K2inCanada's Blog

April 25, 2010

World Masters Games Sydney Report – Dec 7, 2009

Filed under: Australia, Kayak, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 4:05 AM
I posted a summary of the racing events on the BCKC website for those who are interested about reading up on the paddling we did in Australia in Oct 2009. It’s a long story about wind and feeling sorry for myself and medals:
Well, we are back from 30C in Cairns to 3C in Vancouver – brrr. Burnaby Lake pretty much froze over the day I was planning to go for a paddle.
The Games finished on Oct 19th already but Jeff and I spent some more time Downunder to recover and enjoy ourselves. Did not touch a paddle again until Dec 1 and if it stays like this I might not touch one till next year.
So were the Games fun? In hindsight it was fun but the racing at the World Masters Games in Penrith, Australia was some of the toughest racing I have done in a sprint boat to date and some of the most fun. I was happy that we choose to rent some more stable K1’s (Super Lancers) or I would have done more swimming than paddling. Jeff and I competed in both the marathon races (K1 and K2) as well as the sprint races (1000, 500, 200m in K1, K2, K4). Jeff and I teamed up with Fiona and Mike Vincent from Regina for the K4. Other BCKC members also racing were Darrell and his wife Amber as well as Rosalie who teamed up with her sister from back east (sprint K1, K2, K4). Former BCKC member Micky competed in the whitewater races (K1 & teams) as well as sprint (K1).

We shared our accommodation in Penrith with Alex from Revelstoke who participated in one of BCKC’s Masters training camps in 2005 in prep for the WMG in Edmonton. He competed in marathon (K1), sprint (K1) as well as swimming. Poor guy never got a rest day. Another Canadian in our “villa” was Neville from Nelson also competing in marathon (surfski, K2) and sprint (K2, K4). Last but not least a whole bunch of Aussies stayed with us – they had arranged for the 12 person Villa that was right across from the Marathon race start and only a 10min drive from the sprint course. Some of them had been in Canada for the WMG in Edmonton – Darren, Gary & John, others like Rob and his wife Margret hadn’t but we became good friends right away. I almost forgot what wonderful people they are. They really took good care of us: be it boats, food, rides, sight seeing … pretty much everything!!!! BIG THANKS!!!

Enough of the intro, now to the racing part – it’s going to be long!!! Jeff and I had a week before the games to acclimatize and train a bit which felt okay. Weather was rather on the cool and often rainy side but that kept the motorboats of the Nepean River (it was warmer in Vancouver when we left). You could paddle on the river all the way up from the Rowing Club which was the start of the marathon race into the Blue Mountains National Park. Pretty neat!!

If you rather see the pictures only, click the below link: World Masters Games Pictures

Race Day 1 (Oct 13th): It did get sunny but it also got VERY windy for the games. I had trained sooo much this summer but didn’t feel ready for the conditions we had. On the marathon course the wind was gusting up to 50-60km/hrs across the Nepean River (which would have been the ideal place for the 21km long event without those gusts). Needless to say there were “some” waves but mostly the wind catching your paddle was making it hard to even stay in the boat. Boats were flying around on the ground if they were not tied down (including mine which I shared with Alex who raced in the morning race – luckily no serious damage). Day 1 had all the singles races scheduled. I was holding on to my K1 till just before the race start – no chance to change into race gear, to take a leak, have a dink … just thinking this is nuts and hold on tight. Our race didn’t start till noon so lots of time for the wind to really build up. They made us wear PFD’s due to the conditions (I borrowed one from Darren – a nice tight full neoprene, heavy and HOT PFD). Starts were pretty much mass start in 2 min intervals for the different age groups between 30 and 45 of age and crafts (K1, Trainer K1, surfskis, sea kayaks). There must have been over 200 boats on the water at the same time. But the wash was hardly a factor. I had an okay start since we were protected by some trees but it went downhill from there pretty quick. No matter how often I told myself I am in the most stable K1 and I can do this I was terrified of being blown into the water by the next big gust which came every 30sec or so. I didn’t fall in but I hardly paddled. Mostly bracing and trying to get a couple low strokes in the headwind or try to float down river in the tailwind. I was ready to quit every time I got near the downriver turn which was also the finish line – we had to do 3 loops of 7km. But I didn’t – too stubborn. I did finished but it took well over 2hrs. Most girls finished about 15min or more ahead of me (including my K4 partner Fiona, although she fell in 2 or 3 time – well done, she must have been paddling in between swims). I was passed by surfskis and sea kayaks on the course which started 2-4min after me. I was ready to quit the sport right there and then. I was totally exhausted but tried to tell myself the wind will ease up over night and we’ll have a much better K2 race tomorrow – another 21km. Our Aussie friends did their best to cheer me up. Darren did well and won his age class and I am sure he was one the fasted person overall on the course that day. Jeff also finished his race, his time was a bit better than mine but he also wasn’t happy with the “race” – more survival than racing. That wind was a killer. They had canceled all the rowing events for that day before we even got on the water. Anyhow, our Aussie friends dragged us out for a fabulous dinner and the spirit slowly returned to being excited for the next race. We always have our best races in K2.

