|Switch it Up
The coming season is a ways off, pending on weather, yet it looks like Nova Scotia may be seeing even more people out at local races. The weekly Dartmouth paddles have possibly, hopefully, recruited a few new people with the racing spirit. Their past backgrounds bring much to the sport. The Nationals of last August were challenging, enjoyable, inspirational…a spark to further motivate our paddling souls.
It was a pleasure to pull against, outsmart and be outsmarted by the powerhouse of Dustin and Jean in the wavy Canoe to the Sea. That same race I watched as Doug and Bruce crossed the finish line much dryer than Stefan and I, and nearly all the other teams in the race. One of my best races this year was with Bev whom I'd never paddled with before; and training sessions held there interest much more because of different partners.
What then is the point of stating all this? Change! The importance of changing who one paddles with, is worth keeping in mind.
Not one of us sits in the boat the same and we all have different strengths and weaknesses. Some have more speed, others are better at turning, some people have that will to grind on long open lakes, while others strengths lie in a river course. Each person you paddle with also reacts to the race differently. There is the whole nutritional aspect of who runs out of steam faster. This requires a professional to comment on; however energy levels affect how people respond to situations. And finally different people mean a new relationship in the canoe.
Of course there is a time to religiously train and compete with one person. Big races, or even local races require us to get used to one person. In talking with most people they will swear that time to train and fine tune oneself to another person's actions is critical in the success of a race. But the big success stories of marathon paddling have also paddled with a wide range of different paddlers.
Changing who we paddle with will teach all of us different things. Even if you don't agree with the person, comments by other people will at least make you think about doing things in a different, hopefully more efficient, way. Often times, what you pick up from other people is not noticeable at first. You'll simply adjust something in accommodation and your boat feels faster. So this year, try some different combinations. Some people just don't work together in a boat. But the only way we'll know is to try. What's more, it's fun.