Sep 11, 2012

The Battle around the rock: Race Report for Round The Rock SUP race

I'd been working a lot through the week before the race, commuting a ton, working outside and with people, and then trying to throw in some fun with friends..I was tired and was very pleased to be able to sleep in on Saturday. Andrew was away for the weekend road biking up mt baker, so I had the apartment to myself. My goal was to RELAX and get some stuff done around the house. I managed to relax some but I couldn't help myself and went out for a little run, did a little yoga, and some exercises... but all in all it did make me feel good and it was nothing compared to what I usually get up to... so I was pleased with myself. I was definitely feeling run down.... not so young as I think I am I guess:)

photo by Kelvin Humenny. Finish of RTR SUP race

The race: Round The Rock
I had some trouble deciding what board length to race. I originally wanted to paddle the shorter board length and try  and beat out the longer board lengths but then for some reason I was switching my mind... I wanted more practice on the length that I normally would race and thought that would be good but then I couldn't figure out if I should paddle something longer because it was a longer race?!? As it turned out I ended up racing on what I originally intended to race... a 12'6 board. I was happy with this.I raced the BOP 12'6x26.5 Carbon Starboard race board. I had a Starboard Enduro paddle, and wore Andrew's Oneill neoprene booties. I drank Nuun as my hydration and ate nothing but was STARVING half way through the race:)

It was choppy out there..Unlike when I am in a kayak, I actually really don't mind the chop in a SUP race and sometimes even pray for it:) Its strange but I am good at it. I feel balanced on the board, and am able to power through strokes where others might be loosing some time in more of a balance stroke. Maybe its 'cause I am little or maybe its because I am focused and sometimes don't even notice, or maybe because I have broad shoulders and strong lats?...not sure.... but I like that I like all conditions! I am still working on learning to read water a little better for downwinders.  Anyways, after a very early morning ride to Seattle, we arrived with plenty of time to spare... it was chilly and windy...

The race started with a knee deep water start.... I think that is my least favorite way to start as of right now. It is hard to get good momentum for me as usually people's knee deep in my hip deep so jumping up onto the board and getting those first few strokes always seems to take me a little longer than most... it is something I am hoping to practice more!
 We headed into a headwind to begin with... I was okay with this, it wasn't too tough and I am surprisingly good at head winds... I raced in the 12'6 board length category which is a slower one than 14ft board category... this race had a twist to it though. If someone from a shorter board category beat someone from a longer board category in the the first three places than they won their prize ($$). So I had my challenge ahead of me. My ultimate goal was to try and go for the overall title on the shorter board and my intermediate goal was to at least beat out 3rd place in the longer board category. From the start of the race I could see the first two ladies on the longer boards. They were out ahead battling it out. I had my eye on them around the island. As we turned around the first corner around the island we got out of the head wind and had a slight downwind with random side chop thrown in there. I had no one around me so at times I had to look up and find the first two ladies in front of me and remind myself that I was racing and trying to catch them! Some motivation to keep me paddling is sometimes hard for me to keep the intensity when I don't have anyone close to me to catch or someone chasing me.  It felt like I was sometimes falling farther behind and at others like I was slowly making progress towards them. About 3/4 of the way around the island I was pretty sure I couldn't catch them but I never truly gave up never know what could happen in a longer race:) and something interesting did happen a wickedly strong HEADWIND.... OMG it was like a punch in the stomach.... after two or so hours of racing we them had to battle a very very tough headwind and crossing! I managed to pass a couple of male racers and got a lot closer to one of the female racers but not close enough... after the HEADWIND and then the side chop I finally rolled in at 3rd female overall and 1st in the 12'6 board length category. I was pretty pleased with it all.

Congrats to all of the Canadian SUP paddlers you all rocked it. It was grand to be out there with so many BC paddlers! It was also awesome to meet up with some of the northwest paddlers from the states... :)

Kelvin : Thank you for the drive, the support, the pictures, and just being you!

What is next...
Board the Fjord Race this weekend. Another distance race. Another good training race for the famous Battle of the Paddle race down in California. I wasn't going to head to this race as I don't really feel like I am good enough at surfing yet to be of contention or in the lead pack...
I ended up looking at my situation, where I am at, what my goals were and with the help of Andrew and others I decided that I wanted to and should head to BOP this year. I did it 2 years ago just for kicks and am sort of in the same frame of mind but now since I have returned from China feel like I might actually want to take SUP a little more seriously.... I am curious what I can accomplish in this sport physically, mentally and emotionally. I have been searching for a sport that I enjoyed, felt like I had some natural talent, and had goals I could aspire to. I think for now at least I have the closest thing to what I was hoping for. I do LOVE adventure racing, another sport I have raced at a high level but the time, money, and the fact that I need a strong team to train with makes it difficult to fully commit to it. SUP however, is new, exciting, there are communities of paddlers all over, I seem to have some sort of natural ability in the sport, and it takes me to beautiful beaches:) haha... I heart SUP right now...

I got some training to get figured out but the one thing I do know is that I want to keep SUP enjoyable, I want to work hard but not overtrain, I don't want to lose sight of all the important things in my life... BALANCE! it will be key as I step it up a notch but yet keep it cool.... :) Exciting stuff!

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

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