Long Beach Race | July 30-31
Lori has a complicated relationship with the erg
|Black||500m Mixed I||2nd||2:01.50|
|Red||500m Mixed I||3rd||2:03.17|
|White||500m Mixed IIIAA||3rd||2:17.36|
Coaching Northrop Grumman
Jeremy Wong (August 10, 2011)
Since moving to LA, I've been reluctant to pick up past habits. Dragonboating was one of them. Steering was another. And coaching was the last thing I expected to do. I quickly found myself coaching a festival team, Northrop. More than half of my seven-year active dragonboat career has been devoted to coaching various teams in Northern California, perhaps this latest foray into coaching wasn’t much of a surprise.
The best thing about coaching is seeing your team go from nothing to something; it’s tough to get a competitive team to shave 50% off their race time, but you can definitely do that with a novice boat. The joy paddlers experience after their first successful race is enough to get them amped up for next year's festivities.
Overall, the practices were much better than I expected with the experience level on the boat. Given the opportunity, I would definitely do it again.
Job well done!
Charles Chang (August 7, 2011)
To put it simply, job well done, on the water and off! Long Beach always offers the unique challenge in that we not only have to focus on paddling, but also the logistics of hosting. Off the water, almost everyone pitched in to help with setting up, hosting, and cleaning after ourselves. Considering we had over 120 people between LARD and Dieselfish, feeding and hydrating this many people is no easy task. Special thanks to the board, the captains, and the race managers for all their hard work. And the cake from the Wang sisters, simply awesome!
Everybody went home with a medal! And I believe Otto owes some paddlers frozen yogurt. =P
White (photo by Hide T.)
Fantastic job! For many of you, this is your first year paddling or even first race ever. For some, it’s their first race in quite a while. ;) Paddling with only 18 people rather than the typical 20 is tough. But you guys battled through the whole weekend. Everyone kept calm during the heat of the race. The power may not have been there, but timing looked great.
Great job! Chuck is ecstatic. You demonstrated the depth of LARD. Coming into this race, the coaches were expecting Red to be fast. And you more than delivered. Both Black and Red in the same final heat, coming in second and third, beating out a lot of other teams' first boats?? Are you kidding me?? How cool was that? All your hard work at practice and off the water are paying off. Keep up the good work. You guys are going to make team designation for SF really difficult.
Red (photo by Hide T.)
Another great weekend of racing. Getting 2nd in both the 500 meter and 200 meter is nothing to sneeze at. The coaches threw you a curveball by altering the start. You guys adapted like champs and improved the execution of our race program from race to race. Yes, there's a certain feeling of disappointment from getting eeked out at the finish in both distances by Space. But that's the nature of competition, not everyone can come in first. We can't control what other competitors do, but only how well we can prepare ourselves for the moment of truth. And hopefully we become better paddlers, better persons, and a better team in the process.
Black (photo by Phil S.)
And special recognition to countless LARDies that helped with the calling, steering, and paddling for masters, corporate, VIP, Pinks. I want to name names, but it would look really bad if I forget to name 1 or 2 people. So... you know who you are! ;) Your extra effort has made our paddling community better and closer.
For Long Beach, we maxed out the roster for all 3 squads. 63 paddlers! Considering Long Beach allows only 18 paddlers per boat, coaches had to make some tough decisions about who gets to paddle for certain races. It was a fine line to walk between fairness and competitiveness. I thank everyone for being understanding and patient with us. Every one of you had a hand in the on water success we enjoyed this weekend regardless if you were in a boat or not. Cheering your teammates under the hot sun, the high 5s after every race, loaning out your own equipment, water, nothing can be overlooked. Of course, Big thanks to Will for making sure we were the best hydrated team at the race.
Coaches: Chuck, Otto, Leon, Jason, Megan, Scott (photo by Phil S.)
Lastly, I want to talk a bit about sportsmanship. We have had a giant target on our backs for quite a few years now because LARD Black's recent successes. The team that beat LARD Black has every right to celebrate. They've put in the hard work, and they deserve their moment of glory. And hopefully this is motivating everyone to train a little harder. Remember back to how ecstatic we were the first time we beat Dragon Warriors I. It's a sign of respect when other teams sees it as a special occasion. All we can control is our own boat. Placing will depend on the other teams we are racing. We can only strive to be the fastest team that we can be. At the end of a race, we shouldn't be congratulating each other on the placing. Rather, we should congratulate ourselves for perfect timing, great technique, and all out effort. And if we actually do beat a few teams, groovy. Let's continue to be humble in victory, and gracious in defeat. With that being said, I think I will be fired up for quite a while. =D
Ding ding dinner is served!
