Not So Frisky a Ripple…

After yesterday’s post I had a few people reach out and ask what happened regarding the injuries.  The other guide’s concussion–he had a run-in with his dog and took a blow to the head.  My injuries were separate circumstances…the hip flexor actually due to overstretching in yoga (trying to work out the neck injury). Be careful people!! Don’t push yourself too hard.

The neck injury was water related, and turns out (to my surprise) I have whiplash.  This was NOT my typical frisky ripple class II+/III- kind of situation though.  Here’s the deal: my birthday coincided with the Subaru of Bend Outside Games, a 4-day long schedule of events, town-wide, involving adventure sports competitions.  One of the events is the Meadowcamp Race which takes place on the “town run” (a class IV section of the Deschutes upstream from Bend proper).  Sam was in town and since he would be running Meadowcamp for the race…and because I wanted to do something special for my bday… we ran it in a Dynamic Duo (a tandem whitewater kayak).  I’ve duoed with him many times before but not this stretch.  Long story short, on the last rapid the power of the water hitting me, sitting up front, pulled my helmet back hard…my head/neck along with it.  I didn’t think anything of it at the time except for “holy shit that water is powerful!” and “damn, my neck is sore”.

For the record, the run was fun and beautiful, and Sam hit all the lines right.   The rest of the weekend was awesome and my birthday lovely.

So that’s the scoop.  I’m getting treatment in the form of PT with the best dude around (same guy who helped me through my MCL tear).  Aside from laying off my bike and taking it easier than normal, I’m still going on the lower Deschutes this Thursday-Saturday and Grants Pass next week…to paddle, recreate and adventure.  I’m grateful for everyone who has helped me, and put up with my cranky pants. It’s been almost two weeks of sleeplessness and discomfort making me less than “sunny” in my disposition.  But things are on the mend now!  Thanks for caring….

A Thought…

This blog has always been themed around water but truly a montage of my random thoughts, beliefs and experiences.  Wanting to start it for a long time, I finally wrote my first post as a way to channel my energy and spend my time after tearing my MCL. Today, as I sit here with my neck “out” and a slightly torn hip-flexor.  However,  I’m grateful in the knowledge that I’m still able to do most of what I want/need to do, and I have the resources to improve my situation plus the support of friends, co-workers and even strangers.  From prior injuries, I might have even gained some “wisdom” and patience to “slow my roll”.  Give myself space and time to heal.

Recently, a fellow guide experienced a blow to his head which turned out to be a concussion.  How that developed isn’t important, but it brings to mind the need to take care of one another.  In a time when we get very busy with our own lives, it’s important to take a moment to help each other out.  Sometimes we don’t know the person next to us is suffering…physically, emotionally, mentally….or maybe all of the above?  Let’s help one another out, yes?  Team work makes the dream work.

That’s all.  Just a thought.  Have a great day, and until I have more than 5 minutes, I’ll see ya out there on the water (or trail)….

An Intro to Whitewater SUP Clinic

There are two things I love about paddleboarding–one, getting on the river for my own pleasure and practice. The second joy is getting other people out on the frisky ripples for the first time.  I had that opportunity last week on the best section I know for beginners–Warm Springs to Trout Creek on the lower Deschutes. Everyone had a blast, and seemed to “drink the kool-aid” of whitewater SUP.

It was the perfect day and we had a solid crew of 7 students plus Tim, a safety kayaker (and carrier of lunches).  The crew at TCKC had helped me prep for this clinic and we got an early start, however there’s a lot to consider when paddling whitewater–any water really, but if you want to do it safely (and you should), the gear is different.  Therefore we spent a considerable amount of time discussing “best practices”. This topic is fairly controversial right now, perhaps because two disciplines, with two “cultures” are clashing.  One is the river culture.  People who know and understand the dynamics of river–and river safety.  River surfing is awesome and has gained a lot of popularity in the Pacific Northwest.  However, it brings many people to the water who have their origins and experience with ocean surfing, which is different.  The ocean bares it’s own power and risks to be respected…but again, different.  As someone who loves both kinds of paddling and has sustained injuries on both, I  prescribe to complete adherence to safety gear.  On whitewater…even class I’s…I always wear a helmet, PFD, booties and…this is controversial too…a quick release (waist) leash.

