There are moments during a race, during a season, when everything comes together. You feel light, flexible, and, at a moment’s notice, you can push harder than you ever have before; your nutrition is dialed in and work and family life seem to be in perfect balance to support the time and effort you have put into pre-season paddling.
This is not that moment, so just relax.
The Loop, 2014, was a great race, even if it was a little bit windy off of the start. Dan Mann, the promoter of the race, wrote an excellent recap (here), which I will not try and surpass. I’d rather focus on a few things that I learned, which I give to you from high on the mount.
1.) Flatwater racing sucks. It favors little, skinny animals that must hate all the good things in life: naps, wine, snow cones, and flan. Flatwater is hot and mind-numbing. Thank goodness my GPS gave up the ghost a few miles into the race, as I didn’t have to watch my numbers drop off for the last 8 miles.
2.) I am an idiot for racing a stock board. Again, stock boards favor little, skinny animals that…Ibid, above. For a brief moment, as we turned into the harbor, I was going pretty good – NO, I was brilliant…GOLD. Downwind push, waves…I passed everything close to me. But, then I flew too close to the sun and hit the loathsome plain of flatwater. Seriously, if Joe Bark would take more of my money, I’d buy a 14’ CT tomorrow and turn my stock board into a street luge.
3.) All-prone races are the best events, hands down. I’m not an SUP-hater (as far as you know), but it seems to me that all-arms races bring out the true hippies of the water, classic boards, shredding kids, and old lizards who care not a fig about compression pants or the latest carbon fiber paddles. First place overall went to a guy whose board melted in the sun (and who missed the first mark by 500 meters). Second place went to Dan Mann who had a bottle of grape juice (a glass bottle) and a Ball jar full of nuts slotted to his deck (yes, a glass jar with a screw top). Dude was ready for a picnic.
The numbers don’t lie. I crossed the line in 1:29, which was a full 10 minutes off my time last year. Stock board, flatwater, crap shoulder…nah, I don’t even need to go there. The Loop, 2014 was good racing with good people.