Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Great Adventure Challenge 
Part 1

Time is tighter than ever these days so I'm going to try to bust out this race report before I forget about all of the juicy details.  Here goes.

After last year's devastating 7 minute time loss is the opening leg kayak, I vowed to do better this year to give me a shot at the overall victory (including teams).  As mentioned on Monday, a friend hooked me up with a sleek sea kayak from EMS that would surely knock minutes off my time.  I didn't know anybody in the field (other than Marcy's team of scientists, the Landing the Pathological Smelt team) so I staged myself sort of middle of the line in the first row of kayaks.  I didn't expect to be the fastest person out there but I expected to be near the front.  I had practiced with this particular kayak for all of 2 minutes and kayaked once so far this summer so why wouldn't I expect to be near the front?  (One of these days I'll have to visit a psychologist to see where I get this unfounded confidence...)

When the 20ga gun went off to start the race, I was immediately in trouble.  I had taken my hands off the paddle to start my timer and as I fumbled to get going, 1/3 of the field surged past me.  Eventually, I got my shit together and started to paddle furiously.  Right into a couple of boats in front of me turning one of the kayaks almost 90 degrees before we were able to untangle.  Drat.  I looked up and the leaders already had a good 30 second gap on me.  Sweet. Thankfully, things went shittier from there.  Once we were untangled, I proceeded to plinko off of every kayak in my general vicinity as I realized that I HAVE NO FREAKING CLUE HOW TO PADDLE IN A STRAIGHT LINE!  How embarrassing.  During the first five minutes of the race I probably apologized to 10-15 different individuals for either hitting them with my kayak, cutting them off or smacking them with a paddle.  I was a serious menace.  To top it all off, the kayak that I was using was much narrower than I'm used to and I actually almost capsized the son of a bitch on two occasions.  once with both hands and paddle going off one side of the boat before I was able to right myself.  Shoot me, shoot me now.

Eventually, even my inflated ego had to accept that I wasn't going to catch the leaders and I settled into a pace that allowed me to paddle straight-ish and (hopefully) keep me from drowning.  Mercifully, the kayak portion is only 2.5 miles so it quickly came to an end after roughly 29 minutes.  Two minutes SLOWER than last year with the family barge and almost 6 minutes down on the leaders.  This is gonna be fun.

one of the few moments I wasn't embarrassing myself.
As I was pulling into the beach, I managed to fall out of my kayak and almost completely submerge myself just for good measure and to make sure that all of the volunteers (of which there were many) and spectators got to witness just how inept I am.

The transition to the bike went smoother than last year and I was able to hop on and get cranking pretty quickly.  I knew that I had somewhere between 20-30 dudes ahead of me. I had no clue who were solos and who were on teams but it didn't really matter because I was pissed from the kayak and NEEDED to pass them all.

The smelt from Marcy's team coming in.

Legs two and three tomorrow.

1 comment:

Alby King said...

"Real" Sea Kayaks scare the crap out of me. My mother in law has one out the Island. No thanks - I'll just take the little beamy plastic 13 footer..