Paddle fest race review by No 146 (06/03/11)
- By Stephen Newsome
Saturday 5th March
I checked out the park and the start line and got some inside info from a couple of locals about the Bay and possible course. Note to self if the wind stays as bad as what is take the V8! 30 knots of southerly wind made the bay look like a nightmare to paddle on. I then checked the weather forecast and the “locals” told me the wind would drop…
Customary Protein and carb dinner. Special treat I had dessert – I figured I was doing 20km so I could have it! Early to bed.
Sunday 6th March
Pre Race check:
Freshly polished V10
Favourite Paddling shorts
Bottle of drink
PFD – not required so ditched it. I decided to be sporting and not tell anyone else about the decision that they weren’t required. Oops… (sorry Tony)
What a great spot! The park was full of people, rego was underway, MC talking up the days events and directing people to where they should be and what to watch out for. Lots of tents and food being prepared, I could smell coffee somewhere. The lake had settled down a little from yesterday but there was still some bump out there. Briefing was done, last minute dash to the car and back to the ski and into the water.
Customary blessing of the water whilst standing next to my ski occurred whilst taking queries from the shore if the water was cold or what I was doing? Made a mental note, don’t fall in near the shore.
Paddled to the start line and made a decision to push up towards the front instead of hanging back. This back fired as I started to move up and then during the wait for the start I started to get the pre race jitters. Luckily I got a good start and managed to get away without taking a swim. The lead boat took a short while to catch up to us (I know we were just going out so fast) no doubt everyone like me wanted to beat Tony King and Tony Hystek.
The course took in a circuit of the Speers Point, Warners Bay area and was really nice clean water. The weed that I was dreading just wasn’t there and I settled into my race pace. Unfortunately my race pace as per usual is not the best socially as I always seem to paddle by myself. I am just not fast enough to stay with the guys in front and seem to get stuck in the middle!
I should apologise to the unknown people in the Dragon Boat who I know unintentionally blocked me on the half way turn but I was a little out of breath and could only manage small words….
Any way, the course was great, there were heaps of support boats who were all full of encouraging volunteers that did an awesome job. There were small bumps and some really nice cross chop down wind legs that were heaps of fun. Thanks to the guys who I ended up racing in the last 500 metres. Nothing like finishing with a sprint after 19km!
The post race atmosphere in the park was really great with the food, coffee, the sun came out, the presentation of the prizes etc were all great and made for an enjoyable afternoon. It was great to see the local community getting involved with the success of the whole day. I really think this event will just get bigger and better every year. Well done to the organisors, volunteers and paddlers. I am looking forward to Race 3 at Northbridge.
PS – Both Tony’s still beat me. Next year!
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