Full steam ahead.

I’m trying to train harder since I realised that I’ve allowed my fitness to decrease since last year. Due to the funeral of Her Majesty the Queen and a rainy day yesterday I’ve had a 4 day break but got back to training today in my pedal powered dinghy. The problem with working hard in the boat is that I’ve often suffered from leg cramps due to the pedals turning more slowly than those of a bicycle and therefore requiring a greater turning force to get the power in. I’ve been trying to keep my calf muscles relaxed and have found that if I allow the pedals to sit closer to my heels, then it’s a big help. Today I decided to try to achieve a target in my sail, which I don’t think I’ve ever done before in the boat. I’ve sailed for a planned distance previously but have never had a speed target. I’ve found that I’ve achieved an average speed of 2.7 mph on many of my faster trips so today my target was to average 2.8 mph. It may not sound very impressive but the boat needs a big increase in effort for a tiny improvement in speed. 2.5 mph is a gentle sail and I can maintain that speed for well over an hour quite easily but today would be full steam ahead to see what I could manage.

I pulled the boat down to the canal on it’s wheels and was already breathing fairly quickly before I reached the water. I put the boat on the canal and prepared to sail. My chosen course was almost exactly 2 miles in length with 2 about turns to bring me back to my start point. The weather was perfect with virtually still air and gentle sunshine, yet cool enough for me not to over heat. I knew that I’d take a little over 40 minutes to complete the course and set my pace with this in mind. I made sure that I didn’t allow my calf muscles to tense up as I pedalled along and was soon turning round at the Cowling slipway. I looked ahead to spot any floating weed because I’ve caught a clump on the rudder on each of my last 2 trips.

Back past my starting point I felt that my pace was good and I could hear that my breathing had increased. I did ease back a couple of times to relax my leg muscles but mainly kept my turning force and speed constant. I wondered if I’d picked up some weed just before my final turn but think now that I was simply the feeling of my legs tiring. I didn’t do a full out sprint finish because I figured that it would make no measurable difference to my average speed but might cause cramping. I finished feeling that I’d paced it well and was rather wobbly when I climbed out of the boat. I checked my average speed straight away and found it to be 2.7 mph. Could Strava be giving me 2.7 mph even though I may have been closer to 2.8? Does the app. always round the speed down to the lower figure? Well, 1.96 miles in 44 minutes and 8 seconds is an average of 2.6647. Oh no, I can’t find a way to make it look like I succeeded so did I fail? Not really. I had a great little trip, learned more about controlling cramps and am looking forwards to my next sail. In the meantime I’ll get one or two mountain bike rides done.

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