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October 09, 2014
By Loreli Urquhart

It was intense.  It was ‘scary’.  It was a heart thumping, nail biting, body burning, mind blowing and unbelievable fabulous time at the Club Crew World Championships in Italy!  And, I loved every minute of it!

This is my final blog post for the “Journey to Italy” series and, if nothing else, I hope this series has enticed you to try out the sport of dragon boating.

A majority of the members of the four Vancouver Island Paddling (VIP) club crews were at their respective hotels/B & B’s by the 29th of August to get acclimatized and familiar with their surroundings.   We were advised to check out our surroundings for such important things as restaurants and groceries, remembering to “cut as many distractions as possible.”

As for me, upon arriving at our hotel, I discovered that the adapter we’d purchased here at home (to enable us to charge our phones and computer) was a dud and I had to quickly find a replacement.  While searching for that, we also scoped out the availability of a food market.  I had to make sure I had the right kinds of food to fuel the body when competing at a World Class Event.  So, I spent much of the 29th (as I arrived late in the afternoon on the 28th) making sure I had my food and that my phone and computer were charged up.  The only real means of communication I would have with my crewmates and coaching staff, while not at the race site, was through email.  So, it was extremely important that I have the ability to establish contact.  With a new adapter purchased and a grocery store location determined, I had cut as many of the outside distractions as I could and felt settled and ready to race!

We had our first crew meeting at the race site on August 31st, the morning we had all 4 crews scheduled to practice, and I could feel the group excitement and nervousness over finally being here at “the Worlds”.  For most, it took 2 years of commitment and hard work (and yes, passion) to be here!  This event was to be the culmination of a whole lot of planning, preparation and training.

It was a very hot day and another reason why we needed that practice – to experience the race site and to feel the weather.  We had to do our best and bring our “A game”.  One way to do that was to make sure we could experience as much as possible before the races!  One of my favourite quotes from Tom (our illustrious leader) is, “Don’t let the boat (or equipment or site) beat you!“  We needed to feel and see whatever we could in that one hour on the water.  After practice, most of us stuck around to wander the race site (again, to get a feel for what to expect), check out the start and finish line, check out the food vendors and, of course, discreetly check out some of the other teams that we may be up against come race time.  I had spent time with the stern in my boat as well as the sterns from the other crews boats to get insight into what we may come up against and to plan for possible “worst case” scenarios.  That evening (and every evening after), I studied the World’s Crew Club Rule Book to make sure I understood all the rules and policies so that we didn’t get any timed penalties or be disqualified while racing.  Yes, I packed my Rule Book and it became my focus reading all week!

But none of that strategizing and discussion prepared me for what was to happen on our second day of practice.  Day 2 of our practice the temperature had dropped from sunny and 34 degrees the day before to 17 degrees with rain and an extremely cold, strong wind that made for lots of waves out on the race course.  I realized I needed warmer clothes if this was going to be our weather on any of our race days!  We watched as some of the boats ran into trouble (one even sunk) in the wind and waves.  And, then it happened.  Just as we were getting ready to head out for our turn to practice, ALL further practices were cancelled!  Our crews (having come from the coast of Vancouver Island) felt we had an advantage.  We seriously didn’t think the wind, rain and waves would be too much of an issue for us.  After all, we routinely paddled in worst weather than this at home!  Even though we missed out on our second day of practice on the water, the crews stayed at the race site.  We strategized together as crews and then headed back to our hotels (to get warm) after a couple of crew warm-ups.  A new worst case scenario for me now was how to help our stern and paddlers overcome the strong wind (as in getting a straight line from the start) and how that could ultimately affect the outcome of our racing.

To keep a long and very exciting story short, when the actual racing took place, all our crews did extremely well battling it out in our various race distances and respective divisions.  We all raced in the 2000M race (complete with buoy turns), 200M and 500M distances.   We paddled hard, gave it our all in each and every race, and were quite proud to represent our country and our club.  When the dust (or should I say water) settled, the Senior C All Women’s Crew finished with a Bronze in the 2000M race and a Silver in the 500M race.  I was the drummer in that Senior C boat and I’m so proud of not just our crew but all the crews from VI Paddling!  We’re a young paddling club from the West Coast, but we definitely left our mark at the Club Crew World races in Italy.  I overheard someone from Australia telling another Canadian paddler that, “we usually don’t consider them competition at all, but Canada is a very strong competitor.”  In fact, both times we (the Senior C Women’s crew) were on the podium, it was a Canadian sweep – Gold, Silver and Bronze!

