All posts by leanne

Kal Classic – 2015 Edition

Wow, Kalavida Surf Shop put on one hell of a show this year!

With a new set up on the beach and a new format for the Wiki Holo sprint course, it was a blast (killer but a blast)!  Since I’d been spending most of my time in outrigger this summer, I was quite nervous going into this weekend.  A couple young girls keep getting faster and better and had been pushing me in every race this season and this weekend was no different!

The Wiki Holo had us racing a lap then a 5 minute rest after the first paddler crossed the line before doing a second lap, followed by another 5 minute rest after the first paddler finished again and then for the third round we did a lap with a short beach run followed immediately by another lap.  Though my starts were pretty bad, I managed to make up ground on the first buoy turn and second one too if I was still back. I finished the first two rounds in second place behind superstar Shannon Bell. By the third round I was cooked, finishing in fourth which put me third overall for the Wiki Holo “points wise”.

Taking the inside line on the buoy turn to move ahead
Taking the inside line on the buoy turn to move ahead
The race for second
The race for second
Guess I dismounted a little early ...
Guess I dismounted a little early …

Day two brought the infamous Kal Lake crossing, 16.5km.  We had high hopes of a downwind run as we got ready for the start as the wind was picking up from the south. I finally had a good start and was with Shannon all the way to buoy turn before she started to pull away in the waves.

If only the wind kept up
If only the wind kept up

Avery and I worked together for the first couple km on Kal Lake until the wind was strong enough to surf a few.  I managed to surf away from her but veteran paddler Debbie Chadwick pulled ahead of both of us. The wind quickly died and it was a flat water race the remainder of the race. I spent the next hour trying to reel her in but with no luck.  I finished third with a time a couple minutes faster than last year. But unlike last year, I felt good throughout the full two hours and even felt good the next day!  The two third place finishes left me a second overall for the Queen of Kalamalka behind Shannon.

I’m stoked with my racing over the weekend. I have no doubt that if I spend more time on the SUP and improve my fitness, I can continue to get closer to the top women of Canadian SUP (who also happen to be top contenders on the World SUP stage as well).

I couldn’t have raced strong all weekend without my Vitargo. If you haven’t tried this stuff, you need to!

Echo Island Challenge

What a day for Kelowna Paddle Centre, with 42 paddlers and lots of family and friends there to cheer and support! All crews raced hard, challenged themselves and for many, conquered their first race!
I am so proud of how each of the Kelowna Girls crew! They stepped up to the challenge. Some of these gals are seasoned race veterans and for a couple this was their longest race yet.
An aggressive pace was set right from the start and we maintained contact with the strong Kelowna Master’s crew throughout the race. At 7km we were about 1:30 behind and came across the line (16.5km) just 2:36 behind. Each of gals dug deep, I could see, feel (and hear) the effort that they were putting in every time I called a push. These girls are hungry for more racing, I love it!

Masters and Open crews
Masters and Open crews
Kelowna's Open Women
Kelowna’s Open Women
Rick's longest race yet!
Rick’s longest race yet!

Gorge – Downwind heaven!

I just got home from one of the most fantastic weeks of paddling that I’ve had (and there have been a lot!). I had the privilege of spending a week down in the Hood River, OR area paddling the Columbia River Gorge.  This place is a downwind mecca! #wavesfordays Rick and I got down to Home Valley, WA just as the sun was going down on Sunday night. Got our tent set up and crashed. Monday morning started with a stroke clinic with the one and only Johnny Puakea. It was great to work with him again and hear his insights into technique and of course ideas of how to make me go faster. It’s still sinking in some of the points he shared that have evolved since I last worked with him in 2013.  After that, it was time for the downwind runs to start!

As the week went on, I got to paddle with lots of people from Vancouver Island, Vancouver, Seattle and all over. It was great to visit with old friends and make new ones as well. Sleeping in a tent for the first time in a lot of years worked out better than I could have hoped. Thank goodness for all my Diabetes supplies as an adhesive covering for my infusion sites/sensor sites worked as a great patch on my air mattress :)

The main reason I was at the Gorge was to paddle in the Gorge Paddling Festival’s North American Downwind Championships. The organizers had a wind window for the race and based on the forecasts moved the race ahead a day. So Thursday was the big day. Sadly the turnout for outriggers wasn’t near what it hopefully will be in the future but the surfskis started only a few minutes behind so there were lots of boats on the water to battle with.

by Stawicki Photography
by Stawicki Photography
by Stawicki Photography
by Stawicki Photography

I’m super stoked with my race, I changed my line from previous runs based on what I had learned and heard from others and managed to pass a few boats that way. I caught as many runs as I could but there was a stretch where it completely died out. But on the other hand, there were sections where I had some surfski guys doing double takes as I flew by.  I finished as the top woman and seventh overall in outrigger.

