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Showing posts from April, 2014

Ça Cogne! It's spring in Canada.

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What "cognes?" The ice melting, breaking up, and flowing downstream to be churned up in the rapids as they hit the whitewater kayaks playing in the big, fast, spring flows of the Ottawa River off Bate Island.

Over the weekend, I watched the melting ice flows moving downriver towards the rapids. They are almost impossible to see churning in the whitewater of the rapids. I asked a whitewater paddler at Bate Island, "What about the ice?"

He responded in French, "Ça Cogne."

In English, you can choose the verb of your choice: it bangs, knocks, hits, thumps, whacks, wallops, or clobbers.

I guess the size and speed of the ice chucks hitting your kayak would help you choose the best word.

Then I asked him, "What if you go into the water."

He responded calmly with a smile, "Cover your face."

Spring thaw usually equals big spring flows on the Ottawa River. And this year is no different.

Each year I look for the peak spring flows off Bate Island…

Spring training for the paddler

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Learning about navigation aids is especially important for the paddler. Part of my spring training for the upcoming paddling season, while waiting for the water to thaw and warm up, is hitting the books, or the websites with information I need to review and . . . try to remember.

I've found myself confused about buoy markers and marine signs more than once on a variety of waterways in Canada and the U.S.

In my early paddling years, on a large lake with several islands, I found myself kayaking towards a black and red buoy. Not knowing its meaning and thinking it was a channel marker indicating a safe passage between islands, I paddled towards it. When I got closer to it, I said, "Oh shit!", it's a buoy indicating DANGER. I could suddenly see the big shoal it was sitting on, and I was paddling right for it with an unfavourable wind when I should have been taking extra care to paddle well away from it.

Now, every spring, I make an effort to review some of the navigatio…

Should you put Toko eXpress Universal Liquid Wax on the fish scales of your waxless classic skis? Even if the manufacturer says so?

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Well, I can answer that . . . NO!

I already learned my lesson the hard way by listening to the advice of a ski shop in the Tremblant, Quebec region to apply Toko eXpress Universal Liquid Wax to the kick zone (fish scales) of my new waxless, classic, cross-country skis "to protect the fish scales from wear and tear".

Say what! Put a slick, liquid wax on the kick zone (fish scales)? The advice to do so is also written on the product by the manufacturer, ". . . "for kick and glide zones".

Usually the advice is to the contrary. Do not put glide wax on the kick zone (fish scales). This is where the ski needs to engage so you can kick off and advance or climb hills. Only put glide wax on the smooth surface of the classic waxless ski for better glide. The Toko eXpress is called a universal liquid wax for both grip and glide zones.

You can see in the image below, the smooth glide surfaces on the bottom of the ski, and the etched surface in the middle in the kick zone…