Looking for the Blistered Sisters?

Category: Freedom Race

Have you noticed how quiet it’s gotten around here? You can tell it’s paddling season, can’t you? Well, if you’re looking for The Sisters this weekend you’ll find them on the river testing their mettle against 63 miles of Muddy Missouri in the Freedom Race.

I’ll be cheering them on from afar while cleaning house and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Blistered Mom and Melloniece on Wednesday.

Blistered Freedom

Paddle fast, paddle hard
You can do it, cheers the Bard
Last to be is not your thing
Left then right, not in a ring
Saturday will be your day
You’ve 63 miles to go astray
So hurry Sisters, paddle up
Stroke and stroke, pee in a cup

Ok, ok all pokes aside
Wish that I were there to ride
along and tweet and sing and make
you laugh and cry and scream

Our core is strong, this won’t be hard
And should we lag, we’ll toast the lard
We left in the gym and on the plate
And all the times we didn’t wait
To go – and do – and stretch ourselves,
To brag and hope and heave a glass
To heave our glass: To Abs and Ass

We want to say if those are ours
They’re ample payback for the pain
And all the hours, that loss our gain.
Now watch us act all innocent
Polishing mirrors – flexed and bent
We shake our heads and say abs, where?
But honey, honey we saw you stare.

So come to the river you’ll see what I mean
The Blistered Sisters blast downstream
While all the others moan and cry
Chicks paddledaddle right on by…

2014 Shootout Race - Photos (Part 2)

Category: Shootout 2014

Off we go!

Kelley (Ground Crew Cap’n and Photographer Extraordinaire) was correct when she informed me our water was in 2 single liter bottles w squeeze tops (with a gallon jug for refill) as we’d probably not be able to lift a gallon of water to drink out of it. Wise woman, my girl!

We’ll be figuring out a hydration system before the Freedom Race in June. And we’ll be learning what food can withstand a hot ziplock. We offer the results of our experiment up to the scientific kayak community: M&Ms can, peanut butter chips in your trail mix — cannot.

You guessed it.. at this point we are pretty sure we are not only last, but the only live beings on the river…

Although had resigned ourselves to being last, simply because you can’t see any further ahead/behind than about 15 minutes of paddling so were pleasantly surprised when we learned of the 3-4 still behind us.

Rounding the corner to the finish ramp.

Even a novice like me knows you can’t just “drive into” the ramp with the current behind you. (Bam!) You have to circle around and sneak up on the shore, away from the current. All those people standing around on shore though reminded me of attempting to park the floatboat in strong winds. Everyone in the cove would be watching but pretending not to.. :–)

What a great thing it was though to have our crew whooping it up and hollering for us every chance they got … Even Dad hung in there all day, despite a wicked sunburn to his face (not sure the man knows what sunscreen is…you see now why we credit him with inventing the Blistered brand of Stoicism?) There were welcoming hands to help us from the kayak at the end, and even to help haul it up and load when we were ready.

And finally .. here we are. Blistered Sisters and pal Gina.. who paddled solo and gave us a nice GPS track for the first half of the race.

Grand day, weather wise, and our gear is coming together nicely. We’ll do our first night time paddle on Friday evening, with pals Wayne and Gina on a local lake.

I love seeing the training run postings out on www.rivermiles.com forum. I think we’ll try to get in on some of those as well.

2014 Shootout Race Photos (Part 1)

Category: Shootout 2014

This is the man responsible for that special Blistered brand of Stoicism, otherwise known as “Daddy” – at Kaw Point the day before Epic Shootout — this is the launch/starting point. Looks pretty calm.

So .. we went into the Epic Shootout with three goals.

1) Finish 2) Don’t finish last 3) Still like each other at the end.

We did all of those….

We are queued up and ready to launch. Nervous.

That grimace of disgust on Jane’s face was captured perfectly by our premier photographer — Kelley (the) Angel!

Ok, this one is classic. Look at her face as Jane says under her breath.. “Omg, I didn’t even THINK I’d be getting WET! She cracks me up – “BigMuddy” scored yet another mud-virgin. Really though, there are no words to express the quality of the goo you step in and you can’t rinse off in the water either – it’s nearly as muddy as your foot!

That’s me! Gleefully waving.. and yep, my foot is out, and I am trying to rinse that goopy mud off too…

The 2014 Epic Shootout Race - Things We Learned

Category: Shootout 2014

My general feeling after paddling 50 miles was that I could absolutely get back in the boat and keep going.

