Wednesday, December 30, 2009

There is Good Snow on the Birkie Trail!

We got up to Hayward for a couple of days after Christmas. It sure is great that Kathy's sister and her husband built a cabin up there, it make it a lot easy to get there especially in the winter!! They do not have as much snow in Hayward as we have in Southern Minnesota and Iowa, but they do such a great job of grooming the Birkie trail that the skiing was great. They have instituted a parking fee to help pay for trail maintenance. $10 a day for a car is a bargain for such a good trail.

It was a really quick trip so I only got a couple of opportunities to ski. The first day was a slightly icy, it got above freezing on Saturday and by the time I got out on the trail, it was just before dark, and it was starting to ice up a little. Over night it snowed an inch or so and after they rolled the trail it was about as good as it ever is.

As for the skier, my heart rate pretty much max'es out on the hills this time of year until I can get myself a little more economical in terms of the exertion it takes me to skate up the hills:-) Sunday's Route and Heart Rate Data

Friday, December 25, 2009

SUP, And What Is That You Say?

This is my latest watercraft - a Stand Up Paddleboard. Apparently, Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is the hot new sport in some parts of the world. I had vaguely heard of it but truthfully had never even seen a picture when my friend Ty decided that we should inaugurate a new sport in the mid-west-- running rivers on SUP's. Of course neither of us wanted to buy a board, for all we know, we might not like it, so we decided to make them. The board to the left used to be a block of pink insulation foam, but with some work with a planner and a few layers of fiberglass here it is now.

I took my rough shape from Stuey Campbell's 12'6" Penetrator. From what I read, his design is more of an immersion hull (like a kayak or canoe) than a surfboard which most seem to be adapted from. I was not able to get much a sense of how much rocker to add. I shaped what seemed like a little rocker in the front, maybe an inch over the first few feet and less in the back. It has a dropped deck (about 2" from the top) and a pair of scuppers in the back to drain any water that might come over the sides.

I made a couple of paddles so I could try it out, never mind that it is the middle of winter in Minnesota. I am pretty sure that I must be the first SUP'er on the Straight River. It was a traffic stopping affair in Owatonna on Christmas Day!

I think Stand Up Paddleboarding is going to take a little practice to get completely comfortable with. The dropped deck seems like a good addition because it lowers your feet closer to the water surface, and it helps to keep your feet toward the center of the board. I do not have a fin yet but you can see from the video that I am probably going to need a big one to get this thing to track. It is a good thing I put that fin box in the bottom.