|complete race results|
|Red||500m Div B Finals||1st||2:15.18|
|Black||500m Div A Finals||2nd||2:15.55|
|White||500m Race 2 Heat 34||2nd||1:05:02|
|Red||200m Div A Finals||4th||00:58.65|
|Black||200m Div A Finals||1st||00:52.84|
TK vs Steve
Being a one-day race, we normally don't spend too much time setting up food. However, in typicaly LARD style, a few made some amazing contributions. Of particular note was the BOX of churros that Ana graciously donated to the team. Also, was a surprisingly well made container of Spam musubi individually wrapped by master chef Vincent Chao. Thanks to everyone who helped out and chipped in for this fun day of racing.
Before I joined LARD, I paddled with another team at Baby Long Beach 2010. There was a strong delineation between the divisions. What C division meant was lots of brand new paddlers and paddlers with some experience (like me) who just weren't fit enough to last a 500 meter piece. What ensued was clacking paddles, missed strokes, water everywhere, bodies collapsing and moving in all direction, frantic, out-of-time paddling and a general break-down in technique and stamina.
I knew going into Baby Long Beach 2012 that this was not going to be the case on LARD White. The paddlers who were new to the team were holding their own at practice. Interestingly, I was surrounded by a few paddlers with whom I'd paddled last year on the Red boat. For various reasons, we found ourselves in White this time around and we reminisced how a year ago, we nearly beat Black in the 500 meter semi-finals! Basking in our glory days, we committed that we would paddle just as strongly on White as we had paddled on Red. We're all LARD, we're color blind.
On the White boat, just as on Red and Black, we were focused and resolved to run our program the best we could. We had put our practice in, we'd trained for this day. We paddled as strong as we could and we battled till the end, with heart. Things didn't work out as we'd hoped, we talked it out and regrouped. We did make noticeable corrections on the next piece and while our performance felt much better, finishing 4th in a field of 4 doesn't feel good. It outright sucks. It's disheartening. In our training we learn that we have resolve, we have stamina, we have strength and we can march when we're depleted. After our disappointing 500 meter races we battled back to take 2nd in the 200 meter to get us into the semi-finals where we took a close 3rd to LARD Red and Space Dragons, respectively. As Scott said, at Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival in July, we're not starting fresh, we're picking up from where we left off on April 29, in a semi-final battle, and we're taking it to the next level. Now we focus in and train, deliberately pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone and into that place where we get stronger.
Look at Steve. Six foot one. Two hundred pounds of lean mean paddling machine (and Jiu-Jitsu). What is the first thing that comes to mind for talents? Why french braiding of course! Wha-wha---what?
You heard right folks! Steve knows how to french braid and did a fantabulous job with Lori's hair!
caller vs caller
While not our first race where Red and Black raced head to head, it was the first time we raced this many times and with races this close. In the 200m races, round 1 found all three LARD teams in different heats and all performing well. Round 2 is where the fun began. Red in lane 1, Black in lane 2. This was one of our more interesting races. Besides all the trash talk (all in good fun), both teams were in good form and itching to best each other.
200m races at Long Beach are a blend of starting position, tides, skill and a lot of luck. I was on the left, in my typical spot in the middle of the boat -- because where else would you put the heaviest guy on the team? Both teams have a strong start but Black has jumped out slighly ahead of them. Normally, I wouldn't be aware of boat placement, but as I'm staring at the strokes timing, what do I see in the corner of my eye? Paddles. Okay, I can't help it. I glance over. Holy crap the boats are getting sucked into each other. At one point, I know my pulls weren't 100% as I fought the dirty water from the paddling what felt like a mere twelve inches away from me. But in the end, Black pulled ahead slightly for a first place finish (55.57) with Red nipping at their heels (55.92).
For the Finals, Red found itself in lane 1 on the outside, Space Dragons Red in lane 2, Black in lane 3 and Aerodragons Red in lane 4. Fired up, Black charged out of the gates for what they thought would be their fastest time yet in a 200m sprint. Who would have thought that these times would in just a few months be considered absurdly slow?
brother vs brother
The horn sounded and we were off! Steering the Black boat in Lane 2, a decent start meant that we took a lead on the field, excepting our teammates and neighbors in Lane 1, the Red boat. Their start kept them just slightly behind us and well within striking distance, especially in a short 200m race. Normally, at this point, I would contribute my voice, urging the boat to surge forward, complimenting the caller to drive our boat to victory. I say normally because this race was different. There was only one boat after the start that stood in the way of victory, led specifically by one person. My brother. [Flashback through all the big brother (me) bullying through childhood].
Shortly after the start and already almost halfway through the race, before I could utter my first cheer, I noticed the nose of the Red boat slowly drifting closer to our hull. As the race progressed, I could only concentrate on holding a straight line while waving off the Red boat. "You're in our lane!" my hand gestured. And the race concluded, Black having just edged out Red, both finishing in Lane 2. And my brother did enough to take me off my game, enough for his boat to almost pull off the upset. An equivalent of jumping in my face, "What up, bro?!" He spooked me.
Race officials from the chase boat checked with me after, "Everything okay?" I could have been a tattletale... Touche, my brother!
EPILOGUE: In all actuality, it was an honest and simple lane misread by my brother. The above is my fictional interpretation of the event.
Or was it?
New to Long Beach Spring Race
Red 200m Div A 4th
Black 200m Div A 1st
Red 500m Div B 1st
Black 500m Div A 2nd