No, he didn’t die. He just goes away for large swaths of time as soon as the forsythias start their yellow bloom season up north here until the crimson leaves begin to fall into the local waterways. Then he “comes back to life” again when I need him to keep me warm when the snow flies, that’s all. Such is the life of a kayaking widow!
For those of you who have taken a break from reading your cereal box and picked up your beloved’s issue of Canoe News* instead, this one’s for you! You may or may not be a paddler and that is o.k. If you are not a RACER, however, and HE IS then you are invited to join me in this paper support group! We are not alone! (He does eventually come home to sleep and eat, right?) I mean, I understand girlfriend.
So we must stick together, you and me, and figure out alternatives to dreamy picnics in the park with our men. It probably won’t happen. Our guys are either out fulfilling the requirements of their United States Canoe Association (USCA) membership or too tired and sore from the workout the day before to take a walk on the local Prairie Path on a Sunday afternoon. “Would you massage my back?” is more likely heard than, “the moonlight sure is lovely reflected in your hair tonight.” But I digress. Just focus on the other scenic benefits of being married to an athlete if ya know what I mean? J
And try these tips to get past the USCA Nationals in August at least!
- Go shopping. Spend wisely and no more than the amount he has invested in paddling gear.
- Try a recreational race if you can paddle some; offer to take pictures of the event or help out if you prefer not. Kids can come too if desired. He will love you for taking an interest in his sport.
- Leave a note of encouragement in plain view for your man to find as he makes his way out the door on race day before the rooster crows. Add food. Lots of food.
- Plan regular events of your own either alone or with like-minded “widows.” There a lot of us out there, left behind from various endeavors requiring testosterone. Pick ones that require lots of estrogen to enjoy.
- Eat chocolate and don’t share with anyone.
- Look busy when he comes home yet be sure to greet him from upwind.
Surely there are a virtual bevvy of strategies for us land-lovers as I am only getting started here. Actually I was a fan of boating under power when I met my River Bear. What happened? Who knows but her name might be “Stella(r)” or something like that! I would love to hear from you ladies (and possibly widowers?) with your best tips on making the most of the paddling season.
Until then, gardening anyone? JJ
*Published in the Summer 2017 issue of Canoe News
This wifey-poo gets it right at an Indiana race on the St. Joe River in 2012!
My husband, Steve, loves to write tall tales of his racing adventures here in northern Indiana. There are at least 7 races in the United States Canoe Association circuit here: more if the rivers aren’t too low from a draught, too fast from flooding, or too rough from the winds on Lake Michigan! The paddlers are marathon racers who love to go fast over 9 or more miles in a sea kayak, surf ski, 1-4 person racing canoe, outrigger canoe, downriver kayak, or “unlimited” boat. Things can get dicey at times on and off the water as each sizes up the competition and conditions on race day . . . but they always go home as friends, ready for a re-match on another day.
Here’s a link to the Race Reports at River Bear Racing. Going fast can be a lot of fun for spectators like me too.
My River Bear leads the charge around the buoy turn in our OC-1
If you like to kayak then my River Bear has just the right kayak for you! With new layups, two-tone color combinations, and options there is something here for every paddler.
My first surf ski (open cockpit where you sit on top of the cockpit instead of inside) was the predecessor to the Stellar SR that you see in this photo. (See the About Page for a picture of me during my third time out in the SR.) This one is way cooler for sure! Having started in a wide and heavy plastic Sirocco sea kayak, you could say that my hubby has succeeded in helping me to make my way across the water with style. These days I actually prefer a solo outrigger canoe with a single-bladed canoe paddle until my balance skills get back up to par. Lord willing I’ll be back into an SR next year!
Until then and for persons in the Midwest of the United States, feel free to contact River Bear Racing to see a Stellar recreational or racing kayak. You’re only as good as your gear ya know, eh? JJ
Good news: River Bear Racing officially launched this week and I am quite proud of my beloved Steve aka “River Bear.”
Well known to the racers of the United States Canoe Association, Steve has accepted an invitation to represent Stellar Kayaks in the Midwest. Since 2009, Stellar has been delivering innovative kayaks, surf skis, paddles, and accessories across North America. Steve always liked the cockpit and foot plate design of Stellar Kayaks as he advanced from a recreational kayaker when I met him in 2007 to the reigning State Champion in the Men’s K-1 Open Class in Indiana. We have been on many adventures together since then, usually with me cheering him on from the side of a river somewhere, “gooooooooo Steve!!!!” And I have loved every minute of it too.
So I invite you, Gentle Reader, to check out and FOLLOW my husband’s new website: River Bear Racing. Steve is an amazing storyteller so expect to be treated to much adventure and humor as he navigates the rivers east of the Mississippi in carbon fiber boats narrow enough that the rest of the world would call them a man-sized tongue depressor! These racers are amazing, fast, fit, and . . . well I better stop here lest I get into some wifey-poo trouble! I am grateful to have learned so much from Steve and his love for the sport of sea kayak and surf ski racing. And I even have Steve to thank for my really neat paddling gear (that exceeds my abilities) as well.
Lord willing, I am looking forward to getting back to our water adventures really soon. Maybe I’ll just have to try out that S18S to see if it’s as cool as my old Stellar SR? Hmmm, guess I’ve become a bit of a paddling geek to, eh? JJ
Steve in his Stellar SE