As if I needed to be told that the humidity here is high. Pfah!
Repechage or Repercharge \ˌre-pə-ˈshäzh, ˈre-pə-ˌ\
Repeat after me, repechage, repechage, repawhat?
So what the heck is a repechage? None of us knew the exact meaning other than that it was a second chance.
From various internets resources (because we all know how accurate the internets is), a repechage is a heat (as in rowing or fencing) in which the best competitors who have lost in a previous round compete for a place or places yet left in the next round. It is a second chance round because you know . . . sometimes stuff happens.
Thu July 5, 2012 84.2° with 22 mm rainfall with a Heat Index of 95°
Race 48 12:30 Heat 1
|2nd||Hong Kong Island Paddle Club||47.769|
|4th||Brisbane River Dragons||48.395|
|5th||Los Angeles Racing Dragons||49.355|
|6th||Monte Dragons Cape Town||51.249|
|7th||Onslaught Racing Dragons Manila||52.622|
Jeannie Lin (July 18, 2012)
How do you make your traditionally fastest race...faster? In the past LARD has prided itself with blast-out-of-the-gates 200m races, appeasing ourselves that if we lacked endurance, at least we were fit enough for short all-out burns. Yet at a world class level, this wouldn’t be enough, for elite teams knew how to burn even faster than we did, and the top teams flew across the finish line up to a full boat length ahead of their competitors.
In a short sprint, shaving seconds off meant improving absolutely everything and anything you could think of in a race that doesn’t allow for error. For us, our program has worked in the past but LARD has heart, and a fighting spirit; this was an opportunity to push even further, to climb up that insane J-curve of working disproportionately harder to shave off even more seconds. We had come too far to just do what we were familiar with, and we had nothing to lose but the chance to go all out.
So go all out we did! We changed our program right there as the 200m day started, between our first and second heats. The concept was simple: just don’t slow down, ever. It was a blur, but the longest sub-minute anaerobic blur we had ever done. We blasted out in a controlled rage and kept it as long as we could before collapsing at the finish line, exhilarated. We gasped that nasty sticky air and felt rewarded that we did it, and it felt awesome.
So we did it again, and again, whenever we were on the water. By the time both mixed and open sprints were over, we had put up some good fights, did ourselves proud and although we didn’t make it to finals, how incredible is it that we can say yeah, we weren’t fast enough, our fastest time was only 46 seconds?
Race 65 15:00 Rep 3
|1st||Windy City Dragon Boat Club Chicago||45.615|
|2nd||Los Angeles Racing Dragons||47.242|
|3rd||BGC Stormy Dragons||48.275|
|4th||TECO Tan Anou Tampa, Florida||50.628|
|5th||Kingston Royals London||51.962|
Hong Kong CCWC and beyond... Part 1
Jason Cheng (July 18, 2012)
As the last of our Hong Kong LARDmates return home this week following extended stays in China, the Philippines, and Taiwan, I thought this would be a good opportunity to recap some of our experiences to all of you whose support was felt even before we took off from LAX. Words cannot begin to describe how much everyone's well-wishes, cheers, and up-to-the-minute updates at home meant to us-- and by home I mean everyone stateside (Megan Kress of Kialoa, our local Mother's Beach community, and Bay Area paddlers)-- but thank you very much. On behalf of your coaches, I am very proud of how our crews performed in its inaugural CCWC, and on behalf of your HK teammates, even prouder to have had the opportunity to represent our team on this world stage.
Of course, a big thanks, too, to Tammy, Linda, my aunts, TDo, and Rich M's local friends for their support in Hong Kong. We also enjoyed the support of fellow PDBA qualifying crews in Wasabi (Women's) and San Diego (Senior A Mixed), the latter of which both Leon and I had the wonderful opportunity of steering for. My apologies in advance if I've inadvertently left anyone out.
Race 71 15:50 SEMI 1
|2nd||Singapore Paddle Club||45.476|
|3rd||Los Angeles Racing Dragons||46.763|
|4th||Windy City Dragon Boat Club Chicago||46.790|
|6th||Brisbane River Dragons||47.036|
|7th||Pacific Dragons Sydney||47.616|
|8th||Philadelphia Dragon Boat Association||47.863|
Much of the crew's journey was graciously documented through photos and videos by our very own, and I'm sure those who came home last week probably shared some of their experiences at practices this past weekend, too. It's taken me a few days to readjust and get back to my normal routines-- even just one week later I feel this is way overdue-- but when I think about our week-long race experience in terms of unique challenges, competition, camaraderie, and lessons learned, here's what comes to mind:
Weather: Not as humid as I expected. I've been to Miami in August before and have experienced Taiwan summers, but physically exerting oneself in these conditions, of course, is a different matter. Though it certainly didn't take long for anyone to warm-up-- my jersey was a second skin shortly after the light run portion of the program-- it was definitely a must-do routine at the beginning of each race day. It was also key that everyone arrived in HK at least 2 days prior to our races to explore the area and acclimate; as with other paddlers staying at the same hotel, many took advantage of the gym and pool facility as well to get used to exercising in these conditions. Our only experience with heavy rain, thunder and lightning came on the morning of the 200m Premier Mixed races (Thursday); though our heats were not scheduled 'til the afternoon the eventual 2hr delay resulted in an unfortunate cancellation of our Minor final race.
Water conditions: Choppier than anticipated. Definitely the roughest waters I've ever paddled and steered in on a dragon boat, more like open-water conditions you'd experience paddling outrigger canoes. And that's with the 6 or so massive barges that were specifically brought in along the southeast edge of the course to help alleviate the effects of larger water vessels passing by throughout the day. Though we were fortunate enough to have both Festival and CCWC crews get onto the water for practices on Sunday prior to Monday's festival races, adjusting to these conditions as a full crew was certainly a unique challenge. By our final 500m race the following day, though, this concept was definitely more engrained; I felt a significant improvement not only in how our boat came out of the start, but the boat ran much smoother. This ability to adapt (much less stay afloat, which in itself is not trivial-- I would estimate at least 3 capsize incidents/day) carried over to our 2000m races, where our CCWC debut in both Premier Mixed and Men's divisions bolstered our confidence in knowing that we were there to compete.
contined in Hong Kong part III
Hong Kong = Food
Billy Leung (July 11, 2012)
Instead of giving you a break down of my full Hong Kong experience, I'm going to give you, dear reader, useful and interesting tidbits I've learned during my time in HK in bullet form (a project manager's best friend):
Do yourself a favor and go to the Hong Kong Museum of History. It'll quite possibly be the best $10 HKD you'll spend the entire trip. Two levels of exhibits and 3 - 4 hours of material to take in.Bring your own napkins. Generally, most restaurants in HK do not offer napkins. Go to the Peak and enjoy the best view of Hong Kong. Don't forget your camera! Shop at Muji's for a completely random assortment of things such as stationary, groceries, clothes, and furniture.
Use and love the Octopus card. Could not imagine trying to get through the MTR and purchasing stuff at 7 Eleven anymore without that nifty debit card.
Here's a list of restaurants that deserve recognition either due to the amount of times I went there or the ridiculously good food or drinks I got there:
Marutama Ramen - This is one of the best ramen I've ever hard with incredibly delicious chashiu as well as the most interestingly cooked hardboiled egg I've had. The egg white and the outer edge of the yolk was hard boiled while the innards of the yolk was soft, runny, and cold. The owner was helpful with recommendations and genuinely nice. A+++, would go again and wish I did more while I was there.
Cafe de Coral 3x - As Puppy had recommended, "the best bang for your buck cheap fast Chinese food". There were so many choices that we went back there 3x in a row.
Dim Sum 3x - Can't really go to HK without getting Dim Sum.
Crystal Jade La Mian and Xiao Long Bao 2x - This of one of the best restaurants in HK for their hand pulled noodles and steaming hot xiao long bao.
Starbucks 3x - An honorary mention to the Bucks of the Stars for their Hong Kong exclusive Red Bean and Green Tea Frappuccino drink.
Billy Leung (July 11, 2012)
Realtors will crowd entrances, block walkways, and stuff pamphlets in your face until they realize you have no intentions whatsoever of purchasing a condo (which usually takes them 10 seconds)
Kenny Kim (July 17, 2012)
Jeannie's solution was to take their pamphlets from them. One particularly persistent pamphlateer followed her up the escalator and she pushed him away -- to his chagrin, she is much stronger than him, and almost fell to his death. But she can't really hurt anyone, so ended up shooting an arm out to stop his fall. Meanwhile, Kenny just laughed uncontrollably.
Kenny's solution to their annoyance was to either glare, or growl out, "Don't even think about it." and they would stop in their tracks.
Fri July 6, 2012 89.6° with 1 mm rainfall and a Heat Index of 112°
Kenny Kim (July 17, 2012)
I thought I knew what a 200m race was supposed to feel like. While tiring, it's short enough that you typically don't hit the wall like you do in a 500m. Normally, I finish a 200m panting a little but still feeling strong. These 200 meter races were a whole different beast.
The previous day I did gain some valuable experience with the rocky waters and the heat and humidity. And to make my life experiences complete, the weather was even hotter and the water choppy enough that I was wishing I had a dramamine patch -- evidently I wasn't alone because I saw many paddlers with the telltale sticker behind their ears.
