Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Fresh New Season

A New Beginning

A new paddling season is dawning. Others have been paddling all along, but the last couple weeks have presented the first of a few opening opportunities here. If everything holds together (health, family, money, etc.), I’m excited by the list of possibilities I have in mind. There will, however, be some changes from last year.

I’ll continue to be “straight-up” about what’s going on. I find voyage accounts of little benefit if the teller of the story can’t be open enough to admit mistakes and explain honestly how they occurred and could have been avoided. I like the format used by Sail Magazine. Each first-person account includes a sidebar with entries for “What we did right,“ and “What we did wrong.“ If something isn’t working, not going well, short of expectations, I’ll say so and exactly why. One of the biggest changes will be not making claims about what I’m about to do. Instead, I’ll report on what has been accomplished. If there was some planning, gear, or organization that helped in preparation, I’ll show how it helped or why it was pivotal for that accomplishment, and not how I expect it to pay dividends 200 miles down the river. I’m beyond the age where physical and mental challenges can be taken on as virtually accomplished and expect that the body will just fall in line with my expectations. The body now dictates, and I follow. I may push the boundaries, but I’m no longer the boss. Some of the traps I fell into last year that I’m going to try to avoid are trying to copy someone else’s paddling tempo, worrying about maintaining a particular hull speed, saying that I MUST make so many miles today, and others along the same line. Instead, every day will be a day paddle with the goal of meeting that moment’s challenges and finding enjoyment in my time on the water. If I decide day one was fun, but enough, then it will be enough. If I decide to go another day, the plan will be for just one more day. I’ll allow more time for warm-up, realize that I need to start with smaller expectations and build as conditioning improves, and above all, have a lot more fun.

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