their night SUP racing series, and once when that Thursday night race was instead the Canada Cup SUP Race 2015, coming second in Men's Rec 5K (in a field of 3 racers once again). Since those were all on borrowed boards - twice on inflatables - it's awesome to finally have my own ride.

Consider too that January 2015 - which feels like a lifetime ago - was the first time I'd stood on a surfboard. In April 2015 I stood on a SUP/surfboard for the first time in Canoa, Ecuador at a Love Life Adventures surf/SUP retreat. Thanks to Janna & Carlos' excellent instruction there and over this past summer with the SUPGIRLZ, seems I'm getting the hang of this sport, though I definitely have a long way to go.

One awesome feature of this sport is the versatility. Sure, we need to wear a lot more gear to survive cold water...

... but getting good at lake SUP, lake surf, or lake racing means when I hit salt water on vacations, it'll really FEEL like a vacation. No side swell? No cross currents? Salty buoyancy? Consistent reef breaks? No wind predictions that falter a few days later? Sign. Me. Up.

That said, I love the challenge of lake paddling. Since I started on this journey to rediscover the lake in my backyard, I've set foot (& paddle!) in all five Great Lakes, surfed two so far (Huron and Ontario) and plan to continue to surf through the winter. Maybe by the time I'm doing the GMPE 10K SUP race next Thanksgiving, I'll have managed to surf all five.

But back to the new board... once it was back in Toronto, it was time to try it out. What better way than to do an 8.5k downwinder with Jess Rando, The Paddle Coach?

Photo courtesy of @ThePaddleCoach

Yep, no races left this season to break it in, but definitely no shortage of water 'round here:

Photo courtesy of @ThePaddleCoach

Then we trucked out to my brother's place in Mississauga for my second Thanksgiving at his new place, and ate too much excellent food.

On Monday that weekend, it was decided that a lap around the Toronto Island, starting at Cherry Beach, portaging to the back side behind the lighthouse, and pseudo-downwinding back to Cherry was in order.

Another 8k of paddling later, I'm in love with the new board.

And after three days of paddling over 23km on the Muskoka River and around Lake Ontario, I'm ready for a bit of a break. So, for the winter, my new Ohana will live at Surf Ontario.

But come the spring, I'll be back on the water on Thursdays trying to get good enough to survive the GMPE 10K race next Thanksgiving.

Thanks to everyone who's contributed to my getting into and hooked on this new sport, and to being accepted into the family of lake paddlers.

Gone is my old Necky Manitou 14' kayak - long live my new Boardworks Ohana 14' race SUP!


2010 In Review

Clearly I've had other issues on my mind this year - haven't blogged here since July!

This year's results, as measured by my two Cannondale IQ 114 Cadence and AllSport GPS (for Blackberry):

Road Bike: 350km
Hybrid Bike: 619km
Kayak: 23km


OK Computer

Thanks to a tip from fellow cycling nut @melamalie, I recently replaced my old (lost!) CatEye bike computer with a new Cannondale IQ 114 Cadence so I can work on improving my RPM. Apparently I do 55-65 RPM on average on my hybrid; possibly more on the borrowed road bike.

So far, it's pretty #awesome because - as a number-focused nerd - I can focus on my RPM rather than speed, and be less frustrated when going out w/ slower cyclists. Did 25K this morning as the mist was lifting off the lake. Great idea, SWMNBN!

UPDATE: Canondale no longer makes this computer, so, in the interests of providing data on how to configure it should you need to reset the computer (or put in a new battery), here's a link to the user manual.

The important part is as follows:


Road Biking

Thanks to a loaned road bike and support from friends in the know, I've finally taken the plunge from hybrid bike to road bike... and while the first 7K to/from mom's were a bit scary, today's ride (12.7k each way - across the Lakeshore and up the Don trails) was a lot of fun.

Because the loaner has no computer and my Blackberry's battery was too weak to use, I drew this rough route map instead:


First 50K of the season

With the Ride For Heart just around the corner, it was high time I went out for a 50K ride.

Here's the route, with hills galore!
  • 15k from Guildwood to DVP/York Mills
  • 20K loop from DVP/York Mills to Yonge, south to Lawrence, east through The Bridle Path and north up Don Mills back to DVP/York Mills
  • 15k home via York Mills / Ellesmere

According to Trimble Outdoors' Allsport GPS, I burned over 3500 calories doing 51.5k in 2h52. My bike's computer claims 773 calories over 51.2k in 2h28. Not sure what causes this disparity but I'm going w/ the Trimble number because I suspect it includes altitude, not just revolutions of my front tire. And it's nearly 5x larger.

By the way, if you've got a few bucks to burn for a good cause, you can donate some tax-deductable money to the Ride For Heart via this page. Or, if you'd like to join our team, drop me a line.


Reno-Gate, Vol. 1

As seen on twitter, digested by Faecesbook.