What next?  Well, the National qualifying event (for the next Club Crew Worlds) is in Welland, Ontario next June and the Worlds are being held in Adelaide, Australia in 2016.  That’s where I want to be too!  There’s no guarantee that one will have a seat in the boat, so we have to continue to work hard and stay fit and focused as our club will have its own qualifying tests for a seat in the new boats.  Our paddling program will start soon.   But, I know that the paddlers in our club (and in our boats) will do the best they can to be the best they can be because it’s pretty awesome coming home with some bling!

My last word, or words, would be to express a sincere “Thank you” to each and every crew mate from each of the crews, as well as to my fabulous coaches (Tom, Andree, Phil and Mallorie), our Land Managers (Roger, Elaine and Ron) and the many supporters/family members that traveled to Italy with the teams.  Without all of you, supporting and being there for everyone else (me included) this wouldn’t have been the memorable experience that I now hold and cherish.   A more amazing group of paddlers, personalities and cheerleaders would be very difficult to find anywhere!

 
August 18, 2014
By Loreli Urquhart

Today is the “day after” a busy weekend of competing in the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival.  This wasn’t only our last festival before we compete in the World Club Crew Championships.  Victoria is also our “home turf” Festival and one of my most favourite festivals of all time.  I’ve competed in the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival for over 10 years, on several different teams, and every year it’s been a great experience as a paddler.

This year, it was really great to once again see so many familiar faces, from the many different clubs around the city, and to race against many of my friends and past crew mates.

The Women’s Division did not have a specific division for 50+ or a 60+ teams so both of the Gorging Dragon women’s crews heading to the World’s in Italy were up against crews with women of all ages.  However, if you know me at all, you know that one of my favourite sayings is: “Age is just a number.”  I know from personal experience that, if you stay fit and healthy, you can reverse the aging clock and if you’re hit with disease or illness, being fit can bring you back sooner with less residual or lingering problems.  That’s why, in my line of work as a bootcamp instructor with Alter Ego Fitness Experience and as a personal trainer, I’m constantly encouraging women (and men) to start their fitness regime sooner rather than later.  It’s like an “insurance policy”, it will help you when you need it most.

Both of our women’s crews did very well.  The Senior B team (50+) finished  4th overall in the Women’s Division and the Senior C team (60+) finished 5th overall.  Our Premier Mixed team (men and women, all under 50) placed 3rd overall out of ALL the teams entered.  During our debrief sessions after a race, our coaches praised us for doing the work we needed to do for each race and helped us identify what we needed to do for the upcoming races.  “The ‘big stuff’ is solid, now let’s fine tune“,  seemed to be the theme I heard.

After this weekend, we all feel that much more confident going into Italy.  We have our race goals intact, we solidly believe in our race plans and I’ve been hearing from so many of my crew mates that “We’re ready!  Let’s go!“.

But, we still have 4 more practices before most of us head off on our travels.  The goal this week is all about the ‘taper’.  Spending more time on the water keeping those paddling muscles moving and less time in the gym strength training.  As our knowledgeable coach, Tom Arnold, tells us, there’s to be no “increase in strength” being done now.  There’s more harm than good if you think you can “make up for lost workouts”.  He wants us to stretch, do some easy cardio, easy small boat work, stay committed to our dragon boat practices and spend time “denting the couch”.

Those of us who actually enjoy our hard workouts will definitely miss the endorphin rush.  This taper will be tough but, as I know from being a trainer and helping clients reach their race goals, tapering properly before your goal event is so very crucial and important.  When I taper before a goal race, I’m chomping at the bit, ready to go at the start line!  At that point, I’m ready – ready!  And, I usually succeed in not only finishing that event but in having a personal best time.  Tapering is very important!  Each of us, committed to doing well in Italy will listen to our coaches and taper properly as we prepare for our goal – the World’s in Italy.

Everyone has different travel dates but the goal is to arrive in Ravenna, Italy with a couple of days to get acclimatized.  After that, we’ll have a couple of days of easy practices and then BOOM (as Tom said) we’ll be racing against the best from the rest of the world!

Before we get there though, my next couple of blogs will take us back, to the beginning of February when I was approached to drum for the Senior C Team, and talk about how much I believe the crews (and I) have improved.

Until then, arrivederci!

