It’s time for the first installment of what I think will be a recurring theme of this blog.
Welcome to installment #1 of “Random Thoughts from my Kayak.”
I headed out this afternoon in my Nelo 510 to get in my first paddling miles of November. The weather was a chilly 45 degrees F but it was a sunny day with no wind. I wore my 1/2 wetsuit and it was plenty good but at the end of my paddle when the sun went down behind the trees, my feet and fingers got chilly.
Now on to my random thoughts:
- The Nelo 510 is not a good Fall/Winter training boat for flat water. In fact, no ski really is. The nature of the beast is you will always get water in the bucket area of a ski and once the feet and the butt get wet and cold, things become a bit uncomfortable. Add to that the fact that the bow of the Nelo 510 collects leaves like a Hoover vacuum cleaner and you’ve got a recipe for a less-than-optimum Fall workout. While the water display on the front of the boat when a leaf gets stuck is quite spectacular, akin to the fountains at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, the excitement wears off quickly once you realize how much the dazzling water display is costing you in terms of speed and efficiency. I perfected a technique of quickly slamming my torso straight back while pulling on my legs to lift the bow out of the water to clear leaves, but that saps additional energy. Therefore…
- There will always be room in the quiver of boats for a fully decked kayak for winter training. I’ll be back in my Thunderbolt-X and Cobra Viper for the rest of the winter. I like keeping my feet and butt dry and they seem to collect less leaves because their bows are much sharper.
- I tested out a new fitness watch that a company sent me for free in exchange for a review. The iWownFit P1 has built-in GPS and actually counts paddle strokes as steps! A full review of that watch will be forthcoming, but it appears to be a credible offering for kayaking.
- I wore the Amazfit Bip fitness tracker on my right wrist. Its GPS locks onto satellites quicker than the iWownFit and strangely, it counted paddle strokes as steps on my right wrist when it did not count them as strokes previously on my left wrist. Strange.
GPS tracks from the iWownFit P1 and the Amazfit Bip
5. Spotting an American Bald Eagle is always exciting. Always.
I had a customer who purchased my plans for the compact, DIY kayak ergometer reach out to me to ask if it is possible to use the computer from the Nordic Track to track time, speed, distance, etc.
He was not the first person to ask.
The short answer is absolutely yes!
The longer answer is I do not show you how to do this in my video plans since 1) It is relatively rare to find one of these devices with a still-working computer 2) The computer types vary greatly and 3) Many times the magnetic sensors are missing and even they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
The Nordic Track computer mounted on my kayak ergometer, right in front of the flywheel, underneath my lower legs. I used Velcro to secure it to the main deck and I drilled an additional hole through the deck to run the wire from the underside.
To use the computer, you will need the magnet that is mounted on the flywheel shaft and the sensor for it.
Three types of the various magnet assemblies (that I’ve come across–there may be more) used on the original machine. The magnet is the silver cylinder mounted into the black sleeve and the sleeve was mounted on the shaft of the flywheel.
As you can see, some of these magnets were on a sleeve that clipped to the shaft and others were fully encased and more securely mounted on the shaft. It is not uncommon for the “clip on” type to be missing from these old machines.
Sometimes these sleeves will fit onto the shaft on the final kayak ergometer machine and sometimes they will not because there is not enough room between the flywheel and the side rail.
You might have to shorten the length of the black, plastic clip-on housing or remove the magnet entirely and glue it to the flywheel shaft. As far as I know, the magnet itself was always the same length and it will fit, but the sleeve that holds it might be too long.
The sensor is easy to identify as it will be mounted on the underside of the deck of the original ski machine, mounted very near where this magnet rotates, and have a wire running from it. It is typically mounted with 1 screw through its bracket.
Me holding the magnet next to the sensor (with the wire) on its original bracket
Once you mount the magnet onto the flywheel shaft, then it is a matter of figuring out a way to mount the sensor very near the rotating magnet so it senses it with each revolution of the flywheel. You might have to remove the sensor from the original bracket and get creative on how you mount it.
In my case, I removed the sensor from the bracket and hot glued it onto a nail that I pre-bent at a 90-degree angle so I could mount it.
Sensor mounted next to the magnet on the shaft of the device, photo taken from underneath. Notice the sensor is hot glued to a nail bent at 90-degrees and then driven into a small shim I attached to the inside of the side rail.
One more view of the mounted computer sensor from underneath the device
So as you can see, yes, the computer from the Nordic Track ski machine can be used on the ergometer, but there were so many variables and variations on the original equipment it was impossible to show you how to do this in the instructional video.
You might have to get a little creative, but the computer is worth the effort since it allows you to track time, speed and distance and maybe even heart rate if yours came with the heart rate sensor/clip that plugs into the computer.
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Back to Massive Friday Night workouts as we ease our way back into bulking season.
Looking to analyze your wing paddle stroke but you don’t have a self-following drone or a friend with a power boat and video camera? Try this DIY kayak ergometer to analyze your stroke on land and indoors.
All it takes is a homemade ergometer and a video camera with tripod.
Learn more at: https://bit.ly/2t7m5Ew
I find this one interesting as I now weigh what I did 5 years ago, but my body composition is entirely different. Yes, I dropped a lot of weight and now got back up there in a very good and different way.
It is not about weight on a scale!
Last Saturday I paddled on our local Rivanna River at the highest level I’ve ever paddled it. The Palmyra gauge was somewhere between 3800 and 4000cfs when 3 paddling friends and I launched at 10am from just below the South Rivanna Reservoir.
I knew for sure the river had crested overnight and was dropping, so I felt confident at this level.
The rapids under the railroad trestle became standing waves that were Class II+ – Class III. I was paddling my Nelo 510 surfski in the most challenging conditions yet and I stayed upright the whole time. The bucket filled with water at least 3 times, though, and I learned to open the drain before entering a set of large rapids.
One of our members capsized in the largest of the rapids and her boat had very little buoyancy since there was no foam or flotation in it anywhere. This could have been a very serious situation but we rescued her and her boat, though getting it out of the water to drain it was a challenge with so much water in it.
We arrived at Riverview Park and then I paddled back upstream to Darden Towe Park where FLOW: The Arts of the Rivanna River Renaissance Festival was taking place. There were artists set up along the walkway along the river and there was a boat decorating contest.
It was most enjoyable and I think my favorite were the Earlysville Bluegrass Boys, 3 brothers who are very talented musicians. I wish I could have stayed and listened to them for hours.
I then paddled back down to Riverview Park with a few other paddlers with decorated boats and then joined the after-party at Rivanna River Company.
I came away concluding the Nelo 510 is probably the most versatile boat I’ve ever owned.
And this celebration of our local river is a wonderful event I hope continues. It sure came a long way since last year.