Rochester Open Water Challenge – it was a challenge, all right

Ken Altfather and the Baycreek team and wives put on the most awesome kayak race ever (in my vast experience of three races). We had a good crowd and perfect weather – sunny, not too hot, and a good breeze providing lots of waves. I raced the short course and did really well. First things first, though.
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Today I Am A Man!

Baycreek Racing logo on my boatToday I got my official BayCreek Racing Team logo decals for my boat. Most of the other guys have these really large ones, like you can see in this picture of the team at Long Lake, but I don’t have the uncluttered space like they do because I’ve got all deck hardware. Ken ordered some smaller ones, and they fit my boat just right.

Tomorrow is the Rochester Open Water Challenge. I’m doing the short course, and I understand Dan’s son Tommy has been practicing so he can ride my wake. As long as he doesn’t try to out sprint me at the end, he’s welcome to it. I’m not going to try to shake him off, but I’m also not going to make it any easier for him. He’s been gunning for me ever since I beat him at Long Lake last year. I’m going to be concentrating on trying to stay with Paul D if he does the short course.

Wednesday Night Time Trial

Wednesday Night Time Trial
Wednesday Night Time Trial
I don’t think I wrote about last weeks, mostly because it was ghastly. Pelting rain, slow conditions, low turn out, and a semi-broken rudder. Oh wait, yes I did.

Yesterday’s was different. Ok, my rudder was still semi-broken. But it was the first hot and sunny night of the year. Big turn-out. While I was warming up, I went out on the bay to find that Paul D and I were dealing with this strange cross wave caused by wakes – it lasted for my entire trip up and back, nearly the full mile of the race course. There was also a lot of floating crud – much of it that algae that floats up during the day and sinks at night.

Once again, my over eagerness meant that I was warmed up early and had to start first. I don’t know why that always happens. Anyway, I had a really good start, and managed to keep above 7 mph for nearly the first minute. In the past, I’ve been alarmed by that speed and slowed down a bit to save more for the last half. Maybe I should have. The bay was flat as a real pancake, not a Dan pancake. But first things first – I had to pause in my paddling and lift the rudder to clear the crud that I’d picked up leaving the channel into the bay. By the time I rounded the buoy, I could see others who started behind me.

Coming into the split, I once again had to stop to clear the crud from my rudder, and then dodge a bazillion or so people, but my split was a respectable 9.38, compared to my previous best of 9.40. So far, so good. I was through the narrow bit and about the 1.4 mile point and wondering why it was so hard to maintain a 5.9 to 6.0 mph pace when it suddenly stuck me that I should be hugging the shore to stay out of the current. I immediately got a good increase in speed, and a sudden desire to slap myself in the head for forgetting this.

I made the turn and made another rudder clearing stop. I was making good time on the down stream – my speed was up over 6.5 for most of the way, but I had to clear my rudder again. And instead of making a good strong finish, I was actually kind of dead – which is why I said before I should have gone a little slower at the start. Another big crowd at the finish area, and I had to dodge a bit instead of making a straight run in.

My finish time was 19.00, a new personal record. On the other hand, Paul D was 2/100ths slower than me at the split, but 3/100ths faster than me overall, indicating again that my pacing wasn’t good.

So things to work on for next week – pacing, and maybe running with my rudder down half way so it’s at an angle, to see if it sheds the crud.

Great Race!

I’ve got a team for the Great Race in Auburn. The race consists of a 10k run, a 20 mile bike, and a 4 mile kayak. Guess which one I’m going to do?

I figure I can do a 4 miler in about 40-45 minutes, as long as it doesn’t get too windy. Last year, 45 minutes would put me in the top 10, but I believe we’re going to get more members of the BayCreek team so I’m not going to count on that. But I’m going to give it a damn good try.

The team I’ve formed is called “Gasping Geezers”. I haven’t met the other two in person, and probably won’t until race day, but they sound like a fun group.