Karen Wang (August 6, 2011)
How can ANYBODY feed 126 hungry people?!?! Simple... George's Greek cafe! The journey was not easy and came with its own hiccups. When I saw the manager of Hokkaido was shaking his head (in shock? disbelief?) at the number of 120 potential hungry guests, I started to panic! Instead of doing work the following two days (after the kids leave of course), I spent that time researching whatever restaurants were nearby and could possibly handle so many paddlers. Popular responses were "Oh, we can't hold that many people." Some decided not to get back to me at all. It was down to Acapulco's and George's Greek cafe. I gchatted and texted everybody I had on my contact list. I even e-mail DF to get their feedback. For about 20 minutes I frantically kept refreshing my e-mail and checking my text messages. Why so rushed Karen? Well, another dragonboat team had contacted George's for a banquet. As long as I got my deposit in before then, I'd secure a spot for LARD and DieselFish and I did!
I would say that it was a fortunate mishap that we did not get Hokkaido. LARD and DieselFish got the outside patio area and even part of the parking lot. There were lights strung out all over the place. I don't now how things started off since Crystal and I had to go get the "YOU KNOW WHAT." When we got there, everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves, eating and mingling. Jeff and Otto were in major mission mode to get the most number correct on Phil's mingling game so they could get their free dinners. Crystal and I hijacked their seats and got to enjoy some of the good food. We had greek salad, warm pita bread and tzantziki sauce, roasted potatoes, gyro meat, Greek lemon chicken and sauteed vegetables. It seemed like everybody loved the food because there was very little left (except the vegetables... bleech!).
When dinner was all over, it was time for the revealing of the cake. Okay, everybody, it's not a war. As Crystal said, none of us are really good enough to be on TV (please see her story for our trials and tribulations). Consider it a labor of love! As the lids to the boxes were lifted, it felt like I was.. or rather the cake was a movie star. Then we hacked the cake into little squares and ate most of it. :)
Phil Sun (August 6, 2011)
Last year, in San Francisco, Diesel Fish had made cupcakes with DF and LARD name tags on them, and we had to find who on the other team the cupcake belonged to . Two weeks before the race, I saw Joyce (from Diesel Fish) post a comment about how she works in advertising, and I thought that was pretty interesting.
It’s a great idea, because there are so many things that we can talk about with our fellow dragon boaters if only we knew that they have similar interests or work in similar fields. So this time I tried to make a variation of the game to stir up some more inter-team interaction. People on both teams were asked to write anonymous profiles about themselves, and folks on the other team had to match a name to a profile. The top two people from each team who matched the most correct names got free dinner!
To my surprise, the game actually worked… or some people just really wanted a free meal. The biggest mystery of the night was "Who was born with 6 fingers" from Diesel Fish, and "Who was an understudy for a dancing prostitute" from LARD. Quite a few people went around the tables asking other people questions. At the end of the night, Nneka and Vince from Diesel Fish won, and Otto and Patti from LARD won.
Ironically, we found out a lot more about our own teammates by playing the game than we did about the other team.
U23 (under 23)
Scott Wu (June 26, 2011)
Many people do not know that our very own Crystal Chen will be representing the USA at the IDBF Dragon Boat World Championships this year in Tampa. Crystal earned a spot on TeamUSA U23 and will be heading off to Tampa right after the Long Beach races to compete. She is the only LARD member on the team. We should all be so proud of her. We came together as a team to pitch in and help her out with her TeamUSA traveling expenses.
U23 (under 23)
Crystal Chen (June 26, 2011)
During a study break in late March, I happened to stumble upon the Pacific Dragon Boat Association website's post about time trials for the U23 team. To qualify for the U23 category, members all have to be under 23 by the race date. According to the post, those who wanted to try out had to be nominated by peers by the beginning of the month. I wrote to the head coach, Les Hopper, to request to try out despite the tardiness.
I arrived in San Diego just in time to run my OC2 time trial. After, I had to do a front body hold for time, testing for core strength. Les also recorded the entire group to review for further consideration. A second set of trials was conducted in SD and one more in San Francisco before the final list was announced. After consulting with paddlers’ respective coaches, the team was finally announced by the end of May. Congratulations by new teammates, information about the races and Facebook notifications from the teams’ group page flooded my inbox for a week. We were all eager to meet each other and race together.
