Adventure race training: no rest for the wicked

By Amy Russell November 8, 2013
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Team Australian Geographic Adventure pick up the pace in their kayak training. With only four weeks to go, they’re finally acting as a team!

TWO WISE MEN ONCE said “I feel the need, the need for speed!” Inspired by the unforgettable Top Gun duo, Team Australian Geographic Adventure upped the anti this morning when we took to the waters around Northbridge.

If you’ve been following our training progress thus far for the Paddy Pallin Adventure Race Series, you’ll be aware of the fact that our paddle sessions haven’t always been smooth sailing. As kayaking amateurs, we had no idea of the skill level and technique required to successfully get a handle on this sport. But after a couple (more like a few dozen) false starts, Josie, Joanna and I seem to have found our kayaking groove.

This morning’s session, led by Megan Chalmers and Ben Neighbour, saw the three of us again nestled snugly in our quad kayak, aka The Manly Ferry.  After an even-paced warm up paddle out into the bay, Team Australian Geographic Adventure was challenged by Ben to keep up with the other kayaks, ‘the tubs’, which followed in the wake of the speedy skis.

In previous lessons, our regular coach Ben Chalmers had us focus on getting our technique right and paddling in time. And since we had a grip on that, it was time to put pedal to the metal – or paddle to the water – and kick-start The Ferry into gear.

Perhaps it is was the colour coordination (we had matching life-jackets, blood-red paddles and black tights) or Josie’s new steering technique (instead of using her paddle as a rudder to steer the boat and slowing it down by creating drag, she was paddling harder to turn the boat and keep the momentum going). Whatever the reason, this morning we powered through the water. 

We managed to, mostly, keep up with the rest of the pack which is an accomplishment due to the fact that The Ferry is a much bigger craft than the other boats, and we not only have to concentrate on our technique but also on paddling in time so we stay on the straight and narrow. And, we scored a time of 90 seconds in the time trial at the end of the session – an activity we hadn’t participated in before as a group, owing to the fact that we were usually still struggling up the bay, miles behind everyone else.

Ben and Megan were impressed with our efforts and our fellow paddlers dubbed us ‘The Vikings’ as we cut a formidable figure, all colour coordinated and in-time, gliding through the waves with me yelling out our strokes. And I’ll admit we were a little chuffed ourselves – there’s only four weeks left until the first race on 16 October, and thankfully we’re finally beginning to feel like a team. 

Session Summary
Josie: In the words of Marcia Hines; ‘That’s what I’m talkin’ bout!”
Jo: Red paddles go faster!
Amy: I wish I was on an actual Ferry.

To train with the Northbridge Kayaks team visit here.