Tonight was the first BayCreek time trial. Last year, I went to a bunch of them, and was turning in times around 24.5-26 minutes all year until the first time I got to borrow Frank’s Necky Looksha II, on the very last one of the season, when I set my personal best of 22.87 (they time in minutes and hundredths). The Looksha now belongs to me, and I’ve been paddling the hell out if it all last fall and this spring, so I expected to do a bit better. My goal for the year was to beat 20 minutes, since last year I watched Paul D try like hell to break 20 minutes and come up short time after time. I figure over short distances, I can probably compare myself to him, although he’s got a lot more endurance than me and will pull away after a couple of miles.
I started out about a minute behind a guy in a C-1 who last year I’d started behind and nearly kept up with him for the first half mile into the bay, only to watch him disappear into the distance on the way back. This time I was pretty sure I was catching up to him, and still catching him on the way back. I was trying hard to keep my speed over 6 mph, because obviously a 6m mph average time equals 20 minutes for 2 miles, and the bay is deeper and therefore a bit faster than the creek. It was a struggle on the way out, because although the bay was pretty still, there was a tiny bit of a breeze in my face and it was slowing me down. After the turn, a boat wake hit from the side and it was throwing me off a bit, but my speed was still pretty good.
I hit the split time at 9.40! Hey, I thought, as long as I don’t slow down too much, I might get pretty close to 20 minutes. I wanted to believe I could beat it, but I didn’t want to count on it. Soon after the split time, there was a swan in the middle of the creek. I yelled at it, and swerved a little bit left. Unfortunately, he swerved in the same direction, and I hit him. It slowed me down, and he tried to attack me, but I poured on the speed and got out of there before he could reach me.
I got to the last buoy turn and I was almost on the C-1. He had an interesting way of making the turn – he put his foot in the water and dragged it while he did a sweep on the other side. It gave him a small turning radius, but it slowed him down terribly. Now I was well and truly on his wash. I rode it for a while, and tried to make my move and pass him, but as soon as I got out of his wash it was much harder to paddle. So I tucked back in and tried not to hit his stern too often. I tried again, same result. Finally, with about 300 metres to go, I decided it was time to give it everything I could and pass him. It was a real maximum effort, but I was going just a hair under 7 mph as I crossed the line.
The final time? 19.08!!! OMGWTFBBQ!! That’s a 3.79 minute (3 minutes and 47 seconds) improvement over my previous best. Not only did I beat Paul D, but I was within a few seconds of Bill on his surf ski!
Now Dan says I have to set my sights on breaking 18 minutes. Yeah, right. I believe that as much as I believed him when he said I was going to break 19 minutes tonight. Oh wait.