Sep 4, 2014

Kalamalka Classic- 5th Edition

KAVU and Kalavida photo: Andrew Dye

Who would have ever thought that Vernon BC would hold the largest SUP event in Canada?!?!?! It began in 2010 with around 20 people, which is amazing since SUP really did not hit popular Canada until a year or two after that... This event has been growing every year with threat of change and or non existence every year... but every year  it comes back stronger and better, learning each step of the way. I've been to 4 out of 5 missing a year that I spent working in China... This year  was even greater, even bigger, and I don't think this event is going to slip away any time soon... and if there is a threat that it does, I will make sure it sticks around for a while longer yet...

This year I debated whether to race or just help out with the running of things... In the end I could NOT NOT race.... so I tried to do both.... :) with running some clinics beforehand both in Vernon and Naramata and general help here and there...

This year there were somewhere around 170 total participants over the weekend and around 125 racers crossing the lake on Sunday!!!!! It was great to see people from out of province which is tough in Canada, being a BIG country with not the cheapest forms of transportation. Thanks for traveling to BC!!!
Kal Beach Race Start photo: Andrew Dye

Racers from top view photo: Andrew Dye

Saturday was the busy beach day with many races spanning over the entire day and finishing the day off with a dinner on the beach...
Saturday started off with the opening circle, and little fun awards like alumni awards (we got a sweet Kalavida it!)...
Receiving Alumni shirt photo: Mark Klein

The first race to take off was the eagle run, a 2.5mile course set out for all to enjoy... This course is designed more for the beginner racer in mind, which was perfect with calm conditions and just a positive and exciting vibe all around..

Then, it was the Wikiholo short courses for open and competitive men and women... there were heats, lots of bouy turns, choices to make out on the course, a beach run, and more... It was really great to see the open classes packed full with SUPers... taking on all the challenges that the course had to offer... Throughout the heats the water was calm and the sun was shinning... I had a solid first heat... coming across the line in first, I went hard to the first bouy(which was a choice bouy) I decided to go short in order to stay out of any possible wreckage and people whcih meant my second lap would be longer so it was important to hold a solid lead going into the second lap. Once I got past the first buoy on the second lap and saw my lead it was all about holding it steady and not wasting too much energy.  The plan worked out well for me...
Short course Buoy turn Photo: Mark Klein

Once the final heats were determined there was a little break to start the kid races... I was in charge of the kid races... As we set up and started the process the weather took a major turn... the wind picked up significantly, whit caps formed and small surfable waves happened... I felt so bad for the kids, although they dont really know the difference some of them definitely had trouble getting out to the buoy turn... So, we just made due with the conditions and hoped they each still had a smile on their faces. I am sorry for the crazy wind:) In the end they all rocked it and am glad they mustered through and got around the course!!!!!!
Kids race prep photo: Mark Klein
Kids race prep photo: Mark Klein

The wind didn't only make it difficult for the kid races it definitely threw a wrench into the finals for all events... People were switching boards at the last minute and trying to figure out how they would managed through all the wind and chop in front of them. The open races went first.. It was like a mini BOP with people falling in, making mistakes, missing buoys... it was quite entrtaining to watch but I am sure fun and frustrating all the same time while racing as positions changed throughout the entire one lap of the course race. Following the open the men's competitive final hit the water... Here too changes, slippage, missing of buoys happened, new leaders were emerging as mistakes were being made.. Ken crossed the line in first, Ryan 2nd, Mike third... Mike D missed a buoy (uncharacteristic of him) and had to retrack to make it around in the ever increasing wind and chop.. Women comp final was the last of the finals. I only had my PRO lite down at the beach with me so that was it no board choice which I am glad of actually... I just needed to make it work with what I had... I watched everything unfold throughout the previous heats and my strategy was to go out hard and then take it easy and NO mistakes... I managed to pull it off but Shannon was strong and was close behind waiting for my mistake... Phew...crossed in first..
Wikiholo start photo: Mark Klein