NOTE:  Are you a dragon boat paddler wondering, and worrying, about what to do during the fall/winter months to keep up your strength and cross training?  Alter Ego Fitness Experience has outdoor boot camps (you love the outdoors!) and we also offer personal training.  4, 6 and 8 week programs are available.  Please send me an email:  loreli@alteregofitness.ca.  Our next 6-week progressive boot camp starts September 22nd (upon my return from Italy).

 
August 14, 2014
By Loreli Urquhart

In preparation for heading to Italy for the Club Crew World Dragon Boat Championships, we’ve been told to “Cut out the distractions and focus on your goals!“  These words hit home the other week when Tom Arnold, our head coach at the Vancouver Island Paddling Club, told us that in a huddle just before we went out on the water for a practice.  I immediately thought of this acronym for the word “focus”  -  F.O.C.U.SForget Obstacles – Concentrate on Unbelievable Success.

Distractions only take away from the real reason we’re on the water paddling and working so hard.  In his humour, Tom said, “It’s not the time to worry about how  many bikinis you need to pack for Italy or what tour you want to take while there.”  He told us we need to eliminate (as much as possible) not only the excitement of travelling to a great destination like Italy (a place I’ve never been and I’m REALLY looking forward to visiting!), but other distractions too, like our work or home life.  Of course, to a large degree, life must go on.  But, if we plan and adjust, we can make our lives simpler and easier and focus on what’s truly important.

With that in mind, I made the tough decision to stop working my Alter Ego Fitness Experience boot camps (which run 5 to 6 times a week) and I’m not taking on any new personal training clients from now until after Italy. This has given me lots of free time to focus on the team’s goals and time, as Tom says, “to recover and rest.” More time to focus and prepare.  Because I’m so passionate about my role in helping my clients to be fitter and healthier, this is extremely tough.  I feel like I’m neglecting them.  But, I also know they all understand my reasons and I can already feel that my body is enjoying the reprieve.  So, for now, I can truly focus on doing my absolute best in Italy!

I’ve been a newer addition to the crews of the Gorging Dragons, but for most of my teammates it’s been a 3 year journey and the races in Italy are the next logical step for all of us.  As a team, we know that our bodies are more than ready.  The paddlers have all been doing gym and cardio training, as well as on the water training in small boats, over and above the dragon boat practices.

At this point in our training, we’re entering into the “mind zone” and pushing ourselves at every practice, so that we can mentally KNOW that we can do it!  I think of it as “boot camp training for the mind”.  Tom, Mallorie and Andree (our coaches) keep reminding us that now we work the minds.  We know the body can do it – we just need to believe, beyond a doubt!  And, from the sounds of last night’s cheer “Credere” (which is “believe” in Italian), we’re ready!

I’ve been running race plans and scenarios in my head for over a week now.  The good, the bad and the ugly and, step-by-step, I conquered the bad and the ugly.  I haven’t woke up in the night lately with what I would simply call, “paddling terrors”.  But when I did, I’d go over the scenario, solve it, and then roll over and go back to sleep.

This weekend, all four crews are racing in the 20th Annual Victoria Dragon Boat Festival, where I’m sure there will be a few fears and pre-race jitters popping up.  However, I’m confident that we’ll conquer those fears and race jitters and, as a team, we’ll . . . Credere!

Another great addition to our training!

Paddles UP!

 
August 13, 2014
By Loreli Urquhart

I’m going to Italy!  The countdown is on, only 14 more days and we’re on our way!  Why am I going you ask?  Well, the wine, history and scenery are certainly on my agenda.  But, that’s not the whole reason.  I’m on a team that’s headed to the Club Crew World Dragon Boat Championships that are being held in Ravenna, Italy.  There’s actually four teams going from the Vancouver Island Paddling Club and, to be able to represent Canada and our Club Crew, each of these teams had to first do well in a National qualifying event.  These crews did that last year, when the Nationals were held here in Victoria, BC, on beautiful Elk Lake.

For those of you unfamiliar with dragon boating, a crew consists of 20 paddlers (either mixed – men and women; all men or all women; as well as age categories); a stern (the person at the back of the boat who uses  a huge oar to steer); and, a drummer (who sits at the front of the boat, drums on the huge drum between their legs and calls commands to the crew – must be loud!)  The paddlers sit and paddle on one side of a huge, long heavy boat, two to a seat (one on one side and one on the other), and they MUST paddle in time, with each other and the rest of the crew, so that the boat (as I call it) “sings across the water”.

