Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kayak Rainbow (much less dreary)

OK, also not quite in order. And maybe not quite the full spectrum. But we certainly had a sharp-looking fleet turn up at the pool session this week. All lined up for a good hosing down before we take them inside. Actually I'm glad I have gotten my boat there a couple of times, otherwise it just doesn't get washed all winter - the water at the club gets shut down to keep the pipes from bursting.

This just gave me a good chuckle. I'm pretty good about zipping up but I border on obsessive-compulsive when it comes to key check. The whole security setup at the club is with big padlocks. A padlock on the gate, padlocks on the clubhouse, padlocks on the containers. Leave your keys on the wrong side of one of those padlocks & you are somewhere between slightly & seriously screwed. Especially if you're a cell-phone-less renegade like me. Lock 'em in your container with the clubhouse open - there's a telephone with a list of phone numbers next to it, it'll be mortifying but somebody will probably come bail you out.

Lock 'em in the clubhouse with the front gate locked? Oops, time for a little Escape from Fort Sebago action. Then you still get to call somebody to come bail you out. Fun on top of fun.

I don't have "keys" written in the bottom of my boat, but I have got a ritual - I jingle them every time I have to lock a lock. And they don't go on the dock without being in a zipped or clipped container.

I had a great pool session this week. Or at least better than my last, which was not so hot (although it was fun & it was great seeing everybody). I'm on track for rolling every month of the off-season (Sebago's doing our usual demo at the Long Island Paddlesports Symposium, outside again this year, so that'll be March, February's the only month that's up in the air for an obvious chance to roll), and I've broken the barrier of rolling in water with actual ice in it (somehow that concept had always sort of unnerved me, but the Cold Water Workshop gave me the perfect chance to try it), but when the water gets that cold, my rolling gets to be all about just getting the boat rightside up. I do not mess around with the stuff I'm not so good at, and when I don't mess around with the stuff I'm not so good at for a while (as has been the case this winter), when I do get back to messing around with it, gee, surprise surprise, I'm even less good at it. It's half rustiness, I just get out of practice, & half just the instinctive "yikes" reaction sneaking back in. For a lot of people, the hardest part of learning to roll is learning to stay in the boat when it goes over in the first place. I'm a very confident swimmer, comfortable in the water, but even so, our brains are wired to advise us that being upside down underwater with our legs stuck inside 50 pounds of fiberglass is just Bee-Ay-Dee BAD. Not entirely inappropriate advice either, but anybody who really wants to learn to do kayaking beyond the rec-boat-on-a-pond is eventually going to get to the point where they have to convince a part of the brain that's been around & doing it's bit to keep the human race alive for a very long time that no, this time it's really OK to be upside down underwater etc etc. I was just looking at a site about brain functions & it seems like what you've got going on is a bit of a dance (or maybe a tug-of-war) between a couple of parts of your limbic system - the amygdala (which handles fear, but also memory...) and the hippocampus, which I'm not going to link to because the definition is too good:

Hippocampus- the portion of the cerebral hemisphers in basal medial part of the temporal lobe. This part of the brain is important for learning and memory . . . for converting short term memory to more permanent memory, and for recalling spatial relationships in the world about us.

Sounds like the brain's Learning-To-Roll-A-Kayak center to me. Whaddayathink?

I'm getting a bit off-course here though. My point was really that even though I know perfectly well that I have a fall-back roll if a roll I'm still working on fails, and a wet exit if the fall-back roll fails, and friends all around in the off chance something really weird goes wrong, I will still find an odd lack of confidence sneaking in if I don't practice regularly. Not quite fear - just a lack of enthusiasm for throwing myself into all the rolls I'm not so good at, sticking with the basics &, well, actually just spending an inordinate amount of my pool session chitchatting or otherwise avoiding actual practice. It's a weird feeling when I get that way. I was kind of being that way at my first session of the winter 2 weeks ago - until L. went completely bonkers with the hand rolls and then got me doing one of those hand rolls where you just don't bother coming off the back deck (a roll I was doing lots of the first winter when rolling became fun & then somehow stopped doing & eventually just sort of forgot). Still felt like a less-than-great practice session, but I was glad Laurie was there & pushed me to try something new-old. Got the hippocampus back in gear, I guess!

This time around was lots better.

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