Three years ago on this day I was setting up camp, and actually by this time passed out at Houser Creek on Day 1 of the PCT. 15 out of 2,663 miles behind me on my way towards Canada. I didn’t know back then that three years later I’d be in Canada reminiscing about that day whilst preparing for my next adventure on the water!
Before the trail if my feet, ankles, knees or hips so much as ached I’d begin to worry, much like now with any pain in my shoulders, elbows, wrists or hands. Both journeys require full body mobility… but the PCT required strong legs and feet like the Yukon River Quest requires strength in the upper body and arms.
On Tuesday night I raced well despite the thunder and lightning that whipped through the sky creating an eerie glow under the low hanging clouds of Deep Cove. I found the loud crack thrilling and an incentive to paddle harder while some opted to turn around and head back to shore. Luckily I was already on the leg back, trailing a guy by a boat’s length on a surf ski that was trying to stay ahead of me the whole race (and I think for the sake of his ego luckily did).
Daryl Remmler, owner of Think Kayaks kindly lent me a Think Powerwing Paddle, and it was definitely my secret weapon for keeping up with the faster high performance kayaks that evening. When I initially held the paddle in my hands it felt like a feather compared to the heavier and much larger fibreglass blade I’ve been using in my training. I took advice from some of the top paddlers and feathered the blade right 45 degrees and then hit the water to test it out.
I was gobsmacked, literally giggling to myself as it felt like there was nothing in my hands at all with the blade cutting smoothly through the water with little to no effort. I could paddle at least twice as fast and felt like I was almost cheating; though it didn’t seem to give me the same power as my larger blade. With the correct technique I’m assured I will get as much (if not more) power from the smaller blade as I do with the larger one, and it should help prevent all the wrist and elbow issues I’ve been having. For now the paddle is on loan… and thankfully Daryl said he’s in no hurry to get it back. I’m not sure if I can stretch the loan all the way to July, but that paddle is going to play a key role in helping me get all the way to Dawson City!
Yesterday I tested out the paddle again down at Vanier Park through the choppy waters of English Bay. I was shocked that I didn’t fall in, but thanks to the fast boat and small blades I was able to make my 8-9km circuit in around an hour.
Tomorrow I’m off to paddle with a couple of friends around Anvil Island in Howe Sound. I’ll be back in my big heavy plastic boat with my new loaner Go Pro from my friend Dave (who has pretty much given me or lent me most of my gear) and my newly ordered boat attachment suction cap from Kayalu so I can finally capture some action shots. I’ll let you know how it goes!