Category Archives: Kayak

07202019 – Kayak

We took our Kayaks with us while camping at Hungry Jack Lodge. On our first day we decided to kayak from the lodge to Honeymoon Bluff which you could see across the way. We unloaded the boats and blew up the SUP, packed a lunch and headed out. Pretty quickly, one tired kid got tied onto my kayak. Heading towards the Bluff wasn’t too bad. We had a good wind to our back. Hiking to the bluff wasn’t too bad either. From the landing spot it was maybe 1/2 mile to the trail and the trail was 3/4 miles with a little bit of climbing, but nothing too steep. We enjoyed our lunch on the rocks, took in the views, saw a bald eagle, and headed back down.

View from Honeymoon Bluff

Heading back to the lodge was a struggle. The wind was basically coming straight at us and would be the whole time. We tied up the second kid to the SUP and paddled. And paddled. We took a little break behind one of the peninsulas. But after that, there wasn’t a clear spot to get to. We tried going mostly straight across to the other-side to get a little bit of relief. It was a lot of work in my flat water kayak, so you can only imagine the work on the SUP. At one point we did switch out a kid kayak paddle for the SUP paddle to make it a little easier. We finally made it back to the beach and relaxed and swam!

Playing before paddling back

It was approximately a 4 mile paddle in total (depending on how much the wind blew us around!

07022019 – Kayak

The kids and I had a great time kayaking today. We took the 3 kayaks out onto Cedar Lake and paddled over to Lake of the Isles and then came back and toured the 3 beaches of Cedar Lake!! We started at the South Beach which has some new amenities, but the swim area is pretty small and mucky with lots of seaweed. We then paddled to Hidden or East Beach. This has a lot of nice shade and a nice swim area with lifeguards (oddly the only ones out today). There are some unique characters here, but not quite the reputation that it used to have. In fact, we saw two different people get cited by the Park Patrol for what appeared to be alcohol violations. Unfortunately, we realized that a pair of flip flops had been left at South Beach so we paddled back there. There are some nice houses on that part of the lake and it was fun to pick out which ones we liked!! We looked them up when we got home, one is currently for sale for $3.3 million if you are interested!! After retreiving the flip flops we made our way back to Cedar Point Beach which is a good mix of traditional beach activities and good sized swim area. Alas it was time to leave and we paddled back to the “ramp” and headed home! I checked and we did at least 3.5 miles of paddling (assuming we did straight lines and point to point).

We had a lot of fun and will probably do it again!

06092019 – Cuyuna Off Road Tri

After several hot days, it was nice to wake up to a cool morning for the race! The cooler temps and threat of rain made for good race conditions, although the wind on the lake wasn’t ideal! I was a little nervous as we unloaded the kayak and found a great parking spot! Arriving early and getting a good parking spot is a good idea for this race, especially if family is spectating. They were able to go back and relax and warm-up in the van in between transitions.

The setting is so perfect! Below you can see some of the boats lined up on shore waiting to start. I didn’t actually even know how the race would start. Would we all run down to our kayaks and get them into the water? Fortunately, we started in the kayaks floating on the water!  I did a few paddles and then got back into line with everyone else and waited. I wasn’t the only one in a flat water kayak and there were even a few SUP’s in our “competitive” first wave. The second wave was teams or relays and the third was “recreational.”

A 3 mile out and back kayak was a long way and seems out of proportion to the rest of the race, but it was an out and back paddle in Huntington Lake.  At the start I felt like my boat might submerge in the slight chop from the other boats! Not a good feeling to start the hardest leg with. I quickly got sifted out the back of the pack and was in next to last place for almost the whole paddle.  I did manage to catch up to another person as we got to the turn around boat. The hope of the wind helping push me back to the finish wasn’t really there. I felt no noticeable difference, though my watch split times were a few seconds faster!  Shortly after the half way point is when the first canoe team went by me!  I was 3rd from last in my wave and got passed by a bunch of people in the second wave before I finally finished. I felt like I was paddling hard the whole way too!  Volunteers were helping take the boats, life jackets, and paddles up out of the water so I took them all off and started running up the hill to the transition area.  My 3 mile paddle was 45:26 (124/154 overall).

