Sunday, July 10, 2016
Rhonda Races! CGT Summer Race Series #3
Race: Race #3 in the CGT Summer Time Trial series.
Date it happened: 10 July 2016.
Host: CGT Kayaks and Paddleboards, which you can become a groupie of by joining the CGT Tribe facebook page.
Location: Riverside Park on the Imperial River in downtown Bonita Springs, Florida.
Distance: 5.96 km / 3.7 miles. The course goes downriver ~1.5 km, around a permanent buoy, back upriver to the start, then around an inflatable buoy and downriver again for a second lap. There is an option to do just one lap (~2.97 km), and a few people took that option this time.
Conditions: Same as last time- Sunny, hot and humid with not much breeze. Even the river water was hot. Based on analysis with my paddling in current calculator, the current was 0.7 kph, which is about the same as it was in race #2.
Participants: There were 14 racers, which is a great turnout for a midsummer Sunday morning in little Bonita Springs. For the 1-lap race we had Jim and Michelle McIntyre, and my wife Rhonda. Yes, you read that right. RHONDA did this race. I am so proud of her! In the two-lap race it Jen Hayes and a bunch of dudes. Dudes on 12'6 boards included Bryan Herrick, Matt Kearney, and Devin Turetzkin. Dudes on 14' boards included Mark Athanacio, Mark Payne, Jon Weinberg, Justin DiGiorgio, Jared Hamilton, Steve Fleming, and me.
Gear: I used my 14x22 Riviera RP, the Blue Streak, with my Riviera Vantage R8 paddle and a 6" Fins Unlimited keel style fin. Rhonda rode a Fanatic Falcon 14x27.25, which was originally Justin DiGiorgio's board, then my board, now officially Rhonda's. She used an Angulo paddle and a Riviera Commando fin. Jen Hayes usually rides a Riviera but this time she rode Mark Athanacio's 12'6x24 Hovie Comet GT. Athanacio rode his 14x21.5 Hovie. Steve Fleming is associated with Naish boards, and rode a slick looking Naish Javelin.
Results: In the one lap division Steve and Michelle McIntyre got 22:13 and 27:27, respectively, and Rhonda coasted gracefully to third with 33:22. I got first place in the two lap division with 38:05, which is slower than my race #2 time (37:47), but faster than my race #1 time (38:18). Course record holder Mark Athanacio didn't go all out this time, instead making the sensible decision to jump in the water occasionally to cool off. Nevertheless, he easily got second place with 39:54. Third overall and first on 12'6 was Matt Kearney in 42:53, just ahead of Justin DiGiorgio's 42:56 on a 14' board. That was a hard fought victory for Matt, who was specifically trying to beat his pal Justin. Second and third 12'6s were Devin Turetzkin in 45:07 and Jen Hayes in 51:38. Full results will be posted on the CGT time trials page.
Play by play: I'm learning that my race really begins about a week before the actual start. How much I work out, how much rest I get, what I eat and drink, and how calm or stressed I am makes a considerable difference in how hard the race feels. This week had three SUP workouts as usual, but I had to shuffle them to odd days, including the day before the race. I also had a non-normal eating, sleeping, and work schedule, and some other stresses that put me a little off-kilter. However, I knew Rhonda would be doing the race, her first ever, and that filled me with joyful energy.
On race morning Rhonda and I walked our boards to the race site, schmoozed with the other racers, and did a little warm-up paddling. It was too dang hot to warm up much, though, so mostly we soaked in the river to stay cool. The race directors offered to let us start earlier than usual because of the heat, so we lined up around 0840. It was great to be next to Rhonda at the start. Matt Kearney and Devin Turetzkin also started in our wave. Athanacio was just arriving by board to the race site when we were lined up to start, so he probably didn't have long to get situated before he started in about the third group. At the start I sprinted pretty hard to make sure I was in front of Devin and Matt, but I switched over to steady race pace early. Rhonda managed not to fall in the rough water of our wakes, and set out on her own steady pace. Matt Kearney stayed in my draft for several hundred meters, but eventually his splashing sounds faded away.
I felt a little off-balance physically and tried to focus on proper form to find the right groove and pacing. After the downriver buoy turn, on the first upriver leg, I saw the other racers pretty evenly spaced out. Matt and Devin were closest, but Justin and Athanacio were not far behind them. I saved about half a breath to say something brief and encouraging to Rhonda when we passed. Upriver in the heat sucked, but I thought about something from the book I'm reading, "The Boys in the Boat" about a University of Washington crew team in the 1930s. Their coach would tell them, "M.I.B.," mind-in-boat to keep them focused on the immediate task at hand- making the boat go fast. I tried to do the same with focusing on making my board go fast. After the upriver buoy turn, starting the second lap, I tried to go nearly as fast as I'd gone on the first lap, with moderate success. On the final upriver leg I did the same, but it took a lot of effort, with my heart rate up to 192 by the finish line. My average speeds on the four legs were 10.3, 8.8, 10.0, and 8.7 kph. I was quite happy with my final time even though it wasn't a personal best.
Here's my GPS track and data from the race. You have to go into Strava to see the details like HR and stuff. Several of the other race team members are now on Strava, as well, and when we paddle at the same time and location Strava figures out that we're in a race together and activates a cool animated replay feature called "Flyby".
The socializing at CGT after the race was especially nice today with Rhonda there. A lot of our talk centered around local and broader South Florida environmental problems, though, which was tough. "Calusa John" Paeno has become a very strong advocate for Everglades Restoration and local water quality issues, and he let us know about some of his efforts to bring the changes we need. An unfortunate corollary of this summer's bad water quality is that CGT's Lover's Key paddleboard race had to be canceled. There's too much dirty, dangerous polluted water, nasty algae, and dead seagrass in Estero Bay now for CGT to want to invite out of town racers to the area. :(
What's Next: More training, more paddling for fun with Rhonda, and more science and environmental activism.