As in the previous two years, I went to Florida for a paddling camp this spring. Unlike the past few years, I took hardly any photos. This year felt a lot more busy leading up to it (and since I’ve been back). Because I’ve been all these places a few times I felt like less of a tourist. I may also have been a bit burned out on writing and communicating and generally using my computer, so I didn’t spend much time taking photos or writing about the days. Sorry to those of you who like that kind of thing! Thanks to paddling buddy Chris for taking this photo, perhaps the only one proving I was there.
In retrospect though, it was a great 2(!!) weeks with many highlights:
This last weekend I drove 28 hours (round-trip) to Minneapolis to race the Women’s Round Robin. I had been looking forward to it since I did the mixed Round Robin last year. The format is really fun, involves a full day of sprinting with all these new people. You get to paddle in the front, back, and try to match up with a bunch of different styles and personalities. With my background in sprint racing and need to learn from new people, it is a really good fit. It is REALLY demanding mentally and physically, but a good challenge and a fun time with a great group of people (Minnesotans are seriously the best). When the event was announced back in March I could hardly wait, and I recruited and promoted and encouraged others to come out and do it.
When it came down to the end of June, most of my enthusiasm had evaporated. I just didn’t really want to go any more. I didn’t have any appetite to go to Saskatoon Pride, or the free jazz festival concerts, or other summer social things… let alone plan a big trip to do a very hard thing that would require digging deep to stay motivated and on my game. Luckily the clouds parted and one of my more organized team mates had room in her car to go down. I had to rally like a boss/gangsta/champ, but I showed up and performed reasonably. I wouldn’t say it was my ‘A game’, but overall not bad and I had a few really nice races. For the record, I don’t think my ‘A’ game (or ‘C’ game for that matter) would have changed the end result rankings; it is more about the quality of experience while being there. There were some good races but also loads of mistakes, and all the learning that comes along with that and makes the trip worthwhile. I do wish I’d been a little more sharp to pick up on more of that, but I’ll have other chances. There are lots of things for me to work on right now, and I don’t have to worry about getting bored.
Now I am back in Saskatoon with not a lot else going on for the summer but our busy (and productive) data collection. Summer is very short in Saskatoon so it is nice to make the most of it. I think I will race the Pas (Opaskwayak First Nation Annual Canoe Race), and I’m looking at joining the Rowing Club. The river is so low and slow it is a good year to learn to row a single, and I think the change would do me good.
In Florida I paddled through deep flooded mangroves and saw lots of wildlife (see here). It was warm enough to enjoy the shade and paddle under the tree branches. I went under one low branch and emerged with a hornet sticking out of my leg. It was SUPER painful , and within 5 min there was a golf ball on my thigh. IT hurt for a while, changed colours, got itchy, and is still not all gone. Gross!
March 18-25 I went to a marathon canoe camp in central Florida. Edith and I spent all day flying in either direction, and then spent 5 hours per day paddling the 6 days we were there. Paddling doesn’t take up all the time, so we also made some great dinners, did some yoga, and took naps. It was awesome! I really can’t imagine a more ideal vacation (maybe if Graham came along…) The wifi situation was really sub-standard, so I also had the bonus of hardly doing any work. Sweet!
Graham found a great KLM flight deal to Europe with a free multi-day layover in Amsterdam, so we went to visit
Sweden! I did a little work at CBF and gave a seminar, but mostly it was a social visit catching up with our Sweden-buddies. We visited Divya and Shyam in Uppsala, and got to visit with Divya’s parents and their new baby, Sahana. We stayed with Hasse and Elja for some great meals and tour of sandviken, then visisted Jennie and Richard and their little girl. We also went to Julinvigning to see the fireworks and then visit Camilla’s new place for glogg afterwords. It was a bit short as visits go, but so fun!