Race: CGT Kayaks and Paddleboards Winter Race #4 Date it happened: 7 February 2016 Location: Riverside Park on the Imperial River in Bonita Springs, FL Distance: 5.12 km Conditions: Cool, breezy weather (15C), stronger than usual river current due to recent heavy rains Participants: The usual CGT race team crew, plus a few first timers. Justin DiGiorgio was too sick to race but still showed up to cheer and take pictures, and brought his cute dog. Mark Athanacio was also sick but raced anyway. Mike Hammond brought more of his family than ever, including his dad and his son in homemade kayaks, his daughter riding on the front of his sup, and his wife hanging out. Results: In the 14' SUP class I was first in 33:38, followed by Mark Athanacio, Mark Hourigan, Murray Hunkin, and Phil Trudgeon. Meg Bosi was the fastest 12'6 woman and was tied with the fastest 12'6 man, Jeff Cameron. Another new guy looked pretty sharp on a 14'x26 BlkBox Uno sup. Preliminary results are in the picture below. Full results will be posted on the CGT TIME TRIALS page.
Gear: This was the first time I did a CGT race on my new 14'x23.75" Riviera, "Fletchy." I was looking forward to comparing my speed on Fletchy to Mark Athanacio's speed on his newly-arrived 14'x23" Hovie Comet GT, but since Athanacio was pretty sick and hadn't paddled in a week it wasn't a proper test. Both Athanacio and I are using 6" Fins Unlimited Keel fins, which have low drag, good weed-shedding abilities, and a good turning abilities.
Play by play: I started in the first group of four with Matt Kearney, Murray Hunkin, and Mark Hourigan. (Mark Athanacio and I had agreed to start in different groups so we could each see how we did without drafting the other.) Matt, Murray and I all pushed hard at the start and were parallel for a while, but I had a good position to take the lead at the first bend.
Matt picked up my draft but Murray missed his chance to link up this time. I paddled really hard and tried to stay in the fast part of the river. Matt stayed on me for a while but I made it hard for him by maintaining near sprint pace for a long time, and he eventually dropped off. After the downriver turn around I saw that the first starting group was fairly spread out, and Mark Athanacio was catching up, picking them off one by one. Going upriver sucked because of all the current; my speed downriver was about 11 kph, and upriver it was 7.9 kph. My upriver strategy was a mix of trying to stay on the edges out of the strongest current, and trying to cut corners to minimize the distance traveled. I think Athanacio gained on me approaching the midway point of the race, but I got further ahead again in the second half, twisting and turning up to the Bat Bridge and then zipping downriver to the finish. Coming downriver I had to slow down occasionally to do awkward maneuvers through tree branches and around other racers, but at least I didn't fall off.
Here's my speedcoach track and data from the race. If you go into strava you can see interesting ups and downs in speed going with vs. against the current.
Other race intrigues: Beth Schadd was too fast for any other women to draft this time, so she was pretty far ahead of Damien Lin and Saralane Harrer. Saralane was within two seconds of beating Damien's time, so they should be a good pair to watch next round. Phil Trudgeon at 55 years old was impressive for beating young Matt Kearney, especially given that Phil is on a very wide, early-model raceboard. I predict that on a proper board, Phil will soon be in the same speed league as his fast peers Mark Hourigan and Murray Hunkin. Matt's speed may also improve, since he's now cross training by riding waves on a new 404 "Floater" sup-surfboard that looks sweet. I think my windsurfing and wave sup background gave me a really good headstart in racing, and I'd definitely recommend some wave-watersports for flatwater sup racers looking to get an edge. Jodi Ziajka and Donna Catron were a good matchup, each with cool new 12'6 raceboards. Donna and Jodi will both gain some speed if they switch to swept-back fins that don't accumulate huge birdnests of weeds and pine needles during racing.
Pictures: Huge picture album posted by Justin DiGiorgio.
Great showing despite the cold weather, wind and heavy current. do what ever your want with the pictures. please tag people that i am missing. hope i got a few good pictures of everyone!