The final countdown begins: Less than one week to go to the most prestigious paddling event of the year-- the 32-mile Molokai to Oahu race. Here is a preview of the race from Garmin athlete and 2011 Paddleboarder of the Year, Jenny Kalmbach. Pomaika'i (good luck) to all the athletes competing, including Jenny, Tucker Ingalls, Kai Lenny, Jordan Mercer, Connor Baxter, Talia Gangini, Joe Bark and Kanesa Duncan Seraphin.
With race day fast approaching, athletes from around the world are arriving in Hawaii and making the final preparations before setting out across the infamous Kaiwi channel. This will be my fifth time across the channel and as I’ve learned, you have to go in with no expectations. The best piece of advice I’ve received was to always respect the channel and above everything else, enjoy the experience.
It takes dedication and focus to prepare for the “channel of bones”. There are hours spent on and off the water, working on technique, building strength, power and most importantly, endurance. Depending on the conditions the day of the race, it can take anywhere from 5 to 7 hours. It’s a long day in the hot sun with the wind and the waves. If you don’t train properly, stay hydrated or fueled, you’re in for an ugly surprise. To top it all off, after 30 some miles of paddling, when you can just start to make out the finish line, you’re hit in the face with the most ridiculously strong headwind. As crazy as it sounds, I love that finish, it’s invigorating. It is just one more reason why many consider the Molokai race to be the toughest race on water.Whether I’m training on the water, in the gym or on my bike there is one thing with me during each session: the Garmin Forerunner 910xt. As with all Garmin products, the 910xt is the best in its class. It allows me to track my heart rate, speed, pace, distance and course. My favorite tool is the customized workout option. No matter how complicated my paddling sessions are, I can plug them into my Garmin and with a press of a button, I’m off and training. I love it. It’s been a huge addition to my training program and a major asset in helping me become a better athlete.
I’ll be wearing my 910xt across the channel this year and I’ll also have the GTU 10, a live tracking device that will allow people to keep tabs on my progress throughout the day. After the race, I’ll upload the data to the Garmin Connect site to analyze my stats and course. It’s important to assess the data and see where improvements can be made for the following year.
I’m looking forward to setting out across the channel next weekend and no matter what the outcome, I know it will be another amazing experience.