Spring is fast approaching and that means it will soon be time to hoist that beautiful carbon fiber hull atop your vehicle, strap it up, and head to your closest open water to start logging all of those precious hours before the first races in NY kick off in Mid April. If you are like me, you cannot wait to spend some quality time on your local river, working on technique and building some base hours that will propel your fitness for the remainder of the racing season. This is also a great time of year to get out with others in the sport as some of the sessions can be easier and you can also learn a lot that will help you in upcoming races. With that in mind NYPRA(New York Paddlesports Racing Association) has put together very informal training sessions/camps throughout the spring to help get paddlers together.
The beginning of the series will start on Fish Creek at the very popular unofficial Upstate NY Training Camp March 21st and 22nd hosted by Gary Mclain. Gary started this camp years ago now for all of us that have not had the opportunity to travel to participate in one of the Florida training camps that many Michigan, Canadian, and New England paddlers go to every year. This event has grown quite rapidly and also gets great attendance and attracts paddlers from all of the major paddling hubs. The water is a creek that does not freeze and goes into Saratoga Lake. This offers a relatively narrow stream with varying depths which makes it great for training and also safety for early spring paddles.
The camp is typically split up into 3 distinct sections, a longer paddle on Saturday, followed by a dry land clinic and dinner. The 3rd section is another paddle on Sunday. Typically this paddle is a little shorter and sometimes we will do a short race in there just for fun. This year for the dry land clinic our own Ben Schlimmer is going to be the presenter. I am also sure that there will be other big names that show up to this event and there is some talk about new demo boats being present.
The following 3 weekends will be other events hosted across the state to include Syracuse, Rochester, and the Susquehanna valley. It has yet to be decided which weekend will host which event but you can bet that we will be keeping you posted here, so make sure to check back regularly to not miss any exciting news. We have picked these 3 locations for specific reasons that I will go into below.
The Rochester area event typically takes place on the Irondequoit Creek and typically starts at the Bay Creek Paddling Center. This is a very narrow and shallow creek that has some very technical turns and is great for practicing your handling skills especially in the C1. This water mimics the same conditions that you will find on the Little River in Canton for the Canton Canoe Weekend Pro C1 International Championships. For this reason most people tend to paddle C1 for this event and is a lot of fun with a bunch of boats out on the very narrow creek.
If you need practice wake riding this will be a good place to practice. For this event we are typically on the Seneca River which is pretty wide and deep with a consistent current. For this reason it makes for great practice ground for wake riding. We will do a session where we ride together and slowly pick up the pace and teach the skills you will need ride side and stern wake during race like conditions. When teams fall off we stop and let everyone regroup so all can get practice at this vital skill.
For most the biggest race of the Spring season is the General Clinton Canoe Regatta on Memorial Day. Practicing parts of the course can go a long way to make you feel comfortable on race day so we try to get a session in on the Susquehanna for this reason. It also doesn't hurt that probably the biggest paddling community in the state resides along the banks of this river.
Now we hope that you can come out and join us at each of these training events but if you can only make 1 or 2 that is great as well. Pick the ones that will help you the most and we can't wait to see you out on the water.