Between then and Long beach, we had one two day camp and a few more practices with as many members as possible. The majority of the team was split between Northern and Southern California. The rest of the team mainly came from Philadelphia and with a few more spread out in further regions. The Californian contingent gathered in Long Beach to perform two more pieces before arriving in Tampa.
photo courtesy of Scott Matsunami
Nearly all who had participated in the festival took a red eye out to Tampa to get in time for our practice slot at 1:30. Emily Chi from Space Dragons led practices for both Saturday and Sunday.
It could be seen in our strokes where each paddler was from, whether it was from California or Philly, but we slowly began to blend. The team also practiced shortly in genders which was especially beneficial for the girls. Typically practicing the 20 man boats, it was drastically different in the 10 woman boats. It took longer to get up to speed, more power to keep the boat speed up, and the worst part was that race pieces took longer. We tried different strategies to prep for the 200 meter races, knowing that it would be our only chance to strike gold. With various race strategies and suggestions from coaches, only on race day would show what the best strategy was. The first gender races were on Friday, 200 meter sprints in the small boats. All of the women's team had done three sets of sprints in the morning in the mixed boats. We convened in our warm-up area in an open space hallway and discussed our strategy. We had seen the speed of the Trinidad and Tobago team in the big mixed boats and being the only other women's small boat in our category, we couldn’t underestimate them. \
photo courtesy of Scott Matsunami
Down the course, we could not get out fast enough or get ahead of them. In fact, they pulled ahead and edged us out in the first race. There was only a little under an hour between each of the three heats so there was not much to do but to get some water and stay relaxed for the next race. As we marshalled for the second heat, dark storm clouds rolled in and lightning hit a short distance away. The races would be postponed for at least half an hour from the last lightning strike. This gave us time to really rest up from that morning’s events. When we marshalled again, we were a little calmer and re-energized. We pulled out of the start even with T&T and when I looked up again, both boats crossed the finish together again. Fortunately, we edged them out this time around. But because there were so little entries, final placements were decided on the top two times out of three heats and averaged. The final race would decide who took first.
With less than an hour to recover from the previous race, we tried to gather ourselves to concentrate on the last race. The T&T girls were fast, but we knew we could be faster. However, the conditions on the water had changed. After the storm passed, a headwind came in, making every boat much slower than the last heat, which was reflected in our finishing times. It didn't matter how great of a piece we ran, the time from the last heat was too slow to be counted for final placements. In the end, we lost to the Island nation by a mere tenth of a second. We were all disappointed yet determined to catch them in the 500 meter pieces on Sunday.
With a full day to ponder our mistakes, Sunday was dedicated completely to 500 meter gender heats. We were determined to not let T&T catch us at the end again. At the line, we were all focused to execute our race program. At the sound of the horn, we launched ourselves from the docks and I saw the other boats disappear from my peripheral vision. By the end of the course, I looked up to see boats finishing after us. It was then that I knew that it would be a great day for our boat.
photo courtesy of Scott Matsunami
High off our finish, we returned to our room in the convention center to rest up for our next heat only to find the shirt trading frenzy had already begun. People were coming in and out of rooms to trade away their shirts. Even our boys were showing off their loot from their trades. The girls left the room to get away from the chaos to gather ourselves for our next heats. We had a lead and with the burn of the 200 meter results in the back of our minds, we wanted to shut them out of first place. The second race finished with the same results as the first. We were ecstatic but we reminded ourselves that there was still another race. First place was in our grasp but it was still anyone's game.
We hydrated and kept in the shade, waiting for our last heat. We reminded ourselves of our race piece. No flaws, just a perfect last race in our first Worlds for most of us. As we lined up, I stared down the course at the finish line. I didn't want to think of the T&T U23 or the USA, Canadian, and T&T U18 boats that had also been in all of our heats. My goal was for the boat to get to the finish in the shortest amount of time possible. Again, we jumped at the start and began to peel away from the other boats. The only boat close to us would be the USA juniors. Together, both boats rode to the finish, with the Juniors coming in 8 tenths behind us and open water behind them. We had done it. The prize was ours and we were loud about it. We had done what we set out to do that day.
As we waited upstairs for the awards ceremony, smiles were all around. We went over the Star Spangled Banner to make sure everyone knew the words. "We are the Champions" played as we walked down the steps. Trinidad got called up for the second place finish and then we were called up to the podium. A roar of cheers was heard especially from our men. In Olympic fashion, the medals were awarded to us and the flags were raised as the national anthem played in the background. It didn’t matter if we were off key or out of tune, we sang our hearts out. After a week of listening to "O Canada" and getting beat by tenths of seconds, we basked in the glow of our accomplishment.
