Friday, March 15, 2013

Those Dam Paddlers

Last weekend, I met up with Rob, Matt, & Mike for a Catawba River run from the dam down to Mountain Island Lake.  This is the connection between Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake, just north of Charlotte.  There usually isn't any current and its much like paddling on a lake.  Not this time.

Lake Norman is full again from all the rain so they had the dam opened up a little bit.  We had a serious river current moving under us.  Any more current and there might have been some whitewater paddling going on.  The time (2:25), distance (13.4 miles), and pace (less than 11min per mile) on the GPS watch pic below reflects both casual & medium pace paddling, some 80-100% intervals, and some paddling in reverse against the current (actual distance is 12 miles without the reverse paddling).  Top speed was 9.3mph down river at some points.  Just standing on our boards without paddling, we were going around 4mph+ at the narrowest points.  There were eddies and boils in the water that grabbed the boards' rails and tried to tip us over.  The current did let up once the river widened into Mountain Island Lake.  

This was my second time doing this particular paddle.  The first time it took us 3 hours to cover 12 miles.  Here is my post on the last paddle.  Note the difference in the water texture in those pictures compared to these pictures below.

A new experience for us and much fun.  Check out this quick 40 sec video...

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