Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register
rivermiles.com Missouri American WaterMissouri River Relief Alpine Shop St. James WineryPfefferkorn Engineering & Environmentalladsurfski.com Olathe Ford Lincoln Mercuryprojectathena.orgFarmer's Insurancehealthyriverspartnership.comLewis and Clark Boathouse and Nature Center2013 Stickers
Home Help Search Login Register
 
Page Index Toggle Pages: 1
Send Topic Print
Attainment of Cunning and other Dark Arts (Read 8290 times)
08/05/08 at 22:40:07

txpaddler   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
MR340 Record Holder
Rollingwood, Texas

Posts: 253
**
 
A more expansive version of an earlier post to the "parallel universe river miles forum"

*************************

James,

I'm moving this thread to river talk. It seems to fit better here:

Re:  "Lee,

I happen to know two green "30-somethings"  in a MNII that would love to gain from your experience and cunning.  You (and a number of other 340ers) inspired us to try our hand at a few paddling races next year but are woefully lacking in the experience and cunning department. If you have any to share, we would love to hear it.  

James Kaufman"

James,

competing in more canoe races, and finding experienced canoe racers to train with and learn from, is the most productive use of your time with the goal of being competitive and winning paddling races.  

Interesting tidbit.  In Texas canoe/kayak race participation has increased by a good chunk during the last 10 years.  Most of the growth has come from adventure racers who entered a paddling race adjunct or to prepare for an AR.  What happens is that they have fun, they find a fast learning curve and that canoe race entry fees are a whole lot cheaper.  So, they become repeat customers.

Your result in the MR340 is clear evidence that you are well up on the learning curve (normal racers curve, not to be confused with Carter or a Belizean on a good day).  You are moving the boat fast, you probably already have race nutrition and hydration figured out.

Training?
How to prioritize your time
The order of importance to make a marathon boat go fast is:  1) technique; 2) conditioning and; 3) strength.  For sprint racing, strength is a higher priority.  The "X" factors are nutrition, hydration and pacing strategy.

With respect to technique, I have observed that competitive swimmers are really good at understanding and mastering the mechanics of the paddle stroke.  It also doesn’t hurt that the cross-over swimmers that have come into Texas paddling were also very fit.  There aren’t many books and videos on technique but all you really need is Greg Barton’s video http://epickayaks.com   and  Peter Heed’s “Canoe Racing” book  http://www.jjcanoe.com/
The Brent Reitz “Forward Stroke” video is also popular but personally I prefer the Barton method.  http://www.wildsprint.com/site/

Note:  the only marathon canoe specific video that I am aware of is the Mike and Tanna Fries video  http://www.zre.com  Also, Peter Heed’s General Clinton video  http://www.jjcanoe.com/ is great for the wind trainer or the erg when it gets cold.  (Personally, the only thing I know about cold is that it should only be experienced with skis on. But, I hear tell that some people can’t paddle in January).

Media is fine but there is no substitute for paddling with knowledgeable and experienced paddlers.  Missouri certainly has some fine paddlers, and I see them consistently are on the leader board in the MR340, Gritty 50 and the two day race. In addition, I imagine that Charlie Lockwood would be a good marathon canoe resource, Jim Short (Springfield) and Rocky Caldwell (West Plains) are top USCA canoe racers.  Also in northern Arkansas, Dale & Becky Burris, Don Walls and Stephen Lynn are all very accomplished canoe (and kayak) races.  The trick with the Arkansas crowd is that they generally race in the Spring and peter out by mid-summer.  Phil Capel http://paddlearkansas.com/ may be a good point of contact.

Racing strategy includes: when to eat, when to cruise, when to sprint, wake riding, reading current, reading and assessing your competition, weather considerations, equipment choices and tons of stuff that you can read about (Peter Heed book) to get a leg up but that you really only master through experience.  Strategy also depends on the distance of the race.  Always keep something in the tank for the finish.  I didn’t want to sprint out the finish until we hit the IH-70 bridge.  Bowden got excited and cracked the whip three miles out.  It worked but I suffered horribly.  You guys appear to have had a good strategy for the MR340.