The Club Crews that are taking us all the way to Italy are part of a newly formed club, the Vancouver Island Paddling Club.  However, they have very expert coaches and a top notch, truly dedicated, group of paddlers with extensive experience paddling at a highly competitive level.  This past February, I was asked to join them and drum for their Senior C (over 60) Women’s Crew.  Naturally, even though I’m not close to being “over 60″ (apparently, the drummer doesn’t have to be), I jumped at the opportunity!  In the past, I’d already been  a paddler, a drummer and a coach for various dragon boat teams.  So, I figured this would be a great way for me to perfect my skills and to learn from the coaches at this club.  As part of my personal training and boot camp business (Alter Ego Fitness Experience) I use my voice to motivate and encourage clients on a daily basis.  So, really, how tough could it be to adapt that approach to a dragon boat team?  Like riding a bike, right?

Right off the bat, the first week in the boat, I knew I was in for a huge learning curve.  Not just trying to remember all the women’s names (turns out, that was the easy part).  But, instead, realizing that at a real competitive level, a drummer is required to call appropriate motivational and paddling cues as well as work with the stern to keep the crew safe and efficient!  I needed to learn how to “feel the boat”, and with that feeling, call appropriate cues for the paddlers.

I knew some of the paddlers and coaches, from my past paddling experiences, but never realized just how dedicated they were or how much they really know about paddling and pulling crews together to paddle in a single dragon boat!  I’m learning so much, both as a drummer and a paddler, and I’m super excited about being able to share my experiences on our way to Italy with you.  This will be the first in a series of articles about my own journey.  As well, I’m hoping to share some of the various crew member’s journeys too.

Now, as if I wasn’t already feeling I had a bunch to learn, just last week I was handed a rule book.  Apparently, there are rules for World Championship racing!  Who knew?  And, failure to adhere to these rules could cost a crew a time penalty or, worse yet, disqualification from a race.  So, now I must go read (and memorize) this book and it’s several pages long!  Wish me luck.

Until next time, paddles up!

 
March 22, 2013
By Jessica Schmidt
Sherman Chow Name: Sherman Chow
Team: Gorging Dragons High Performance
Home location: Victoria, BC
Profession/educational background: Varies
Years in dragonboating: 6

What got you started in dragonboating?
Somebody challenged me
What is your biggest accomplishment in dragonboating?
So far...winning Victoria DB (twice) or competing in nationals.
What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
Work hard!
How do you set your goals?
S.M.A.R.T. method
What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
Balancing life and training...I set my life around paddling and having understanding peeps.
What is your diet like?
Eat when I'm hungry and don't when I'm not.  Eat many small meals instead of 3 big ones.
What 1-2 things do you think you have overcome during your dragonboat training?
Stress is dealing with many personalities and egos.
Do you have any recommended resources to share (books, seminars, websites, coaches)?
My coaches are good as well as Google.  The library is also fun.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Ask yourself, "What am I doing to get the results I'm getting?"
Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
Try
What do you find most fun about dragonboating?
Racing
 
March 13, 2013
By Jessica Schmidt
Matt Michaelis Name: Matthew Michaelis
Team: Gorging Dragons High Performance
Home location: Victoria, BC
Profession/educational background: Software developer. I graduated from UVIC in 1999 with a degree in computer science. Most of my professional life I've worked on air traffic control systems, it’s taken me from Vancouver to Southern California, to the Boston Area. Nowadays I work from home as a contractor for Lockheed-Martin.
Years in dragonboating: 4 years this spring

What got you started in dragonboating?
One of my Mom's coworkers is on a dragonboat team called the Blazing Paddles. They were looking for people in the spring of 2009, and I'd always wanted to give it a try, so I jumped in. Then at the end of that season, Tom asked if I wanted to keep training over the winter with the GDs, and here we are 4 years later.
What one or two things do you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
Keep chipping away at the training. If you can't do everything you need to (because of time or injury), don't tell yourself, "I can't do it all", just ask yourself "How much can I do?” Another thing I try to do is stay focused during the workouts in the boats. When I first started out, I would zone out in an attempt to make the long pieces more bearable. Now I try to think of the (top) one or two things that I need to work on. We're out in the cold and rain anyway, might as well make it count as much as possible.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Nothing really flowery comes to mind. The only thing I can think of is "Just keep working."
Have you experienced a breakthrough, and if so, what led to it?
I don't really have sudden breakthroughs, but I do notice changes from year to year. When I first started out, I was always ahead of the strokes. Now I'm generally in time. I used to bump up my rate on power increases, and I still do that sometimes, but not as much. Now I have new things to work on, but at least I'm getting better.
 
