Justin DiGiorgio's new stick. 14x24 Hovie Comet GT carbon/innegra custom with Mahi Mahi paint job. He set a personal best time on this today.
Race: Race #5 in the CGT Summer Time Trial series.
Date it happened: 7 August 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: It was warm and humid, but not roasting hot because it rained early in the morning and it was cloudy. The river current was significant at 0.97 kph, based on analysis with my paddling in current calculator.
Participants: There was a good turnout this time for both the men's and women's sup divisions, and we also had a woman named Patricia do the 1-lap course on her surfski kayak.
Gear: I used my 14x22 Riviera RP, the Blue Streak, with my Riviera Vantage R8 paddle and a 6" Fins Unlimited keel style fin. Justin DiGiorgio did his first race on his amazing new Mahi Mahi colored custom 14x24 Hovie Comet GT. Mark Athanacio was on his ultra light Hovie Comet GT with a slightly different fin that he said helps him track a little straigher than the 6" FU keel he usually uses.
Results: In the two lap division Mark Athanacio won in 38:04, and I was 6 seconds behind in 38:10. Murray Hunkin was next with a very strong 40:27 on a borrowed 14x25 Riviera, despite doing a 3+ hour paddle the previous day on his 14x27. Narrower is faster. Justin was 4th with a personal best time of 41:34. Matt Kearney was first on 12'6 board, with 42:20. Bryan Herrick got a personal best 43:50 on the 14x23.75 Riviera board that I recently sold him, beating John Weinberg's 44:15 on a 14'x27 Yolo. In the women's Meg Bosi won in 46:07, followed by Damien Lin in 49:27 and Donna Catron in 50:16. Of the one-lappers, Jim McIntyre was fastest 22:20 on a 12'6 board, Mark Payne was second in 23:28 on a 14' board, and Jen Hayes was next in 25:22 on a 12'6 board. Full results will be posted on the CGT time trials page.
Play by play: We broke with tradition and started 6 at a time in the first batch today. Mark Athanacio, Murray, Justin, Matt, Bryan, and me. Mark and I got out cleanly, quickly broke away from the pack, and stayed close together the whole rest of the race. We didn't draft each other much, although I did weave in and out of Mark's draft on the upriver segments if I wasn't leading. Mostly we stayed parallel, or with one of us slightly behind and to the side using the "side wake." I had one moment after the upriver buoy turn where I put a couple board lengths gap on Athanacio, and if I'd been smart I would have done an all-out sprint then to try to break away. But he caught back up to me. I was worried that I was getting more tired than Mark, and was hoping to catch some side draft or something on the final lap. For that reason I didn't fight him to be first at the final buoy turn, and I think that was a tactical error on my part. Once he was ahead on the final upriver segment I was kind of powerless to get around him. I left his wake and looked for a better line a few times, but didn't have much energy left or any clear plan about where I would try to pass. I had to push really hard at the end just to not be too many seconds behind him. Even though I didn't get first place it was a real good race for working on skills and strategy, and of course it was a killer workout.
Here's my GPS track and data from the race. You have to log in to Strava to see the details.
At the buffet/party after the race, Justin DiGiorgio pointed out that while Athanacio and I are the fastest now, we're not really getting any faster, and he thinks hopes he'll be able to start closing the gap on us. It would definitely be cool to have more racers get to the level where they can challenge us, because it's really good practice for all when we can be pushing ourselves hard while also thinking about drafting and passing strategies.
What's next: I'm going to be in Fort Lauderdale all week for the Ecological Society of America conference. I'll be staying in an AirBnB "boatel" in a marina, and hope to get some paddle and windsurf sessions while I'm not learning about science. I'll have to stay in shape because on the 13th is another local "no name" race organized by Athanacio. This one is not going to have any running in it.