Race Day 2: K2 racing today. Jeff and I had borrowed a VanDusen from the Illawarra Canoe Club which we paddled once before (also in windy conditions) – not bad but quite a bit more tippy than the Sagitta we usually race. The day actually started off almost with no wind and the over age 50 racers (started racing at 8am) were lucky to nearly finish their race in reasonable conditions. No such luck for us. The wind started building again at about 10am and was again gusting at 50km/h by 11:30am; wind direction was a bit more downriver and a bit less across. I never wished to be 50 before but that day did. Nevertheless, we launched our K2 and I thought we’d be swimming soon but we managed to find some rhythm in the VanDusen K2 and were ready for the start (upriver). We actually had a great start – one of our best ones and were able to hang on with the faster younger mixed teams and Fiona and Mike for a little bit. They dropped us before the first turn but we kept them in sight. We were battling it out with another mixed crew also in our age category (so are Fiona & Mike) – so we battled for 2nd. The wind was atrocious and we did a lot of bracing but we also paddled. The up river turn had waves of 1-2feet coming down the river – no fun but we managed. The turns were always where the other crew passed us again and we could never hang on as well as they did when we passed them on the upwind leg. My heart stopped a couple times when I thought this gust is gonna send us swimming for sure. Somehow we managed to stay afloat. At the end I seriously ran out of gas and we ended up 3rd with Fiona & Mike winning our division well ahead and 2nd place Australia only a min or so ahead. It was a better race but it was still not what we trained for. All arms, no leg dive (Lynn, I know there isn’t much leg drive in the first place but any little bit would have helped). So overall we were pleased with how we did. I also found out that I won a bronze in yesterdays K1 race. Although I was one of the slowest women K1’s out there only 3 out of the 7 or 8 boats that started in my division finished. I guess pure stubbornness does pay off sometimes.

Rest Day 3: Oh yeah I needed that. My arms and shoulders were so sore, I think they still are. We watched Micky doing his whitewater races which was very cool. See this link for some pictures:http://picasaweb.google.com/krade1709/ForMicky. The day again started out calm and the wind came in the afternoon. Maybe there is hope for even later wind or no wind tomorrow for the sprint races.