March 5, 2013
By Jessica Schmidt
Dianne

Name: Dianne Donohue
Team: Gorging Dragons High Performance
Home location: Victoria, BC
Profession/educational background: I lived in Victoria and Hawaii for 20 years and owned and operated Victoria Carriage Tours for 24 years and Hawaiian Dreams Carriages in Kona for 5 years.
Years in dragonboating: I sold everything in 2003 and started paddling outrigger in 2005 with a rec team here in Victoria. My daughters boyfriends Mom was on the dragonboat team Excalibur and asked if I wanted to learn how to dragonboat. Was fun for a few years and then decided to return to Kona to stay warm.

What got you started in dragonboating?
Got involved with rec paddling with Waikoloa Outrigger club and they suggested I do more competitive paddling with the women at the Keauhou Outrigger club. That led to doing sprints and racing a lot of long distance as well. A group of us left Keauhou and went to Kai O'Pua so there would be more competition between clubs. We went on to winning Hawaii State Championships in 2009 and then due to a few very serious accidents on the water decided to return to Victoria. Decided it would be great to get on a competitive dragonboat team as I realized how much I loved to paddle and loved to win and so posted a note at the Gorge Rowing and Paddling Club. Tom gave me a call and even though I thought I would never make the team I came out and paddled anyways. I thought my age would be a huge barrier and now coming into my 4th season that obviously has not been the case.
How do you set your goals?
Setting goals is a challenge as all the hard work of training does not really come to fruition until many many months after we have started. Have now learned competing is about the journey and not necessarily the destination. Each practice is to me a goal in itself. Can I get better at technique or blend more or move the water with more power etc. Each time I get on the water the goal is to get smarter and stronger. Have found that racing is the bonus especially when it all comes together whether we win gold or not. There are times we have had the perfect race and not necessarily the winning race and it is just as rewarding as if we had won.
What would be your ultimate achievement?
My ultimate achievement would be to win Gold in Hungary this year with the National team and then to come back and qualify for the worlds at Nationals this year in Victoria.
Have you experienced a breakthrough, and if so, what led to it?
The breakthroughs I have made would be about interacting with a lot of very dynamic people and how to overcome fears of not being good enough or strong enough or worthy of being on such a great team. Dealing with my personal insecurities and becoming confident that I am good enough to be the best in the world has been a huge part of my journey. I love to paddle with people that are as dedicated to the sport as I am and the Gorging Dragons has proven over and over that it is the best team to meet my needs of being the best at what we do.
 

February 21, 2013
By Jessica Schmidt

Bruce Johnson

Name: Bruce Johnson
Team: Gorging Dragons High Performance
Home location: Duncan, BC
Profession/educational background: Retired Canadian Navy, currently working for the Dept. of National Defence
Years in dragonboating: 7 years dragonboating

What got you started in dragonboating?
Friends on the Navy DB Team encouraged me to try it out.

How do you set your goals?
My goals are set by what I want to be doing or where I want to be at a certain point in the future.  Envision myself there, then work back from that point...

What is your biggest accomplishment in dragonboating?
Getting the entire Navy DB Team to The Ottawa International DB Festival for the Navy's 100th Anniversary in 2010.  It was a blast!


November 24th, 2011
By Bob Sochowski

Bob Sochowski Enjoys Life on the Water
Gorging Dragons Bob SochowskiSomeone once said to me that the best way to have a full life is to stay active.  Sometimes I think I may have taken that mantra too seriously but I’m sure having a great time.  I’ve incorporated fitness into my lifestyle because I believe it connects the body and soul, clears the mind and provides a wealth of new energy.

I was never “into” sports during my childhood, but the competitive side of things did interest me. In 2001, I decided to do something sporty that would involve fitness and team building, and allow me to learn new values.  I joined a recreational dragon boat team because almost anyone can paddle a dragon boat – regardless of their fitness level.  Depending on your fitness level and time commitment, you may want to paddle only for recreation or compete at the national level.  I began by training at a recreational level, twice a week in the Victoria harbour for 12 weeks.  At that time, I was just starting out, enjoying the workout and beginning to see immediate personal gains, including lowered blood pressure, improved breathing capacity, weight loss, better-toned muscles and, best of all, the tranquility I experienced in viewing the ocean from a different perspective.  Where else in Canada could I do this for 12 months a year?

Years passed, and I decided to train in the Outrigger, which allowed me to stay in condition during the off-season for dragon boating.

