Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sometimes you're just on.......

This weeks Wednesday night paddle was an impromptu, last minute affair involving RonO, the VOR, and I, on nearby and convenient Long Lake. We took a nice paddle and then Ron and I stopped for some rolling on the return trip. Last Friday night we took one of the VOR's coworkers and her SO out for their first taste of paddling. Since we were short one boat, GalwayGuy and I shared the Q-boat and took turns sitting on the beach and watching each other roll, after I took a short paddle with the rookies and left them in the VOR's capable hands. GG was doing his usual repertoire of rolls but I was struggling with everything but the basic sweep and I'm sure even that didn't look great. I was like the frog that you pithed in high school biology class; there seemed to be a disconnect between the brain and the rest of the body, the same kind that can occur after a particularly energetic evening of vodka drinking. Nothing seemed to work so I did what any determined kayak roller would do. I gave up.

Last night was different. Things just seemed to come together and everything was working, even some of the more confusing offside stuff. I'm not sure why that was but I wasn't questioning it, I was just rolling. My main problem is lack of flexibility. I suspect that if my head ever touched my back deck that the next thing to occur would be my helicopter evac to Hennepin County General. Even so, the standard sweeps, angel roll, reverse sweeps, and even the problematic shotgun roll were all going quite nicely, thank you. On the shotgun I managed to curb my natural impatience and let the roll develop slowly. I also moved forward a couple inches in the seat to give the rigid spine a bit more room to unwind. It always amazes me how little thing, done consistently and well, can make such a big difference on the overall success of an activity. The Olympics have certainly proven that, with some competitors nailing all the little things and winding up on the medal platform, while others were off by a whisker and were on TV with the 'head in the hands' shot. While rolling has none of the pressure of the Olympics (unless you're in the finals of the Qaannat Kattuffiat competition in Greenland) it still makes me feel really good to hit one and have it feel right. The alternative, of course, is to make a big splash.

A few of us are off to the Traditional Paddlers Gathering in northern Minnesota in roughly two weeks. I hope those brain to muscle synapses that were firing so nicely last night remember what they were doing; it would be nice to build on some of the skills I think I have versus spending all weekend refining them. We shall see in a short time.


Joshua said...

Ya know, an Olympic rolling event would be very exciting, but in honor of it's cultural heritage, I think it should be a part of the Winter Olympics.

Ron said...

Must have been something in the water?!? I was hitting the off-side reverse pretty good last night too ... even my storm roll was coming up nice!
I like the Winter Olympics idea!

DaveO said...

Hey, if they can have beach volleyball and BMX biking, I think winter rolling would be the perfect event. Better alert the folks in Vancouver!

Silbs said...

That moving forward in the cockpit also gets the Masik more over your thighs...and that's a good thing.

Enjoy the camp...Tell Alex I say "Hi".

Stevie said...

Hi Dave

I second your observations. I'm not good at the more advanced rolls. I teach rolling more than I practice it.

Sliding forward in the cockpit for layback rolls is a very helpful secret for inflexible people and/or high rear decks.
I know many begining students that improve dramatically when I make them put their feet behind the foot pegs.

Because of my age, warming up makes a big difference. My flexibility improves a lot if I spend a good amount of time side sculling on both sides before doing layback rolls. I practice kissing the deck(very romantic) before doing forward finish rolls.

Warmup on land before would help as well.

People who do yoga, or young people, are almost always better rolling students.

I have found I can hit those hard to do rolls after I spend time early in the day rolling, take a lunch break with beer or wine and then go out again.

Things just seem to fall in place after the lunch break.

DaveO said...

Stevie, I second the 'young people advantage' thing. Also, once again beer is proven as the panacea for yet another performance issue!