Once we’d discussed gear, communication, best practices around/on the water,  we warmed up for the run, first paddling upstream to get used to the feel of current with ripples.  We also talked about low & high bracing plus, knee dropping and draw strokes.  Finally, we turned our boards downstream.  Yay!! We’re officially on our way. The next couple hours went pretty much as expected. Everyone fell (often), laughed a bunch, had a great time and enjoyed the cool water since it was damn hot out there. I saw an improvement even in the couple hours, as people got comfortable and gained confidence.

After we took off the water, everyone pitched in to load gear and drive the 75 minutes back to Bend.  Energy was lower (everyone pooped out!) but content.  I was full of calm and happiness for having completed the day–a success! I would love to invite you on the next Intro to Whitewater SUP clinic in August, but it’s sold out.  WHAT?!  That’s exciting.  It’s been a substantial effort trying to make this program succeed, but with time and exposure it’s finally gaining momentum. We’ll be sure to have more next season.  In the meantime, feel free to hit me up.  I’ll be out there.

What’s ‘SUP…

I love this time of year.  The weather is great and the opportunity for me to paddle the “frisky ripples” is plentiful.  It doesn’t matter that I’ve paddled the same stretches over and over.  If anything, it’s a little like hanging out with a long-time friend–an emotional friend that I have learned to be patient and understanding with.  Super fun, but also sometimes a fickle little bitch. Ha!  This was true for me this last week.

The holiday weekend allowed me to do my favorite “local” stretch (I say this because I essentially live about a third of the time elsewhere to Bend”.  It’s a class II/II+ section depending on the water level and it’s really fun for me.  I know the route and am comfortable with the lines (and for me that’s a slow process!  I have my talents but geographic awareness and recalling trails, routes, etc is NOT one of them.  When hiking alone, my ex used to shout out the question “where should I send search and rescue”?  He wasn’t kidding).  I digress.

I felt really good about my run on the 4th.  I’d been doing  a lot of short frequent runs which means more TOB (time on board) and like anything else, practice improves performance.  So when I paddled the harder run just upstream from the class II section I had no fears of trouble.  In fact, we’d been running the upper stretch of the longer run regularly, for weeks.  No problem.  But I fell at the bottom of one of the rapids–one I’d lapped with no issues the week before.  NOT a big deal though…it flows out into a big pool and swimming isn’t the end of the world.  I decided to try for a redemption lap.  Swam again.  Drank some river water.  Ok, now I’m less happy but it’s okay.  Except I got cold and shivery and swam again above the biggest rapid on the run.  This got my head playing games with me.  I portaged the rapid.  None of this is life shattering, although it felt a little like it was in the moment.  For me this exemplifies the ebb and flow of paddling.  When things are going well it is SO MUCH FUN!! There’s nothing I’d rather do.  Nothing.  But when it isn’t going well it’s a kaleidoscope of emotion (for me) ranging from feelings of fear, failure, ineptitude and frustration to total acceptance and pride for at least attempting something that challenges me.  I know I’ve written this before but it’s metaphorical for life.  Whatever you find to be your stoke…even if challenging… ESPECIALLY if challenging….I’d recommend doing it.  And if you want to try whitewater SUP hit me up.  It’s a kick.

Thanks for listening…

 

What’s Your Stoke this June?

Admittedly, it’s been a roller coaster year.  There have been some incredible “ups”.  In fact, I’ve all but abandoned this blog for months and months– fall and winter running around the globe to Europe, South America and even the briefest of visits to Africa.  But with all wonderful, there are the life challenges too.  Professional struggles, health, family, personal.  We all have these hardships and some of us…many of us…have all of the above.  My point? Well, mostly excusing why I don’t write much these days.

