First Official Team Practice of the season

Almost the whole team met at Baycreek today, and it was so great to see everybody again (we missed you, Mike). I’d seen most of them here and there over the winter, but this is the first time we paddled as a huge group since last fall. I was in my Thunderbolt, and several other people were in surf skis, but Dan and Jim were in downriver boats. Dan’s especially was a bit of a barge and threw out a beautifully huge wake to ride.

The weather has started to cool off a bit since Thursday, and it was pretty windy as well, so I was back in the straight jacket (farmer john and hydroskin shirt). I’ve been paddling a lot, and this is my fourth time paddling this week, but the traffic and the boat wakes added a new challenge.

Because of the wind, we didn’t go out on the bay and just paddled up and down the creek while Dan went around yelling out advice and correction to everybody. We didn’t do any formal drills, but being us, we of course had times when we paddled hard and times when we paddled not so hard, some paddling along chatting and catching up, and sometimes head to head rivalry. On our second last time up the river Frank took the lead and started hammering, and Dan and I tried very hard to keep up with him. I was doing ok until Dan purposely cut me off (don’t worry, I’d tried to do the same thing to him the time before, so it was legitimate payback) and I lost his wake, and once I lost his wake I was done for and ended up several boat lengths behind the two of them. Dan confessed afterwards that he’d been almost at his limit at that point. Frank is considerably older than us, but he’d just come back from a couple of weeks paddling in Florida, so maybe he was a little more at his in-season prime that us.

But once again I was reminded about the best part of paddling as a team isn’t the races or the matching jerseys and the big Bay Creek Racing stickers on our boats, it’s just being with a bunch of fun guys messing around in boats.