3rd Annual Lake Gregory - Aug 16
|Black||500m Mixed A||2nd (2:07:75)|
|250m Open||1st (1:05:43)|
|Red||500m Mixed B||4th (2:24:06)|
Vi, a most excellent chef
Lake Gregory is an artificial lake in the San Bernardino National Forest of the San Bernardino Mountains in San Bernardino County, California. The lake and the surrounding area make up the Lake Gregory Regional Park adjacent to Crestline, California (wikipedia).
This is the third year that Lake Gregory has been host to dragon boat racing but the first LARD has attended this event. The boats were donated by Dr. Chen and the locals are up and running with this annual event that I am fervently hoping will become a regular event on our calendar.
The high elevation (4,554 ft) provided a unique challenge as the air was quite thin. While this was first noticed during our warm-ups, it wasn't until we were on the water (and fresh water is not the same as salt water if you're curious) when we found how difficult it was to replenish our oxygen stores when there was less oxygen to be had. A challenge and still a lot of fun.
Man overboard! At least he's still smiling.
What really makes the Lake Gregory venue so unique is the small size means the distance from our tent to the marshalling area was but a stone's throw away. Since it is also a park there were plenty of picnic tables to be had and we would grab a plate of delicious bbq that Vi was so kind as to cook up and watch the festivities. I've paddled for a good amount of time now and this was definitely the most relaxed race I have ever been to and one worth going to again.
There were a few odd bits to the race. First, we were classified and even reported in the paper as a "professional" team. Now, admittedly we're a non-profit and a year-round team that travels out of country, but professional? Hardly :)
Second, we made it into the local paper (see photo below) and they quoted us "Members of the Los Angeles Racing Dragons promised to come back and defend their full team men's title after celebrating their victory over the Killer Guppies, Space Dragons and Rogue Warriors in the final race of the day Sunday." was never stated by any of us on the team . . .
Photo by Michael P. Neufeld
Lake Gregory is one of the prettiest venues we've paddled at. The lake has all these huge cottages that face the water, a few of us stayed in a nearby hotel facing the lake.
It's cool at night - we had cheese and crackers on the balcony and enjoyed the fresh air, until a skunk wandered by. The races are surprising tough on us - even though the shorter length (300m) due to the lake size constraints should have helped.
The high altitude of 4700 feet is hard on your lungs. Personally, I had a problem with breathing. I think the trick is to breathe deeply on each stroke. The boats are vintage Long Beach (not the big yellow ones, but the next fiberglass issue) so they feel a bit different from the sleek boats we practice in.
The bonus: Water slide rides after the races!!!!