Right now, one of the activities I look forward to most during this busiest time of my professional year, is riding with my “dude” friends in the early morning.  We have our routine and we don’t even have to discuss details.  One of us says “Ride?” before leaving work, and we just know the drill.  Simple, uncomplicated.  No drama.  Except for a chain jamming.  Back brakes not working.  The dazzling sun, blinding me since it gets light so early this time of year.

From time to time a girlfriend will join me on a ride.  A fun experience too–more social, more of an “event” I guess.  Awesome in it’s own way and I’m happy for the female company which I don’t get much of these days as my girlfriends start families or I drop off the radar with my odd schedule that leaves me super busy or out of town.

One of the questions I struggle with regarding these posts is why I write to begin with?  Who reads them?  Does it help anyone? (which was my original point…to encourage the average, probably female, human to try new activities without feeling self-conscious.  Perhaps to give some tips to aid that mission.  The blog has evolved, but at the beginning of this summer season when there are so many things to do, let me share some of my ideas to get you out of the house….some resources to support these endeavors:

Pine Mountain Sports:  Longtime local Bend bike shop.  They are not only super friendly, but super knowledgeable about everything bikes.  The gear, the trails and the instruction if that feels better (I know I could use some clinics…especially on bike maintenance which I’m grossly under-educated about):  Pine Mountain Sports

Tumalo Creek (central Oregon): Longtime local paddle shop. And I’ve worked there for years.  We do everything paddling.  Retail, classes, rentals and tours.  Want to try the frisky ripples? I’ll help you: Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe

eNRG Kayaking:  Santiam River (whitewater) or Oregon City/Portland area (Willamette Falls and both flatwater and whitewater). There’s no better paddle instruction center than eNRG. I consider the Santiam river my backyard (because it is LITERALLY my backyard 3 days a week). So many choices. So accessible.  eNRG Kayaking

Wild & Scenic Film Festival: June 15, Oregon City (brought to you by eNRG).  If you want to get excited about outdoor adventures with an eye toward stewardship, these films will inspire.  After the films, there’s the chance to do a full moon paddle up to the historic Willamette Falls. You think it’s too far to travel from Bend?  It’s not. I do it about every 2-3 weeks.  Wild & Scenic Film Festival Oregon City

“Field Trip” to the gorge:  An easy over-nighter trip to the gorge can make you feel like you’ve gone on vacation yet so accessible!  We had the opportunity to paddle the Klickitat, hike around and stay at the now open Bingen School Inn.  This converted-school-to-hotel offers everything from hostel bunking to boutique “cabins” which surround a small spa…massage anyone?  Worth the visit.  Sorry you missed the grand opening.  It was rad. Bingen Inn in Bingen Washington

Sekse’ Fit:  Now open since April-ish, Sekse attracted all the best dance/fitness instructors to this little studio in the Box Factory.  Every class I’ve been to has been exceptional. PS, if you want to get your “sexy” on (or in my case, an extremely dorky version of aerobics instructor trying to be a pole dancer) this studio is a must.  Coolest chicks in Bend teach here.  Seriously.  They’re also the nicest and welcoming.  Sekse’

Okay, so that’s the list for now.  Give some of these places a try.  Maybe not your bag.  Definitely mine.

Thanks for listening…

SueBike

 

Tumalo Creek Visits Trail Tales

When Jaymo and I came up with the idea for Trail Tales, I always had one of the guests in mind…one that also showcased Tumalo Creek and the community efforts our crew makes on a continual basis.  It’s a mindset that comes from the top down.  Geoff Frank, a lifelong paddler himself–originally from Portland– is a great example of a guy who loved paddling and partying through his youth and somehow took that passion and created a lifestyle business from it.  Here’s the secret though…and I think I can say this with love and respect for the guy since I’ve worked for him for almost 8 years…. he went from being an immature fun-hog and has become a highly respected, successful force and leader of all things paddling in central Oregon.  The best part is he’s maintained his desire to simply get people on the water and support community while respecting the river, the environment AND directing a year-round dedicated team of 7, growing to over 50…perhaps over 60… in the summer.  “He all grown up”!!

