Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Fun of Triathlon

The Cotton States Triathlon in Lake Providence, Louisiana has survived for a 23rd year. The 24th is in question. The down home friendly nature of this little race is what makes it dear to me. It's perfect for beginners and comfortable for those of us who have no high ambitions to qualify for Kona, or even spend the grueling hours to train for an Ironman. The race is a major fund raiser for the small farm town of Lake Providence and deserves to survive.
The swim and transition area are across the 2 lane highway from the host Lakeside Motel where room rates are $30 regular and $35 for deluxe. Signs in some read, "Please Don't Clean Fish in Room".

The phenomenal fellow Flowood Fighting Flounder, KE, in her second full official triathlon without being on a relay team, won Top Masters Women. She was awarded one of the coveted Cotton Bale trophies pictured above.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fish Fear Me

On my rest days, I love to get out on the water in the canoe and paddle silently around Pelahatchie Bay, early in the morning before many boats have messed up the glassy surface and the wind is calm. This old canoe has been in the family for over 40 years, and paddling it around remembering its long life is part of the pleasure. It's aluminum and makes a little noise when the water is choppy, but it's like driving an old classic car or swinging an old golf club, maybe like using an old baseball glove that's been put away for years.

This day was a bit overcast but calm, and there was hardly a ripple as far as I could see. I remember being taught canoeing skills in Boy Scouts, and the importance of being very quiet, not banging the paddle against the gunwale. My uncle and brother and I would sometimes paddle out at night with a bright light and sneak up on beavers. We could get within just a few feet of them if you kept the light in their eyes, then the tail would slap on the water and they'd be gone. That was a thrill for a 10 year old boy.

Approaching my favorite fishing spot, I don't see the alligator on this day. It's only about a 5 or 6 foot gator, and keeps a good distance from me. It will disappear under the water when you get too close. I always take my camera and fishing stuff, since you never know which you'll have the most luck with.

Here's proof that I do actually catch fish while I'm out. I mostly fish with a fly rod since it's the most fun and you don't have bait to hassle with. I rarely keep any fish, mostly since they're too small, or I only catch a few on each trip.

I'm out for a couple hours at the most, since the wind will pick up to a point that makes handling the canoe a bit of a challenge.

Feeling Good in August

All my injuries have finallly healed and I'm happy to be back to my modest weekly workout schedule - run two mornings 3 or 4 miles, swim 2 mornings 2000 + yards each day, a Friday high paced spin class, and a bike ride on the weekend. I should be in plenty good shape to drive over to Lake Providencc next Saturday for the Cotton States Triathlon. Depending on who shows up in my age group, I might even win one of those miniature trophy cotton bales. I wrote about this tri last year, and this year I hope to get some pictures so you readers eagerly awaiting more exciting news can fully appreciate the awesome wonder of this event.