Preparing for kayak racing season

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It has been a late Spring in Central Virginia.

I’ve only paddled ~40 actual water miles so far this year so my on-water training is behind where I’d like it to be.   This is mainly due to a busy schedule and cold weather.  In fact, as recently as this past weekend we experienced snow and freezing rain here in Charlottesville.

As a result I’ve continued to hit the gym hard but will back off starting next week and have several light weeks in a row as I get back on the water to log some serious miles and get back into paddling shape.   If the weather is bad, I’ll be ramping up the miles indoors on my kayak ergometer.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve lost much of my technique as the few sessions I’ve had on the water so far with Paddling Buddy Dave have been very good workouts and my form is still there.

I sold my Pyranha Octane and ordered a new boat which will be revealed in due time. (I don’t want my competition to know what’s coming.)  Keep an eye open as a new boat with a fresh review is always exciting!

I’ve also been busy as a co-organizer for our local river race this year, The Rivanna River Regatta Canoe & Kayak Race on May 12.

I hope you will join us on May 12.  I’d love to meet you.

2018headerStart of the 2017 Rivanna River Canoe & Kayak Race

DIY Kayak Ergometer Plans now available!

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I recently completed the instructional video on how to build your own kayak ergometer from a Nordic Track ski machine. The plans and part list for this new, more compact design are available at the link below for $20 as I promised on Jan. 16, 2018:

And here is the final result:

Once you purchase, I’ll send you an email with links to the parts list and instructional video.

I’m the same guy who built and shared the original design online in 2013 and since then I’ve gone through several iterations of the design to get it as short and smooth as possible.

You will find other such DIY ergometers online but many of them are very long and look like they have bed frames attached to the front of the device which causes ropes to rub, require a lot of space, and are not really portable.

Don’t be fooled.  Buy the plans from the original designer!

Thank you!
Dave

Be sure to allow email from dave (at} cvillepaddlers.com.

Buy the parts list and video plans now for $20 USD

Kayak ergometer plans from Nordic Track ski machine almost ready

Just finished the first round of edits on my “How To Build It” video. I need to shoot a little more to fill in some gaps and then the video will be ready. Definitely before the end of the month.

Update March 2, 2018:

The plans are ready!
http://bit.ly/2t7m5Ew

Homemade kayak ergometer from Nordic Track ski machine

Some of you know that back in 2013 I shared a YouTube video that showed my design for a kayak ergometer made from a Nordic Track ski machine. It was the first such design, to my knowledge, that introduced rockers to the ergometer.

It actually combined elements from both my first kayak ergometer “bench” style design along with my balance trainer. All of which I also shared. You can see all three in the video below.

Since then I’ve been refining and redesigning the ergometer.

And also since then people have used my videos to build their own units and now some of these people are actually trying to sell the plans to MY design that I freely shared with the kayaking community.

I feel that’s not right. Maybe not illegal but certainly not right.

Toward the end of last year I built a new design for celebrity fitness trainer Vinnie Tortorich so he could do indoor training in his office in preparation for a 100-mile trip down Bayou LaFourche in Louisiana this Spring. I knew he had limited space in his office so I set out to make the ergometer much shorter in overall length.

I accomplished that mission by moving the flywheel under the paddler’s legs which also had the side benefit of making the feel of the device much smoother while paddling.

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My “kayaker’s selfie” with Vinnie Tortorich upon delivery of his ergometer

Later I heard from Vinnie that he started to have some troubles with the forward rollers. Vinnie is a legendary ultra athlete and generally an animal when it comes to training so I knew he would put wear and tear on the unit like it has never seen before.

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Vinnie Tortorich with Serena Scott Thomas sporting DTK hats

So after mulling that over in my brain for a while, I went back into my garage over the weekend with a new design for the forward rollers in mind, and built two more kayak ergometers with subtle variations in the design between the two to see which is better and/or easier to build. These happened to be the 5th and 6th units I’ve ever built. (Well, honestly, I probably built and rebuilt the first two at least 10 times each until I was happy with them!) I’ve only made a few of these for close paddling friends.

These two new units have square legs so mere mortals can paddle them, but this design allows rockers to be easily attached and detached as desired.

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The result of my weekend in the garage. 1 unit complete and the other one 90% complete

I spent hours in the garage not only building the two units but also recording video of each build so I can edit and produce a “how to” video and then make it available for sale since so many people have reached out to me over the years to inquire about either purchasing a unit or buying the instructions from me.