Reno-Gate, Vol. 1: Aug 17 - Dec 28 (The First Nineteen Weeks)

Dec 28, Day 133 (Week 19)

Woo! Display cabinet / end of bar built and installed. Cabinet over fridge finally mounted. #reno-gate http://tweetphoto.com/7481201

2nd sink plumbed! Dishwasher plumbed but ... doesn't work. Sanding, painting & floor joins still TBD. Meh'ry Xmas, I guess. #reno-gate

OTS Granite #fail ... again. Last wk promised Mon/Tue. Today: maybe Tue, else Wed. Y give a date if u won't stick to it? #reno-gate

Latest #reno-gate photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/nickboldt/2009SRenoGate

Arturo, of EasyTile, is rockin' my kitchen as he repairs the madness wreaked by Caesar (previous tile monkey). This is good. #reno-gate

Deposit down on second chunk of granite (bar counter top). Will I have a counter sink d/washr by Xmas? Unlikely but possible. #reno-gate

Annoyance waiting 4 granite guy 2 show. 2 weeks 2 xmas, U'd think he's B jumping at the chance 4 bizness. #reno-gate #frackingFriday

In granite installer lingo, 11am = 1pm. Also, *possible* customer >> *actual* customer (me). #fistOfDeathFriday #reno-gate #OTSgranite

Last 2 pieces of cabinetry designed & hopefully will be built this/next week. Painting is imminent. #reno-gate http://bit.ly/4V6nAI

Rocky Horror Kitchen Show, Backsplash Install Scene 3B: Caesar Munoz is >3 hrs late. ETA unknown, if at all. #ohsomuchfail #reno-gate

Reno-gate, Day 52: main bar cabinets finally arrive! B/c stove not flush to wall, cabinet installed 4" off spec. Easy fix, but oops!

Reno-gate, Day 37: 2hrs and counting. Wtf is my tile installer? I am Jack's loss of patience.

Reno-gate, Day 37: yesterday he shows up early, wakes me up. Today: >1hr late. Good work on the tile install, though

@opalgamble Reno-gate, Day 36: Backsplash a-go-go. Photo as requested. Grout TBD. http://pic.gd/2da4b1

Dreading the inevitable stream of hate in reaction to awesome new backsplash, even though design was at least half her idea. #duckncover

Reno-gate, Day 21: really, why rip stuff out that looks fine and does the job when all you accomplish is more delay & more work?

Reno-gate, Day 21: expaining scope creep to mother-in-law not going well. Apparently I don't appreciate all the EXTRA work being done.

Reno-gate, Day 21. Scope creep continues: bathrm wallpaper gone. Kitchen bar area desiged, but cabnt guy unavail. Backsplash: next week

Reno-gate, D16: replcmnt toaster/oven acqrd on sale frm Crappy Tire. Bar/counter/sink/dwasher area designed. Waitng 4 cabnt guy.

Reno-gate, D15: apparently "call first" in contractor-speak sometimes means "show up twice when noone home & leave business card." #fail

Reno-gate, D14: Rona drywaller has yet to show up this weekend to fix the hole in the wall next to my stove vent. No calls either. #fail

Reno-gate, D13: will Rona's drywaller show up Sat or Sun 2 fix hole bside stove vent? We shall see. Nxt wk: get cabnts made, get granite

Reno-gate, D13: thx 2 local handyman Wes Douglas, we have a wrkng shower/bath! Or we will by the time I get back from FanExpo tomorrow.

Reno-gate, Day 11: tile installer coming 2 measure/quote. Tub surrnd acquired frm Home Depot. Cashier nearly refused 2 accept RONA Visa.

Reno-gate, Day 11: Realized OTS Granite cut the sink hole a tad too big. Counter edge will need to be redone, and cut to allow d/washer.

Reno-gate, D10: Goldilocks beheld the tub wall catalogue. The 1st 1 was 2 small. The nxt was perfect...but alas, out of stock. Da Bears!

Reno-gate, D10: rest of kitchen taped out. Consensus on colours, design, cabinets, backsplash achieved! Priming starts tomorrow.

Reno-gate, D9: despite casualites from IEDs (improvised explosive debates), peace achieved - 4 now. h8 still bubbles under the surface.

Reno-gate, Day 9: Tile Wars begin. Two different world views collide over backsplash and stove 'boxing' idea (pebbles vs square tile).

Reno-gate, D8: backsplash designed. Still waiting 4 Rona 2 call back re: plumbing quote & drywall fix. Bar design not feasible, sez mom.

Reno-gate, Day 7: finally, a working sink! Moen + Kindred #ftw. Thanks, Tom! (Cold line leaks a little, but hey.) http://mypict.me/q4oo

Reno-gate, Day 7: 3rd trip 2 Home Depot - kitchen sink still unplumbed. Chiseled off layer of wood/crap so top step 2 bsmnt now level.

Reno-gate, Day 6: photos! http://picasaweb.google.com/nickboldt (trip pix from Victoria and Telegraph Cove, BC posted too)

Reno-gate, Day 5: granite finally installed, too late to get plumbed. Wife hates it too: I'm batting ~1000 here on the #fail scale.
We have a working shower again: basemnt bathrm being used as dry room 4 delicate clothes, now cleaned out & serviceable as shower. W00t!

Reno-gate, Day 5: wife still hates new floor; now must pick effing basebrds; granite guys shld B here by 4; plumbers hard 2 reach

Reno-gate D4: tub encl now completely ripped out, ready 4 new 1. Kitchen/frnt hall floor closer to done. Plumber called. Granite 2mrrw?

Paint shopping! Ugh.

Reno-gate, Day 3: electrician fixing foobar'd exhaust pipe (didn't call first 2 C if anyone home); granite guy 3hrs late but meticulous.

Reno-gate, Day 3: stove hood incorrectly installed. Granite guys 2hrs late. Toaster oven deliberately thrown out sans replacement.

Reno-gate, Day 2: can't reach granite installer. #suckytreats

Reno-gate, Day 2: bro in law sez bamboo floor idea seemed odd, but looks ok. Need 2 find replacement wall colour: blue doesn't work now.

RT @jasonhiner: "Discontent is the first necessity of progress." - Thomas Edison « how appropriate re: my kitchen redux