Note:  if your name is Carter and you can sprint out, grab a lead and then go into high cruise mode for 36 hours…this is a good plan.   The rest of us have to find alternate paths.

More on pacing:  In a spec. boat marathon race, e.g. USCA “pro canoe” or ICF marathon boats form into packs, just like in bicycle racing.  Each boat in its pack takes turns pulling and riding wake and the pack moves faster than each boat would on its own.  Big races such as the Au Sable Canoe Marathon, the General Clinton Canoe Regatta or USCA Nationals feature a furious sprint off the start to form the packs.  The packs will stay together until portages, shallow water or other conditions cause separations. Often the lead boats will stay together until they can smell the finish line and then it comes down to who sprints at the right time, just like a flat stage in the Tour De France.

Serge Corbin is without question the greatest canoe racer ever, period the end.  Over 20 years Serge is/was the bowman in countless C-2 wins.  It was rare (at least since the mid-90’s when I started paying attention) that the Serge boat ever broke away early.  The routine as to run in the lead pack and then sprint it out.  Serge could pull bow better than anyone so his boat almost always won.

Things are different in unlimited ultra-distance marathon racing.  For one things boat hull speeds vary greatly (matters in the sprint phase) as opposed to monolithic spec. hulls.  Also, there is a much greater diversity of ability compared to a “Triple Crown” marathon canoe race or an ICF marathon kayak race.


So what to do in the MR 340?  Getting out fast early gives you the best opportunity to hook up with a boat of similar speed and it also allows you to see who has what on the top end.  Many of the early leaders will be there at the end IF they don’t blow up or encounter sickness or other difficulty.

Caution young man:  Young, generally less experienced guys have a bad habit of going out too fast for too long and flame out.  Been there, done that myself and I was a slow learner. Apparently “grumpy old men” share the same affliction too.  Ironically, younger paddlers can recover from the Bonk or other malady quicker than us older farts.  However, older folks are usually better at finding ways to work through difficulties and get moving again (again its learned experience).

Rest in very long races: My break point with respect to sleep is around 40 hours.  In 2007 I soloed the MR340 on a hoped for 50 hour pace (ended up being 55:30).  I took a planned one hour nap early Wednesday AM in Glasgow and it did me good.  I also slept twice more (unplanned) at Jefferson City and in Hermann.   I probably could have skipped the second two stops and finished faster but at that point I had already caught every solo paddler who was catchable and I wanted o stay fresh in case someone else had a finishing sprint.

In 2008 Bowden and I didn’t sleep or stop for more than 16 minutes (per the split sheets, I thought we stayed longer at Coopers).  I never got sleepy and I took no caffeine.  What?  Either the truck stop 5 hour energy boost worked, or they were a great placebo or we found ourselves in a tight race and that kept the adrenaline up.  I think it was the excitement of the race.

I really wanted to plan an hour’s rest early Wednesday morning but it didn’t work out that way, and we got away with it.

John Bugge used to insist on sleep during 36 hour plus or minus Safari races.  In team boats  ideally you take turns sleeping in the boat while its moving. It’s hard to give ground during a race by sleeping or resting but sometimes it’s the answer to you best race. You finish fresher while others fade.

Another anecdote is that the Grumps crashed hard in 2008 so they slept, but they got up and finished strong and, isn’t finishing the primary objective?

Food and Drink: After 21 years of successes and failures I thought that I had this figured out during the 2007 MR340.  Wrong!  My plan for 2007 worked in 2007 but I puked my way down the river in 2008.  It wasn’t really a matter of what I ate and drank, it was a matter of how and when I consumed.  The difference was I that in 2007 I was not pushing and I ate when I was hungry, I didn’t force feed myself and I ate while stopped (and standing on the bank).  No such luxury in 2008, some pesky fellows kept interrupting my dining schedule particularly during the last 80 miles.  

The high point was the fried egg sandwich at Cooper’s Landing.  After puking up all solids for hours, we took 15 minutes, I stood up and relaxed my stomach and the sandwich went down and stayed down.

