2002 was a landmark year for the team and demonstrated a massive shift in focus. First was the creation of race jerseys and then the expansion of the race season to include the greatest number of races the team has attended ever. The competitive underpinnings were formed this year and the team decided to attend the Nationals event for the first time but not our last.
We just finished today's 250m races and are calling it a day. With the new timing implemented into our races, we did pretty well. Mark and Scott up front did a great job of keeping the pace low so everyone could get full, deep pulls in. I can't wait to see what our team will be capable of this weekend with the 500m races. Our new pace really does allow for everyone to really reach it out, drive our paddles deeper, and come all the way back up by kicking hard. Pacing (strength/cardio wise) is also a LOT easier. Timing was a little issue in the 2nd race, but otherwise we've run some solid races.
cue dramatic slow motion music
It is incredible to see so many professional teams out here...Philadelphia is taking names, and there are a good number of East coast teams as well. We were *right* behind the San Francisco Dragons today, a conglomerate of the best Bay Area teams up here, so we'll see what we can bust out tomorrow.
So far, we're proving to be the very best 270m team out here :-) Anyways, most of us will be heading over to Berkeley for some yummy Ethiopian food at the Blue Nile tonight, but we all look forward to seeing more LARDfolk out here soon. Have a safe flight/drive up here!!!!!
Also, we've had some incredible support from Dieselfish and Ripple Effect--neither of the teams are out here racing as a full crew, but they were generous enough to come out early this morning to provide us with a cooler full of OJ, water, fruits, and pastries. Please be sure to introduce yourselves to them this weekend if you didn't get a chance to mingle with them down in Long Beach.
Alright, that's it for now....gotta wash off some grime before dinner.
Just a little bloody nose.
A brief semi-humorous interlude:
If you were not aware, before going under the knife to fix my sinuses, I had a history of spontaneous nose bleeds. I would sneeze and it would start gushing. If you're curious, the longest nose bleed he has had lasted over 2 days and required a trip to urgent care where the doctor herself was shocked when she was unable to stop the bleeding using cauterizing sticks and was forced to pack his nose with several feet of gauze.
Anyway, on this trip, Kenny being Kenny was just sitting there when his nose started bleeding. We were all packed like sardines in the hotel and of course everyone being the helpful ladies and gents they are offered all sorts of advice:
Put ice on it.
Pinch the bridge.
Someone's bright idea.
Put your head up.
No, put your head down.
Stick a bunch of tissue up there!
"Wait, I've got an idea" said Kim -- searching through purse -- use this! A tampon. She wanted me. To stick. A tampon. Up my nose. wtf? "Boxers use them!" she said. Right. Boxers (the ones that box, not the ones you wear). She knows this. Uh huh. What the hell, its already been a few hours of non-stop bleeding. Of course, my suffering becomes other's amusement. Behold the photographic record. Kenny has a tampon in his nose.
Laugh it up. Go ahead. I'll still be here -- pride only slightly bloodied.
Karen's attempt at sympathy
And also for the record -- I did not hit Karen.
Nor does she have a sympathetic bloody nose.
Karen's problems were allergies, and we'd often find her with tissues attempting to staunch the flow of snot.
all bow to the LARD butt
My fond memories of U.S. Nationals at Lake Merritt, October 2nd, 2002
In retrospect, I think our team got the first glimpse of what’s to come in the future when we went to the U.S. nationals in Oakland.
In 2002, we had a very ambitious race schedule and the U.S. nationals were the 4th out of 8 races that year for most of us.
We had some early season race success at Vancouver and Long Beach. And thus we decided to sign up for the U.S. Nationals because we thought we were ready to gauge ourselves against the “big boys of dragon boat racing”.
It was a beautiful Saturday for racing in Lake Merritt. The weather was warm for San Francisco, the sun was out, and we were ready to show our skills on the waters. The teams were told to meet by a large grass area next to the race site.
When we showed up, we knew we were in for a rude awakening. There was a team from Philadelphia called the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Team who showed up before us. It was a spectacle to be marveled. First of all, all of the men were tall and buff, and they were wearing bright yellow tank tops to show off their muscles. Even the women were bigger than most of our men. They did not smile when we walked by. In fact, they continued on their stretching exercises as if we didn’t even exist. I observed them throughout the weekend and these guys were all business: race, stretch, rest and back to racing, with very little chit chat along the way. There was this other team from New York called MAD (Metro Area Dragons). They were known to be a top DB team out of the East coast. These guys were big but not nearly as big as the Philly guys. They were definitely friendlier and we intermingled a bit with them.
Now to the racing:
We had some very close races and not so close races that weekend. We raced against Philadelphia, MAD, BAD mostly and we ran repetitive heats in various lanes to ensure fairness. Philadelphia seems to blow everyone off the start at every heat and they were in a class by themselves. We were otherwise quite competitive with MAD and BAD. I think this was the beginning of our 0.01 race margins finishes. I think we lost to MAD by less than 0.5 seconds several times that weekend. At the end, we were a little disappointed by our results but we knew that we weren’t far away from the top dragon boat teams in the country.
Aside from racing, the waters in Lake Merritt left something to be desired. The residues from the pigeon infested waters left marks on our uniforms and made us appreciate our Long beach waters more.
Overall, we had a fun time in Oakland, and got a glimpse of our future during that race weekend, a weekend that demonstrated we were not far from competing against the best, but that it would require more dedicated training on our part to succeed.
Mark I. Feng (2010)
The PDBA had an outstanding showing at last weeks US National Championships in Oakland.
First, thank you to PDBA founding member Shirley Gee and the IDBA for hosting this great event. The US Nationals are a very technical event and Shirley's organization really did a great job of hosting. The paddlers that I talked with really liked the course and the event.
PDBA teams cleaned up in the medal count. West coast teams took home 108 POUNDS of medals!! There were 20 opportunities to medal and West Coast teams took 12 of them. That's 312 paddlers who went home with hardware! What a great showing!
Congratulations to the following crews for their selection to Team USA:
San Diego Int'l Dragon Boat Association - Premier Women and Senior Mixed B
San Francisco Dragons - Senior Open B
Wasabi Paddling Club - Senior Women B
Sunset High School - Junior Mixed A
There is a good chance that the other two PDBA Junior crews in Nationals will also be offered spots on Team USA. San Francisco and Portland AquaFire.
Wasabi - Portland Paddling Club - Silver
SF Dragons - Bronze
San Diego Women - Gold
Wasabi Team Huge - Silver
Wasabi Mixed - Silver
Draco Koa Akua (Tacoma) Bronze
SF Dragons - Fifth
LA Racing Dragons - Sixth
SF Dragons - Silver
Wasabi Power Surge Silver
SF Dragons - Fourth
San Diego Senior Mixed - Silver
SF Dragons - Bronze
Sunset Sun Dragons - Gold
Portland AquaFire - Bronze
SF Dragons - Fourth
Congratulations to all the PDBA teams who participated in Oakland. On to Rome and Shanghai!
Jeff Campbell from PDBA