Saturday, May 2, 2009

More than a Day’s Paddle

The barely legible blurb here is from the Dallas Morning News last Sunday, April 26, 2009. It announces the opening of a new urban canoe trail on the west side of Houston. According to the Bayou Preservation Association, one of the partners in developing the trail, “the entire 26-mile trail cannot be traveled in a single day.”

I’m thinking of mailing the blurb to my brother who regularly enters marathon canoe races where they travel up to 120 miles in less than a day. Even on recreational canoe trips where we’re out camping for a week, he regards anything less than 25 miles as an easy day.

Maybe if he saw this he’d realize that down here in Texas we have a different standard for distances and take it easy on me.

1 comment:

  1. It's not so much a difference between Michigan and Texas, as it is between casual canoeist and "obsessed" paddlers. I, and most of the people I hang around with outside of work, fall into the latter category. Locally, most of the "obsessed" group race canoes in a 12 race circuit throughout the state, with the longest race of 120 miles, though the average is probably about 20 miles.

    The interesting thing is although most everybody knows a lot about each others personality and family, they tend to know very little about what is done as their job or career. We know each others character, our strengths and weaknesses. We know them in ways you cannot if you haven't spent hours and hours in a boat together, tethered by the physical exertion that is part of the sport.

    Yesterday we had a solo canoe race, about 10 miles or so. There were about 40 paddlers, the youngest was a 14 year old girl, the oldest, 78. During the race the young girl tipped over going upstream in very challenging water, over her head. Two of the more competitive racers stopped to make sure she was ok and was able to get going again. It wasn't even mentioned by anybody at the end, because it is what you do. The last racers on the course are encouraged as much as the first, because we know how hard we all work to do what we do.

    So at the race, a 72 year old paddlers started probing me about doing the 120 mile race. He is a father to one of the racers my age. He has a 100 hours of paddling in this year. I'm not sure I'm able to commit to the training necessary for that race this year, but it has me thinking.

    John's brother