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Yearbook

8th Annual Tempe - March 26 & 27

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Youtube Video by Kevin Horton

On July 20, 2010 one of the bladders holding back the waters in Tempe Town Lake burst. Tempe Town Lake is a man-made lake, dammed in 1999 and a major tourist attraction for the state. It holds almost 1 billion gallons of water and was refilled October 8th, 2010, ahead of schedule in preparation for the 2010 Ironman Race to be held at the lake in November.

When this news made its way west, the team was concerned that in the current economic (depression) and environmental (drought) conditions, the likelihood of the state finding the money to refill the lake was grim. However, it is often in times of adversity that we find novel ways of solving problems and this was no different. While, it may sound a little self-serving, the team was grateful to have the Arizona race back on our schedule as our season kick-off race.

Squad Division Place
race results
Gilda 500m Div B Finals 4th Place (2:13.66)
Yolanda 500m Div B Finals 3rd Place (2:12.03)
Open 500m 4th Place Finals (2:04.67)
San Diego with LARD Women 500m 1st place (2:13.63)
Gilda 250m 1:04.53
Yolanda 1000m 4:55.14

Tempe Paddlers: Seize Your Opportunity

Scott Wu (March 25, 2011)

Team,

Although I won't be in Tempe with you this weekend, I wanted to share a few words so that you truly understand the great opportunity you have before you this weekend.

Traditionally, we have designated the Tempe race as a "fun" race. It is one of the few races where we mix our crews so that newer paddlers can paddle with more experienced paddlers. This year is no exception. That's why the crew names for Tempe are not designated Black, Red or White. Instead, we have designated our teams "Yolanda" and "Gilda" (references to exercise circuits that we use in land training). It is a clear signal to those in the dragon boat community that we are out to have fun and provide our newer paddlers with race experience.

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LARD from Head to Toes (photo by Phil Sun)

What does "fun" mean? I'll tell you what it does NOT mean first. It does NOT mean disrespect our sport. It does NOT mean paddle salutes in the middle of races or intentional zig zagging down the race course - or providing excuses as to why teams that we usually pound are passing us. It does NOT mean do not try your hardest. Regardless of our (or your) goals ALWAYS respect our sport and your competitors by giving every race everything you have to give. Always.

What "fun" means is to take in the weekend for what it is - a fantastic opportunity to spend time away from the daily grind with your teammates. Through your interactions and experiences this weekend, you will learn more about your teammates and our team. These tournaments leave positive lasting impressions on everyone that is fortunate enough to attend and this race is no exception. Winning tournaments is great, but what happens off the water is the reason so many of us come back year after year. It is the very reason many of us have our team's logo permanently inked on our bodies. I love this team. I love everything about it. I hope you do or will too.

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Tempe Town Lake refilled (photo by Paul Wu)

So what do the coaches want from you this weekend (besides having fun, of course)? It's rather simple. Look at your time on the water as an opportunity to get better. Ever stroke you take, every recovery and setup you execute in race conditions is an opportunity for you to get better and for you to make the team better. No stroke should be wasted. This race will give you the race experience you will need to make the rest of the year successful. If you are a newer paddler, watch how a veteran paddler handles him or herself before, during, and after races. Can you match their intensity? Can you match their focus? Can you push yourself as hard as that veteran paddler? If you are a veteran paddler, watch our newer paddlers. Do you still have the excitement they have when it comes to racing? Do you still have that raw burning passion many of our newer paddlers display? We can learn something from every single one of our teammates. What will you learn?

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Keyees wishes LARD good luck in Tempe! (photo by Scott Wu)

I also want you to move yourself forward in time. I want you to think about the possibility of finishing the last race at one of our target tournaments (YVR, PDBA, LB, SF) and you or the team not doing as well as you had hoped or as well as we expected. Did you do everything you could to make yourself better? If you fear an answer of "no" (and you should), now is the time to make sure that future answer is a "yes". You have an opportunity to make the team better now. Seize your opportunity.

Finally, always remember when you are wearing our colors and our logo, others are watching you. Set a good example. Make your teammates proud to call you a fellow teammate and make others want to join LARD because of your grace, humility and friendliness.

Have fun and learn. I'll be constantly refreshing my Twitter feed the entire weekend.

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Heading to the races

What he said. . .

Jason Cheng (March 25, 2011)

Safe travels to all of you heading out to Tempe today! Wish I could join y'all for our team's first race, but looking forward to the twitter/fb updates throughout the weekend, and of course, the post-race recap.

Remember, this race is the first momentum-builder to a season that we're looking to peak for in Sept/Oct . Race like you train (and train like you race). The 'race-day' mindset & feeling you get at a race venue is not one that can really be reproduced around Naples Island on the weekends.

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Regardless of venue size, race weekends are an invaluable tool to raising your own awareness of how to best prepare mentally and physically, before and during, an intense piece. With 1.5h+ breaks inbetween, complete with other distractions. Without a doubt, the coaches want all of you to have fun this weekend, too. Bring your positive attitude: regardless of result outcome & placing, do your best to improve with each effort, and encourage and support your teammates to do the same.

When all is said and done, safe travels home to all of you, too. I look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

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Tempe Tweeting and Other Shenanigans

Tabitha Huang (April 2, 2011)

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Tweet Tweet! I doubt that 140 characters would be enough to describe a fun-filled weekend in Tempe. But nonetheless I enjoyed keeping the rest of the team updated with the Twitter feeds.

The AZDBA Race has always had a special place in my heart. I first came to this race 3 years ago with my college team, not knowing what to expect for my very first dragonboat race. Now, I was really excited to get back into racing because nothing beats that adrenaline rush each race brings. As we jump start our season with one race under our belt, we know that there is a lot more to come.

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Yolanda

When I saw the race grids before the weekend, I saw that LARD Yolanda would be racing against CAUCI Fire for my very first heat. I was actually really excited to race my former team. However, I didn’t realize that I would be racing the UCI team in several heats throughout the weekend. I was just thinking “Really? How many more races will I have against them?” I mean I love my old team because they got me into this sport, but damn I just wanted to beat them.

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Gilda

Normally, after the first heat of the day I tend to feel a little winded but slightly refreshed despite the dry air killing my throat. Before I had time to fully recover, I was back in the marshalling area getting ready to join forces with San Diego Dragonboat Team and UCSD’s dragonboat team for the women’s race. It was funny watching some of the playful banter among the LARD ladies since half were on the SD boat and the other were on the Wasabi boat. That race was probably one of the most solid pieces I’ve ever had while doing a gender’s race. After the start, I was expecting powers and a strong finish but none of that occurred. Long meaty strokes were their tactic and it worked. During that race as focused as I was, I could hear the drummer from Space Dragons calling the powers just to keep up with us. They didn’t and there was a lot more power to come throughout the weekend with that boat.

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Men

The next women’s race was another amazing piece. Seriously, despite never having practiced as one boat, it was amazing how fluid it was. During our pep talk, one of the strokers mentioned how they “might” have to call a power during the race. I was surprised because I’m used to hearing a power call. Though I was thinking at that point, if our first race didn’t have a power and we had a great piece, what the hell happens when they call the power? Apparently we didn’t need any powers as we blew our competition out of the water. It was a great feeling crossing the finish line and the other boats were further behind. This was a positive way to end the first day of racing.

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On Sunday, LARD Gilda was the first boat to race that day and did an amazing job. Then I heard there was a possibility of a LARD head to head race in the Mixed B Division Finals. That would make racing fun and interesting since it doesn’t happen too often. As soon as we found out that Yolanda would meet Gilda in the finals, the trash talking started. I could feel that both boats wanted to beat each other for bragging rights throughout the race. During that race I could tell that this was a very close race not only with Gilda but also with the rest of the boats in the other lanes. Normally when races get tight I tend to speed up hoping that something would happen but I tried hard not to rush and keep a consistent rate with my benchie. In the end Yolanda just made it into third, beating Gilda by a little over one second. Just looking at the times of that race is definitely motivation for all of us to improve for the next races during this season.

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Women

As it turns out the San Diego women’s boat advanced to the Division A finals, which was definitely awesome. I could tell that everyone wanted to win, with a “Go Big or Go Home” mentality. I don’t mind since I share that similar mentality. During this race I got to experience their power and finishes. Holy crap. Those powers were ridiculous, in a good way of course. The settle rate was already a good where I could get a full reach and rotation, especially since I got more room in row 7. But with the power and finish I could feel the boat pull away and take what’s we deserved. We did take what was ours. We all got a shiny gold medal in the shape of the Arizona state.

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Overall I do believe that this was a stepping point for what’s to come this season. I just hope I don’t have to jump the fence again. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for LARD. All I can say is that I have never tweeted that much in the span of 2 days but I’d do it for LARD any day. Tweeter Out!

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I lost on Jeopardy, baaaby.

Kenny Kim (March 27, 2011)

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Billy L, Jeopardy Master

I'm not much into flying, and I avoid it as much as I can. Heck, I've driven from Upland to Vancouver in ONE DAY to avoid flying, and this year was no different. Aaron, Billy, Jeannie and myself all piled into Phil's van for a fun filled 6 hour drive to Tempe. While there was threatening talk of playing Disney tunes for the entire trip; it was thankfully an empty threat since no one remembered to bring any CDs to torture me with. Instead we napped and played Jeopardy. I learned a lot from playing Jeopardy but not about the trivia: I learned that Aaron has a freaky amount of knowledge of coins and monetary systems and is not someone you want to go up against with anything to do with Geography. I learned that if you want to get schooled in anything arts related, Jeannie's your woman. Unfortunatly for his final score but fortunately for our safety, Phil was more focused on driving than playing. And Billy was game master extraordinaire and the master of some truly random answers.

Memorable bits from our drive:

  • 4.  Jeannie and I laughing till we cried as we gasped for fresh air after being Dutch Ovened.
  • 3.  What is Cuba.  Jeannie, the category is, "H in the name."  Doh.
  • 2.  What hydroponic plants do not need to grow.  Thank you Billy for saying “sugar.”
  • 1.  When asked if he was okay to drive, Aaron replies grinning from ear to ear, "I'll be okay, it's you guys I'm worried about."  That sent shivers down all our spines.