Buoy short course photo: Mark Klein

coming into short course finish photo: Mark Klein

Next up were the relay races on inflatables. We were racing for paddles.... and for fun:) people were in costume and just having a blast in the waves... My rockstar team was Mike D, Juniors Avery and Josh, and myself.. We nailed it for 2nd place against a totally stacked team.. proud of us... Next up was another race for all teams but first place... the challenge all 4 people must be touching the inflatable at all times throughout the course... You were allowed only one paddle... and you had to get through the waves around the buoy and back to the beach... We had a slow start but managed to come in first to the beach in the end.... Mike D caught some pretty amazing glides on the way home.. From there Avery and Josh competed against two people from the second place team in a finless inflatable race in the waves... I think Josh came home victorious for the Naish One inflatable SUP board... Total blast!!!!

Relay race finish photo: Mark Klein

Relay team Josh, me, Mike D, Avery photo: Mark Klein

Action relay race photo: Mark Klein

Saturday night beach dinner is always my favorite!!!!! Deathmetal tacos and ice cream toped it off... I had to make an impromptu speech which hopefully wasnt too boring:) hahaha...

eating ice cream photo: Andrew Dye
Speech photo: Andrew Dye

Kal crossing is the highlight of the weekend and is really what makes Kalmalka Classic the Kalamalka Classic... I felt some pressure to win this... I have won it three times already (every year that I have attended) but since I was a world champion I felt pressure to be Queen of Kalamalka... I just wanted to have a good fast clean race. The conditions were FLAT.... but COOL.. great. Comp women were second to last to head out... we were on 12'6 boards and I was the SIC 12'6 X PRO LITE with my Werner Small Grand Prix paddle... Perfect combination for the conditions at hand. I had a great start making it to the buoy first... I then just wanted to create a safety gap. As I was padding people and getting closer and closer to the finish with the guys who started 5 min behind us not yet catching me on their 14ft boards I created new goals in my head... I wanted to beat my old record and I wanted to be first at the beach.... I managed to eventually pass Evan leading the charge for the Juniors who left in the first wave of people... So, I reahed all my goals, first to the beach, beat my old record and won the Queen of Kalamalka crown once again:) woohoo!
finish lake crossing hugs with Nikki Rekman photo: Mark Klein

first to the beach on the crossing photo: Mark Klein

Distance race photo: Mark Klein

Once I finished the chaos of people coming in started.. the toughest finish of the race was the comp men... the race was close and the finish close.... congrats Matt, Mike, and Ken.... top three men!
Andrew, my hubby killed it... especially for someone who doesnt paddle very much at all and just ride bikes all the time;) he was on the 12'6 x PRO and paddling a three piece nitro Werner paddle... what a stud:)
Congrats to Ken Larson on becoming the new KING, Evan for Junior KING and Avery for Junior QUEEN! And congrats to all who participated and especially those paddling the 18km across the lake:) You are all rockstars:)
winners crossing photo: Mark Klein

King and Queen 2014 Photo: Mark Klein

The QUEENS Junior and Senior... photo: Mark Klein
Thanks to my support network! Nikki Rekman Sales thanks for everything throughout the weekend!!!

Monday it was all about the bike.... I managed to jump in on a 5 hour ride with some amazing folks.... I was destroyed.. not having biked a lot this summer I was hurting by the end.... but although grumpy a little throughout because I was breaking down I loved every minute of it... the views at the top of Big Ed's unbelievable and the climbing trails fun! and of course the descending a challenging kind of fun as well.... THANK YOU Dale and crew for letting us tag a long:) Food and drinks to celebrate the amazing weekend in Vernon!

Next up Round the Rock in Seattle and then down to California.... for some racing and the big one Battle of the Paddle:)

Crazy that its Septemeber already;)

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

1 comment:

Evan Gerbrecht said...

Congrats on your big win! You're an inspiration to all of us in the DART program.
P.S. You won't catch me next time!