Happy Tuen Ng (Dragon Boat) Day!

May 31st is Tuen Ng (Dragon Boat) Festival Day! Time to celebrate!

  • The Paddlefish will mark the occasion with raised glasses at Red Fin Blues during tonight's practice. (Whoever best says "Happy Tuen Ng" with the appropriate intonation gets a free beer.)

  • Send a Dragon Boat Festival Card! http://www.crayola.com/cardcreator/index.cfm?action=holidays&id=59

  • Take a break at work and watch how the flag-catching part of dragon boat racing in Taiwan works! See http://dragon2006.nihs.tp.edu.tw/. Any volunteers to catch the flag for us after we leave Red Fin Blues tonight?


Postcard from Lisa

Dear All,

Here is a picture of the junks in Hong Kong Harbor. They are restored fishing boats that are currently run for trips by the Tourist Association. We went for a one hour tour around the harbor, can be pretty scary when it is choppy but luckily the weather turned nice and sunny and only the wake of the big lighters to upset us. So I have been on a Sampan in Aberdeen harbour, a steamer around Hong Kong, and now the junk. Can't wait to get back to dragon boats next week!

See you soon,



Details for Today's USA GrandMasters Testing and Scouting for Other Divisions

Best wishes to all of the paddlers doing time trials and paddling evaluations in Pittsburgh today for a chance to compete at the national level! Rotate!

From Ellen Law:

Confirming the following schedule for the Thursday ERG and on-water testing/evaluation.

. 3ish-5PM and 8-9PM - Three Rivers Rowing Club: Millvale
. http://www.threeriversrowing.org/directions-m.html
. In Millvale Waterfront Park - off Route 28, near 40th St Br
. All CLUB USA candidates timed on a Concept II rowing ERG
at 200m, 500m and 1k distances (with damper set at 2).
10-15 minute break between each distance. CLUB USA tests
done WITHOUT a paddle adaptor.
. Folks interested in testing for the Philadelphia Dragon
Boat Association (men, senior men, mixed, senior mixed) or
Philadelphia Spirit (women, senior women) crews will be
timed on the same Concept II rowing ERG at only a 500m
distance WITH a paddle adaptor. PDBA and Spirit crews
are the current US National Champions.
. non-TRR members should expect to complete waivers...and
thank the facility for use of their equipment.

. 5:30-7:15 - Fox Chapel Yacht Club (Steel City Dragons)
. http://www.mapquest.com/directions/main.adp?src=maps&1sb=revise&2l=LocjHJGi%2fyY%3d&2g=gM8q5I%2fq%2bj8%3d&2v=ADDRESS&2a=1366%20Old%20Freeport%20Rd&2c=Pittsburgh&2s=PA&2z=15238%2d3169&2y=US&2pn=&2pl=&cat=
. Will try to run 5:30 and 6:30 (5:30-6:15, 6:30-7:15)
testing sessions. First come first serve. Paddling
candidates "max'd" at 4-5 per session. Will also need
to wait until we get 7-8 volunteer paddlers to help us
with the testing.
. Note: Steel City Dragons have a scheduled 6:30
practice, and will likely be there early to help out.
Make sure to thank them for their equipment and support!
. Non-Steel City Dragon members should expect to complete
waivers. Make sure to bring your own equipment: paddles,
. STEERING candidates need to make sure they get their
steering time in.

I will be on the road by 6AM...and plan to lunch at the
Water front mall. I can be reached either by sending
an email message to my cell (2017380918@mmode.com,
max at 100 char) or leaving a voice message.

Here's a little background on IDBF/USDBF racing classes
and the Philly crews I will help scout for.
. Racing Classes for Men, Women, Mixed
. Jrs - Must NOT have reached the age of ?? by 1/1/2006
. Premier - No age restrictions
. Senior/Masters - Steerer, paddlers must have
reached at least 39 by 1/1/2006
. Grand Masters/Grand Dragons - Steerer, paddlers
must have reached at least 49 by 1/1/2006

. 2006 represents the first US National Championship
offered to the Grand Masters racing class.

. 2004 Iowa US National Champions - TEAM USA
representatives at 2004 Shanghai and 2005
Berlin World Championships...
. Philadelphia Dragon Boat Assoc (PDBA) =
Premier Men + Mixed, Senior Men + Mixed
Head Coach = Bob McNamara
> . Philadelphia Spirit = Premier + Senior Women
> Head Coach = Margaret Gordon

. CLUB USA Grand Masters Mixed crew - represents a
continuation of our 2005 Gold Medal winning Berlin
crew --- for this year's US Nationals. We, Amiee
Moyers and myself (both members of the gold medal
World Championship winners with the Spirit gals
at the 2003 Poland World Championships) are working
to provide opportunities and share our network with
those fanatics among you! 8-)

PHEW! I'm ready to hit the road!

I am looking forward to meeting y'all!!!

Ellen Law


Congratulations on a Great Day

Congratulations and thanks to all of the great Paddlefish and TRRA volunteers for a wonderful day at the Venture Outdoors Festival!

