Monday, January 22, 2018

Race Report: CGT Winter Series #2

Race: The second race in the CGT Winter Series.

Date it happened: 21 January 2018

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.

Course / Distance: For this series there are two courses: a short one that goes downriver to a buoy and back (2.9 km), and a longer one that goes downriver to the US 41 bridge and back (6.4 km).

Conditions: The weather was pleasant, with the morning air about room temperature, and a moderate East wind blowing. The river level was at least as low as in race #1, which is to say it was low enough to increase board drag and hit the paddle on the bottom in places. The tide was ebbing, with a current speed of 0.85 kph according to my paddling in current calculator. The wind, in the same direction as the current, made the upriver leg tricky.

Participants, Results and Gear: There was a good turnout (18 racers) including some less-frequent racers, such as young Sarah Weyenberg and Ellery Winghart. There were no outrigger canoes this time, but Murray Hunkin and Justin DiGiorgio used racing kayaks, and Penny Kappler used a recreational kayak. Mark Athanacio sat this one out to rest up after a long time-trial around Lovers' Key yesterday. My parents were in town because we were all at a family friend's wedding elsewhere in Florida on Friday, so they and my wife Rhonda were cheering from the shore.

As far as results go, Murray was first overall, I was the first 14' SUP, and Cindy Gibson was the first 12'6 SUP. Here's the full results with times:

Racer ** Class ** Model ** Course ** Time
Murray Hunkin ** K1 Kayak ** Assassin ** 6.4 km ** 0:38:01
Justin DiGiorgio ** Surfski Kayak ** Nelo 550 ** 6.4 km ** 0:38:30
James Douglass ** 14' SUP ** 23-wide Riviera RP ** 6.4 km ** 0:42:50
Gregory Zasinets ** 14' SUP ** 24.5-wide Starboard Allstar ** 6.4 km ** 0:44:33
Matt Kearney ** 14' SUP ** 23-wide Starboard Allstar ** 6.4 km ** 0:45:42
Bill Mussenden ** 14' SUP ** 23.5 Hovie GTO ** 6.4 km ** 0:46:02
Phil Trudgeon ** 14' SUP ** 25-wide Riviera RP ** 6.4 km ** 0:47:14
Cindy Gibson ** 12'6 SUP ** 25-wide Hovie ZXC ** 6.4 km ** 0:47:15
John Weinberg ** 14' SUP ** 25-wide Riviera RP ** 6.4 km ** 0:50:11
Sarah Weyenberg ** 14' SUP ** 24.5-wide Starboard Allstar ** 6.4 km ** 0:50:22
Donna Catron ** 12'6 SUP ** 26-wide Bark Vapor ** 6.4 km ** 0:54:20
Ellery Winghart ** 12'6 SUP ** 27-wide Starboard Allstar ** 6.4 km ** 0:57:37

Tom Trudgeon ** 14' SUP ** 27-wide Riviera RP ** 2.9 km ** 0:22:16
Meg Bosi ** 12'6 SUP ** 25-wide Bark ** 2.9 km ** 0:22:30
Jared Hamilton ** 14' SUP ** 27-wide Riviera RP ** 2.9 km ** 0:24:04
Penny Kappler ** Rec Kayak ** ?? ** 2.9 km ** 0:25:30
Saralane Harrer and dog ** 12'6 ** 26-wide Riviera RP ** 2.9 km ** 0:28:35

Play by play: The first group to start was Cindy, Sarah, and Ellery. Sarah is a good amateur racer from the midwest, and she looked serious today wearing a heart rate monitor and paddling a fast Starboard AllStar. I think Cindy knew she had tough competition because she blasted off at the start and paddled faster than ever for the entire race.

I lined up in the second group with Greg, Matt, and Bill, all fast dudes on 14' boards. I was on the south side of the river next to Greg. That was good because Greg is almost as fast as me but he can't or won't draft. I figured having him next to me, then hopefully behind me, would prevent anyone else from getting a free ride on my wake. I sprinted hard off the start and got in front of Greg, then maintained a nearly-sprint pace for a while to put a gap on Matt, who is a good drafter. I bobbled a bit going over a submerged object, which I later learned was a stick that had gouged the bottom of my board. Doh! I didn't fall, though, and after about 800 meters it looked like I had escaped all the potential drafters.

After that my race was relatively uneventful. I had a brief moment of drafting Justin and Murray as they passed me in their fast kayaks, but of course I didn't have the speed to stay in their drafts. Shortly after they passed me, I caught up with Sarah Weyenberg, who was only a few board lengths behind Cindy. They were both going fast, so it took me a while to get around them. That first leg of the course was quick with help from wind and current. The second leg, after pulling a u-turn around the pilings of the US 41 bridge, was harder. It was a tough choice between hugging the shore to escape the wind and current, or staying in the deeper water of the mid-river to avoid the drag-inducing effect of the shallows. Hurricane Irma moved a lot of sand down from upriver last summer, so it's shallower with more sandbars downriver, possibly making the course slower than in previous years. I put too much stock in avoiding the current this time, and not enough into avoiding the shallows, which contributed to my time being 38 seconds slower than in race #1 despite a pretty hard effort.

Here's my GPS track from the course:

Greg appeared shortly after I finished, alone, having shaken Matt off his draft around the bridge. Greg is best known for being a downwind paddling expert, but he's obviously tough in these flatwater grinds, as well. Matt was about a minute behind Greg. Cindy was safely ahead of Sarah, having extended her lead in the tough upriver leg. Though my race time was slower than in race #1, some others had faster times. Cindy and Bill Mussenden were both about a minute faster, Phil was 30 seconds faster, and Justin was 39 seconds faster despite hitting the same stick I hit and flipping his kayak right before the finish line. We are all happy that Justin is alive because he had a big scare in a downwinder paddle on the ocean during a cold front last week.

After the race we had good eats in the shop at CGT, and talked about whether or not we want to do a crazy treasure hunt race that RedBull is sponsoring in early February. It's located in the remote waters around Cape Romano (where the dome homes are) and it sounds like a logistical boondoggle where a lot could go wrong. I'll probably sit it out unless somebody twists my arm.

Another cool thing that happened after the race is that I got to go on a leisurely SUP cruise with my 73 year old dad and 70 year old mom. My dad has been reluctant to try SUP in the past, and he was wobbly at first this time, but he ended up doing fine. My mom was zooming all over the place on a raceboard. Next time she visits I'll encourage her to do one of the races. Also, we saw manatees.

1 comment:

Johnny Douglass said...

I finally was able to be there at the right time and see one of your Sunday morning races. It seems like a great way to enjoy nature, stay fit, and grow friendships. I enjoyed teetering along part of the race course later in the day with you.