Bittersweet feels starting the last event for the 2022 season of Canadian Paddle League. Grateful for this annual challenge to push me and get me out on the water early each weekend but exhausted and bored of paddling on the local water.
This paddle was last Sunday but I needed time to collect my thoughts before posting.
It was a fantastic day – crisp air, sun had just risen and flat water. I was the only one out on the water for most of the 12k. Absolutely no wind and a body of water too small for a point to point. It was a reflective paddle – I pushed myself for some intervals and also jut paddled rhythmically to soak it all in. Time was not a consideration for me – it was more about completing the goal – get in all the events and finish with a sense of accomplishment and smile. And, that I did!
Successful completion and looking forward to better planning the events for 2023 that will bring me to race on different bodies of water throughout Colorado for the Canadian Paddle League Endurance Challenge AND recruit some more people to do it with me!!!
Thank you all for another great season – it was fun reading everyone’s race reports and seeing their social posts. I admire you all!
I looked at this Endurance Challenge with both intimidation and excitement. This would be my biggest physical challenge of the year but also one that would take a great deal of time; during a summer where I was already struggling with balancing everything in my life. With an inflatable non-race board, I was not confident that I could put in the hours necessary to get this one done. But, stubbornness and intrigue in my capabilities made me push myself more than I thought I could.
Day 1 – This one a treated like a normal Saturday out on the water. I chose the local reservoir near my house – I have spent countless hours paddling on. It was a beautiful sunny day with a light breeze. I thought it would be two laps but quickly learned that was not enough. Kept paddling the buoys until I hit the 15k. I struggled with preventing my feet from falling asleep. I was happy with the time – always happy to hear my watch say “Distance Complete!”.
Day 2 – I didn’t have the time in the weekend to drive the hour to the larger reservoir, so I stayed at my local water. I also knew that I was not going to be able to come back for the second 15k of the day later that afternoon, so it was going to be a 30k morning. The fear of boredom set in pretty quickly… the water was glass so no challenge to keep the mind alert. The sunrise was beautiful, and the birds and fish were out in force. I was pleased with my first 15k. After a thirty minute refuel, I set out for 15k #2. This one was harder, my back hurt and the water was crowded with boaters and casual SUPers and it was HOT – Colorado is experiencing another heat wave – almost 100 degrees by 11 am and the sun was brutal. Halfway through I wanted to quit – I wanted to be out of the sun and away from people. It took a long mental talk with myself to force me to push through; I was not crazy with the time, but proud that I got through it.
Day 3 – Out on the same reservoir, about thirty minutes earlier, though mentally not excited for more of the same route. I paddled into a beautiful sunrise – this re-energized me and pushed my through. The water was like glass the whole time but it got hot fast! I was able to finish strong and sprint the last 1.5k.
I will cherish the lessons I learned about myself this weekend. I am grateful to live so close to water on which I can paddle. My calloused hands will remind me of my accomplishments all week. And, the high five and kudos of admiration I got from my teen daughter when I finished this challenge will be ingrained in my soul forever.
Maybe I will have a race board before 2023 League starts back up! I am in awe of the times you all are putting in! Congrats to all who took this big one on! You are all my inspiration!
Hoped to do this off my favorite campsite in the famed mountain Dillon Reservoir. Sadly, with the prediction of micro burst storms over the water for the weekend, I changed plans to stay locally. Bored by the reservoir near my house, I decided to do the 45 minute drive to Horsetooth Reservoir – bigger water, but also open to powerboats.
Lesson learned, never let your 4 am brain convince you that your 2 pm trip planning brain the day before was over cautious– stick to the plan and get up and be out of the at the time originally planned– get on the water by sunrise.
I got on the water 40 minutes later than I should have. It didn’t really matter for the first 5k – the water was still, surroundings quiet and there were even a few deer taking drinks at the shore. It was quite pleasant. However, the return became challenging with speedboats with wake boarders and skiers buzzing by, some as close to me at 40 meters (It’s a big lake, they had no reason to be this close other than ignorance).
I paddle on a Hala Inflatable Straight-Up carbon – all-round board, so it doesn’t cut through waves, it rides them! So most of my return 5k was spent getting off my track and turning the board to face the waves head on.
Last 1k was the most frustrating, I hoped to get a good sprint in. Sadly, I managed to be next to a speedboat with a beginner wake boarder, every 20 strokes or so, I had to deal with the waves of a boat starting full throttle to then stopping quickly to get then fallen rider reset and try again.
Well.. I got it done. Was pleasantly surprised by my time and happy to have persevered and learned valuable lessons on the water.
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