Sunday, March 7, 2010


I'm not very happy with this blog site. So, I've moved over to WordPress. Sorry for the inconvenience. I hope you'll still visit me over there. The new Cowboygrrl at:

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Here she is. We had a maiden paddle today, early morning. I hooked up with some paddlers out of Oakland and we put in right at Jack London Square. It rained all day yesterday and dawned somewhat blue this morning, but was perfect on the water. She's still on the car here (already took off stern/bow lines); pulled into the driveway for unloading.

I was sold on the Ikumma but when I sat in this one, it was like coming home! Have you guessed what she is yet? OK, I'll spill the beans............ Current Designs (yes, a North American style)

Solstice GTS; 17'7", Carribean Blue, and I splurged (some would say going into debt) on kevlar.
I've been very fortunate with lots of help from a local store. Also, one of the employees has really taken an interest in the fact that I'm doing the CR100. He's done many years of racing and teaches a lot of stroke classes, and has volunteered to give me some coaching and helping me pick that perfect paddle.

So, now I can focus on getting comfortable in my new boat, work on technique and get some mileage in. I do have a specific training program I'll begin in May, and I continue to cycle 3-4 times a week (will continue cross-training). I've started experimenting with Hammer Nutrition gels, bars, and sports drink, and later I'll need to do some special outfitting on the kayak for the race. Mostly, I'm counting the hours until my next day on the water: SATURDAY.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Sun is predicted for tomorrow, Sat., slipping in between two storms. I plan to kayak in the afternoon. Tomorrow's goal is to get some miles in and mark off some distances for future training. Probably won't focus on any picture-taking. I also plan to work on my forward stroke. After reviewing Barton and Chalupsky's DVD, I don't think my stroke is too bad, but I'm going to do some practice anyway, trying to keep their key points in mind.

I continue to research kayaks. I've decided to stick with a sea kayak, composite, about 17ft. I'm seriously looking at the Seda Ikumma. This kayak is being used by Jake Stachovac who's paddling the Portage to Portage Paddling Project. Check out his blog at: I'm starting to also think about fueling and hydrating for the race. I've ordered some samples from Hammer Nutrition and will try their various products during training. I'm trying both their bars and gels, and later a food supplement for endurance racing called Perpetuam. I'm going to purchase MSR dromedary for keeping both water and a supplement drink and/or fuel on the boat during the race. I need to find out if I'll want real food and what my stomach will tolerate for the long haul.

Well, I'll keep inviting you to comment and share your thoughts and opinions about kayaks, training, foods for endurance races, and outfitting a kayak.

Monday, February 15, 2010


This was a 3-day weekend for me and I was hoping to get in 1-2 days of paddling. Unfortunately I came down with a stomach virus. So, while sitting around home, I've done a little research for the CR100. I continue to investigate kayak options, and reading lots of blogs about people's training. "Paddling With A Camera" posts a lot of resources, and I really appreciate this blog and the time put into it (not to mention the great pics). You certainly can find a lot of stuff for elite athletes, but it's much harder to find realistic training programs for the average, athletic "gal!" Also, since this is my first ultra-marathon, I'm looking to finish. The race is really with myself. The "UltraMarathon Paddling" blog by the Nelson's also has some terrific information; articles about eating and hydration. They also post questions asked and their answers to them. I often find a "nugget" of invaluable help.

So, back to kayaks. I'm looking for a kayak I can use in the CR100, but I may never race again. It will depend a lot on the experience I have. So, if I never race again, I want to be left with a kayak that is still seaworthy for the open ocean and I can use for touring. I would like composite, probably at least 17 ft. COME ON, I KNOW YOU KAYAKERS ARE OUT THERE! Your input is really appreciated; please post your suggestions here.

Well, I haven't been just spinning my mental wheels. For the last month I've been cycling 3-4 times a week. I think I'll get on my bike now.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I just completed my registration for the Colorado 100 in Sept. I have several months to train and gather as much information as I can, AND buy a new kayak. Anyone out there with ultra marathon experience or races like these? Please feel free to impart words of wisdom and share your adventure here.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


It was supposed to rain Fri. and when the storm didn't show I was afraid it would rain for my Sat. paddle. Fortunately it rained all night and dawned sunny and clear. I arrived at the marina a little after 10 AM, and it was really busy. A group of young sailors were preparing for the day and there were two other kayakers besides myself.

As I launched, a 6-person scull went by with the coach in a motorboat. Not soon after came a dragonboat, an outrigger and a paddleboard, all going the opposite way.

I crossed the channel and it finally started to thin out from all the people. I got a picture of this big guy.I was headed for Corkscrew slough and the hidden, narrow channel that cut around Bair Island. I'd forgotten to clear my GPS from the last trip so my milage was screwed up but I knew I was close. My position on the GPS indicated I had to be near. Again it was a very high tide, so an obvious channel wasn't present. I took a guess and headed parallel to Corkscrew looking for a passageway to the right as the travel guide suggested. I turned right and headed for the tall electrical lines which you are supposed to paddle under as you cross under a footbridge. A pelican caught my eye; he was sitting right on the footbridge passageway!

I crossed under the footbridge and headed east towards the open bay. There was land to my right. I hoped it was Bair Island. It sure wasn't very pretty. But I was excited to finally find the cut-off and head for open water. Once in the bay, I knew when I turned south whatever land was to my right had to be the island. The tide was still flowing in and it was passing really fast in front of me to the south in a small inlet through the land to my right. As I passed the inlet and looked right, I realized this was not the island I had been paddling along; I could see it off in the distance. All was OK as I could see the open bay in front of me. I decided to continue east.

I finally passed the jetty to my right and popped out into the bay and turned south. It wasn't at all windy and quite pleasant. I saw Bair Island ahead of me.........

I passed a couple of kayakers going the opposite way looking for the passageway I had just come from.

The bay side of the island had a barrier completely made of shells. I guess this is why they called it shell beach!

An interesting design made all by shells.

I continued my paddle south. Here's looking south to the Dumbarton Bridge before I turned west at channel marker #8, heading back to the marina.
Total milage: somewhere around 7.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


The tides are good for next weekend to get around the wildlife island. So the plan is to launch mid-morning next Sat. in Redwood City again. I was driving to visit my daughter at college yesterday and passed Lexington Reservoir. Wow, it was really full. Then I remembered I could also paddle here on the weekends. I didn't have to rely on specific tides in the bay. There's also Lake Chabot. So, now there's a couple new places I can try out.

I've been paddling vicariously by reading lots of kayak blogs, books, and accounts of some marathon races like the Mississippi 340 and Colorado 100. I've found some good information about training for one of these races, but I need to know soooo much more. I think I'm going to shoot for the Colorado 100 this Sept. Kayaking through the winter will give me a good base (I'll have to get out more often though). I'll also need a different kayak. Not anything too specialized, but now I only own a SOT (12 ft.). I've paddled sea kayaks for 10 years, but never owned one. After I spent a few days this last summer on a SOT, it seemed like enough of a boat for me in the summer in the bay, sloughs, and lakes of California. But I didn't realize how much I was going to LOVE TO PADDLE once I had my own boat! Now, I just want to paddle more. Paddle further. Paddle faster! So on these wet, cold, winter days, I'm dreaming of my first long distance race (really the goal is to finish), and creating my mind-set to actually do the work to be prepared to do the race.

If anyone has recommendations for kayaks and training, I'm all ears.