CCDBA's SurviveOars Heading to Aix Les Bains for the Club Crew World Champions

On August 23, a group of CCDBA’s SurviveOars ascended on Colorado Springs for the National Championship. We were excited and anxious for the competition on a National level. Usually we race the same teams, and we know our worth next to them - this was a national setting, so we had no way to predict how we’d compare. Except we’re awesome, and we look really good!

We started with a 4:00 PM practice at little Quail Lake - not too far from where we were staying. I believe LIz Gladwell was the meteorologist of the day when she said she didn’t think we’d have a practice at all because thunderstorms were forecasted. Nay sayer, said !, we’re going for it! And went for it we did. We got on our practice boat - a tad bit earlier than our time because we are on it! The boats used for the festival were BUK boats. We had never experienced them. But they were steady! We loaded up and started practicing. The sky lit up - at first I thought it was the gods showing how impressed they were with us - but then a clap of thunder followed, and our steers called for us to go in. “Just one more run,” I begged. And in the midst of that last run, another bolt of lightening crossed our path - much closer this time because the clap of thunder shook that water and told us not to be fools. The horns blared from shore calling us in, and had that run been a race, we truly would have come in first - we paddled our hearts out or is it that our hearts were paddling at quite a fast rate? When we got back on shore, Brooke, a supporter from home who came with Donna, exclaimed that her heart was beating so fast. Sorry Brooke that we caused an anxiety. We were safe - and not too winded. Everyone was feeling that this altitude stuff was a myth, we were going to be fine!

Saturday dawned overcast - very much in our wheelhouse of weather patterns! Thankfully it stayed that way all day and the temperature was quite pleasant. Our first race was the ACS race. Our goal was to take first place every step of the way! We were competing against two other teams - one from Charlotte and one from the regions of the NorthWest. We had raced against Healing Dragons from Charlotte, NC in Szeged, Hungary, and took the gold, and we were warned about Survivor Sake from Washington.

If you recall, the venue changed at the last minute due to a blue-green algae bloom closure of the original venue. Because of this change, rather than doing 500 meter races we did 400 meter ones. The run to the start line was very short, so our warm up consisted of land exercises. Nevertheless, we were feeling psyched and pumped! Neddy expertly put us in our lane. The starter - a no-nonsense kind of a gal - had us in position, the horn blew, and we were off! We jumped out of our lane. We had an incredible transition. Timing was good. Denise was banging on the drum. I’m pretty sure at meter 200, I thought, “Thankfully this race is only 400 meters - there’s no oxygen!” Our head crossed the finish line first but by less than a second. We had our work cut out for the remainder of the races. At the nationals, it is the combined time of all heats when there are 3 or fewer boats. We came in second for the next two 500 meters heats that by the end of the day we had nearly 4 seconds to shave off. Sunday was the 200 meter races. They were fun! We came in 2nd on the first heat by less than a second then came in 1st by more than a second - so had that been a stand alone division we would have won it. But it wasn’t and we ended up taking the Silver. Charlotte took Gold, we took Silver and Sake took Bronze. We look forward to seeing them in France.

We had also entered the festival’s women’s division. We raced 3 heats against Indy SurviveOars. That team started up about the same time we did. We won the first heat, barely lost the second heat then came back with a vengeance in the third heat giving us the gold.

A good time was had by all. We had so much family support - lots of family live out in Colorado. A giant thanks to Rosana’s cousin and her family for the food and drinks. Dr. Malone who is temporarily living in Colorado Spring come out to support. It was really nice. We were done on Sunday early enough to explore Colorado Springs - it’s absolutely gorgeous! And now we are heading to France.

Thank you to everyone for making it a wonderful experience. I will close this posting with a sentiment from a newer paddler that reminds us why we exist.

“I want to thank everyone for being so helpful and supportive. What a change from last summer’s rounds of chemo. It’s great to be part of the race and feel alive again! Everyone of you is an inspiration. What an amazing beautiful setting to explore! Thanks everyone for letting me be part of the team. This was a great experience.”

Cheers,

Roe

Our Paddlers at IDBFWC “Worlds” Thailand

From August 20 - 25, 2019, four of our paddlers competed at the International Dragon Boat Federation World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand. Only about 25 men and 25 women are chosen to form one USA Team in each age category every two years. Men and women compete in the Open, Women’s, and a Mixed team divisions. Each division provides courses of 2,000 meters, 1,000 meters, 500 meters and 200 meters . All but the 2K has multiple heats, and in the Senior categories of Senior A (40 yrs +), Senior B (50 yrs+) Senior C (60 yrs+), heat times are combined to arrive at First, Second and Third.