Yesterday [1] at the Shootout Race… Well, we learned a few things like :

  • Our training partner, Wayne paddles much faster than we do. Maybe we need some technique lessons? Because we can’t figure out how anyone could possibly be faster than the Blistered Sisters.

  • We should really have a better handle on the river markers and what they mean. Once we lost our pal Gina-with-the-GPS we were left to guess about where the channel was the fastest. And we had to rely on those silly markers…of which we didn’t really know the meaning.

  • GPS and Tunes are a must…we’ll have both next time.

  • We need to discuss the rhythm of paddling vs resting. What worked and what didn’t? How do we make the most of our resting times so we can make the most of our paddling times? Because when we both paddled and got into a good flow, it was fun and productive. Paddling alone sucks. So, do we both rest at the same time, one of us eating, drinking, making merry while the other is peeing, sunscreening, texting the ground crew? If so, is this a scheduled rest or do we fly by the seat of our pants?

  • If we ever create a band it will be called “Ginger del Fuego and the Blistered Sisters”

  • I think our motto should be: “I feel more like I do than I did when I got here.” (stolen from a tee shirt in Destin, FL)

This morning, I can tell you I’m sore in my shoulders and a bit in my waist on the back side. My general feeling after paddling 50 miles was that I could absolutely get back in the boat and keep going. I wasn’t totally spent, although I didn’t think it was easy either.

So, in prep for next time…I’ll be mindful of being more rested going in (cause I came home and crashed hard at 9pm), and really watching my nutrition to make sure my body is fueled correctly. I’d planned to buy a pizza for dinner, but then decided to make egg salad on toast and sautéed zucchini. Delicious! Pizza would have been a mistake. My body needed real food to replenish itself.

[1] My blistered sisters turned in their blog posts with the correct time-based grammer, like: “Yesterday we learned”, I took an eternity to get them online. Sorry ‘bout that. (-Nancy)

Did You Say Spaghetti Muffins?

Category: Recipes

I sure did and these are great “takealongs” for the individual paddler who enjoys the good life. A chic change from granola bars that will leave your competitors wide-eyed and grumbling in their trail mix about the hardship of food on the river. Use whole wheat spaghetti for an extra boost and vegetarians, toss in some toasted pine nuts instead of the bacon.

Simple Spaghetti Muffins [1].


Europe USA Ingredient
250 grams 8-10 oz spaghetti
100 grams 4 oz bacon
1 small 1 small onion
100 grams 4 oz Parmesan or Gran Padano
3 3 egg yolks
200 ml 1 cup whipping cream
Salt and Pepper


Misc Europe USA
Preheat Oven 180° C 350° F

You’ll Also Need

  • A muffin tin for 12 muffins
  • A fork and spoon, unless you are not averse to clean fingers..I used mine.
  • A cheese grater

How To Do It

  1. Spaghetti – cook in lightly salted water until al dente
  2. Finely chop (or grate) the onion (or be extry-chic and use a shallot instead). Then sautee together with the bacon in a small pan just until translucent.
  3. Butter the muffin tins. More butter = more crispy spaghetti on the outside
  4. Drain your spaghetti and with the help of a fork and spoon, twirl little nests of spaghetti in each muffin tin.
  5. Now, grate the cheese and, using a fork, mix together with the cream and the egg.
  6. Distribute the egg/cheese mixture over the nests – a tablespoon works well for this.

Bake for 25 minutes. Yumm.

[1] Translated from Spaghetti carbonara-Muffins at Chefkoch.de

The Perche Creek Gutbuster That Wasn’t

Friday night: In Preparation

O’jeez.. I really thought I had it figured out. Plans had been made to get our new kayak on top of “Goldie” (Kelley’s Toyota Highlander). We have some friends who thought they’d be available, we borrowed some gear from my pal Mark at work. (Thanks Mark!) But as usual, my plans didn’t turn out exactly like that. Instead here I am holding my breath and hoping the Universe will step in and give a hand, else Kelley and I are gonna be hefting that boat by ourselves at 6 am.

With a little luck, I figured we’d manage.

And here is where the luck comes in. We’d already decided to go to the local wine tasting and I am secretly hoping somehow, something magic will happen and that 70 lb beast will, after all still land safely on the rack, tonight.

And sure enough, there he was holding a tasting glass: Our dear friend Mike and man, does he look STRONG! And he’s meeting our mutual pal Allen. Allen’s loaded a few kayaks in his time as well. Then Russ, our Ground Crew Tech Director and Jane’s husband shows up and next thing you know, there actually are a bunch of cars parked in our yard and some serious muscle is heaving our kayak atop Goldie.