Almost 200 people got to give dragonboating a try today: take a look at all the happy faces here! (And hey -- we had a good time, too!!)

Special thanks to Cap'n Laurie for organizing us so capably and herding cats so graciously.


"Postcard" from Lisa in China

Hi Kit and team from Beijing:

I thought you might like to see this dragon boat which is taking people (including us) for rides around the lake at the Summer Palace. It is motorized thank goodness as it seats around 50 people. We are having an absolutely amazing time here, have seen Tianamen square, the forbidden city, the Ming tombs and the Great wall. And today we went to lunch with a family in the old part of the city. I am in Beijing until Sunday and then off to Hong Kong where I will try and find more dragon boats.



"Postcard" from Jen in the Netherlands

Hi all! We're really enjoying our time in the Netherlands so far--it's very walkable and bike-able, people are very friendly and almost everyone speaks English well. We've found lots of quaint places to eat and are enjoying strolling along the gorgeous canals. Biking is quite a bit different than in Pittsburgh...it's pretty crazy and intense, actually...way more bicycles than cars, and how they weave in between each other so gracefully and without crashing is a bit perplexing to us! We've been doing it too, though, and have managed to stay alive so far. We leave in 2 days for Belgium and are looking forward to experiencing the "original waffle"! See you next week.
:) Jen


Urgent Need for BCS Paddlers

If you know any breast cancer survivors who would like to paddle in DC this weekend, please (please please!) encourage them to contact David Winters ASAP. In order to run a BCS division at this year's DC Dragonboat Festival, the DC festival coordinators need to fill up another boat.

Some of the Paddlefish have paddled with Hope Afloat BCS teams here and in DC, and everyone who's had that experience has described it as one of the best paddling experiences ever!

From Jeff Campbell Tue May 16 08:48:02 2006
Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 15:48:02 -0000
Subject: BCS Paddlers and Crews Needed in DC

Below is a note from David Winters. The festival in Washington, DC is
this weekend and they need more breast cancer survivor paddlers and
teams. I have to agree with David, the entry fee (free) is very low.
If you can help out, please contact David.

Good Morning everyone-

Don't you love last minute panics? They provide opportunities for
people to step up and make a difference. We need your help to make a
difference at the Washington DC Dragon Boat Festival this weekend.
Despite the low entry fee (it is free), We only had two teams sign up
for the BCS division this year- HopeAfloat and Machestic Dragons.

I just got an e-mail last night from Machestic Dragons- they don't
have enough people for a boat to come to the DC festival. It sounds
like they only have 4-5 paddlers that can come down. I have another 4
from GOPINK-DC that have been training all Spring and were supposed to
paddle with Machestic Dragons. I hate to see our BCS division
disappear, and fear that if it does, the festival won't include it in
future years. I feel that this is an incredible program, and want to
see it grow on the East Coast, so the loss of a festival that offers
free admission to the teams would be a set back.

We are looking for enough people to fill a second boat? If we can do
it in the next 24 hours, then we can run our BCS races. Otherwise, we
have to fold the remaining team into the Premier Women's division. I'm
sure that they'd do well there, but the BCS division itself wouldn't
be there to send out the message to the DC Community that breast
cancer is not the end of life. If you can quickly put the word out to
your teams, and have volunteers contact me by Wed. evening, I'd
appreciate it.

If it helps, I've got a couple of extra bedrooms with full size beds,
as well as a day bed and lots of floor space that I can offer to those
not allergic to cats. That would help those who don't have rooms at
this late date.

In the usual state of panic before a festival,

Dave Winter

Chair, Teams Committee

DC Dragon Boat Festival

David B. Winter, Ph.D.

Last Year About This Time....

When we travel to other festivals, we use paddles from the supplies provided by those festival organizers unless we own our own IDBF-approved paddle. Here's a shot of us looking for the best-possible paddles before one of our DC races!

Until this year, we also used festival-supplied PFDs. After our experience in Toronto (pee-yooo), we decided team PFDs was definitely the way to go!


Memorial Day Practice

Practice will be held at 9:30 AM on Monday May 29th so everyone will have time to go home before the party.


3rd Annual Memorial Day Pot Luck

You're Invited:
What: Memorial Day Pot Luck
When: Monday May 29th
Where: Laurie, Dick, & Kate's - the Butler/Northway house
RSVP: Kate or on the blog let me know what food you intend to bring
We will provide beverages, condiments, and paper goods
Practice: In the morning - TBA

*directions will be in next week's update*


Venture Outdoors Festival (VO Fest)

Thanks to all of the wonderful Paddlefish volunteers who have signed up to help take people out for their first paddle in a dragon boat next Saturday (May 20, 2006) at the Venture Outdoors Festival on the North Shore near Heinz Field. Last year, almost 6000 people came to the VO Fest, but among the participants I remember most are a young man named Phil who got out of the boat after paddling for the first time, punched the air, and hollered, "That was freakin' awesome!" -- and, of course, Rich, who introduced himself to the team by handily tripping Lisa as she stepped up out of the boat. ;-)

We’ll take the boats out once/hour, with the first group of paddlers going out at 11 AM and the last group going out at 3 PM. Anyone interested in going out on the boats will register at our tent, get some quick on-land instruction (how to hold the paddle, basic commands, safety guidelines), and then go out on the water in the two boats for a general intro to paddling and then a little scrimmaging against the other boat.