I was wearing sandals so I slipped out of them and into my socks and bike shoes. I grabbed my bike and headed out. A seat would have been helpful!  T1 was 1:43.  I picked a spot close to the paddle in/bike out part of transition as it was a long run up from the water.  Once at of T1 I took some water and headed down the road towards the trails. I was actually surprised at how tired my legs already felt. I didn’t realize how much I was using them to sit in the kayak! I have never actually raced a mountain bike before, but have obviously been passed and passed people while riding. It was interesting trying to do that while also maintaining some type of speed.  Most people were pretty respectful and communicative about passing.  The first section had a lot of passing.  One time I actually stopped and it took awhile before I could get back on. Lesson learned!  The trail layout was good! The bulk of the race was on Easy trails, but we did a few good climbs on the Intermediate trails. I have ridden all of the trails we did at some point, but man the 3 climbs really sorted out the pack.  One of the smaller climbs ended with a little loop on top and a lady wearing purple accidentally cut the course and ended back in front of me. This was annoying because I had just passed her and would now have to pass her again! Once we hit that first major climb on Mucker Mountain it was a long time before anyone passed me again. The second climb was up Hopper Hill and the final one was Roly Poly (but cutting up the service road). I realized it was going to be hard to take any nutrition or water while on the bike so I grabbed drinks whenever I could on a service road and the took the nutrition when we had a short stint on a grassy road that was still hard to do one handed! I probably could have gotten by without any nutrition, but I knew I was going to be out there for awhile.  The didn’t have miles marked, but there were a few spots where there was a sign that said how many miles were left. It was definitely deceiving because we passed the mile to go sign and then went up Roly Poly! The trails and scenery are so pretty, but I didn’t really get to enjoy the scenery! I felt like I was moving along at a pretty good clip for me throughout the race. I finished the 8 mile bike in 58:09 (93/155).

I had a longer run from the Bike In to my transition spot for T2 and then run out was back by the Bike In so T2 was 1:26.  Then off I went for the run.  My family was able to see me at all the transitions so that was fun to get high fives!! The first section of running is a set of switchbacks and shortly after I started I heard the crowd gasp as a rider flipped off his bike trying to transition. The run was a great course. Running on mountain bike trails is interesting as they are designed with that in mind, not running. For the first half that wasn’t a big deal, but a fair number of switchbacks helped to see who was around. I noticed that the lady in purple wasn’t too far behind me. I decided I wasn’t going to let her pass me. I maintained a steady pace and kept moving up the hill and enjoyed the elevation changes. They did have a water stop so I grabbed  a quick drink at around the halfway point. The second half of the run had way more short pump track type features which are fairly annoying for running on. I kept pushing, but was definitely feeling the fatigue as my legs felt dead on some of those features. I got passed by a few people in this section and kept thinking it was the purple lady. There was the same deceiving sign, I don’t remember what distance it said, but it felt like forever! There is also a false exit from the dirt trails onto the paved one for a brief moment and then back into the dirt before finally exiting the dirt for real and heading into the finish. Once we made the turn towards the finish I tried to pick up the pace. I didn’t have a lot left and I don’t really think it went much faster, but I did pass a few people and didn’t get passed!! I finished the 3 mile run in 22:07 (7:23 pace and 41/154).  I was pretty happy with that!

This is a post race selfie!! It felt great to be done with the race! I’m pretty happy with 2:08. It is crazy to think that I spent so much time on the kayak!!

Overall it was a great event and I had a blast. It started raining after I finished but never really came down hard. I would be tempted to do it again, but really need to work on the paddling part if I’m going to.  I saw an advertisement for an off-road triathlon that does swimming, mountain bike, trail run and that might be more my thing.  We’ll see!

05262019 – Bike and Kayak

The Mountain Bike trails opened up yesterday afternoon and I wanted to get some dirt action before the rain on Monday. I also didn’t want to tear up my legs for Murph either so I did the North Loop twice at an easy-ish pace.  The Luce Line is still flooded between Wirth Parkway and the entrance, but I found a nice work around that followed the railroad tracks. I found a trail heading back into the woods and was getting ready to turn on it when a dude came running out and he confirmed it would drop me into the loop. It was in great shape, except one section that was closed due to flooding still, but it had a nice work around.  I did about 6.5 miles and it felt good.

Son had been asking to go kayaking with me so the two kids and I ended up going to Hyland park and kayaking on the lake.  It was fun and sunny – I got burnt. I didn’t record the paddle as it was mostly leisurely.  It was a lot of fun though!! Three kayaks is a lot of logistics, but the kids were great helpers!

05052019 – Run & Kayak

I started off the morning with a 10k time trial. The Loppet trails were finally open so I thought I would hit them.  The Karate Monkey trails were in great shape, Area 36 was still a little wet and not fully opened. The plan was to do the second 5k faster than the first. I was thrown off a little bit on the distances by the full trails not being open. I checked and the Luce Line was flooded as well so I briefly hit the one set of mountain bike trails to get me back to the main trails.

My first 5K was 30:58 and the second was 28:51. Definitely not as fast as I would like!  The total distance was 7.4 miles in 1:13:10.

In the afternoon I decided to get my new Kayak out for a spin. I put in at Cedar Lake Point Beach and did the perimeter of Brownie Lake and most of Cedar. It was definitnely different than canoeing and sitting in the same position for awhile was tough.  I did about an hour and 2.8 miles.  I did some of it hard and some of it just relaxed especially when I saw the turtle party on Cedar!!  I ended up buying a kayak that could be good for casual paddling with the family for either Christy or I instead of shelling out money for a faster one!