And we are ready for the 2 hour trip in the morning.

I don’t know why the Universe continues to surprise me like this.. but She does. And it’s so grand .. and humbling. Thanks, you guys.

Saturday morning: “All dressed up…”

Oh heck, all of that effort to “get dressed” last night, and the race is postponed. It makes sense, of course. The the river is high and fast from all that rain. All that rain the we didn’t get any of, I mean. Charlie, you did a great job of making the call for safety’s sake, no doubt. (Race is postponed to April 26th, that’s next Saturday, if anyone’s interested.)

And did I mention that without the help of our proverbial village… Really, we’d never have known the race was canceled -and we’d be paddling in the garage.

The Race is Canceled?

Yep and lucky for us we’d planned to convoy with Gina on Saturday, she’s a solo paddler, but she had to drop out of the event. However, she is the clever paddler who thought to check the Rivermiles forum and found out the race was canceled. Thanks for the text, Gina, that’s something we never would have thought of. (We will from now on though, every time.) Also, huge thanks to Nesea, Dean and Paulla for the temporary loan of life vests — we are still trying out options for the right fit.

So there we were, the car all packed, Dad, peering through the front door expectantly. He’s relaxed and ready to spend the day hanging out at the river, cheering us on. “Hi, Dad. Wanna cup of coffee?” It’s 7:00 am and 40 degrees. Saturday. Kayak ready to go. All that adreneline but no race. Now what?

More coffee and a bowl of oatmeal later, we decided to launch for the first time at Lake Lotawana. We’ve some friends there and grew up on the Lake so it seemed fitting (in so many ways) for our maiden voyage.

Good thing we had ground crew on the shoreline. Thanks to their sharp eyes we would never have known how unbalanced we were. It took some time but Jane moved her seat around and leveled the weight, I was able to wiggle the rudder pedals some and get my knees below my chin (that’s darned uncomfortable, by the way) and off we went.

We defined success as: a few dry spots left on our pants, meaning we were not completely soaked by water dripping down our paddles. I only drove us into a dock twice when I pushed the wrong rudder pedal and while there were some near misses, I never actually whacked Jane in the head with my paddle.

See you on the water!

After about an hour, I’m pleased to say, we were lookin’ smooth and feelin’ good. Afterwards, we wrapped our as-yet-unnamed kayak up so we could store her at our dear friends, Dave and Jeanne’s place for now.

Plans are afoot to go out again as soon as we can!

Two Important Things to Remember

Category: Gear, Training

1) do not tell your trainer that you can’t breath from your diaphram because you are too busy sucking in your abs and showing off your workout success, attributed to her of course. She will quietly work your abs for several days in a row so you have no choice but to let that muffin top go and breath from your diaphram. Correctly. Because it hurts too much to do otherwise and you certainly can’t laugh about it because THAT hurts TOO!

2) A 14.5 ft kayak looks a lot shorter in the catalog.

Hey Dad? Remember that really cool plant hanging pulley and cleat system you built when we were kids? The one that suspended the plants mid-air over the breakfast table? Guess what … we need a one for the garage !

With the Help of a Village I Find My Balance

Category: Ground Crew

Thank goodness for Kelley, taking care of me in ways that keep me whole and healthy, emotionally and physically. And the partnership between Nancy, Jane, and myself as we prepare for the race — it’ll take all three of us to get two of us over the finish line.

Jenny-the-Trainer is awesome, calling me out when I need it in a way that makes me laugh and shake my head, then I do what she’s telling me to do. Somehow it will all work out.

Most of all, I want to know when I look in the mirror that I’m more than my job, my degrees or just some generic fitness junkie. All these activities are really about living my life in balance, nothing more, nothing less.

How Is Swimming Like Paddling

Category: Training

Now for training… If you’ve read the blog to know I spent time swimming laps in Cancun while Jenny the trainer was torturing Jody in my absence, you know swimming is my favorite form of exercise. Here’s the interesting thing I’m discovering: As I swim about a mile in laps twice a week, my inner talk is changing.

Jenny speaks of putting your mind where the muscle is to maximize the efficiency of the work out. I’ve been working on that for a couple weeks now, concentrating on a certain set of muscles depending on the stroke I’m swimming.

Before now, I swam because I love it, now I’m learning to swim for strength. And I love that too. My strokes are longer, faster and exhilarating…at least in my own mind. That’s enough to start with as I begin to think of paddle strokes in concert with my swim strokes.

Long, even and strong. Nice!