I can’t tell people what to eat and drink, only that common sense applies.  Water and electrolytes are essential and you should test your food in training and eat what tastes good, has basic nutritional value  and stays down.

Regarding equipment,  The general rule is this: faster boats require more experience and time on water to use EFFECTIVELY. Faster boats are also generally tippier, handle (more poorly) and are less comfortable than “recreational boats”.  At some point, usually determined by distance or course difficulty, a “fast’ boat can become a liability.  I have a last place finish in the 2007 Colorado River 100 that resulted from trying to race a 25 mile tandem kayak on a 100 mile course.

I think that the Minn II was an excellent MR340 choice, it’s a good cruising canoe, stable and handles well on big water.  The (20 year old home-made Spencer canoe that Bowden and I paddled was similar in stability but longer and with much less freeboard (a real concern w/r/t barge wakes).   So, what is the best boat solution?  The fastest boat that you can paddle at race pace effort while being comfortable and stable for hours on end.   The right boat will vary from team to team and paddler to paddler. I favor canoe type boats and the results in very long races generally (but not always) point to.  Different rules apply in short races.

About canoes and kayaks:  What is the difference?  A decked hull?  A two-ended paddle? My rule is that if the HULL paddles most efficiently using a canoe paddle, then it’s a canoe.  If you are sitting low and a kayak paddle works best, then you’re in a kayak.  In the Texas Water Safari world the distinctions get real blurry.  For short races I like to paddle kayaks.  I’m a lousy canoeist so I don’t compete well in spec. boat, e.g. USCA racing.  However, I love the comfort of a canoe over the long haul.

However, kayaks are more intuitive and easier to master.  And, the low seating position in some pretty racy kayaks makes them stable.  Kayaks and skis are also “sexier” than canoes which probably accounts for kayaks outselling canoes.

I don’t think that a reasonable argument can be made that one hull style is better, or faster than another.  I do think that serious paddlers should experiment with canoes and kayaks and determine what will work best for them.

Regarding paddles:  this is easier.  The best paddle is always an expensive lightweight carbon fiber paddle.   Canoe paddle, touring kayak or wing kayak paddle?  They each have advantages and disadvantages.  Canoe paddles are less fatiguing and you can turn the blade over quickly while getting a solid catch.  (Good) touring kayak  paddles are easy to use, lightweight and not particularly stressing on joints.  Wing kayak paddles are the most efficient paddle for use in a narrow boat in which you can obtain a vertical catch.  It’s also easier to self-learn and groove a proper stroke with a wing paddle.  The downside of wings is that they are not good for maneuvering strokes and bracing is tricky.  Use of an oversized wing or over-use of the wing can induce shoulder problems but less so with the newer styles of wings vis-à-vis the 1980’s Swedish wing model and similar.

In a typical racing hull you can definitely sprint and cruise faster with a kayak paddle because you will have a faster stroke rate. Over distance, and after you get tired, canoe paddles are a welcome relief and recipe for success.  If your name is Joe Belize and you are a canoe paddle ace you don’t need no stinking kayak paddle to lead the TWS or the MR340…at least as long as you are still in the race.

It’s easier to learn to master the use of a kayak paddle compared to a canoe paddle, but the reward is there for learning the sit-and-switch canoe forward stroke.

More on paddles:
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t use a paddle that you either haven’t attained competency with or, have not used at all. In unlimited races such as the Texas Water Safari and the MR340 you can use any and all paddles.  So, experienced paddlers may use kayak paddles for speed in spurts and canoe paddles for fast cruising.  This is a strategic approach and the situations during the race may dictate the tactics of which paddle to use when.  Also, changing paddles means some change in muscle use and the opportunity to rest some muscles and adjust the rotation pattern.

I broke the cardinal rule of trying something new in the 2008 MR 340 and I paid a steep price for that mistake.  A really bad wrist injury was the resulted when,   after 70 miles Phil and I agreed to toss the wing kayak paddles and change to Epic touring paddles, a sound strategy that I used last year....the problem was that I hadn't used the Epic flat blade all Spring/Summer and pulling it at race pace messed up my wrist.  We ended up singling the last half of the race until we went into kayak paddle sprint mode with three miles to go.  My wrist looked like Popeye after the race and it’s not healed yet.

