Monday, June 21, 2010

Sun Country

We've been having a bit of trouble with summer here in Vancouver. Like an old lawnmower, it was dragged out of the garage at the first sign of spring and dusted off. After a few attempts it got going... choked, and died. We've cleaned the plugs and pulled all the grass out of the air filter, but it just won't keep running. I don't think I can stretch that analogy any further... but you get the idea.

So, we traded in Vancouver for a place with better weather this weekend. Like an electric lawnmower (I knew I could get some more out of the lawnmower thing), the Okanagan seems to just work. The weather forecast was so bad for this weekend some of the cafes closed "due to weather" before the weather even arrived... but undeterred, the sun shone, the air was hot, the lake was cold, and the trails were flowing.

First order of the day was for Lina to race in a sport that is poised to take over the world (possibly). Stand-up Paddleboard racing looks to the casual observer (me) like a cross between a mass miracle of water-walking and rush hour in Venice. I have had a go myself and it is fun, though I think I would ideally like some waves under my board. Kalamalka Lake and the Kalavida Surf Shop in Vernon hosted the inaugural Kalamalka Classic SUP race meeting. Saturday's race was a quick dash around and through the Oyama ismuth with a portage. Kala and I took care of some bike-maintenance while Lina managed to come back from a fairly terrible start to win the race!

Want to know what a SUP race looks like? Now you know.

...and this is how you win a SUP race.

With pushing back the frontiers of sport taken care of... we went off to eat a pizza and go for a ride on the Kal Lake Park trails, thanks to our trail map from Sun Country Cycle in Vernon.  We followed the suggested XC loop on the map and were treated to sunshine, meadows, and even dust on the trails. Oh Vancouver summer... where art thou?

Lina on "Acrophobia"

In the evening we headed back to Oyama and Gatzke's Farm Market, for a great dinner, some cider, a game of boules (bocce in Canadian), and to see Lina collect her prize paddle. We also got a huge haul of stickers and a pink trucker-hat. Winner.

Too early on Sunday morning we headed back to Oyama (again) for Lina to start her "real" race all the way to Vernon. That's a really long way... I think 20km. We met up with Irish friend Conor and "the Savages", missed Lina's race start... but saw the 3 girls paddle off for Vernon, followed shortly by the guys. Kala, Conor, and I got a great ride back at Kal Lake Park with some nasty hot climbing, some great views, and some ripping descents.  We even got to cool off in the lake half way around.

An Irishman in the Okanagan

Kala on the Lookout Trail

All re-united on the beach in Vernon, we found that Lina had got her second victory of the weekend and could still move her arms... so we celebrated with lunch in the pub before heading back to moist Vancouver.