I sometimes talk out of turn and don’t listen that well but not so on Saturday. I was all ears with a zippered mouth to chatter because it was race day. I gave it my total focus and with full intentions of pulling my share.
It goes like this “paddles up — take it away”. One, two, three, four. Repeat, repeat, repeat for the count of 2 minutes and a few seconds. Although the duration is pretty short it is, for me, the most intense sport I have ever competed in. The incredible team work that it takes to stay in time. That four that pulls you deep into the next round.
Our sprint race Friday had some issues when the team in the second lane strayed over to ours and almost swamped us. They were definitely ahead of us and going extremely fast but as their course moved over we encountered waves and at times our paddles weren’t even in the water. So by default we came in first but these sprint ones were like an extra practise really.
We had three practices and on each subsequent one we improved. There is certainly a technique that it takes a couple of times to get into. There is a lot of listening to commands and working on the various actions that go with those commands. There was also some beaver moments when we, the front six, decided that beaver watching was more interesting.
But come race day it was game on. Our first race on Saturday we finished with a time of 2.09, firmly in second place. We felt pretty good after it but the goal for race two was 5 seconds shaved off of that time. Race two was so fast and intense but still second place although we took that 5 seconds off. We relaxed in between with steaks, a pot luck lunch and desserts. The OR nurses all love to cook and as usual we brought enough to feed an army or at least parts of visiting family! It was great to have friends, co-workers and family stop off to see races and catch up with us. One can’t hear anyone cheering as the shouting on the boat is pretty loud but it’s nice to know they were up there on the shore line.
The final race had us seated in a heat with two other teams with similar times. We lost our regular hired steerer as he was already out in a different heat so we had a new one. These could have thrown our timing off but our drummer Bev stepped up and took us over the top. It was an incredibly close race and on every four for the second half of the race I yelled Pull or Deep (that’s part of the technique learning — how to pull deep and hard) and kept the front six on focus. It was a photo finish but we won that heat with a great display of team work.
Our team work, and wacky sense of humour, also put us in top form when it came to the Best Dressed Team! We rocked it in custom designed t-shirts by an artist team member, matching OR blue caps, red oars (which means we achieved a certain level of fund-raising that only two other teams matched) Our drummer wore the winning headdress! It was a blue OR cap adorned with a black garter which had two blue gloves blown up! It was one of a kind obviously.
Being on the river was a great feeling and we had such awesome weather for every practise and race day that it was an absolute pleasure. Now we are in a race of another kind as we are in second place in the community fundraising. I had thought we only had until the race but it turns out that we have until August 1st for this portion of the competition and it’s game day!! I have been emailing, posting and chatting with people about supporting us in this worth while cause with the hopes that we can win this last race. The educational component of the Heart and Stroke Foundation means that someone else might make another day because they recognize the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
I had attached the link a couple of weeks ago for the fundraiser portion of the Dragon Boat race but here is is again — just in case you find that this is a cause you can get behind. If you have already supported Ron and I in this team effort we thank you very much.