Monday, May 10, 2010

The Long Way Home

The Barn Door and I went out just to get in some mileage.
It's funny how you never know how you are going to feel on the bike until you actually get on and start going.
Some days, when you think it's going to be great, it turns out not too good and other days, when you start off thinking it's going to be difficult, it turns out great.
Today was the latter.
I was originally going to take a nap when I got home, but cheese rolls called my name so off I went to the store.
Well somewhere between the store and Flat Tire Central, a Supertramp like voice called out to me: When you go home tonight, take the long way home.
Taking the PacMan approach, I just started to eat up as many dots on the road as possible.
I felt great!
School was just getting out and around here, a sight like this is not uncommon:

I pass all sorts of people walking, biking, skateboarding, whatever carrying paddles and headed toward the beach. Paddling is a big sport here; almost every beach has a canoe house were local clubs park their outriggers and store other stuff.
The high schools have paddling teams and there are state championships at all levels including what you would call pro(I don't think they are paid, but they are sponsored).
Of course the big boy is the Moloka'i Hoe which is a forty one mile paddle across the Ka'iwi Channel between Moloka'i and Oahu. I believe it's sort of considered the World Championship of outrigger canoe paddling.
There is also the Na Wahine O Ke Kai which is the same race for the women.
More information on those races can be found here.
Kailua has it's own halau wa'a, or canoe house too:

I guess the students paddle right after school and the adults have a go at it after work.
Lanikai is a pretty strong team, and Kailua is starting to come up too.
The gorillas though are in town with teams like Healani and Outrigger Waikiki.
I don't follow outrigger canoe racing too much, though I do stop and watch when I happen to catch a regatta in Kailua.
It interests me for when reading about pre-Cook Hawaii, it amazes me that the outrigger was the main method of inter island transportation.
I mean if you wanted to start a war or something, you got a whole bunch of warriors, put them in outrigger canoes, paddled across a channel, then you fought your battle.
Epic stuff if you can imagine an army of like three thousand landing on your beach!
I stopped to watch the kids paddle out:

Then I began to think.
I wonder if there is ever a time when they are out there, stroking for some distant buoy, when the conditions are just perfect?
You feel the burn in your arms and back as you hit your threshold, but the ocean spray in your face is like some rejuvenating mist that keeps you pulling forward.
Then you realize the person in front of you or in back is feeling the same thing.
The canoe just seems to take on a life of it's own; you feel like there is a hand in back propelling the canoe forward. You feel the synergy and crew becomes one; one with the canoe and the vessel becomes one with the water.
When the sun begins to set, and the water begins to shimmer like diamonds on a blue carpet, I wonder if they ever want to just keep going?
You know what I mean?
I wonder if the five guys in front ever tell the steersman: Take the long way home!
I wonder.

No comments: