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USDBF/Prague Time Trial Update

April 18, 2009

A few LARD members went down to Fiesta Island to test ourselves against other hopefuls (70+ people) for a spot on one of the TeamUSA rosters heading to Prague for the World Championships.

LARD members in attendance – Lori, Nick, Chuck, Will, Jason C, Morris, James and yours truly.   There were others from Long Beach some of which included Emily (Space Dragons), Kim (Space Dragons), Carolyn (KG), Gary (KG) and another KG member I did not know the name of (Ming?).  There may have been a few more, but my memory has already begun to fade.

p1010610Nick started off the day racing in heat 2, as you can see, conditions were phenomenal early in the morning – glassy and no wind.  However, throughout the day, it got slower and slower as the wind and current began to kick in.  In the background is Gary from KG.  You can also see that we were racing on Hurricane oc1s.  I’ll just say that as soon as I got on one, I realized how much I love my Huki.  (as to the boat’s build Huki = BMW; Hurricane=Hyundai)

p1010612This is Nick later in the same race.  That’s Les on the purple boat.  Nick ended up finishing second behind Les – a phenomenal piece for Nick especially since he hasn’t been able to train too much because of an injured shoulder.

Lori also ran a great piece even though she has just started paddling oc1.  She’s only going to get faster.  Once her oc1 skills catch up to her fitness, we are all going to be in trouble.

Will ran a great piece finishing first in his heat, as did Emily.  I can tell Will has been focused on this day for a long time.  Keep up the solid work, Will!

Morris and James ran solid pieces as well.  After encouraging Morris to do his first piece on his left side, he went out to test his right side and had a spectacular huli.  Solid effort, Morris!

Jason came down with Jackie to test, I wasn’t able to get any pictures of Jason, but have this video of him getting harassed by one of the San Diego guys – it’s actually quite funny.  I decided to video tape this race because I was POSITIVE the guy that ultimately gives Jason problems was going to huli – take a look at how much his ama was bouncing around (Can’t remember the guy’s name, but it was his first time on an oc1 so to paddle right in this piece was pretty admirable).  Classic.

As for Chuck and I, we continued our string of epic battles as we were seeded against each other in heat 7 – neutral site, crappy boats – we were going to battle!  By the time our race came up, the wind and current began to blow into our faces.  Also in our heat was a paddler from KG and a guy named Brent from Team California (pretty much the top outrigger club in California).

Brent took off on us, by 20 meters into the race, he was GONE.  I mean, this guy was soooo fast, my first thought was, “FUCK! (and I never curse) I must be towing something!  What the hell is going on?”  Chuck and I are not the fastest paddlers in the world, but we are not THAT slow (or are we?).  This guy just WORKED us.

Chuck and I managed to drop the KG paddler, and as usual, it was Chuck and I spinning our wheels against each other.  As I told Chuck after the race, I think our big heads attract each other as we started on opposite ends of the start buoys but managed to be within a few feet of each other as the race progressed.

About half way through the piece, I felt my ama coming up.  By the time I realized it, I couldn’t get the ama back down with my hips so I actually had to brace with my paddle to get it back down (not good in the middle of a race).  As the ama slammed back down in the water, I expected Chuck to start cracking up as it was a total rookie mistake.  Luckily, I didn’t huli and Chuck was too busy to laugh.  However, my momentum was shot.  I managed to wiggle my way back up to speed, but by then, we were running out of distance.  Chuck edged me out at the end.  The guy that smoked us had a time of 2:01 and change – over 20 seconds faster than Chuck and I.

As my boat glided to stop and as I struggled to catch my breath, all I could think about was the condition I was in two years ago.  I’m coming up on the two year anniversary of the day I ruptured a disc in my back.  I’ve come a long way and I was grateful I was even able to compete (or sit in a boat to get slaughtered).  I trained as hard as I possibly could and ran a pretty decent piece – minus the unintentional ama flying (the ama flying added a few seconds to my time, but no way it added 20 seconds).  I’m happy with what I did.  I did my best, but it just wasn’t enough this time.  I can live with that.  I’m glad there are guys that are WAY faster than me or else TeamUSA would be in serious trouble.

So who made it?  Definitely not me!  😉  After talking to Les and the head coach, for sure the guy whose wake I was desperately trying to ride made the team.  There MIGHT be one to three paddlers out of the 70+ that tested today that will ultimately make the premiere team.  There will likely be another time trial (rumored to be in Long Beach) for them and guys like Danny Ching are likely going to test.  I think Nick and Lori have shots of making the Master’s team but the whole Masters/Grand Masters Divisions is too confusing for me because there are some Grand Masters that are faster than the Master paddlers.  I’m not sure what the GM coach is going to do.  I would hope Will made that bubble so he can live to fight another day.  Although I don’t have my finger on the pulse of the premiere woman, I would think Emily has a pretty good shot.  The U23 guys – Morris and James made the U23 team as time trials weren’t necessary for that division.  Les hopes there will be enough interest to actually send a U23 team to Prague.

All and all, a phenomenal day.  One more check point done.

Baby Long Beach right around the corner….

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Nick permalink
    April 18, 2009 9:32 pm

    I wonder if maybe Brent is actually a U23… 😉

  2. mike permalink
    April 19, 2009 1:19 am

    James is a U26!

  3. lori permalink
    April 19, 2009 3:11 pm

    I remain confused.

  4. paddlesports permalink*
    April 20, 2009 11:56 am

    Poor James!

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