What drives me crazy about Tempe is how they do their "ranking." For those unaware, Saturday's races have two races per team and those two times are averaged together to create a master list of ranked teams. This is the only race I know of that does this. Why is this a problem? Because water conditions change throughout the day especially when the winds pick up resulting in drastic variability in heat times. It can also create bizarre situations where one team will win a fastest time award but not win the division.

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Finding new uses for tall people

It made me so damn proud to see veterans and rookies sitting side by side starting from an absolute mess Saturday morning and finishing Sunday with heads held high because we all know we made a lot of improvement. Critiques were given and taken without any rancor and each race was markedly different enough that even our guest steerswoman noted how the Open boat from Saturday to Sunday was a completely different boat. I will admit I slipped up on one stroke during an Open race when I heard the steerer yell at us, "Give me a bench, bitches!" I guffawed before I could regain my composure. I couldn't help it, it was funny.

There was another fun moment as Gilda was waiting in the marshalling area and Otto was walking up and down the line giving his motivational speech when we decided the best way to show our support was to smack his butt as hard as we could as he walked by. Twenty smacks on the bum Coach Otto took. He took them like a man. He took them with a smile.

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Great Effort at Tempe, and Looking Beyond...

Otto Jan (March 28, 2011)

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Gilda

Team,

Great job this past weekend! I'm pretty sure some of us are exhausted and slightly charred after a full weekend in the Arizona heat. Everyone contributed in so many ways, but I would like to especially thank the board members and the captains for their planning and race managing. I would also like to thank Wasabi for all their help with supplying paddlers, drummers, and steerspeople. For those who did not join us, a quick recap: the team fielded two mixed boats, 1 open boat, one 1000m boat, and one 250m boat. Wasabi paddlers completed our mixed boat rosters, and it was an awesome experience for our folks to paddle with some of the top female paddlers on the west coast. Gilda and Yolanda faced off in lanes 1 and 2 of the mixed B final, and there was no shortage of teasing/playful trash talking beforehand. The open boat was 0.04 seconds from medaling, and our ladies merged with Wasabi and San Diego in the women division. Long Beach Masters earned 2nd place and Grand Masters earned 4th.

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Yolanda

As I stated numerous times throughout the weekend, the goal was to focus on self improvement, not placement. How do we learn from our experiences and apply that knowledge in our next opportunity? Our Saturday morning heats were rough, but our improvement from heat to heat was tremendous. Feedback from a Wasabi paddler on Sunday: "This boat feels completely different than yesterday!" Every one of you made that difference. The lessons we learned from each post-heat breakdown was not forgotten, and I thank everyone for their effort and focus.

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pooped after 2 days of nonstop racing

Our season started a few weeks ago, but I believe our team has finally waken up after this race. Whether it's attending land training and water practice more frequently and/or exercising more during the week, let's make a commitment to keep improving and improving until you know that you'll have no regrets when you step off that boat on game day.

"Improve yourself, Improve your team." Let's make that more than just words!

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Gilda 500m

Cheryl
Lori
Karen W
Kat
Megan
Jeannie
Barb Wells (Wasabi)
Holly Adams (Wasabi)
Laurie Hansen (Wasabi)
Anni Malkasian (Wasabi)
Jan Younker (Wasabi)
Lisa Stewart (Wasabi)
Aaron
Phil
James
Noel
Kenny
Delwin
Paul
Keith
Billy
Joel
Crystal (Caller)
Otto (Steerer)

Yolanda 500m

Judy
K1
Crystal W
Lynda
Patti
Tabitha
Lori Laws (Wasabi)
Lisa Lum (Wasabi)
Kathy Skinner (Wasabi)
Michelle Rudd (Wasabi)
Carolyn Stewart (Wasabi)
Lynn Davis (Wasabi)
Marie Riley (Wasabi)
Angel
Jesse
Doug
Rich
Otto
Brian
Richard Boucher
Nick
Hugh
Tommy
Kat (Caller)
Phil (Steerer)

250m

Crystal W
K1
Lynda
Kat
Lori
Jeannie
Tabitha
Cheryl
Judy
James
Jesse
Kenny
Otto
Rich
Nick
Angel
Noel
Aaron
Billy
Brian
Doug
Delwin
Megan (Caller)
Phil (Steerer)

Open

Aaron
Angel
Brian
Delwin
Doug
James
Jesse
Keith
Kenny
Noel
Otto
Paul
Phil
Rich M
Richard B
Billy
Nick
Joel
Tommy
Hugh
Kat (Caller)
SaTina Pasillas (Wasabi)

1000m

Crystal W
K1
Karen W
Megan
Patti
Jeannie
Tabitha
Judy
James
Jesse
Keith
Otto
Rich M
Paul
Angel
Richard B
Joel
Hugh
Tommy
Phil
Kat (Caller)
Delwin (Steerer)