Fastest Mile Challenge – A Paddling Twist on Strava
There are a lot of things I am getting really excited about with the upcoming paddle season. There is no doubt in my mind we’re going to see some great growth in the Midwest and some really competitive and fun racing events this season.
One of the items I am most excited about is the FASTEST MILE competition that I’m planning to run from April through September. I was reading through Outside magazine this winter and came across an article about the latest rage in cycling which is a website called Strava.com. For those of you not familiar with Strava, it is essentially a web site that allows cyclists to upload their GPS ride results and compare their times against other cyclists doing the same route. The site keeps an ongoing ranking of best time trials, hill climbs, etc..
I haven’t quite figured out how to do exactly the same for the paddling world, but I do want to launch at least a rudimentary version of Strava to give us all something to shoot for and have fun with when we go out paddling
The TC Surfski FASTEST MILE Concept
So here is the concept, configure your GPS device to set a lap indicator at each mile and go out and paddle and see what is the fastest continuous mile you can log. (we’ll stick with average mph as the measure) Post your GPS results/link to my Facebook page. During the month we’ll keep continuous track of who has the fastest mile and at the end of each month I’ll provide a small reward to the winner. Then at the end of the season we’ll have an overall winner who will get a really nice prize such as a paddle, wetsuit, etc..
Guaranteed to Have Fun and Improve Your Paddling
Not only am I convinced this will be a lot of fun, but I fully expect it to be a great development motivator. We all know that doing interval training is critical to becoming a faster paddler. So when you go out for a paddle try to pick at least one mile where you are going to go all out. Ultimately I am certain this will drive an improvement in your overall paddling. Additionally, while we all like to see and feel that max speed on a downwind run, we know that in downwind paddling consistency is key. So again, the challenge it to pick a mile where you go all out and consistently link runs. We know the pros average in the 9/10 mph range when racing downwind, so the goal is to start by logging at least a single mile at that speed .
I’m also very curious to see what types of averages different paddlers around the Midwest and East Coast are doing. I’m confident we’ll see some great average speeds accomplished through different means. Whether it be sprinting down a river with strong current, running a great downwind with some nice swell, or just flat out pushing yourself on flat water with a large wing paddle, whatever gets it done will count.
Just a couple requests:
- Initially the competition will only be open to those paddlers East of the Mississippi. (I don’t think we can compete with downwind runs on the West Coast – but feel free to share your results on FB and this could always change)
- Please ensure that you mount your GPS somewhere on your boat and not on your wrist as the paddle movement can lead to erroneous speed recordings
- Drafting any type of boat is allowed as long as you aren’t physically connected to it
- The initial competition will be open to solo paddlers, but if you are paddling a tandem please do share your results and if there is enough interest I can add a tandem category
- I am largely operating on the honor system, but based on my experience in the paddling community, I don’t see that as an issue.
Time to Get Ready!
We have a couple weeks left in March before the competition begins, so time to hit the gym, train hard, and get ready to post some great times starting in April.
Even if you don’t decide to participate, be sure to like my Facebook page so you can follow all the action.
Kicking off your season with some great coaching and video analysis at the TC Surfski Immersion Vacation may be just what you need to have a shot at winning one of the prizes.
More to come soon on other exciting stuff planned for the coming season including a Midwest Surfski Racing Points Series.