Front side of TCKC

Jeff Michael, who joined our team last season as rental manager (not an easy lift), is a longtime central Oregonian who has guided the local riverways for decades.  He’s smart, he’s a hard worker and he’s a funny dude.  Jeff Michael has stories.  He knows just about everybody in town. He’s got staying power and is worth listening to.

This April 9th, if you’re in the Bend area, I invite you to come out and talk with Geoff, Jeff and I about all things paddling.  We’ll probably also discuss tourists, “locals” (whatever that means), whitewater park–even traffic frustrations.  However the conversation goes  it’s bound to be a good time.  Please join us at the Deschutes Brewery Pub, upstairs in the tasting room.  We start around 7pm.  Hope to see you there!!

Thanks for listening…

 

A Trip South…Part One

I have always had a passion for seeing new places and experiencing different cultures.  So when I was asked to join Sam and the eNRG management team for a scouting trip down to Ecuador my reply was “Hell ya!!”.  I’d never been to South America and this would be a paddle-focused trip.  Let’s go!

Sam and I arrived early, to enjoy a little “us” time before the others arrived, and to make sure logistics were good to go.  He had hired a personal driver with a 10 passenger van plus secured accommodations everywhere we were visiting (another treat as I’m typically the person figuring logistics for personal and client-based trips).  In Quito I was pleasantly surprised to find our lodging really cute–a clean hostel owned by a Dutch man who had run this little venture “Aries Cabins” for 27 years, having married an Ecuadorian woman and relocated there.  While his bedside manner was “sharp” he knows his stuff and his service is great.

After a much-needed night of sleep Sam and I ventured out, with Favian, our Ecuadorian driver who was to become the backbone of our trip.  We first went to the Center of the Earth–the equator.  It was a fascinating visit and learned fun facts relative to the equator that I’d never known, and even though explained, still holds mystery and thoughts of “what the f$#k!”?! How?  Why?  For example, we learned that you are about 2 kg lighter in weight on the equator.  We learned there are contingencies of Ecuadorian people who practiced “head shrinking” and finally, never, ever pee in the rivers in the Amazon basin! (I will spare you details but if you’re interested Google “candiru”)…

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On to Quito!!  Sam and I arranged to meet up with Favian and his brother after a few hours so we could explore, at our pace the sites of Colonial Quito.  It is a beautiful and vibrant city (reminiscent of many towns we’d explored just a few months back in Europe).  A fabulous experience nonetheless. The opportunity to speak Spanish and learn the city from a local’s perspective is, in my mind, priceless even considering Favian drove us WELL out of way to pick up and drop off his brother.  That’s alright…kind of how this stuff goes.

A side note here for anyway new to travel and reading this blog as a resource.  My luggage got lost.  Again. Same as our flight into Paris. When flying internationally I recommend you pack a minimum of two pairs of underwear, toothbrush/toothpaste and a change of clothes.  It helps a ton, particularly when you get run through the many iterations of where your luggage is. I was told no less than four stories…none true…regarding the location and arrival time of my pack.  It did finally arrive around noon about 36 hours later.  Do yourself the favor and prepare.  Just in case.  Good luck.

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The rest of our crew arrived about the same time as my luggage.  After some repacking we left Quito bound for Banos (a small town which reminded me vaguely of Sayulita, Mexico…a sort of hippie, international traveler-welcome town with cute shops and  a friendly energy).  However, we stopped along the way for lunch at a traditional restaurant serving a standard, single lunch option.  Rice, salad (don’t eat lettuce or tomatoes in South America) and a meat/gravy entree.  The meat, we were explained by Favian, was stomach.  I will always TRY everything.  While I didn’t prefer the taste, others in our group enjoyed it.  This wouldn’t be the first of many diverse meals we ate. And as I said, I’ll always try.

We ventured on…and if you’re interest is peaked, please stay tuned.  The adventures began from there.

Thanks for listening…

Sue