Race Day 4: 1000m races. K1s were scheduled in the morning, and team boats in the afternoon. But my friend the wind decided to start blowing early today as well. Right down the race course in Penrith (Race course for the 2000 Olympics – pretty cool facility with warm up lake and starting pontoons and score board). The organizers had planned to have ALL 1000m races finished by 5pm. That meant the intervals between races was only 5min. The headwind was probably 25-30km/h. On a good day it takes me just under 5min and I am sure there are people there that are slower than I. So you can imaging how badly on time they were after the first 3 races of the day already. So it was really hard to judge when to go out for you race so that you did not have to sit out there in the 2 foot chop and wait for your race to start. Well one could hide right behind the pontoons out of the waves. But that also meant that in front of the pontoon were you started from the waves were even bigger due to the rebounding waves. Sound like fun? Anyhow, Jeff went out for his race as it was scheduled. So he had to sit there for a long time. I tried to watch races and time it based on 6 races before mine. We had a little bit of a last minute boat panic as well. Alex, with whom I was sharing boats made into the finals for his age class – well done!! But the final was also scheduled close to my K1 race. So we had to quickly find another boat. Luckily Micky had a spare Tornado and Jeff was more than happy to paddle in that so that I could take the other super lancer. Well there were also some medium Nelos available – yeah right. So I made it down to the warm up lake – nice tail wind and tried a couple warm up sprints into the wind. Well, not so much of a sprint but paddling as hard as I could just prevented me from going backwards. That’s going to be a long 1000m race I thought but hey I am more of a long distance paddler, right? So I paddled through the tunnel into the race course about 500m behind the start line with the starting pontoon and fought my way up there thinking my race should be starting soon. Not so, they were more than 2hrs behind schedule. So I bobbed around in the waves, getting more and more tight in my hips and tired keeping the boat up. I saw Jeff line up for his race and he seemed to do okay, start looked as usual. My biggest fear was to go around the pontoon and back into the starting position. I was lane 3. Eventually they did and I got around the pontoon but didn’t manage to turn correctly to back in so I tried to turn on the spot in 2 foot rebounding waves … you know what’s coming. I went in. Well, the good thing, I could crawl onto the starter platform and turn my boat the correct way before getting back in. The bad part, my shoes and pool noodle (required floatation device) were also in the water floating around. Luckily the people holding the boats fished those out for me. Ah the start – I was just glad enough to be able to sit were I was, no way I moved forward to the actual start line. And the starter seemed to be okay with that since he needed to get the race going. By the way, I wasn’t the only one swimming – at least 2 other out of the 7 girls did the same. We did get the race started with everyone in the boat, not necessarily lined up. So off we went and it was a LONG race. I was okay with stability but again no leg drive, hands low and still dropping every stroke (Lynn, you would have been in tears), etc. It was one long haul, no pick ups, no real finish but to my surprise I did finish 3rd behind a girl from Russia in 1st and Sharyn from Australia in 2nd – Sharyn and I were neck on neck till the last 20m or so. I should have been 4th but the former Aussie national team member Shelley Oats-Wielding (raced in the 2000 Olympics) didn’t show up for the race. With the K1 race done I was a bit more relaxed. The team boats weren’t till the afternoon with the K4 and K2 races only 20min apart or so and we had lots of time to watch races. It was really cold though despite the sun – the wind was blowing through the stands and I was covered in all the fleece clothing/blankets I brought from home. We started setting up our K4 early since Jeff and I had never paddled with Fiona and Mike before. The K4 was again borrowed from Illawarra – big thanks to Gary, Rob and Darren for bringing up all those extra boats. We went out early for our race and were circling around a lot. The boat was stable though and we had no problems besides getting tired sitting around. Fiona was in seat 1, I was 2nd, Mike 3rd and Jeff 4th. The race went well but we didn’t have to kill ourselves. Although there were in total 10 boats on the start line only 3 were in our category and we beat those easily. I think we were 4 or 5th overall, not bad given that there were younger mixed as well as men’s teams in the race. We had to rush back to get our K2 which we actually stored on the race course side and were paddling up the race course to the start (usually not allowed but since our races were back to back pretty much they made an exception). Jeff was a bit rocky in the boat going up and we couldn’t get into our usual rhythm. So waiting for the start was tough and we almost killed each other. Luckily they called our race and we had to line up. Even luckier, we had lane 9 and no pontoon blocking us and therefore no backing into the starting position. We could paddle straight in until the starter kid grabbed our stern. We messed up the start with a big brace – not too unusual for us – then had a good first 500m even with the strong headwind. But we got off centre and our balance went to hell again and I even braced a couple times during the race – yes I felt bad about that. We were 5th or 6th overall but 3rd in our age class. The race was again combining several age classes but all mixed teams. Fiona and Mike were well in front and the team that came 2nd was the same that beat us in the marathon. Darn. That concluded our first sprint race day but racing was still going on till almost 7pm until it got dark. Needless to say, they did not manage to finish all the 1000m races and rescheduled them for early in the morning.

Race Day 5: 500m. And can you believe it, no wind!!!!! Yeah!!! It was a warm sunny day and the racing was great in flat calm conditions. I had the best 500m race in my life (the way the race went, I’ve yet to find out my time but doesn’t matter) and came in 3rd again. Ahead of Aussie Sharyn and behind Aussie Shelley (Ex National Team who showed up today) way ahead in 1st and the Russian girl in 2nd, just ahead of me. I just managed to pass Sharyn in the last 200 meters or so – think I caught some of Shelley’s wash. I have never been this exhausted after a K1 race and I felt great. K4 was again a good race coming in 5th overall and 1st in our division. K2 was also a much better race, very solid and we finished 3rd overall and 2nd in our division (the boat that beat us yesterday wasn’t in the race unfortunately – I am convinced we would have had them today). That’s what Jeff and I had been training for all those years. Only 200s left and who cares about those 🙂

Race Day 6: 200m. Slight tailwind for a change and mostly sunny. Not much to say here. K1 went well after a crappy start. Aussie Sharyn, the Russian girl and I pretty much crossed the finish line together. I was even trying to shoot my boat a bit. Too close to tell from the water but I did come in 2nd after ex-Olympian Shelley. Cool – I never thought I am a 200m specialist :-). K4 was good as usual, 4th overall and 1st in our division. Our K2 finished strong again 3rd overall and 2nd behind Fiona and Mike in our division. The whole day went by very quickly and the regatta finished pretty much on time. But they were running out of medals and had some quite angry paddlers hovering around the officials. We never got our medals for the K2 or K4 – oh well. We also never made it onto the Canada Team photo since we had to return the K4 to the Aussies for one of their races. But watch out for Darrell, Amber and Rosalie – if it ever makes it into “Paddles Up”.

 

Next World Masters Games are in 2013 in Turin, Italy. Start training for it!!!

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1 Comment »

  1. […] These are the racing days during the world masters games. A full report can already be found here: https://k2incanada.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/world-masters-games-sydney-report-dec-7-2009/. After the racing was done we headed back to Minnamurra for another day before flying to Western […]

    Pingback by Australia Report – NSW Part 2 « K2inCanada's Blog — January 29, 2012 @ 9:14 AM


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