In 2007, I was invited to train with the Gorging Dragons Dragon Boat team for the 2008 Malaysia Club Crew Dragon Boat Championships.  The Gorging Dragons is a highly competitive team known for its determination to win and train hard. While training with the team, I was asked if I wanted to race for Team Canada in the 2008 World Outrigger Canoe Sprint Championship in Sacramento.  With more than 40 countries in the competition, I decided to go for it so switched my focus to training for the Outrigger Sprints.  The commitment for training at this level was high and intense.  I was training on the water eight times a week, paddling in the Gorge and the Victoria harbour, continuing strength training five times a week and increasing my cardio activities. In addition, I was working full time and finding time for my personal life.  Having just turned 40 that year, I was eligible to race on the Team Canada Men’s Master Outrigger Team.  This allowed me to race against the world’s best athletes – something I had never dreamed of. All of my training proved very worthwhile because Team Canada Men’s Master team manage to race in the semi finals.  While I was racing in Sacramento, our Gorging Dragons team won medals in Malaysia!

After a bit of a break, I started training again last year in preparation for Hong Kong 2012 Club Crew Dragon Boat Championships or the 2012 World Outrigger Canoe Sprint Championship in Calgary.  There will be challenges ahead to train as much as I’d like because my job today is much more challenging. To add one more stake to the fire, I am currently completing my doctorate degree.  I’m confident I can achieve it all by setting realistic goals, identifying priorities, maintaining a strong discipline, and receiving support from partner, family, and friends – all important factors for success.

I know I’m getting older, but I believe that while I can compete, I will. The journey getting there may not be easy (oh those aches and pains), and it can be discouraging when results are slow, but when I get there, especially when I am standing on the podium to receive my medal – it will be well worth the effort.

Paddles Up!

Bob
 
Note:  Bob is a Building Technology Advisor (Mechanical) with Integrated Workplace Solutions.


June 22th, 2011

By Jessica Schmidt

Last week of training before Welland...
Practices have begun to taper and everyone is trying to physically and mentally prepare for our biggest event this summer. 
There is quite a mix in the boat of experienced long-term GD’s, paddlers that have trained for years but never with the GD’s and complete newcomers so mental preparedness is quite different for all of us.

"Mental toughness is learned.  It's not a skill that everyone has, or is born with.  There are people that are born tougher than others mentally, or figure things out earlier in their life.  But if you have motivation you can acquire mental toughness, it's just about what your body gets used to putting up with."  -Greg Jackson

 

June 15th, 2011
By Jessica Schmidt

Alcan results!!!
Competitive A Championship - 6th Place 2:05.590
Guts & Glory - 5th place 10:26.310
Men’s Race B - 1st place 2:07.400

What a great weekend of racing! 
Awesome work GD’s!!!

June 9th, 2011
By Jessica Schmidt

Alcan in 2 days!!  Last nights practice was an interesting one…I think everyone is feeling the impact of months of training.  One of the things I took away from last night was that we all have it in us to succeed this weekend and in Welland, we just need to use what we’ve spent sooooo much time building!  The muscles are there, the mindset is there, the training is there…we just need to believe we can (as Tom would say). 
We will be racing against some great competitors this weekend and I’m excited to see everyone push to their full potential! 
Paddles up…


June 1st, 2011
By Jessica Schmidt

GOLD @ Gorge Super Sprint
BRONZE @ Dragonzone
Gorging Dragons had a productive weekend!  Back to back festivals were a little wearing but we pushed through; it was a great learning experience for our team. 
Moving forward into the next few weeks…

-We’re working on fixing the little issues that came up in our races on the weekend
-Keeping up with our regular training schedule
-Preparing for Alcan (June 11th -12th in Vancouver)

I have to say that winning felt pretty good; can’t wait to see what’s to come for us…

 

May 26th, 2011
By Jessica Schmidt

The time has come for the GD’s to prove what months and months of training can do…

"Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever."

-- Lance Armstrong

Practice this week has been “all or nothing” and that’s exactly how we are going approach the upcoming races. 

Saturday in Victoria (Super Sprints): 3 x 250 meter races plus the 2km Guts and Glory race.  Apparently there is a prize for team members that throw up or lose their arms, haha; let’s hope that’s not the case…we need those arms the next day for Dragonzone! 
Sunday in Vancouver (Dragonzone): 3 x 500 meter races. 
Months of preparation + Adrenaline + Desire to win = the chance for greatness this weekend

 

May 18, 2011
By Jessica Schmidt

Last night was a GREAT practice!  The team was really pushing hard to impress Tom and look “pretty” for the videos he was taking…hopefully we succeeded!  It also seemed like everyone was in a good mood; helps when the weather is fantastic!