Race 137 06/07 12:45 Open Heat 4
|1st||Shunde Dragon Boat Club||47.010|
|2nd||Singapore Paddle Club||51.530|
|3rd||Pacific Dragons Sydney||51.950|
|4th||Los Angeles Racing Dragons||53.096|
|5th||The Liechtenstein Princely Navy||55.103|
|6th||Monte Dragons Cape Town||59.736|
jumbotron: @starting line with swells already at the gunnel
Race 150 06/07 14:20 Rep 1
|1st||eYP Cebu Dragons Manila||49.612|
|2nd||The Liechtenstein Princely Navy||50.759|
|3rd||Hong Kong Island Paddle Club||50.852|
|4th||Filipino Dragons (Singapore)||51.399|
|5th||Los Angeles Racing Dragons||51.532|
Race 151 06/07 14:30 Rep 2
|1st||22 Dragons Montreal, QC||46.123|
|3rd||Abu Dhabi Mar||52.189|
|4th||Lee Kum Kee HK||52.369|
|5th||Monte Dragons Cape Town||53.149|
|6th||Singapore Management University Dragon Boat Team||DNS|
The swells in the first race while lining up at the starting blocks were already reaching the gunnel. I'll be honest. I was a little nervous. In fifteen years of racing, I've never had to deal with multi-directional swells before and I was still learning to not allow my significant weight to move around and disrupt the boat. pop. the soft cap gun goes off and we're OFF. PULL. PULL. Gorramit PULL!
The water conditions are getting worse as the existing swells from the harbour are combining with the wake of the boats ahead of us. At one point, I glanced to the right to check my timing with my benchie Nick and holy crap the water was up to his shoulders. What the heck did we get ourselves into? Focus. Focus. Don't slide. Timing. Timing. Breathe. and 51 seconds later, it's all over. Shortest race ever.
Funny how it worked out. We get placed into Repechage 1 and even though we came in 5th out of 5, our time still placed us well in relation to Rep 2, allowing us to move forward to the Semi Finals. And there, we made more changes to our program and churned out our fastest time yet. 46.054 seconds. I never even imagined such things were possible, especially in these water conditions. Our men's boat raced with such focus and determination. It made me so proud to be LARD. My fears of drowning aside, my greatest fear was letting down my team mates which pushed me to paddle harder than I have ever paddled in my life. Imagine 46 seconds of paddling hell where you hit a wall at 30 seconds and need to dig deeper and deeper to keep fighting for that next section of water. All that is left is to take these lessons and apply them to the 500's tomorrow.
Race 172 06/07 17:20 Semi 3
|1st||Shunde Dragon Boat Club||41.301|
|2nd||New Dragons Racing Club Toronto||42.334|
|3rd||Hoi Fu Jai DragonBoat Team Hong Kong||42.741|
|4th||DCH Racing New York Flushing||44.201|
|5th||Los Angeles Racing Dragons||46.054|
|6th||Abu Dhabi Mar||47.127|
|7th||The Liechtenstein Princely Navy||48.247|
HKG: LARD boy band. They are called "the Slick Suits"
A finer thread
Vincent Chao (July 13, 2012)
Suiting up with Eric, Billy, Justin and Chuck (with his dress shirts) was fun. It was strange though since we sort of got dragged into the Stitch-Up Tailor shop by a guy standing outside on the street. Not shady at all. The guy was really pushy though, but the suits look nice. Hopefully they last and don’t fall apart too quickly.
HK Custom Tailored Suits Crew 2012 - Justin, Vince, Eric, Billy - Get a custom tailored suit for half the price!
Kenny Kim (July 13, 2012)
For those new to the team, a little history lesson. The team name, LARD, was formulated on one drunken night by Leon, Greg, Henry and Kenny. The team logo followed shortly after, a creation of Leon done in Autocad of all things. This was back in 1999 and at that time none of us knew anything about how dragonboating worked outside of our little pond. Heck, back then, it was a new sport to California and we were all trying to figure out how to paddle.
Flash forward to 2005 or 2006, our resident bad-ass kgb agent, Nick, takes to paddling with team USA around the world, and we hear that there's a team from Russia using our logo for their own team.
2012. TeamLARD is in Hong Kong for the CCWC and as we wander among the thousands of paddlers, what do we see? A white Russia Jersey with OUR LOGO on it. Now they had modified it a bit. Trimmed the 4 paddlers to one. Swoopified the portions under the paddlers and added the obligatory dragon around the image, but it was still clearly OUR LOGO. I thought it was funny that as the week progressed, when I did see the team, I noted that most of their paddlers had their numbers covering their logo which they had not done until after we started pointing at their shirts and taking pictures with it. We did find the name of the team, it was the Vladivostok Tigers. It was good to finally meet them. My only regret was not having the time to talk to them or better yet, take a photo with Leon and their team.