And now it begins to dawn on me….


…..that a canoe marathon and a running marathon are as similar candy floss and kittens.

 

The more i read about the Yukon River Quest the more i begin to realise that i have no idea what i’ve signed myself up for. I’m still without a boat – i know i’m in the Canoe division, but i have no idea at this moment in time what the canoe i’ll be paddling in looks like or how it will work. The names of them confuse me – i’ve been doing some research and i can’t seem to tell whether the name of the boat is a brand or a style. I thought i’d found the boat for earlier today only to realise it was a racing canoe and not suitable for 5 ft waves that are to be expected on the route.

Despite this worrying (i think these things generally sort themselves out, out of necessity) i had my first taste of being on the water today as i headed down the river Thames in a Canadian Canoe and i bloody loved it. Yep a little worrying at times as the boat bobbed about, but all the same it was fantastic, hard but fantastic – something pretty spectacular about being at water level and powering (slight exaggeration)  yourself. I realised that canoeing was quite a technical sport (?), but only until i actually tried to do the various turns did it dawn on me that isn’t just dipping the paddle and drawing back. i have no coordination and this was perfectly evidence today as i struggled to grasp the basics in canoeing, such as: turning, stopping and not falling in. I know why i’ve enjoyed running now for so long, because there is no skill involved just putting you head down and running, like most of us, i’ve been running since i was about 2. Canoeing on the other hand i did my first canoeing today, i now have 3 months to get ready for the toughest canoe marathon in the world. What’s more i need to prepare myself for 4days solo wildnerness travel. i now have two big concerns, falling out the boat and being hundreds of miles from safety and second, finding my bodying can’t canoe for 4 days straight and having to camp out in the middle of no where with bucket loads of bears roaming their place. i saw a picture of a many who had been attacked by a bear on friday, who survived and i don’t want that to happen to me. i’m also slightly concerned, that i may also becoming a bit of loaner, rather than heading off with friends for a summer i holiday i’ve elected to go solo, to a place i know nothing about and then try and do something that i do know how to do…my friends certainly aren’t that bad!

 

So having completed my first training weekend, i’ve learnt that this is far tougher than first expected. Organising the logistics are extremely tricky  – be it getting a boat, making the start line, getting all the kit off people and then hopefully when i get to the finish how the hell do i get back. is it realistic that i plan to hitch back to ‘Whitehorse’ with a boat, note to self do not call it a boat, sorry, how do i get this canoe back from where i rented.

 

Regardless, of all of the above, there would be no point in doing these things if they were simple. Often the hardest part is getting to the race and the race is the easiest bit after all that trouble, i certainly realised that last year as i attempted the marathon in the Congo. Hopefully the trials and tribulations of 2010 will leave me in good stead for 2011 and also looking ahead to 2012…

 

must stop typing as my arms hurt. 3 hours in a canoe and i’m in pain, who knows what my arms will feel like after 4 days non stop canoeing. i daren’t even think about negotiating rapids at this point in time either…

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