This is also a great chance to let know people how they can get more time in the dragon boats this summer! Opportunities include the recreational once/week TRRA Dragon Boat Leagues (Tuesday night for adults, Thursday night for youth who want to learn to paddle a dragon boat), the Paddlefish teams (adult team and junior team), and community teams that form in order to race at the Pittsburgh Dragon Boat Festival on September 16th.

People might ask you about the difference between joining the rec league and joining the Pfish.... Paddlefish are all year-round TRRA members who practice two or three times a week with a professional coach and have the opportunity to travel to and compete in races around the world. The recreation league is less of an initial investment and an excellent way to learn more about the sport: participants get once/week practice for four weeks and then race in a local event on a Saturday after their last practice. (Total cost for the Dragon Boat League is $65; scholarships are available through TRRA.)

Info on all of these opportunities is available via the TRRA web site at www.threeriversrowing.org, so you can tell people to check that site or to google us (Pittsburgh Paddlefish) and find information through our blog.


More from the Retreat: Fireside

Photos from Carolyn.


Weather Reminder; Some 'Princely' Motivation

  • This is the season for quirky weather -- it may look sunny where you are and be storming in Millvale, or it may be storming where you are and sunny at the boat house! Bottom line: please come to practice, rain or shine. Ignore what you see out your window! If there's no thunder and lightning at the boathouse, we'll take the boat out; if there's a storm there, we'll work out inside till the storm passes.

  • Prince's new CD, 3121, closes with these lyrics: Get on the boat!

    Get on the boat
    Get on the boat, people
    Get on the boat now
    We got room 4 a hundred more
    Good god!
    Say it again

    We were meant 2 live 2gether
    Underneath the sun
    I can't think of nothing better
    Don't U wanna come?
    Get on the boat


Canoes at Cabin 7

Thanks to Kathi for this photo from the retreat!


Toward Better Health

This is making the email rounds, but thought I'd post it here in case your loved ones haven't already forwarded it on to you! (I got it from my brother, the public health official, who generally has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek ....)


Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good !

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! ... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO!!! Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO!! What a Ride" !!!


Finger Lakes (Ithaca) – Lodging

There is a block of 14 rooms being held at the festival host hotel -- Clarion Hotel University Hotel & Conference Center. The rooms are under the name of Pittsburgh Paddlefish. These rooms are outside of the block of rooms being held for festival attendees. This was done to ensure all of the Pfish get rooms at the same hotel since there are supposed to be 32 teams at the festival and the room block for the festival was only 55 rooms.

The contact information for the hotel is:
Clarion Hotel University Hotel & Conference
1 Sheraton Drive
Ithaca, NY, US, 14850
Phone: (607) 257-2000 Fax: (607) 257-3998

Clarion Hotel, Ithaca

The room rate is $119.95 plus tax. The rooms are reserved for check-in Friday July 14th and check-out Sunday July 16th. If you plan on driving back immediately after the festival on July 15th make sure you adjust the reservation dates for your individual room.

Please call the Clarion referencing the room block Pittsburgh Paddlefish. Give them your name and Credit Card number to reserve one of the 14 rooms. Reservation cutoff date is June 16th.

Rich will prepare a suggested room matrix and distribute but please feel free to buddy-up on your own.

REMINDER--Toronto Lodging

A block of rooms is being held at the Days Inn – Toronto East Lakeview. The block of rooms is being held in the name of Paddlefish (or Richard Smith if they are confused).

Information about this hotel can be viewed at Days Inn Toronto. The rates for the rooms are:
$89.99 Canadian plus tax for 2 people.
$10.00 Canadian plus tax for each extra person.

The actual US Dollar amount is unknown since it will be based on the exchange rates at that time. For information only today the US Dollar is around 90% of the Canadian Dollar.

All reservations must be completed by May 31st. Days Inn phone number is 416-261-8100.

MapQuest Directions to Hotel
Google Map for Hotel Location


It Must Have Been the Heat...

Yeah that is my dad getting some sun on a picnic table up at Moraine. He claims he's meditating on his stroke...I don't know what to believe.

Retreat Highlights

Learning, celebrating, paddling, napping, 'swimming', leaning, eating.... Just a few of the many highlights of the weekend! Huge paddle cheers to Jen and Marie for handling the logistics, to Rich for reserving the cabins, and to Ben for hauling the canoes and coaching us so deftly on and off the water.

P.S. If you haven't yet done a full-body scan for ticks, you might want to get to that today....