With the paddling season approaching rapidly, the Kootenay Robusters dragon boat team is stepping up their dryland training schedule in order to be ready for their first practice on Christina Lake.
Usually that happens around the beginning of May, but occasionally, if spring comes early, the team puts their boat in the water in April.
During the winter, team members in Trail, Rossland, Castlegar, Christina Lake and Grand Forks work out in the gym and use the Kayakpro ergonomic trainers purchased last year with a grant from the Columbia Basin Trust to refine technique and build fitness.
Rossland paddlers are able to use a spare office in the Fortis building on the Esplanade Avenue to house their machine – the Kayakpros are used summer and winter.
During the paddling season, if a member is unable to get to a practice at Christina Lake, she can use the trainer to maintain and improve her fitness and technique.
This season, the Robusters are hoping to take part in at least three festivals, including the dragon boat division of the 2011 BC Seniors Games to be held in Nelson in mid-August.
To participate in the games, a paddler must be at least 55 years old and at this point, the Robusters need six or seven more paddlers in order to take part.
Although the Robusters were organized to support the breast cancer survivors of the area, not all members have experienced this disease. The team is partly made up of associate paddlers (equal participants in the team) who complete the crew of 20 needed to paddle the boat. All women are welcome to join the team.
Robusters are currently recruiting in the various communities and will be setting up an information booth at the Waneta Mall in Trail with membership forms, brochures and videos of the team on the lake, so prospective paddlers can find out more about the sport.
This initiative will take place on Saturday, April 23, in conjunction with the Relay for Life event.