By Ernie Wong
By Ernie Wong

The next day was the Wildside Relay where I teamed up with Vancouver powerhouse, Rob Magus. Again, the wind was kicking and I had some of the best rides of my career coming through Swell City.  I didn’t want to pull in to the relay exchange as the rides were so much fun!  Rob and I were the top OC1 mixed team and 8th overall in OC1.

by Tran Luu
by Tran Luu

It was sad to leave on Sunday and go back to work but I will  get back down there next summer to defend my title and hopefully bring a ton of paddlers from Kelowna Paddle Centre with me!

Canadian Surfski Championships

Tamlyn, Greg and I ready for action
Tamlyn, Greg and I ready for action

Another fabulous event put on by Bob and the great folks at Deep Cove Outdoors! The wind was kickin and the competition was stronger than last year’s inaugural event. I had a much better idea of what to expect this year. I was even granted a “special” yellow number thanks to my win last year. This allowed me on the front line for the start which meant less nasty wash to deal with.

Photo: Matthew Abbott
Photo: Matthew Abbott

Though it was my Epic V12 that crossed the line as the first Canadian Woman this year, unfortunately I was in my Epic V10 Sport as I had loaned my V12 to fellow Kelowna Paddle Centre athlete Tamlyn Bohm. She rocked it and beat me by a minute putting Kelowna 1/2 on the Canadian Woman’s podium! Next year we hope to bring more paddlers from Kelowna!

Photo: Matthew Abbott
Photo: Matthew Abbott

I got to meet a couple great guys from the Vancouver Sun, below is a video they did on the event. Click the link to find the page with the video.  Piece from the Vancouver Sun

 

Survive the Triangle? No, it was conquered!

Survive_the_Triangle_06202015_lgThis weekend was my first weekend of racing in 2015. A little later in the year than normal but I’m following my plan to lead me to the World Outrigger Sprints next May.

Kelowna Paddle Centre had a number of paddlers competing this weekend. Three boats were in the first race at 9:30am on Saturday: an open mixed crew and novice mixed crew in the 10km short course along with our Women’s crew which I had the privilege of paddling with.  The KPC mixed crew kept us honest for the first 10km and after they finished we went for the second lap. It ended up a couple minutes slower than the first and a stronger headwind but overall, we were happy with the race. The girls are strong and had more in the tank if it was needed but second place was almost 14 minutes behind our 1 hour 46 minute time for the 20km.  I was thankful for my Vitargo during the race (raced with grape mixed with unflavoured this time) as my blood sugars started at 9.7 and finished at 4.5. Shortly after we got out of the boat and took it back up to the trailer, I had my Vitargo Post in hand. The open mixed, novice and men’s crews all won their races as well.

I was so proud during the awards dinner to see my husband up getting an award for being part of the winning novice crew in his first race. I was also stoked to see so many of my clinic participants up receiving crew awards as well. It was nice being able to see them on the water doing a lot of the things we talked about at the clinic!

Today was the small boat event. Once again KPC was well represented. With a mass start, I had the opportunity to start against the men’s OC1 and OC2s. I had a great start, hitting a max speed of 13.9km/hr. I’m looking forward to seeing the drone footage of it. I had lots of space after the first few strokes and stayed on the gas for the first couple kilometers. I have to admit, I was feeling Saturday’s 20km for the first half but about km 6 I started to feel good and was able to lengthen my stroke, rotate more and use more effective leg drive. I could hear a few boats behind me and there was no way I was going to let them catch up.  I finished as the first woman across the line but also placed 2nd overall in the OC1. When I checked out my Dexcom graph, blood sugars spiked a bit after the beginning of the race but came right back down by the end. Once again, after my boat was up on the grass I had my Vitargo Post as I know that tomorrow’s 6am workout will come pretty quick and I know that without Post, I’d be sluggish and going through the motions instead of being able to push and get the most of the training session.

Thank you to the organizers for their time and efforts in putting on the event.
And of course thank you to my husband, sponsors and supporters for continuing to believe in me and keep my dream alive.  Vitargo, Vynna, Animas, Okanagan Peak Performance, Wave Physiotherapy