15th Annual Vancouver: June 13-15
|Men's Division Consolation||2nd Place|
This was the fourth year the Los Angeles Racing Dragons ventured to this spectacular event and the fifteenth year Vancouver has hosted this festival race. Unlike many of the festival races, the Vancouver event is very popular spectator event and has a very large participation by local corporations who are very serious racers. In many festivals, the corporate teams are, for the most part, recreational. At Vancouver, there are recreational corporate teams but the sport has been embraced by the locals in such a way that the corporate teams also race competitively.
While the races are our primary focus, there are lots of other events and vendors to check out while waiting for our next heat and the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival does it in style with a large center stage with singers and performances throughout the weekend and a large number of family friendly displays to peruse.
Every year they setup the Dragon Den which had displays, hands-on activities, crafts and games presented by organizations such as Abreast in a Boat, Arts Umbrella, Bard on the Beach, B.C. High School Curling, B.C. Alpine Ski Assocation, etc.
Yes you heard right, they had a mock curling rink. (I still don't understand the appeal, but to each his own). You also got make your own Alka-Seltzer rockets, and I don't care how old you are, rockets are always cool. There were informational and scientific pieces for us nerdy types.
This year was another growth year for the team, bringing many new faces and the Pink Dragons! The marshalling was just as efficient, and the racing just as frenzied but all in all, this great venue remained on our race circuit because of the learning opportunities it provided as we looked at these marvelous competitive teams from all over the world to see what we could incorporate into LARD.
Paddler's Corner: Jesse Wong
Whatcha looking at?
What year did you start with LARD?
How did you find out about the team?
Jesse: Leon and Jason coached the Northrop Grumman Water Dragons during the summer of 2002, the team I started with that later became the Space Dragons. After that summer, the Water Dragons stopped for the season. I wanted to continue year-round. So I joined LARD in the fall of 2002. I was on the Space Dragons and LARD in 2003 until I was forced to choose one team to be on. I chose LARD.
What were your first impressions?
Jesse: I thought the team was a fun, competitive team with good coaches, friendly people, and good looking girls.
What was your first race experience?
Jesse: My first race experience was with the Northrop Grumman Water Dragons at the 2002 Long Beach race. My first race experience with LARD was in 2003 in Vancouver.
Any specific memories you have over the years?
Jesse: The first Portland race was a lot of fun. I remember Olaf Jaeckstein’s email reports of the race where he described us as a troop of Native-Americans who came to do battle. I also remember how our boat veered left just short of the finish line and was T-boned by another boat in a qualifying race.
Losing my wallet at the Vancouver airport after the race and having Arthur Yeh skip his flight to keep me company until I found my wallet.
Being in my first Guts ‘n Glory race in Vancouver and having it all on video thanks to Phil, Huay, and Matt.
Kayaking in Vancouver after the dragon boat race and cycling through Stanley Park.
Getting what I think was LARD’s first $500 corporate sponsorship from Lone Star Restaurant.
Listening to the announcer on shore announce that we won the San Francisco race in 2009.
Trying to sing the national anthem at the 2009 SF awards ceremony.
What about anything silly,crazy,strange happening?
Jesse: Seeing the LARD boat at the 2002 or 2003 Long Beach race continuing to paddle as the boat was rolling over when Wasabi came so close to LARD that LARD paddlers actually had their paddles in the Wasabi boat, which caused the boat to roll over and capsize. In a video of the race, you can hear Vi shouting “Oh shiii-!”
Any other tidbits you think would be interesting to share with the team?
Jesse: Being on the LARD board in 2006-2007 was a rewarding, frustrating, demanding, and tiring experience that everyone should volunteer for at least once in their paddling lifetime.
Jesse (email interview 2010)
Paddler's Corner: Yonnie Lam
I started in Oct 2002 after LARD finished SF race. Steve Chow introduced me to the team. My first impression was "this team is hard core and they are serious". My back was so sore after the first practice, I couldn't stand straight for a couple days.
I think my first race was Vancouver 2003. It's an eye opener for me because it's a huge event and it's the first time I travelled out of country for a competition. It was fun.
I love this team because we are not just paddlers, we are friends, we care about each others just like family.....also....because of this team, I met my husband "Joe" and now we have a "LARD baby - Kiana"!
Yonnie Lam (2010)
How Not To Travel
I wasn't sure if I could get off of work in time for the Vancouver race since I was most likely going to be sucked into attending the graduation ceremony at the school I was working for at the time. I know some people enjoy it, I didn't even like it when it was my own graduation.
Anyhow, the friday before the races, I convince my brother to help me drive from Upland, CA all the way to Vancouver, BV. In one night.
This was one of the stupidest things I have ever done. The drive up to the San Francisco wasn't too bad. But from there, it got ugly. We had mountain passes to drive through and if we stopped for the night we would miss the saturday races for sure.
So we create a plan. Eddy drives one hour -- I sleep. I drive the next hour -- Eddy sleeps. Rinse. Repeat.
And as all good plans are wont to do, it fell apart almost immediately. Eddy would drive and I would wake up in fits every few minutes in fear for my life. I would poke him, "Are you awake?" He would answer with a mumble and a half-hearted, "Yes."
When it was my turn, he would do the same. Every turn in the road became a disaster in his mind where he would bolt upright, "Are you awake?!"
So after umpteen hours at the wheel, neither or us getting any sleep, we stop at a McDonalds for breakfast and coffee. They had these new things called McGriddles. Pancakes with a sausage in between. We order them, sit down, open the package, and laugh our asses off. I don't think we knew why then, and I sure don't know now. But we eventually made it all the way to Vancouver to take pics and help out with the races (Eddy was our steerer extraordinaire).