We gathered to cheer and watch the U23 men enter their last race of the week. With each piece, they had gotten cleaner and moved together like a well oiled machine, keeping close with their opponent and fighting for every stroke down the line. The U23 men poured their hearts out in their final race in the regatta against the Canadians, but it was not enough to catch them. Still, they emerged from the races, proud of themselves to have made it this far on an international level.
Before we had even returned to the hotel, everyone was talking about the next Worlds tournament in Budapest, Hungary in two years. Those who still qualified for the U23 division next time around were excited to share their experiences at home with their club teams and returning for the next regatta. With half of the team moving onto the Premiere teams, time will tell how much the sport has grown in the college division, how the U23 team prepares for the next Worlds, and how competitive they will be on an international level.
Races, fight and heart
Karen Cheng (Date)
Hi my lovely LARDies,
Well, I think I've 'liked' every possible LARD status on Facebook, so before we get too far away from the races, I just wanted to say thanks for a wonderful weekend of racing (and a whole lotta food and friendship too)!
What amazing races, fight, and heart I saw and experienced this weekend! Despite the unexpectedly long Saturday, you all hung in there till the end of the day to claw and scratch your ways into Sunday's finals--just as if they were taking no place later than 3:00. We all know that a winning race is made up of a gajillion little factors--the lining up, the start, the settle, the finish, the race conditions, 18 different paddlers--and even though the equation didn't add up to first in the mixed divisions, I think we showed Long Beach how deep we roll, with those gender golds! And we showed everyone we were no one's beautiful fish this year! (This last sentence isn't gonna make sense to you newer folks, sorry! I'll explain later.) =)
I am SO proud of everyone, from red to white to black, and so proud to be LARD. It's amazing to be a part of this family, with paddlers new and old...it was great to see some of those old faces: Aileen (thanks for race managing Saturday!), Greg, Hugh, Betty, Yonnie, Tamby, Andrea, the Kromhouts, Laura S., and of course, our waterboy, Will (who will be making sure we're properly hydrated in SF!), and glad to welcome all those new paddlers we've gotten this year to our family!
Hope you had a good time and are ready to fight through the rest of 2011...I think you know we've got stuff to prove yet.
See you out on the water!
Paddle Art Contest
Your artwork has been chosen as this year's winning entry! The carbon fiber paddle will be awarded to you on stage during the closing ceremonies at the Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival.
As part of the conditions for receiving your carbon fiber paddle, we will be providing you with a wooden paddle to paint/draw your artwork on. This paddle will be on display at the Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival.
Ana Coo-Lam (Aug 2, 2011)
Ana Coo-lam (VA photographer: Paula Berger)
Dear Team LARD:
Thank you for making this a memorable day for our combat Vets! Team Water Warriors consists of 4 female Vets and 12 male Vets: all of whose lives were benefited from the Comprehensive Homeless Veterans Center. I would like to thank LARD as well as the dragon boat community for reaching out to our Vets and providing them with a sense of community and dignity as they are reintegrated back to the community as productive citizens.
Thanks for the memories!
LA Veterans Whose Lives Were Touched by Homelessness Race Their Dragonboat to Victory
Michiko Riley (Aug 3, 2011)
reprinted with permission
Over 150 teams competed July 30-31, 2011 in the annual "Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival.” The competition brought paddlers together, including Veterans, for an Asian-inspired boat race in the Southern California Marina. The all-Veteran team dubbed Team Water Warriors, proudly contended in the invitation-only VIP race, finishing 5 out of 7 in the 200 meter division.
"I felt privileged to be a part of it,” said Julio Espino, Veteran from the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (GLA) who competed in the race. "We didn’t win, but, we didn’t come in last place either!”
Espino was one of 16 GLA Veterans; 12 males and 4 females, who dawned on life vests, paddles and their game face to row their dragon boat to the finish line.
Team Water Warrior paddlers not only share a common bond as Service members, but every Veteran who participated was touched by homelessness; either currently living in transitional housing or formally homeless.
"It gives Veterans an ‘out’ and shows them that although it is a bad situation now, there still is hope,” said Pearl Martin, female Army Veteran and now Community Care Homeless Outreach Staff. "Activities like this keep Veterans productive and get them back up!”
Martin was homeless after separating from the military 2 years ago. Through word of mouth, she found help at GLA through the Veterans Affairs Supporting Housing, better known as VASH. Martin, who is now responsible for reaching out to other Veterans needing assistance, participated in the Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival for the first time this year.
"It’s an adventure,” said Martin. "I would definitely encourage other Veterans to participate!”