We have some very special SurviveOars who not only made the national team, but excelled beyond expectation!

Nettie Aussesserus and Belin Tanner both were rostered on the Senior A Women’s Team. Nettie was also chosen for the Mixed Sr A Team! The women’s team won Silver medals in the 2K, 1K, 500m and 200m! The Mixed team won Silver in the 2K, 1K, Bronze in the 200!

Dave DeGroot was chosen for both the Open and the Mixed Sr C Teams. With an unprecedented, historic showing, the Open and Mixed teams swept all the categories with Gold medals: 2K, 1K, 500m, 200m, setting World Records in times for some of them (ask Dave I expect he has them memorized!).

Becky Adams was chosen for the Sr. C’s women’s team and had a personal dream come true, sitting Seat One right as “stroke” or pacer for the 500 m races. It was an incredible experience winning Gold in the 500’s, the 2K and 1K, Bronze in the 200m. World records were set in the women’s 2K and 1K!

No Senior USA team had EVER gotten a Gold medal before this cycle. Senior C ended up with Eleven out of Twelve possible Gold medals!! We crushed Canada, who has been winning all the Golds for years!

Congratulations to our inspiring athletes! It was a long, hard journey to Thailand requiring much personal, physical and financial sacrifice. We could not have done it well without the programs of CCDBA, and the moral support of paddlers, affiliates and our huge family of supporters.

The fact that five of us tried out for the national team is a testament to the grit and courage of our little, but mighty, club. CCDBA hosted the first Senior C try-out camp ever held on the west Coast back in October and none of the athletes can stop talking about the magic of the Central Coast and the hospitality they found with us.

So let’s keep on keeping on! I’ve been informed we have a berth for Club Crew in France in 2020, thank you very much, Rose Marie Battaglia and team!

Paddles Up,

Becky Adams
World Champion

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TUESDAYS’ RACE PRACTICES MOVE TO WEDNESDAY BETWEEN OCTOBER 23 AND NOVEMBER 20 (10/23, 30, 11/6, 13, 20)

We have a special opportunity to learn French for Travelers with Susan Lloyd at Cuesta College.  This is great for anyone planning a trip to a French speaking country.  Our race team has won a bid in Club Crew in France in 2020, so this is great timing!  Information is below:

French for Travelers

Are you planning a trip to a French-speaking country? Come learn basic French conversation, pronunciation and culture in a communicative setting. Instructor Susan Lloyd will teach you practical phrases and many language-learning tips to prepare you for your travels.

Class book, “French Conversation, Collins”, is available at Volumes of Pleasure Bookstore in Los Osos, CA

DATES: 10 meetings, Tuesday and Thursday: October 22 - November 21, 2019

TIME: 5:15 - 6:45pm

FEE: $155 + Book

LOCATION: San Luis Obispo Cuesta College Campus Room 4730

INSTRUCTOR: Susan Lloyd

QUESTIONS: Contact instructor at susanlloyd925@gmail.com

Long Beach 2019

This year's crew that went to Long Beach included Corina, Terry, Heather, Sandy, Rosana, Donna, Missy, Miki, Laurie, Kit, Martha, Margaret, Burt and me. A good time was had by all! Burt is a master at the tiller and coaching. With him at the helm, we were confident we had the best shot at winning. At the coaches meeting we were told, "A steersperson can't win a race, but they sure can lose it!" we are so lucky to have Burt because we know he will never lose the race for us! He is also so dedicated to us - always scouting for things to look for to improve us as a team. 

We all arrived safely without too much traffic - though it was southern California, so enough traffic was had by all as well - especially on the way home. We warmed up practicing our start, body and finish of the race. We had an old Champion with short foot pegs, but we all made the best of it. We took notes on how we needed to seat the boats for the next day.

Our first race of the day was our women's division. Long Beach allows only 18 paddlers in the boat. We had Burt as our steersperson. We needed a drummer and 18 paddlers. We brought 14 including Burt - so down to 13. Miki was going to sit at the drum - now we are down to 12 paddlers. Burt and I scoured the grounds for 6 extra paddlers. We had Jamie from Paddle Fusion, Katie from Southern Heat, our very own Connie and Kathy (coaches from our paddle clinic) and Dodie from NAC. If you did the math right, you'd guess that only equalled 17 - and that's what we went with. It was before 10:00 AM, so no actual drumming was permitted. However, Miki was the most awesome air drummer there ever was! And amazingly, she sounded just like Burt when in that drummer seat - she even threw her voice so it sounded like it was coming from the back of the boat. We did well enough in that heat to get into the Women's Final D division, which was on Sunday.

