My “Ride the Wave Regatta” experience began in earnest today with a zing. Or more accurately, a sting! Some crazed yellow jacket, totally unprovoked, decided to sting me in the leg close to my knee as I stood talking with some of the race helpers. Not sure if the “Bee Venom Therapy” had a positive or negative impact on my race, but I still feel the effects this evening. I followed that up with a cut on my finger assembling the outrigger. This wasn’t looking up… Thoughts of a Coast Guard Cutter slicing through my boat as the next step passed through my mind. But thankfully such was not to be.

What was to be was rain – lots and lots of rain. But as paddle racers, we get wet anyway – although rarely torrentially. With the threat of storms, the race was moved off Lake Michigan and onto Trail Creek that flows inland off Lake Michigan, giving some options for cover and getting off the water in the even the rain storms became thunderstorms. Apparently crispy paddlers (carbon boats and carbon paddles make great lightning conductors) reduce the return rate for the following year’s race… So with no waves to speak of, it really became the “Ride the Rain Regatta.” And boy did it rain! Sometimes so hard that visibility was compromised. And the winds ensured no one could slack off, it least heading into the wind (and the driven rain). At least things were interesting, and no one complained of overheating or dehydration…

Racing my outrigger in the Marathon 14 mile race meant I was one of only two outrigger paddlers, and as the slower class in the longest race (compared to the surf ski paddlers) and the slower of the two OC paddlers (the other paddler was last year’s National champion), I had a rather quiet and solitary return to the finish line as I completed the last of the course’s four loops. But it was a fun race, I felt good through the race (in spite of a pathetic average), and I am seeing improvement in my canoe paddling skills. Hopefully next year the weather will cooperate and we can get back on the big lake again. But either way, many thanks to Ken Stelter, Dan Plath, and the other organizers and helpers who put on an excellent race!

 

About River Bear Racing

Surf ski and kayak racing form a huge part of my life; as soon as the water is open in the Midwest, I'm on it 'till it freezes over again! Follow the aquatic adventure with the latest boats and equipment from Stellar Kayaks and Mocke Paddling Products. See you on the water! Steve ;)

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