We’ve been working a lot on race pieces and trying to perfect timing and stroke; one unit, pushing together.  And also trying to use the mentality that “this race is our LAST race” every time we go! 

I remember Roman saying on the boat once that our bodies have the ability to use everything we have for a race piece and still retain enough energy to paddle the boat home… It’s amazing to me how much our bodies can be trained to withstand! 
These training sessions are meant to push us to a National competition level and I think we are all fighting through the practices to prove that we can do this! 

 

May 12, 2011
By Jessica Schmidt

7 weeks till Welland!

“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”

Training is getting to be a lot more intense.  Timing is a large part of our practices right now; hitting together is the main focus and possibly the most challenging at this point.  I think every team member has Tom’s voice permanently in their heads…”hinge, reach, hip rotation, long…LONG”

Through some of the hard pieces I know I get that extra push when Rick yells out something encouraging to the team!

The support on the boat is amazing…both on and off the water!! 

Throughout the next couple of weeks I expect everyone will be working on timing, on the boat and attempting to work on nutrition, off the boat…better eating = more energy = better paddler!

 
 

February 21, 2013
By Jessica Schmidt

Bruce Johnson

Name: Bruce Johnson
Team: Gorging Dragons High Performance
Home location: Duncan, BC
Profession/educational background: Retired Canadian Navy, currently working for the Dept. of National Defence
Years in dragonboating: 7 years dragonboating

What got you started in dragonboating?
Friends on the Navy DB Team encouraged me to try it out.

How do you set your goals?
My goals are set by what I want to be doing or where I want to be at a certain point in the future.  Envision myself there, then work back from that point...

What is your biggest accomplishment in dragonboating?
Getting the entire Navy DB Team to The Ottawa International DB Festival for the Navy's 100th Anniversary in 2010.  It was a blast!


November 24th, 2011
By Bob Sochowski

Bob Sochowski Enjoys Life on the Water
Gorging Dragons Bob SochowskiSomeone once said to me that the best way to have a full life is to stay active.  Sometimes I think I may have taken that mantra too seriously but I’m sure having a great time.  I’ve incorporated fitness into my lifestyle because I believe it connects the body and soul, clears the mind and provides a wealth of new energy.

I was never “into” sports during my childhood, but the competitive side of things did interest me. In 2001, I decided to do something sporty that would involve fitness and team building, and allow me to learn new values.  I joined a recreational dragon boat team because almost anyone can paddle a dragon boat – regardless of their fitness level.  Depending on your fitness level and time commitment, you may want to paddle only for recreation or compete at the national level.  I began by training at a recreational level, twice a week in the Victoria harbour for 12 weeks.  At that time, I was just starting out, enjoying the workout and beginning to see immediate personal gains, including lowered blood pressure, improved breathing capacity, weight loss, better-toned muscles and, best of all, the tranquility I experienced in viewing the ocean from a different perspective.  Where else in Canada could I do this for 12 months a year?

Years passed, and I decided to train in the Outrigger, which allowed me to stay in condition during the off-season for dragon boating.

In 2007, I was invited to train with the Gorging Dragons Dragon Boat team for the 2008 Malaysia Club Crew Dragon Boat Championships.  The Gorging Dragons is a highly competitive team known for its determination to win and train hard. While training with the team, I was asked if I wanted to race for Team Canada in the 2008 World Outrigger Canoe Sprint Championship in Sacramento.  With more than 40 countries in the competition, I decided to go for it so switched my focus to training for the Outrigger Sprints.  The commitment for training at this level was high and intense.  I was training on the water eight times a week, paddling in the Gorge and the Victoria harbour, continuing strength training five times a week and increasing my cardio activities. In addition, I was working full time and finding time for my personal life.  Having just turned 40 that year, I was eligible to race on the Team Canada Men’s Master Outrigger Team.  This allowed me to race against the world’s best athletes – something I had never dreamed of. All of my training proved very worthwhile because Team Canada Men’s Master team manage to race in the semi finals.  While I was racing in Sacramento, our Gorging Dragons team won medals in Malaysia!

After a bit of a break, I started training again last year in preparation for Hong Kong 2012 Club Crew Dragon Boat Championships or the 2012 World Outrigger Canoe Sprint Championship in Calgary.  There will be challenges ahead to train as much as I’d like because my job today is much more challenging. To add one more stake to the fire, I am currently completing my doctorate degree.  I’m confident I can achieve it all by setting realistic goals, identifying priorities, maintaining a strong discipline, and receiving support from partner, family, and friends – all important factors for success.