Next were the two survivor divisions - BCS and AFC. We combined with NAC - our southern sisters (southern CA - not southern US). We decided that we would seat the boat for the BCS and NAC would seat the boat for the AFC (All Female Cancer). BCS Missy joined me in the pacer seat. Burt steered. Denise from NAC called. 

In Long Beach, there are cages that hold the dragon head in place for the start. When the race starts, a release of air can be heard. So we are sitting ready, we are at attention, we are buried, we are ready and the air is released and we are off like a shot. After about 20 strokes, we never saw our competition. We won by a boat's length. That felt good. Then we did it again in the AFC division. This time NAC had the front of the boat, and we took the back half. Rosana was behind me reminding me I wasn't pacing with her ever so compassionate counting - one, two, one, two. Donna St. Jean Conti was the pace I could see - on every stroke, so pounded the water inspiring more from every one of us. We repeated winning by a boat length in the BCS final - and we took our first gold. Wow! We felt good - visions of croissants and Eiffel towers were dancing in our minds. 

Now it's the AFC finals. We have no reason to believe it's not going to play out the same way as the previous 3 races of the survivor divisions played out. Again, we are sitting ready, at attention, blades buried, head in the cage - air and we're off. Now remember - we are in the back of the boat. After 20 strokes, I'm expecting nothing in my peripheral vision. But not so - there was a dragon head - and it wasn't falling back. What was happening? Rosana gave her "come on, horseys" Burt was calling his power tens, Donna St. Jean Conti was pounding and burying and inspiring the boat, Denise was reminding us to press - and press we did. We paddled as if there were actual gold at the finish line - and there was, and we got it. Just by half a boat length this time - I forgot I was in seat 7, so I thought we were in jeopardy of losing - but I was wrong. It was a fantastic race - We all agreed that racing in a tighter field brought its own excitement. 

Which was good because now it's Sunday - but first, let me tell you about dinner. Sandy Mitchell organized the team dinner. She selected Walt's Wharf - highly recommended if ever in or around Seal Beach - it was a seafood and fowl delight. Everyone was fat and happy - we shared good food, good company, and good cheer.

But not too good of cheer because we now had our final race of the day - our Women's final. We so badly wanted to win a medal to round out the festival. In looking at the times, we knew we had a very good chance in taking the bronze. We rounded up our five loaners and we were fortunate enough to find a 6th, so we were able to go out with a full boat. From the very start, we were in a tight pack - one boat edged out in front of the pack but the other 5 or 6 stayed close together. We paddled our hearts out - we left nothing on the water but by 1/10th of a second we took 4th place. It's a good thing we paddled our hearts out other wise they would have been broken. Instead we felt invigorated because we ran a great race. Burt & I believe if we had a full boat of our own team, we would have had a bronze.

San Diego is our next festival. We are hoping to get a full boat, so we can race one last time for the season, so stay tuned!

Cheers,

Rose Marie

Airtime!

Every now and again we like to share our passion. Therefore we were really excited when local news Channel 6 KSBY came and joined us on the boat!

WE LOVE CASTAIC LAKE!

We love Lake Castaic! A small contingent of paddlers from Central Coast SurviveOars joined up with a small contingent of paddlers from Newport Aquatic Center (NAC). The whole of these two bodies were greater than the sum of its parts. We are proud to announce that we were the fastest women's boat of the entire festival! We bring home the Gold in Women's Division A! 

Our accomplishment of course didn't come without its struggles. On Friday we arrived to practice without any traffic - what a great venue! It's just 3 short hours away from here without having to go through LA. We were six for practice. Nettie's John watched from his perch in the shade and timed our practice run - it was a good time with just six - less than 1:30 for 250 minutes - not too shabby. 

We went back to our hotel to freshen up to meet for dinner at Gyu-Kaku (Please ask Margaret the correct pronunciation - she makes it sound very appetizing) - a Japanese BBQ where BBQ pits adorn the table. We opted for a preset dinner menu for 6 though we were 7, we were confident we wouldn't go hungry. We are pretty sure we ate a good portion of an entire cow - there was filet mignon, sirloin, short ribs, skirt steak, pork belly, even some shrimp, salad, and more finishing it up with S'mores - because every BBQ needs to end with S'more no matter what culture the BBQ represents - it's a crossover dessert. 