Sermon on kayak paddles and wings. Don’t waste your time trying to propel a “fat” canoe with a kayak paddle, especially a wing.  If you need a really long paddle, e.g. 220 cm or longer you are swinging excess weight and chances are your hull width prevents a solid vertical catch.  If this is your boat, get proficient with a canoe paddle.

The trend for marathon for both canoes and kayaks is to go short and keep the stroke rate up.  I was a grinder for many years (long paddle, big blade, lots of muscle).  Paddling with better Canadian and Belizean paddlers in the 2003 and 2004 Safaris brought me around.  I was amazed to find that I could maintain a high efficient stroke rate  when everyone was pulling and the boat was gliding.



‘nuff for now,

Lee Deviney
 
IP Logged
 
Reply #1 - 08/07/08 at 16:17:19

Wayfarer   Offline
10X MR340 Veteran
Gritty Fitty Veteran
Fort Collins, CO

Posts: 287
**********
 
This is a great article! I reposted it with the author permission in my blog:

http://race.fit2paddle.com/C1240588584/E20080805173036/index.html

with some pictures from me and Connie

...

 
IP Logged
 
Reply #2 - 08/07/08 at 18:29:20

brwa175   Offline
5X MR340 Veteran
3X Gritty Veteran
Race Volunteer
Reality is overrated.

Posts: 320
*****
 
Nicely nice. I missed this when it was posted on the forum so thanks Marek for bringing it back to our attention and for the well-placed photos. And to Lee, who knows so much more about paddling than do I and is willing to share. He's got a few years on me, I think, so there's still hope for pulling into St.Charles in under 60 some day.
 

However, truth is a reasonable substitute.
IP Logged
 
Reply #3 - 08/07/08 at 23:22:12

kaufmanjd   Offline
MR340 Veteran
2X Gritty Fitty Veteran
2X Kawlloween Veteran
Kawlloween Record Holder

Posts: 127
*
 
Lee,

Thank you for sharing such a rich dissertation on the subject of racing. It is pure gold. However, now it does leave me regretting that I waited till after the MR340 to ask for your insights! 

james
 
IP Logged
 
Reply #4 - 08/08/08 at 10:12:47

txpaddler   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
MR340 Record Holder
Rollingwood, Texas

Posts: 253
**
 
I hear that ya'll are in for some a serious hands-on brain dump in early October c/o a couple of guys that have paddled more and who have been more successful than I have in during the last 10 years (hmmm... that's right about the time my first child was born).

Lee
 
IP Logged
 
Reply #5 - 08/08/08 at 11:34:19

Ladsurfski   Offline
4X MR340 Veteran
5X Gritty Fitty Veteran
Kawlloween Record Holder
Kawnivore Veteran
4X Kawlloween Veteran

Posts: 1851
****
 
Lee...I hear that...back in 95 and 99 (i.e. my race number) my two children were born which abruptly put an end to 12 years of competitive triathlons and cycling. I am finally getting back in the shape that I was in 13 years ago...

children/families = limited training time = limited competition = limited results!

Ron

p.s. looks like you're collaborating with the young gun "dark horse paddler" I think we might see both of you in a tandem sometime next year...just a guess!?!
 
IP Logged
 
Reply #6 - 08/08/08 at 12:05:58

txpaddler   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
MR340 Record Holder
Rollingwood, Texas

Posts: 253
**
 
Ron,

I just got back in a boat for the first time post-340 yesterday...kind of like getting on a unicycle.  At this time I am a retired canoe racer and a proud Pop Warner football and Westlake Youth Soccer Association father  I may feel differently in January.

Lee
 
IP Logged
 
Reply #7 - 08/08/08 at 15:20:00

Ladsurfski   Offline
4X MR340 Veteran
5X Gritty Fitty Veteran
Kawlloween Record Holder
Kawnivore Veteran
4X Kawlloween Veteran

Posts: 1851
****
 
Lee,

I'm heading out to the lake right now...5th or 6th time paddling since the MR340...but I have also been running, cycling and lifting ever since I got back from St Charles...worst thing for me was the blisters and my pinky fingernail which is still on the verge of falling off.

