|Coming into the river and close to the finish line|
As my time in China was coming to an end I was getting more and more excited about possible SUP races/events I could do this summer, fall, winter and in the future. Being away from the sport for 10 months I realized just how much I missed the sport and the community of people involved with it. Due to reasons that were out of our control, there was a little of a disappointment with a failed plan to travel for a month in asia this summer. When our plans were no longer feasible , we made new plans to head to Ontario to see the Augaitis + extensions side of the family. Luckily, I had found a SUP race that was in Asta's back door during the time we could be in Ontario. It was perfect.
I had brought my Starboard Inflatable Astro (11'2 x 32') board (for a trip we planned through Algonquin..more on that in a future post) to Ontario. I had hoped to get out maybe on a race board in Vancouver before heading to Ontario but that was a little ambitious and I wasn't surprised when it didn't work out. So, when we finally settled into Port Credit I pumped up the Astro and took it out a for a paddle on Lake Ontario. It is no race board but it felt good to be out and paddling.
The next two days consisted of a lot of Augaitis family fun and little to no training of any sorts other than preparing for how to deal with infant and small children:) It was great fun though!
|Kiefer trying out paddling from the dock|
Saturday morning my dad and I headed out to the Port Credit Marina to meet Mark Scriver (Starboard Rep for Ontario and the east coast of Canada) to check out the board I was to borrow for the race. I was going to borrow the Starboard 14 foot Ace Pro board. We packed it on the trailor heading to the race start in Oakville, the excitement and nrevousness was building. Later as more people arrived and I began talking to and meeting other racers I found out that I was not allowed to race a 14ft board (WPA rules that ladies paddle 12'6). I was a little flustered as I wanted to be legit for the race but now needed a race board to paddle that was 12'6. Derek Schro (race director and owner of Paddle Sport Performance), the folks from Boardworks Surf Canada, and Paula Rivard More stepped in and were amazing! They set me up with a 12'6 M&M within minutes and about 5 minutes before we had to head out to the start of the race. I can not thank them enough for lending me a board I could race and being very helpful in setting it up and ensuring I got a good race board to use for the race. I ended up using my 3 piece carbon nitro werner paddle. Using a 3 piece paddle is not ideal for a race but I had brought it for the expedition and no one else had a paddle short enough for me (I like em short!). So there I was on a board I had never tried, with a paddle that was not my race paddle. I can't say it increased my confidence before the race but it did make the beginning adventurous:) I never seem to do things the simple way:) Nonetheless I was very pleased I could race, so I was all smiles!
The ladies started the race off with a ten minute start ahead of the men. It was a battle right from the start line between myself and the local paddler Jessica Rando. She is strong. We battled it out for the first half... She was drafting me for the first while but I chose not to draft her as I was a little unsure of how it would work for me (lack of practice...) I just wanted to focus on paddling for this race. After awhile she came out to the side and we sortof chose slightly different routes. I went a little wider and offshore. After about the half way point there was a big bay and being out in front I wasn't totally sure of the exact route and which way would be quickest to the finish line. I couldn't really tell if the marina was in the bay or the other end of the bay or somewhere completely different. I was sort of hoping some of the men would be passing me soon to show me the way. I had to look back a couple of times to see where Jessica was going. Eventually, about 3/4 of the way through the race some men started to fly by. I felt a little more comfortable now that someone was in front but I was definitely feeling the pain in my shoulders and triceps and I was beginning to get the wobbles through my legs. I was getting tired, and my lack of paddling while in China was beginning to really show... I am usually confident in my abilities to keep pushing with the same amount of effort and ease throughout an endurance race. I had no idea how close or far Jessica was behind me as I started getting close to the entrance of the river. There was slight headwind, and my body was definitely breaking down.
I love having a cheering squad. Hearing people scream my name and motivate me to keep paddling was a saving grace. My family was out on the corner at the entrance of the river and they kept me moving with their amazing support! I pushed it through to the end and finished in 1 hour 57min. Jessica was only a minute behind. It felt great to win, and great to have a real close race!
|My "I won" Pose|
|Congratulations to fellow racer Jessica|
I hung around the end, cheering folks through to the finish. Awards were at the Broken Cue. They had some great food and beverages. I had to receive my award and head off back to the Augaitis clan to enjoy some family fun with them before Andrew and I headed off to Algonquin the following day.
|Top 3 elite women!|
Thanks Derek and Paddle Sport Performance for a great race!
live, love, laugh,..DREAM!