Post-race glory picture. Mark Hourigan and I are not pictured here because we volunteered to paddle out and pick up the race buoys.
Race: A 5th edition of Mark Athanacio's "No Name Race"
Date it happened: 13 August 2016
Host/Sponsor: Mark Athanacio organized it, and Jen Hayes and other local paddlers helped set it up. The Vanderbilt Beach Resort sponsored it, providing the buoys and coupons for racers for their fancy "Turtle Club" restaurant. The race was free.
Location: In front of the Vanderbilt Beach Club hotel on Vanderbilt Beach, Naples, Florida.
Distance/Course: The course was set near shore, parallel to the beach. There was one buoy immediately in front of the starting area, one buoy a long way north of that buoy, and another a long way south. You started in the middle of the course and there were two laps, so you went north, south, north, south, north, finish. The distance was 8.258 km if you did both laps. Some of the newer racers just did one lap.
Conditions: It was sunny, hot and humid. There was a SE breeze, blowing diagonally offshore. The ocean was nearly flat, but still had some ripples from the offshore wind, some "roll," and occasional wakes from boats, jetskis, paddleboards, etc.
Participants: There was a good turnout for an informal race. 14 people did the two laps, and 3 people did one lap. Most people were local this time, but exercise physiologist Dr. Jose Antonio (the guy we did the sup nutrition study with) drove across from Ft. Lauderdale to participate. From the CGT Tribe we had Damien Lin, Saralane Harrer, Murray Hunkin, Mark Hourigan, Justin DiGiorgio, Bryan Herrick, Jason Mastin, John Weinberg, Jared Hamilton, Jim McIntyre, me, and Athanacio.
Gear: I used my 14x22 Riviera RP, the Blue Streak, with my Riviera Vantage R8 paddle and a 6" Fins Unlimited keel style fin. I think a somewhat longer, better-tracking fin might have been advantageous by allowing me to take more strokes per side in the long straightaway legs of the up and down the course.
Results: Times weren't recorded for this race- just finishing order, which was written on tongue depressor sticks handed out at the finish line. First place was Mark Athanacio, followed about 30 seconds later by me. I recorded my own time as 0:54:43. Next finisher was Mark Hourigan, then Justin DiGiorgio ahead of Murray Hunkin and Jose Antonio. Damien and Saralane were first and second place for the women. In the one lap division a very fit looking woman named Debbie was first overall ahead of two young guys.
Play by play: Unlike the last no name race, this one didn't have much running- just a few steps into and out of the water at the start/finish. It was still hard, though, because of the distance, the heat, and the close competition. I started fairly cleanly and rounded the start/finish buoy right behind Justin DiGiorgio, who was right behind Mark Athanacio. The draft train didn't last long because Athanacio predictably outsped Justin. I went around Justin and kept pace with Mark, but didn't get in his draft. I probably should have sprinted like crazy to try to get in his draft, but I still have trouble convincing myself that I'll be able to save enough energy by drafting to justify the big expenditure of getting there. I need to remind myself of the times that drafting helped me out in other races, like the Tavernier Key race in February.
Mark and I rounded the north buoy, and did the steady grind to the south buoy in the same configuration, with me a few board lengths behind but without the mojo to close the gap. Finally, nearing the south buoy Mark said something like "Come on and catch up so we can draft!" I said "OK" and he intentionally slowed down to let me get in front for a while. We did some regular drafting and some side-wake drafting on the next trip north. On the second and final long, southward leg I was feeling really tired. I moved from out to the side of Mark into his actual draft and hoped to catch my breath. But he put on a little surge of speed and I couldn't summon the physical/mental power to keep with him. From that point the race was his, and I just tried to stay fast so I wouldn't finish too far behind.
Picture- At the finish.
Here's my GPS track and data from the race. If you click "View Flybys" in Strava you can see little icons representing all the GPS equipped racers moving along the course in accelerated time.
Other Race Intrigues: It was significant that Justin beat Murray, since Murray had beaten Justin in the last CGT race. I think the difference was because Murray used a 14x25 Riviera board for the race where he beat Justin, and used an older 14x28 Bark for this race. It would seem like a simple case of Murray should get the new Riviera, but it's more complicated because the narrower Riviera might not be stable enough for Murray outside the smooth water of the Imperial River.
What's Next: Things are going to get busy around here because my low-key summer work schedule of writing papers and supervising research will give way to the busy semester schedule of teaching. But I'm going to try to keep up my same sup race training routine of 3x per week on the water and 2x per week in the gym. I'm also overdue for another round of filming myself and correcting my stroke technique.