Saturday, October 04, 2014

KITESURFING AGAIN after a long layoff - fun in the sun at Rosebud!

Session 288. KITESURFING AGAIN! 141 days since my last session - an eternity. . . but the long wait is OVER!

The power of the wind and the kite, the speed over the water, the sun and the small bay waves combined for a remarkable experience. Every kitesurfing session is a winner.

I have been doing physio and yoga sessions weekly since the hook plate was removed from my shoulder 40 days ago.  I started with very little movement and a lot of pain - the shoulder joint really freezes up when its not used.

I need to get close to 100% mobility and some strength back before kitesurfing to avoid the risk of another injury that could require more surgery.  I have over 90% of movement back.

I rigged up, sorting out a line tangle, then strode out though the shallow water to get started, dodging some shallow sandbanks on the way out.

On the water my shoulder was fine. I was up and going without any dramas and gybing well, but I was rusty jumping so I took it easy.

The water at Rosebud was really clear, the wind was a northerly around 15 knots.  I did some long runs just enjoying being there and back on the water.  There were many more kiters closer to shore, but the wind was better out further. 

The wind then dropped a bit so I did another long run hoping to get into better wind.  When I turned to return it seemed there was a lot less wind. Its funny how you can get going well in one direction then struggle going the other way.

I headed into shore, eventually looping and re-looping the kite until I got in close and walked to sure. I landed the kite and wrapped my lines.  A guy came up asking how much the gear cost and what it was like.  I told him it was the best sport ever.

I walked back along the beach past all the downed kites and people enjoying the beach weather.  

I stopped by at the Tasting Station cafe for a great coffee and muffin then headed home.

It was a great work out. My arms and legs were fine but my torso feels like it did a lot of work.  Got to get kiting fit again now. 


Monday, September 01, 2014

The greatest thing is being able to do!

After several weeks of restricted activity with my broken collarbone - no kitesurfing and only short cycle trips - I am very pleased to do my first longer ride on my new cyclocross bike.

The hook plate was removed from my shoulder on 26/8 and I already have better movement of my right shoulder.  The wound still healing but is not too painful now.

I fitted some slicks to my new Giant cyclocross bike and rode down to Beaumaris, then back along the Bay Trail. Its nice not having to worry about cars coming up behind, but the pace is gentler.  Some sections of the Bay Trail have a lot of pedestrians so its necessary to slow right down at times.

At St Kilda the trail morphs into a shared boardwalk, which was very crowded and not good for cycling at all.

I stopped briefly at The Zu Boardsports, then continued on to Port Melbourne and back along the Sandridge Rail Trail.

I had a great coffee and waffle at Waffle On in the CBD then continued home along the Gardiners Creek Trail.

The cyclocross is great to ride. The wider tyres with lower pressure (7 bar) give a more comfortable ride, along with the carbon frame and wheels. The disc brakes provide excellent stopping power.  The bike handling is noticeably differently from a road bike though - its hard to put my finger on the difference but the turning is different.   The SRAM Red 22 gearing is very nice to use but it takes a little while to get the hang of the "double tap" changing.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Winter winds and epic storms have arrived, be careful kitesurfing

We have had some epic storms in Melbourne during the last 2 weeks of June, including winds of over 50 knots.  Such winds whip up huge waves in Port Phillip Bay, as you can see from the photo at Mornington Pier below.

Mornington pier in 50 knot winds
Brighton car park in 50 knot winds.
Check out the wind graphs for Tuesday 24 June, the same day the above photos were taken:

If you are experienced, it is possible to get some kitesurfing in before or after big storm fronts, but over 40 knots (even with a small kite) can be very dangerous.

For information and tips on staying safe see:  Kitesurfing storm fronts (Kitesurfing Handbook)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Kitesurfing strong winter wind at Frankston

Stuart and James had a great morning session in a strong northerly at Frankston.  I headed down to take some photos as I am still recovering from my broken collarbone.

