Tuesday, July 28, 2009

practice 'til you flip

Yesterday we had a long, hard workout in the canoes. Nearly 12 miles of paddling by the mens' crews: 45 minutes, then 2 minutes off, then 30 minutes, then 2 minutes off.

After this we were supposed to do 20 minutes/2 minutes off/15 minutes, but we were running late, and were going to be in the bay east of Montlake Cut, so instead we decided to do a huli drill. The water was smooth and cool, the sun hot, it was a good opportunity.

This was the first huli drill since my experience in the Gorge, and I was caught off-guard by how nervous I felt. We paddled 10 minutes into the bay and the other canoe went first while we watched. Then it was our turn and I realized it was going to be fine, that there were no winds, no waves, and no need to be worried.

We leaned right, ama came up, the canoe went over, and it was all good. I came up with my paddle, passed it forward to number 1 (I was sitting 2), climbed up on the canoe and with number 4, flipped it back right-side-up. Then everyone bailed and I finally climbed aboard and we headed back to the beach. No big deal.

Except that it was a big deal in that it helped remind me that the more we do this, the more familiar the process will be, and maybe the next time, unplanned and in more extreme conditions won't seem quite so daunting. And maybe we'll be able to actually get ourselves back into the race.

I still find myself over-reacting when wakes hit and/or the ama lifts, leaning left more than I need to or ought to, but I think that'll just take time and practice to get over.

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