I’ve greatly simplified the design and now use only hardware and parts that are stock and can be bought off-the-shelf at most hardware stores. The build is much, much simpler than the first few so I feel now the design is at a point where I can effectively communicate how to build your own and you can build one from those instructions rather easily.

It is also the first design I feel is so unique and innovative in the way its built that I’m not so willing to freely share it because there is a little “secret sauce” that I’ve learned through years of trial and error.

Now for the hard part.

With hours and hours of video you can imagine it will take me a few weeks to edit, possibly re-shoot steps that weren’t clear, and then produce a final video.

When the “How to build it” video is ready I will sell it for $20 since that is the price most people have told me is reasonable and that they’d expect to pay. I believe that is a fair price based on the number of hours I’ve spent building and refining the design to make it as compact as possible, easy to build, and fun to paddle.

I’m also accepting donations and to anyone who donates at least $5 before Feb. 1, 2018, I will make the video available to them as soon as it is ready. After that initial group the price will go up to $20.

Let me know what you think and please let me know if you would like to buy one of these units (Central mid-Atlantic of the U.S. only.)

Happy paddling!

Dave

PS – The second one is now complete (1-24-18) and it will be THE design since it is easier to build and by far the best design I’ve ever devised.

FinalErgDesign
Update March 2, 2018:
The “How to build” video is now ready for purchase!

The Vinnie Tortorich FB Live where he talks about the time change, our upcoming trip, and his training on the kayak ergometer

 

Feel free to skip to 26:42 where he starts talking about our trip and the indoor kayak training ergometer I built for him, but I encourage you to watch the whole video.

Vinnie is The Man for the No Sugars, No Grains (NSNG) lifestyle and has inspired me as a trainer more than he’ll ever know.

Delivery of the Tortorich Kayak Ergometer

I was very fortunate to be able to personally deliver the Tortorich Kayak Ergometer to Vinnie himself.

There was a little bit of shipping damage but a quick trip to the local hardware store and some wooden braces and wood screws made for an effective repair.

I spent some time with Vinnie getting the device trimmed to his body and providing some basic wing stroke instruction.

The picture below is my “kayaker’s selfie” with Vinnie in his office.

VinnieErg

He now has a device to train on and I will help him work on his wing paddle stroke whilst sourcing a kayak for him and working out other logistics for the trip in the Spring down the 100 miles of the Bayou Lafourche in Louisiana.

My new design of a kayaking ergometer made from a Nordic Track ski machine

I’ve completed my new, more compact design for the kayak ergometer.  I call this model “The Tortorich Model” because this one was specifically built for Vinnie Tortorich to train on.

This design is some 15 inches shorter than the original and the flywheel is now brought much further back on the device so it resides under the knees of the paddler.  This makes it much smoother and better balanced.

In researching what it would take to ship one of these things I have decided that shipping these is simply cost prohibitive.

So now that I’ve engineered this better design, I will build another one very soon and take detailed measurements, photos, and step-by-step videos along with a part list so you will have the basic specifications needed to build your own.  I’ll then make the training video and e-book instructions available for a nominal fee.

In the meantime, here are some photos that should give you a pretty good look at how to build one for yourself.

 

 

I hate gym shopping

Now that Gold’s Gym Charlottesville announced it is closing at the end of the month, I find myself in the unenviable position of gym shopping.

I hate everything about it.  The pricing schemes, the one-time fees, the cancellation policies, finding the right gym with the right equipment.  Yuck!

So this morning after placing an order for some staples at Muscle & Strength’s Labor Day Sale which has some BOGO’s and a free gym bag loaded with goodies, I headed to Gold’s to get in my workout.

Chatting with some of the other members at Gold’s made me feel like we were at a wake, discussing the passing of a friend.

The Gold’s Gym announcement came on Friday and we are just now dealing with reality and finding new gyms.  Most are going to Atlantic Coast Athletic Center (ACAC) to ride out the remainder of their memberships, but I don’t see that as a viable long-term option so I’m looking for my new, long-term home right away so on my way home I stopped at three gyms, only two of which were open.

I’ll let you know what I decide and hopefully some other Gold’s members will post on where they are going so we can try to keep some of the core people together.

I will miss the Gold’s Charlottesville experience.

Even though I mostly kept to myself at Gold’s and focused on my own training, I found so many of the regulars there inspirational and they pushed me harder just because I was around them.

At least I have until the end of the month to find a new gym home.

In other news, I completed the kayak ergometer for Vinnie Tortorich and hope to deliver it to him within the next few weeks so we can get started on his training.  This new design came out very nice.  So much so that I’m going to rebuild my own into this new design since it is shorter, better balanced, and smoother.