Winter winds are strong.  They were both well powered on smaller kites - 7m for Stuart and 10m for James.  There was only one other kite visible further down past the pier and hardly anyone on the beach.

They were out for about 50 minutes then came in, both tired.  The wind was building too as another front approached.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Healing after the crash, no kitesurfing for a while

Four weeks after my bike crash, my shoulder is healing well.  Here are x-rays of the plate and screws that have been put in to secure the collarbone.

I am off pain killers and can now move my arm quite well, but the plate restricts how high I can reach.   Sneezing still hurts - the reflexive judder can really jolt the shoulder.

I have been on the exercise bike some mornings - I am almost up to getting back on my bike.  I get flashbacks of the crash and hitting the road hard though.

I have had four gentle Iyenga yoga sessions now which I think help the healing.  Tony Rothberg of Bridge Yoga is a great instructor who keeps on eye on any special needs of anyone in his class.  

Boroondara Council has looked at the speed hump and plans to fix the road surface near it and upgrade it to more modern standards, with a bike passage so hopefully other cyclists will avoid as similar crash.

The forced break from kitesurfing is very frustrating, but I am spending some time increasing my skills in flying my quadcopter. Hopefully I will be able to get some good kitesurfing footage with it.

My shoulder is reviewed on 8 August. If it is fully healed the plate will come out and I can regain full mobility and function of the arm.

I have been marvelling at the innate intelligence of the human body.  How do all those cells know how and what to repair?  What directs them? Is it all really just coded in DNA?  The bruising and tissue damage is repaired, ligaments and connective tissue replaced and bone regrown. 

Monday, June 02, 2014

Another bike crash, another broken bone

Its been a bad year for me so far regarding "accidents".  I was thinking that I had done well to get over two broken transverses process (back, January) then a fractured fibula (bike crash with car,  February).

But cycling to work on Tuesday 27/5, I was distracted while cycling along a short section of paved road in Ferndale Road approaching Glen Iris Road.  I hit the very nasty small speed hump there and came down hard on my right shoulder.

I have had some helpful suggestions about using trainer wheels, slowing down and stopping cycling.  I raced pushbikes on the road for over 10 years (one crash, wheel slipped on wet corner) and I have commuted for over 30 years with about 3 crashes and 2 serious injuries (both this year).

 I was travelling at 14km/h. The speed hump does not comply with Australian Design specifications and should be replaced as it is unsafe.

Broken shoulder - before
I was in pain and could feel a big lump on my shoulder, so I called Lena who picked me up and took me into Epworth emergency.  The x-ray showed a bad bread of my clavicle, requiring surgery to put in a plate. 

Not good, really not good . . .

I spend and uncomfortable night sleeping in the chair at home then want back to hospital on Wednesday for the operation.  It was a bit unnerving waiting all afternoon, but eventually they got to me.  I shuffled off the bed onto the operating table then awoke after the operation with the previous hour or so expunged from my consciousness.

Broken shoulder
I went home on Thursday after a night in hospital.  I have been carrying the arm in a sling and taking it out occasionally to keep it moving.  Regular strong pain killers are needed while it settles down and starts healing.

Shoulder - after operation
So once again I conclude that kitesurfing is safer than riding a bike around Melbourne.   I am counting down the days until I can get back on the water. Unfortunately, it could be a while.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Northerly at Brighton, great to be back kitesurfing

Session 287. Very keen to get back on the water after returning from Europe and several weeks of no kitesurfing.  James and I headed down to Frankston, but the northerly was not coming in there, so we went to Brighton.  Much better wind there.  It was light and gusty on and near the beach, but there was plenty of wind further out.

It was great to be back on the water again and feel the power of the kite.  Good speed and a few jumps, but not much swell.  The water was cool but not cold.

I went out a fair distance enjoying the views back to the city.  Another kiter was upwind. When I eventually  turned to come back in he kept going even further out - which I thought was was rather brave (or foolish) in the northerly.

Every session is a great session!