Next morning we get to the race venue at 8:30 - our first race being at 11:00. It was a beautiful morning - wasn't too hot, our spot was staked out thanks to Donna and Nettie. Our NAC paddlers were there - Barbara, Neddy, Denise, Kathryn and Joan. The atmosphere was relaxed - the venue was buzzing with excitement. Then we hurried up and waited. We went over the boat's seating: Roe and Carol Ann pacing, Missy and Nettie in the timing box, Barbara and Lynn our engine room, Kathryn and Joan leading the rockets with Donna and Margaret being the Rockettes. Neddy was at the helm and Denise at the Drum. 

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We get called up to marshal about 10:30 - wind is just picking up. We load the boats - Wind is howling. It's a wild ride out to the start line. We are constantly re-positioning ourselves and literally before we know it - we understand the race has started just has the dragon from another boat decided to kiss Lynn - Lynn being the faithful wife pushed that dragon out of our boat and we were off - two boats were way ahead of us but we were determined. Though I would love to say we caught up but we didn't - we came in third in that heat. We were stunned by the wind's force and how the race was started - some heard we have alignment - but most were still helping to position our boat into our lane with some feeling violated by the other boat's dragon. Amazingly the race once under way felt good. We all agreed that we did well despite the rocky (literally and figuratively) start. 

Our next event was the Survivors' Ceremony. It was quite nice - we were all lei’d, which was a thrill and honored by all festival participants. After we went back to our tent to await our next race. Wind came down quite a bit for the 2nd race. We lined up and actually heard the calls of the start. We had a good beginning - these were 250 meter races - so much fun! The are done before we know it. We took first place in that heat which meant we were in Division A for the finals. Our goal was to make it into Division A - we hoped to medal, but we were pleased just to be in Final A. 

Many minutes later it was our turn to go out for our last race. Nettie captained us to focus and advised us to leave everything on the water. I would love to say the wind was calm, but I can't. Poor Carol Ann pried for the equivalent of a 500 meter race before we even started. Finally we got lined up in the middle of our lane - we had alignment - we were ready - we were attention’ed and then we went and never looked back - we ran our race - a start, a power ten another power ten then a finish - we lurched further ahead in our finish - we were leaving nothing behind. We handsomely came in 1st. Lei’d and Medaled - it was a good day. 

We made it home a little after 7:00. Again there was no traffic - it's a great venue. We hope that next year we can bring a bigger contingent to Castaic Lake - we want everyone to share in the camaraderie we experienced. What fun was had by all!

See you on the water!

Paddles up!

Roe

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Arizona Dragon Boat Festival Report

What  a wonderful way to open the 2019 race season! We had a fantastic weekend of racing, camaraderie, and WINNING!

We were in three divisions and a knock out division of 250's. Our first race was Women's division. It was the first time Corina raced. We had a very good time of 2:32. Our start was strong, we maintained our power during the body of the race and when we needed to finish it, we poured it on. Burt was at the helm and Leslyn at the drum. It was bitter sweet knowing that Leslyn's time at the drum was beating down. She is such an inspiration, strong leader and powerful race director. 

Our next race was the first of two in the Survivors' division. We had Josie from NAC rounding out our 18 paddler boat. Josie joined us in Hungary, so it was welcoming home a family paddler. To get the Gold in Survivors' division, our times for two heats would be combined. Again, awesome start, strong body and powerful finish. Unfortunately, Team Survivor, San Diego's Sea Dragons with their 20 paddlers, eked out ahead be less than a half of second. We would have our work cut out for us in the final division. During the day, we were on the hunt for two more survivors that could fill our boat. Success was had when we obtained Jolane form Phantom Dragons and Linda from Wasabi. 

One of the greatest things about Dragon Boating is the ability to blend and paddle. This was certainly the case with our two borrowed paddlers. The final heat for Survivor division again showed an awesome start, strong body and powerful finish, but we added to all parts an excelling of forward motion. We had to beat San Diego by 1 full second to get the gold. We managed 4. We left no doubt in anyone's mind that we are the Gold winners. 

Saturday also included the semi-finals for Women and a Masters's heat. In the Women's division, about 8 teams would be cut - they weren't going to the finals. Remember this division was not a Senior or Masters division - it was not age specific - everyone on our boat has passed the 1/2 century mark. Another wonderful thing about Dragon Boating - age doesn't matter. Our Women's semi-final proved our best race of the day. We were well warmed up, fortified by good food and good cheer, and we had a challenge: "win this heat, and I'll buy you a round of beer!" The challenge was made by Carey - the MC of the festival. Carey has known us since we started - he was one of the coaches of the original clinic a group of 8 of us went to in Tempe. We accepted his challenge. And we came in first of that heat - dragon boat racing is fun - and the fun goes up exponentially when you are first! 

