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.
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!