Deputy to the Chief, Community Care and Team Water Warriors Captain, Ana Coo-Lam, is an avid paddler. She learned about the positive and therapeutic impact the water competition had on breast cancer survivors, and wanted to introduce the recreational therapeutic benefits of dragon boat paddling to Veterans.
"Dragon boat paddling promotes team building and camaraderie,” said Coo-Lam. "Many of our homeless Veterans have limited social support networks, and I wanted to introduce them to the dragon boat community. When our Vets are ready to be reintegrated back to the community, being part of Team Water Warriors will have instilled a sense of dignity.”
Team sports such as the Dragon Boat Festival provides an exhilarating experience that is pleasing and fun to do. Exposing Veterans to the Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival also helps establish a sense of connection with the diverse communities around Southern California.
"It gets you out of the environment you’re in,” said Espino. "This event gives Veterans a chance to explore different parts of LA.”
Other competitors in the competition included international teams from Canada, China and Taiwan as well as representatives from NBC, Panda Express, Southern CA Edison, Blind Institute and the Taiwanese Embassy.
GLA’s unique approach to Veteran’s overall health and wellness includes methods and approaches aimed at healing not only the body but also the mind. The Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival is just one of several ways GLA Veterans receive help in therapeutic journeys.
"To me, it meant something special,” said Espino.
"I was so excited, it was wonderful!” said Martin. "I would love to do it again next year.”
Little packets of KAPOW!
Elizabeth (Aug 30, 2011)
From churning out hundreds of spam misubis to screaming cheers to performing 110% in each race, LARDies expend a lot of energy on race days. Often times, caffeinated or energy drinks may seem like the best choice to increase energy levels. But did you know that they can lead to dehydration and can potentially decrease athletic performance?
To give LARDies and paddlers from our SF sister team, DieselFish, a hydrating and fun alternative to sugary or caffeinated drinks, Delwin Leung asked Emergen-C for an in-kind donation. Emergen-C is a vitamin drink mix containing "1000 mg of vitamin C, electrolytes, 24 nutrients, 7 B vitamins, and antioxidants" and comes in "fizzy, fruit, fun flavors!" B vitamins help with energy utilization and since each packet has only 5 grams of sugar, paddlers won't get bogged down with calories and experience a sugar crash from it. It was a plus that these packets are lightweight, making transporting them much easier.
Emergen-C generously donated 400 packets in 3 fun flavors- Super Orange, Cranberry Pomegrante, and Berry Blue. Cold fizziness were much welcomed on the hot race days and was a nutritious alternative for LARDcore paddlers.
Hide Takahashi (Aug 3, 2011)
Long Beach Masters (photo by Hide T.)
On July 30 and 31, 2011 I went to see Long Beach International Dragon Boat Festival. This was my first experience to eyewitness the event and it was more than I had expected.
Thanks to my girlfriend, Patti, I had a rare opportunity to photograph the exciting event and everywhere I turned, there was always something to draw my attention.
After I watched some races, I noticed that they had an immediate brief meeting about what happened during the race, what went wrong and what they could do to improve so that they'd be better prepared for the next race. Their constructive criticism was pinpoint, positive and always encouraged the team to do better. I was quite impressed by their coaching and I had an opportunity to talk to the leader, Leon, about this. He said that he initially concentrated on winning the races but it just didn't work out well. Instead, he asked the team to improve themselves and to bring a positive attitude to the team. He believes that this would eventually lead to a better result. And it shows. Like he mentioned, this is not all about winning racings. People from all walks of life join the team, train together, race together, give a positive influence each other, and feel better about themselves regardless of the race results.
LA Pink Dragons (photo by Hide T.)
I thought, what a great leader he is and what a great team they are. A prime example is their sister team, team "Pink". They are a team of breast cancer survivors. They have a passion for dragon boat racing and with that passion, they are enjoying a positive life.
This was definitely the best weekend I ever had in recent years. I had a chance to cover this event, I got to meet positive beautiful people, I enjoyed watching the races and most of all, despite of my fatigue, I really felt good.
Hide & Patti
I congratulate on team LARD for your great success in this event and with your great leader and your great team support, your team will only see a great success.
I also want to express my great thanks to Patti for giving me an opportunity to shoot a different photography. I am a wildlife photographer but I don't want to limit myself to one area of photography. I want to expand my photography horizon and thanks to Patti, I just did that.
2nd 500m Mixed Div I (Black)
3rd 500m Mixed Div I (Red)
3rd 500m Mixed Div IIIAA (White)
2nd 200m Mixed Div I (Black)
1st 500m Open (Men)
1st 500m Women
2nd LB Grand Masters
Paul Hung Wu