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What a weekend! What a city! What a Gonzo year!

This year has been chock full of Gonzo events, from Kedgie and Powder Mill, through Kenduskeag, Cabot Trail, Katahdin, New Glasgow, the Gaspe and the RACE. Needless to say, there are plenty of weekly workouts providing the fitness for the races and extended hiking, biking and running adventures.

The past 2 weeks have seen me get involved with Banook for war canoe and racing kayaks as well, as I had some daylight hours not spoken for.


The weekend starts early with the inaugural Gonzo Challenge between Stein and Warnica, replete with finish line crew, documentary film crew, betting windows and t-shirt memorabilia. The winner was never in doubt (at least to most of the fans) but the re-match should be a highlight of 2001.

I followed this up with a few kms in a K1 trainer (known as a Mini) at Banook. I can keep the thing afloat, but haven't placed the seat in it yet, nor taken a full power stroke.


Toured the harbourfront by bike at 8:00 AM amid throngs of people. Lots of different ship designs and languages of all sorts being bandied about.

I had promised Sophie a dinner once she graduated to K1 and this was the day to pay off. We had a nice meal, followed by a few hours of chatting and hanging out at the Dartmouth waterfront. Daughter #1 enjoyed the Tall Ships with a bunch of female friends. It's amazing how easy it is for young ladies to get invitations to come aboard.


Sun god and Dipper spent the morning lolly-gagging with other runners and Gonzo volunteers at the Tall Ships crew 5k relay. The weather was glorious.

The Tall Ships provided a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with all the visiting ships, and a few of us took full advantage. Sun god, Dipper, Imax and Spel-Chick decided to brave the harbour in canoes for a nice Saturday afternoon Parade of Sail of our own.

We put the canoes in at Black Rock and after fighting the cross- currents by the container pier, tooled down the harbour, visiting each ship and taking mucho pictures for the archives. It was a magical afternoon. As much fun as I've had all year. We could take the canoes almost everywhere, and everything else was so much bigger. It was like being in a Disney movie

There were hundreds other watercraft afloat, and the Port Police were keeping a nice clamp on any speed demons, so we felt safe, as long as we kept a sharp lookout for oncoming prows and side-wash.

Canoeing back to Black Rock, we had to fight a nice swell, but the Old Town Campers that we were in loved that type of water. The bouncing and smashing just added to the fun.

After a snooze, it was an evening for the fireworks.


Sunday morning had a 100k Gonzo bike ride scheduled, but I had to skip that for war canoe races at Banook, and I got into 2 Novice boats. I didn't know 500 meters could be so far once the blood fell out of your arms. Our boat was so far back, we had to contend with the wash off other boats, and that only added to our misery.

The much needed afternoon nap was replaced by an impromptu drive to Dollar Lake to pick up Sophie.

After some lightening quick packing it was time for the stealth trip to Mystery Island. Three kayaks and 2 canoes fought their gear down to a secluded put-in and made their way across the Big Pond, taking great care with their cloaking devices. After landing at the pre-arranged put-in, the boats were hobbled and the gear stowed in the top-side command zone. Face paint and camouflage were optional

A truly delightful evening was spent watching the sunset, having dinner (background music provided by all the bands along the waterfront) and checking out all the ships and lights in the harbour. To sleep outside, surrounded by all the Tall Ships hoopla, on a gorgeous, warm evening in the middle of one of the nicest harbour cities ever, with a few Gonzo buddies, well, we were in that proverbial beer commercial. It doesn't get better than that.


That big TV camera we spotted on the island Sunday evening could only mean one thing. We were not going to be alone on Monday. Sure enough, the local Powers-That-Be found our transporation devices around 6:30 Monday morning, voted us off the island and gave us 1/2 hour to evacuate. No big deal, we loaded up and transferred the mess tent to McNab's and spent a lovely morning scanning all the wondrous sights in a beautiful harbour on a gorgeous day.

Of course, any Gonzo event requires that the participant gets a good workout, so we slipped into the ocean once again to watch the outgoing ships from the closest vantage point possible. It was a great day.

After an hour or two of paddling, all the sailboats were pretty much out of the harbour, so we went ashore for the last time in the weekend, shook hands all around and returned to our respective homes.

There was a big party for Tall Ship volunteers in the late afternoon, but I had to skip that to get in a power nap, and be ready for war canoe practices in the early evening. Coach figured that we needed some endurance training, so he upped the repeats, as well as the number of power strokes in each segment (to 70 from 40). There is a Novice Masters class at the Canadian Nationals (Lake Banook in August), and I would like to be in that boat.


Well, I am really tired and happy. The rest of the family spent quite a bit of time either spectating, camping or partying, and I got in some amazing water sports during a very special weekend.