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Long Beach Race Weekend Recap and Random Picture

August 7, 2011

I came to dragon boat from a sports background – baseball, basketball, volleyball, BMX, and cycling.  I remember when I started dragon boating several years ago, I was amazed that the dragon boat community put more emphasis on the mixed divisions then they did the open and women’s divisions.

Perhaps it is too hard to get 20 strong men and 20 strong women to assemble strong open and women’s crews.  Despite my bewilderment, I conformed and fell in line.  Most of my energy as a paddler and coach revolve around the mixed divisions with the open and women divisions as almost an after thought.

Since the beginning of my paddling career, I was always drawn to the open division.  These races were usually all men and a bunch of testosterone (although my team (laracingdragons.org) occasionally enters a mixed boat in an open division).  Some of the fastest 500m races occurred in this division.  To this day it irks me that in my first year I was left off the composite LARD/Killer Guppies Men’s boat.

I also enjoyed watching the women’s divisions.  The beautiful technique displayed by a well-trained women’s team is a sight to behold.

Traditionally, LARD has done very well in the open division when we could field a full men’s boat.  Our run continued at the 2011 Long Beach Race as our Men won the Open Division and recorded some of the fastest times ever recorded in Long Beach.

Although most of our women are more technically sound then our men’s crew, their performances, in terms of placement, were not as good.  All of that changed this year in Long Beach.  Not only were our ladies awesome to watch, they were able to win the women’s division.  They managed to combine technical prowess with the unified power necessary to win a division.

Our mixed teams (Red and Black) didn’t do so bad either – both teams qualified for the 1A Mixed Finals finishing 2nd and 3rd.  Red has never made it to the 1A Final.  I don’t think any other Long Beach team has ever accomplished this (although I seem to recall San Diego did it about 4 years ago).  That being said, had our top paddlers attended practice and trained more often in the weeks leading up to the Long Beach race, we would have been able to assemble an incredibly strong mixed crew.  Unfortunately, sometimes life (and for some, laziness) gets in the way.  We had to play the cards we were dealt.  Those cards weren’t that bad but we weren’t playing with a full deck of cards.

That being said, there is no doubt how deep LARD is – champions in the open and women’s divisions and 2 of our 3 mixed teams in the 1A mixed finals.

Here’s my random picture of the day.

I was listening to a photography podcast on a Los Angeles street photographer Eric Kim and as I approached a stop sign I noticed a red shopping cart right under the stop sign.  The colors struck me (even though I’m red/green colorblind) so I pulled over a took this picture.

I shot the photo with my Canon S95 and processed the photo in Aperture 3 and round-tripped to Photoshop CS5 using Nik Color Effects Pro.

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