I know I’m getting older, but I believe that while I can compete, I will. The journey getting there may not be easy (oh those aches and pains), and it can be discouraging when results are slow, but when I get there, especially when I am standing on the podium to receive my medal – it will be well worth the effort.

Paddles Up!

Bob
 
Note:  Bob is a Building Technology Advisor (Mechanical) with Integrated Workplace Solutions.


June 22th, 2011

By Jessica Schmidt

Last week of training before Welland...
Practices have begun to taper and everyone is trying to physically and mentally prepare for our biggest event this summer. 
There is quite a mix in the boat of experienced long-term GD’s, paddlers that have trained for years but never with the GD’s and complete newcomers so mental preparedness is quite different for all of us.

"Mental toughness is learned.  It's not a skill that everyone has, or is born with.  There are people that are born tougher than others mentally, or figure things out earlier in their life.  But if you have motivation you can acquire mental toughness, it's just about what your body gets used to putting up with."  -Greg Jackson

 

June 15th, 2011
By Jessica Schmidt

Alcan results!!!
Competitive A Championship - 6th Place 2:05.590
Guts & Glory - 5th place 10:26.310
Men’s Race B - 1st place 2:07.400

What a great weekend of racing! 
Awesome work GD’s!!!

June 9th, 2011
By Jessica Schmidt

Alcan in 2 days!!  Last nights practice was an interesting one…I think everyone is feeling the impact of months of training.  One of the things I took away from last night was that we all have it in us to succeed this weekend and in Welland, we just need to use what we’ve spent sooooo much time building!  The muscles are there, the mindset is there, the training is there…we just need to believe we can (as Tom would say). 
We will be racing against some great competitors this weekend and I’m excited to see everyone push to their full potential! 
Paddles up…


June 1st, 2011
By Jessica Schmidt

GOLD @ Gorge Super Sprint
BRONZE @ Dragonzone
Gorging Dragons had a productive weekend!  Back to back festivals were a little wearing but we pushed through; it was a great learning experience for our team. 
Moving forward into the next few weeks…

-We’re working on fixing the little issues that came up in our races on the weekend
-Keeping up with our regular training schedule
-Preparing for Alcan (June 11th -12th in Vancouver)

I have to say that winning felt pretty good; can’t wait to see what’s to come for us…

 

May 26th, 2011
By Jessica Schmidt

The time has come for the GD’s to prove what months and months of training can do…

"Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever."

-- Lance Armstrong

Practice this week has been “all or nothing” and that’s exactly how we are going approach the upcoming races. 

Saturday in Victoria (Super Sprints): 3 x 250 meter races plus the 2km Guts and Glory race.  Apparently there is a prize for team members that throw up or lose their arms, haha; let’s hope that’s not the case…we need those arms the next day for Dragonzone! 
Sunday in Vancouver (Dragonzone): 3 x 500 meter races. 
Months of preparation + Adrenaline + Desire to win = the chance for greatness this weekend

 

May 18, 2011
By Jessica Schmidt

Last night was a GREAT practice!  The team was really pushing hard to impress Tom and look “pretty” for the videos he was taking…hopefully we succeeded!  It also seemed like everyone was in a good mood; helps when the weather is fantastic!

We’ve been working a lot on race pieces and trying to perfect timing and stroke; one unit, pushing together.  And also trying to use the mentality that “this race is our LAST race” every time we go! 

I remember Roman saying on the boat once that our bodies have the ability to use everything we have for a race piece and still retain enough energy to paddle the boat home… It’s amazing to me how much our bodies can be trained to withstand! 
These training sessions are meant to push us to a National competition level and I think we are all fighting through the practices to prove that we can do this! 

 

May 12, 2011
By Jessica Schmidt

7 weeks till Welland!

“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”

Training is getting to be a lot more intense.  Timing is a large part of our practices right now; hitting together is the main focus and possibly the most challenging at this point.  I think every team member has Tom’s voice permanently in their heads…”hinge, reach, hip rotation, long…LONG”

Through some of the hard pieces I know I get that extra push when Rick yells out something encouraging to the team!

The support on the boat is amazing…both on and off the water!! 

Throughout the next couple of weeks I expect everyone will be working on timing, on the boat and attempting to work on nutrition, off the boat…better eating = more energy = better paddler!

 
 
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