My go at the Endurance Championship reminded me that big goals are challenging on so many levels . The day was much different than I had originally planned. I live within 10 minutes from two reservoirs in my town. I’ve trained and done the CDNPL events thus far on each of these bodies of water. The initial goal was to get 20k in the bigger Union Reservoir in the AM and then hit Macintosh Lake for an afternoon/ evening 5k to watch the sunset over the Colorado Rockies. However, all plans changed when my husband’s epic mountain bike day got canceled. We decided to do our Endurance Challenge together and make it epic by going an hour north to Horsetooth Reservoir. We knew that a Saturday at this rez would be a bit of a challenge because it allows speed boats, but we definitely underestimated the heavy traffic would cause endless massive waves. We got a later start than we hoped, hitting the water at 7 am rather than the 6:15 sunrise. The first two and a half hours we beautiful, it was just us (well, hubby way far ahead—a speck on the shoreline) and some fishermen and lots of shade and quiet waters. However, by 10 am, that all changed. The wind picked up, the boaters and wakeboarders came out and the sun crested the mountains to a cloudless sky. The rest of the paddle, more than half of the circumference, was truly a battle to stay on the board. To modify a Forrest Gump quote… “we went through every kind of (wave) there is. Little bitty rocky waves and big ol’ fat waves. Waves that flew sideways. And sometimes the waves came straight at us from all directions, shoot it waved all day.” The only reprieve were the inlets – there were four to five of them, but I had not planned on doing any of these as it would make the route longer than I believed I could paddle. My goal was 15 miles without the inlets while my hubby did the entire shoreline, inlets and all which would bring us close to finishing together. So, I altered my plan; go into the first inlet for a break and paddle its circumference twice, then go to the next inlet paddle around it a few times and go across the two-mile width of the lake to get back to where we started. By the time I got to the second inlet, I knew that between the waves and the insane number of speed boats there was no way I could paddle across the lake; it would not be safe. I realized I had to stick to the shore and try like mad to stay on my feet and out of the water as much as possible. At times I cried, I cussed at my hubby for convincing me to come to this crazy body of water, and I shook my head at how close the speed boats came to us. I also wondered why we were the only two paddle boarders out on the lake. At the end of my nerves, I went into the last inlet to pull myself together – there I saw all the paddle boarders, playing on calm waters– laying out, jumping off their SUPs, paddling with their pups and kids. It reminded me of the joy that SUPing has brought me for almost ten years now. I pulled my emotional self together, convinced myself that I could finish strong because I am a better paddler heading into the wind. I challenged myself to stay on my feet for as long as possible – I managed to stay up for those last two miles even when two speedboats pulling wake boarders chose to pull U-turns right in front of me (it’s a BIG lake, why they couldn’t avoid a SUPer and turn the other way is beyond me…) I got all the way to the small cove where we started before I fell. But I had to go 500 meters farther to get a full 27k – I got back up and finished strong. Hubby was already done so we loaded up the boats, grabbed food and headed home. We both decided that we still had some more paddling in us before our 7 pm cut off time so after a nap, we headed out to the reservoir closest to the house and found much calmer waters. My goal – one lap. It was one of the slowest laps I have done at Union Reservoir all summer, but I was so happy to have small waves and slight wind. I finished this evening paddle off with an 8k, giving me a total of 35k for the day. This was much farther than I had planned – the day reminded me that I still LOVE my inflatable HALA Straight Up, my new racing fin beautifully keeps my line with less effort, I need to cut down the length of my paddle, and I still enjoy epic challenges. Thanks for the fun challenge Canadian Paddle League!
Stats for the two paddles of the day:
Horsetooth Reservoir in Ft. Collins, Colorado – https://strava.app.link/2UaQ2mybbjb
Union Reservoir in Longmont, Colorado – https://strava.app.link/UjxRYHvbbjb