K2inCanada's Blog

April 17, 2011

Eggatta – Apr 16, 2011

Filed under: Canada, Kayak — K2 in Canada @ 7:43 PM

First flatwater race of the season – the Eggatta in Pitt Meadows – a marathon K1/K2 race. I never raced there before and heard that the course can be windy and the portages are through mud. So I signed up for the 15km race (3 portages) instead of the 20km. On Thursday I found out that the organizer signed me up for the long one instead as there was another women  coming up from the States and I would have someone to race against. In addition, the long one was no longer 20km but 24km long –  4 x 6km laps and 4 portages. Oh well, that’s longer than any session I had been paddling this year but I figured I used to be okay with long paddlers and only 1 portage more – all good.  We get to the race on Sat morning and the race had changed again. Still 24km apparently but 6 x 4km laps and 6 portages. I HATE portages and wasn’t impressed with the change but so what – I was just here for a long paddle, not really racing. The waterway was nice and calm with a little bit of current – not anywhere near the Fraser River so I should be okay. I did bring my Vajda – usually I revert back to a more stable K1 for the long distance races. The weather was soso – it was cold (5-7C) – but otherwise we had a mix of sun, rain and hail. The first 3 laps were fine after the usual horrible start where I had to wait out the wash from all the guys. But Meg, the woman from the States did the same. She got ahead of me by a boat length but by the first turn I passed her, as well as one of the canoes. On the first up-stream leg I passed the second C1. The C1 stayed on my wash till the corner and sprinted ahead for the turn but I caught him again when we hit the “beach” for the portage. The water level was high when we started the race – just started to ebb. So the muddy part of the portage was short. And the overall the portage was short – I could leisurely walk it without losing too much time over the all keen running competition.  I caught the C1 guy again after the second downstream turn and he tried to stay with me again up-stream but eventually I lost him and that was the end of it. I was pretty much on my own for the rest of the race. Lap 4 was horrible – I was getting tired and my balance started to go. People behind me started to catch up again and I was going to be lapped by the leading guys. So I pulled myself together again and actually finished the last 2 laps relatively strong. The only problem was the portages – as the tide was dropping the muddy stretch of the portage got longer and deeper. I eventually did get lapped by 3 people – but one of them was Ian McKenzie who is a member of the Canadian Marathon team and usually finished in the top 15 at Marathon Worlds. But Jeff never caught me, although it was less than a km that separated us at the end (his end that was – I still had one more lap) :-). On my last lap there were only a couple more boats on the water – me, Meg and the C1 and we finished in that order. For the last km a nasty headwind kicked up all sudden that almost ripped the boat out of my arms during the last portage as I was stuck up to my knee in mud. Well I at last crossed the finish. But I almost didn’t get an officially finish time. The finish line judges were drinking coffee and chatting on the shore not looking out for those poor last stragglers who had been out there for almost 3hrs!!!! Jeff had to come running over and tell them that I had finished a couple of minutes ago. The race turned out to be almost 26km long as well – the longest I had been in  a boat for since last year June in a double surfski.

The time was nothing to be proud of but at the end the race was 26km long and I felt relaxed most of the time focusing on technique (except for lap 4). A few of the guys from our club never finished and gave up after 3,4 or 5 laps. Only Jeff, John (our X-skiing buddy) and I finished. Here are a couple of pictures (for results and more pictures go here: http://canoekayakbc.sportical.com/events/594)

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