22.4 Miles; 4:48
I don’t know how I learned about R2R, it’s just one of those distance races that ‘you have to do.’ Some have been doing R2R for a long time and for good reason — the race is a blast and has a totally different feel from other open-water races, like The Classic or Island to Island (Catalina Challenge…etc.). For starters, there are SUPs, and relay teams, and a ton of prone boards being paddled by really good paddlers. It’s a race that gives you a good view of who has stepped up their game and who is going fast. And while racers will race, Saturday’s dinner is a great spread, where everyone is laid back and everyone has a good time. This year was no exception.
Also, the weather in June is unpredictable — in can be cold and windy, or hot and still — and you just never know what you’re going to get. We lucked out this Father’s Day — a light breeze, small bumps, and hot sun that was out by 10:00 a.m. kept everyone pushing right up until the end.
My goal for this year’s race was to go under 5 hrs. Last year, Alan and I, doing a relay, went 5:24 in an uneven performance in chilly, windy conditions. I’ve been pushing the mileage and a lot more sprint work, so I was relatively confident that I could push through 17 miles at a respectable pace. It kind of went just as planned, if hitting the wall at mile 17 is “just as planned.” I pushed through some pain at 17-19, and was back on pace by mile 20. In the end, I finished the race in 4:48, and was happy with the performance. Catalina Classic 2013…you’re next.
Special thanks to Alan Buchanan, and the Buchanan family, for the use of Getaway (again), it’s a fantastic chase boat for R2R. Thanks to Steve Brown, whose knowledge of the boat, the water, and the wind, help make all the right decisions at the right time. Also, thank a big thanks to Mario Leon for keeping me fed, hydrated, and laughing the entire weekend. Without you guys…there is no distance paddleboard racing. Thank you.
Results here and pictures after the jump…