Ron
 
IP Logged
 
Reply #8 - 08/08/08 at 22:05:13

WAIMANU   Offline
5X MR340 Veteran

Posts: 1075
*****
 
Lee
     ...I can understand the "proud soccer Dad" completely, having raised three kids that all excelled at university an international athletics, but this "retired canoe racer" ???!!!
     ...we can discuss it at the TrailHead next August - over a gin 'n tonic!!  Smiley Wink Roll Eyes

Bill / Waimanu
 
IP Logged
 
Reply #9 - 04/22/12 at 14:47:04

Dark Horse Paddler   Offline
9X MR340 Veteran
MR340 Record Holder
Gritty Fitty Veteran
Gritty Fitty Record Holder
Lee's Summit Missouri

Posts: 1558
*********
 
This is a great post written by Lee DeViney in 2008. Lee is a veteran racer from Austin who won the mens tandem class in 2008.

This was lost in the tombs of the MR340, but is worth a read by both new and experienced racers alike, so I'm bumping it to the top.
 

-Joe Mann, Dark Horse Paddler
www.MidwestPaddleRacing.com
Your #1 Site for Canoe and Kayak Racing In the Midwest!!
IP Logged
 
Reply #10 - 04/23/12 at 16:00:29

Los Humungos   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
Sometimes wears a Wally
Werderich costume

Posts: 1365
**
 
txpaddler wrote on 08/05/08 at 22:40:07:
About canoes and kayaks:  What is the difference?  A decked hull?  A two-ended paddle? My rule is that if the HULL paddles most efficiently using a canoe paddle, then it’s a canoe.  If you are sitting low and a kayak paddle works best, then you’re in a kayak.  In the Texas Water Safari world the distinctions get real blurry.  For short races I like to paddle kayaks.  I’m a lousy canoeist so I don’t compete well in spec. boat, e.g. USCA racing.  However, I love the comfort of a canoe over the long haul.

However, kayaks are more intuitive and easier to master.  And, the low seating position in some pretty racy kayaks makes them stable. Kayaks and skis are also “sexier” than canoes which probably accounts for kayaks outselling canoes....

‘nuff for now,

Lee Deviney



I'm bringing sexy back. HUT! 
Those other kayaks don't know how to act. HUT! 
Rudders make up for the things you lack. HUT!

*Take em to the river*

Missouri waves,
I prefer to use a single blade,
I let you tump me if I misbehave,
It's just that canoes make me feel this way.

I'm bringing sexy back. HUT! 
Those other kayaks don't know how to act. HUT!
Rudders make up for the things you lack. HUT!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gOHvDP_vCs

You know you wanted it...

Sincerely,
Los Humungos Paddleos
 

Sometimes when you are man, you wear stretchy pants...its for fun... -Nacho   
You do not get guns like these from riding a bike. -Matt Strieb
IP Logged
 
Reply #11 - 04/23/12 at 18:58:21

chuck and di   Offline
12X MR340 Veteran
Kawlloween Veteran
5X Gritty Fitty Veteran
MR340 Record Holder
Kawnivore Record Holder
Kawnivore Veteran
Gritty Fitty Record Holder

Posts: 1302
************
 
#1. Intensity in all your workouts- in gym or on the water.
#2. Listen to your body. It is a wonderful machine.
#3. Use common sense.
#4. Don't listen to any guru who has something to sell.
That is all.
 

If you find yourself suddenly smack dab in the middle of hell, stopping is not an option.
IP Logged
 
Reply #12 - 04/23/12 at 19:14:14

Kirk Freels   Offline
5X MR340 Veteran
3X Gritty Veteran
Race Volunteer
Oak Grove

Posts: 139
*****
 
Listen to this man  or else he will put your shrunken head in the upper right of his posts like so many others.
 

You've got what it takes, but it will take everything you got
IP Logged
 
Page Index Toggle Pages: 1
Send Topic Print