The Masters division was a mixed division. Burt was in the boat paddling - our token male while Lynn was at the helm steering her first 500 meter race. It was good to feel the power of Burt! Good to hear him give it his all! Lynn as the steerswoman kept the boat steady, in our lane and over the finish line. Nothing but admiration for Lynn's ability, willingness to be in that very important and nerve wracking position. Lynn's "put me in coach" attitude is nothing short of heroic. The best we can say about the Masters division is that we didn't come in last - most other boats had up to 12 men - we held our own. But we didn't make the finals - which worked out, so we had rest time between our Survivor's final and Women's final on Sunday. 

Saturday we left the race grounds invigorated and at the top of our game. Dinner was a fantastic affair. It was a great turn out. I learned the origin of the Adorables and how special they each are. It was great to hang out off the field. Thank you Mary for taking the task on - you did a fantastic job! I believe we were all in bed by 10 - did I mention we are all over the 1/2 century mark? However, this allowed us to return on Sunday still on top of our game. 

Sunday Survivor's final felt amazing! We were connected and glorious. There is nothing as satisfying as looking ahead and not seeing another boat out of your peripheral vision, hearing the beats of the other drums fade and feel smooth undisturbed water. We won the Gold.

With a short break, we hydrated and psyched up for the Women's B final - we were one of the 12 boats that made the final cut. 6 went to Women's B and 6 went to Women's A. We knew we had our work cut out for us. Some of the times of the other boats were more than 10 seconds faster than our time. But we also know that we race our field - the faster the field the better is our time. Sandy and Rosana gave us our mission - medal in this division! And medal we did with focus, strength and connection - we brought home the bronze. Not too shabby!

Our final race was the Knock Out division. 6 boats start the division. We race 250 meters for each course. In the first run, last boat goes back to shore while the other 5 go back to the start line for round 2. After the second round, 2 boats leave the field and 3 boats go back to the start for the winner's round. Again, up to 12 men are allowed in the boat. Round 1 was a tight field - all boats fighting not to be last place. We made it! With Lynn at the helm for the second time of this festival and the second time in this division (she did it last year as well), we turned around and slowly went back to the start line. The second round was going to be tough - we had to maintain our focus and our technique to allow us to stay for the third round. We did it! We were one of three boats heading back to the start line. Our competition was two boats of 12 men/8 women, one boat was 65 years and older while the other boat was 35 years and younger. We came in 3rd but we held our own - we were three seconds of the first place winners - the kids and just 2 seconds off the 2nd place finishers. The kids couldn't believe how hard they had to paddle to beat the old geezers especially the boat with just one man. Oh but what a man! 

We were fortunate enough to have a paddler from South Africa join us. Lenora paddles with a team in South Africa. She was a nice addition to our crew. She thanked us for including her so graciously and warmly - she said she doesn't always find that in other teams. Because of her geographic locations, her team goes to festivals once every four years. We chipped in and bought her a team shirt to send her home with along with the medals. 

Terry and John Miron are amazing! They took on the job of feeding us during the festival. We were in want of nothing. They are incredibly generous, thoughtful and hardworking. From the bottom of our hearts - or should I say stomachs? Thank you! 

Burt and Becky thank you for transporting the tables and the popups - you rock.

Janet and Gayle thank you for bringing the whiteboard and our paddles and vests. Thank you for letting us ride in your cars. Thank you.

Dave and Athena - Phoenix locals who come out every year to support us - thank you.

Thank you to all the non-racing supporters - I know Troy was there smiling and cheering us on as we came off the boat - invigorating! Don was there making sure we felt supported. And Bill - our score keeper extraordinaire! Thank you!

This festival marked Leslyn's last one until further notice - she'll be back (Arnold Schwarzenegger's accent). Mary, Donna and Rosana organized a gift of appreciation that we were able to present to her on the last day of the festival - Truly Leslyn it is just a token because there is nothing that comes close in showing our appreciation for everything you do. Your presence will be missed but your spirit, your lessons and your voice will be with us forever - and we just may need to Facetime out to the start line. 

Finally I'd like to thank all the racers - of course non of this would have been possible without your commitment to the sport, the team but mostly to yourselves - we paddler stronger because we've committed to being stronger. 

Sandy has posted on Facebook - videos and photos of the weekend - check it out. Sandy is an incredible photographer - and supplier of tattoos. Thank you

No doubt I am forgetting someone - so let me just say - EVERYONE added to this festival's experience. It was so good - so happy - so strong!

Paddles Up!

Cheers,

Roe

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