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Introduction

     Welcome to the Pikes Peak Paddlers site! The objective here is to provide a general informational resource to this marvelous sport, with a specific focus on the various aspects of kayak touring in the greater Pikes Peak Region in Colorado. Essentially, this would include terrain in

about a 50 mile radius around the mountain, which would envelop Pueblo, Colorado Springs and west up Ute Pass beyond the Lake George area.

      My history in regards to the sport has been relatively brief.. I paddled a yak for the first time back in June of 2006. I received an invitation to tag along with others at 11 Mile, and decided to give it a try. I have participated in over 40 different sports in my lifetime, but have never been water oriented. So, it was with some apprehension that I rented a boat and set out on the water. It was a somewhat blustery day, with water temps in the low 50's. We wandered around the various coves for a few hours, long enough to get a pretty good feel for what this kayaking stuff was all about. I really didn't have a clue as far as any sort of technique, it was all trial and error, which served to make it more interesting, actually. As a casual observer in the past, kayaks had always given the impression of instability. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that, with the proper care, they are quite controllable. In fact, because of the enveloping stature of the craft, you come to feel as though it is just an extension of your body, which is very confidence inspiring. You are sitting right on the water, which invokes an intimate involvement with the substance that no larger craft can claim. The attributes of compact size, efficient shape, low weight, superior aerodynamics and low center of gravity all contribute to the making of a very high performance instrument. Agility is the keyword here! You can go places in one of these things that would be impossible in any other style of boat, flotation can be achieved in less than 6" of water. I love to play in the rock gardens...

     I came away from this experience suitably impressed, enough so that I immediately went out and bought a boat and began the seemingly endless process of acquiring the necessary support equipment to go along with it. I live out in the woods less than 15 minutes from the southeast end of  Eleven Mile Reservoir (Witchers Cove). I was looking for another warm weather sport, and had always thought that I should figure out a way to take advantage of that close proximity to the lake, and now everything has fallen into place, as everything inevitably does. I had considered a larger motorboat at one time, but this is far more interesting. Self  propulsion is QUIET, non-polluting and very involving. I have discovered a sense of peace and serenity on the water that I have never experienced before, especially when I paddle alone, which is quite often. I sometimes just lay back in the boat with eyes closed and float out in the middle for extended periods of time, it's an excellent meditation. Kind of a big waterbed! I feel like a whole new world has opened up, as I have never been involved in any kind of water sport before. The uniqueness aspect greatly enhances the whole experience for me. It's like coming home, we are composed of 70% H2O after all!

     This website is just an expression of  my newfound passion for this sport. I maintain other sites, and felt strangely compelled to create this one back in 2008. I originally envisioned it as possibly having the potential to inspire the formation of a local paddling group, I set up a Forum and other features with this in mind. Alas, after 7 years, I have discovered that people seem to have little interest in such things. Consequently, I have condensed the content and it is now just my personal statement, my little contribution to the kayaking world. I would like to think that some nugget of content might prove informational, educational, or inspirational to others.

 

There are 8+ lakes in this general area with good Touring potential: *Water  A wealth of  H2O just waiting to be paddled! Try it, a smile is guaranteed...

 

The idea is just to have some fun out on the water, to create some positive energy.

The world can certainly use it...  

 

Happy Paddling,

Rod Ratzlaff    

 

            

Addendum:

      I have added sailing to my kayaking portfolio. It adds a whole new dimension to the paddling day...

Check out the "Sailing" page.

     I know that Colorado is prime White Water country, and it looks like quite an amazing experience. If  I were 20 years younger and had some swimming skills, I would give it a go. Whitewater is extreme stimulation, flatwater is extreme tranquility – two sides of the same coin... Of course, there is plenty of stimulation to be had Touring in windy conditions, catch a wave...

      As of the end of the 07 season, my wife, Toni, has become interested in yakking and is now a boat owner.

This means that there is actually a sport that we can participate in together, an astounding development...

     By the way, the other sports that I currently participate in include motorcycling (mostly dual-sport) and ski-biking

(see: www.ski-bike.org) in the winter. I am also looking to get back into tennis, if  I could find some partners. Drop me a line if any of these activities happen to be of interest to you as well.

 

 

*As time has passed, I have possessed many kayaks. Here's a showcase: My Kayak Fleet     

       

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Please submit testimonials, articles, personal stories, correspondence, links, skibike items for sale, editorials, reviews, photos etc for publication on this site..

 

 

WELCOME! to SkiBike World, an educational and inspirational resource to this marvelous sport.

The objective here is to be kind of the Encyclopedia of SkiBiking, and to provide a spectrum of information encompassing all aspects of the sport. Hopefully, you will discover some nugget of knowledge that will prove beneficial in your ski-biking journey.  

A little plug for the cause... My favorite charity, right here in Colorado:

The Wild Animal Sanctuary