8th Club Crew World Championships | July 7-8
You saw what?
The Imperial Army
99 luft balloons
Anger leads to hate
Lane? What lane?
Kenny Kim (July 17, 2012)
The water conditions for Victoria Harbour were, let us say, slightly challenging. The water had a side swell from the passing ships that were not quite muted by the line of barges they had setup to protect the marina. The winds could get quite fierce and would be a tail wind in the morning, and an hour later become a head wind. But these were the minor quips with the site. The water had enough trash to fill several boats. But that wasn't what made the water nasty. It had a smell. A smell that would make a mother cry. It smelled like Long Beach water after rotting in a hot enclosed space for days. But the worst was on the water, there were areas where it wasn't just maladorous, there were fumes from . . . something unspeakably foul.
And to make things really interesting, the lanes were not straight. And to make the steers job even more fun, the lanes were barely the width of the boats. I have never, ever, seen so many steering disasters as I had during the week of Hong Kong. These tight twisty lanes coupled with the insane water conditions proved to be too much for many steers. It reaffirmed my conviction to never, ever steer for a race.
note the hand peeking over the edge
the hardest hit I've ever seen
This one was the worst. It happened at the end of the race, and I'm one of the few on the team to have experienced a collison and a capsize and this made me cringe in sympathetic pains. From what I heard, one of the paddlers received a concussion; another a dislocated shoulder.
Some boats took turns too hard, some just could deal with the massive swells and lost control. But all of them were stupendously funny to watch.
Boats simply swamped
During one of the later festival races, seeing a boat stopped in the middle of the course, slowly sink with all crew members calmly sitting in the boat. ~Jesse Wong
While this was very amusing, the method they employed to empty the boat was absolutely amazing. Sorry, no video footage of it. What they did was attach a rope to the front of the swamped boat, and just gunned it. The water rushed to the back of the boat and flew up and over the gunnel, emptying most of the boat out! ~ Kenny Kim
500m Premiere Mixed
Sat July 7, 2012 91.4° with 3 mm of rainfall and a Heat Index of 117°
Karen Wang (July 20, 2012)
To be honest, I can no longer separate the many days of racing in Hong Kong. By the time the mixed 500m race day came around, the only thing running through my mind was the oppressive heat and humidity, the scary Chinese port-o-potties and the even scarier waters of Victoria harbour. I knew a long day of sogginess was ahead of me ( whether it be from sweat or harbour water, I cannot distinguish) but I was fueled by the how the team did in the 200m races and was determined to achieve the same in the 500m races.
It has been said many times but it is true, every single race felt like a finals race. I know we paddled hard, pushing ourselves to keep up a consistent, faster rate to match the teams around us. I truly felt I was going to die in that race. My fondest and most vivid memory was watching Meilen ( the gigantic, cow-bell ringing, women bigger than Kenny team) coming in after us.
photo by Tommy Leonardi
I knew we we're not the best in the world ... yet, but we proved that we are able to give some teams a run for their money. My deepest wish was to not get our butts kicked in Hong Kong and I think we protected our behinds quite well.
Race 217 07/07 12:40 500m Premier Mixed Heat 2
|1st||Pacific Dragons Sydney||2:04.932|
|2nd||Singapore Paddle Club||2:05.685|
|3rd||Triton Dragon Boat Racing Team Manila||2:07.892|
|4th||Los Angeles Racing Dragons||2:09.765|
|5th||Dragon Boat Club Meilen Meilen/ Switzerland||2:11.832|
|6th||TECO Tan Anou Tampa, Florida||2:15.025|
|7th||Monte Dragons Cape Town||2:18.225|
Hong Kong CCWC and beyond... Part 2
Jason Cheng (July 18, 2012)
continued from Hong Kong part II
Competitors: As expected, they grow'em big everywhere. That's just how it goes at this level of competition. Countries represented included: Canada, Hong Kong/China, Singapore, Australia, Philippines, Germany, South Africa, Russia/Czech Republic. I'm sure I've missed a few. As with USDBF representation, there was more than one team from most of these regions; fellow U.S. teams included Philly, DCH - New York, Windy City Dragons - Chicago, and of course, San Diego & Wasabi. In addition to bumping into familiar faces, which included North American IDBF officials Kerry Chow and Greg Lamb, it was great meeting other paddlers from these U.S. crews as well throughout the week. To put things in perspective, every race fielded Alcan (Vancouver) Comp A-caliber teams, and then some. Amidst athletes that train at a different level, I am proud to have held our own.
Doing so at this world stage took a tremendous amount of hard work, support, commitment, and even lifestyle changes that arguably began last year in preparation for our ultimate target race in San Diego at the end of season 14. That so many of us could share in this eye-opening world stage of competition, to me, was somewhat surreal when I look at Scott's team photo. What you make of these experiences though, in the weeks, months and years between qualifiers and future CCWCs is what will strengthen you and your team.
Last, but certainly not least, I wanted to gratefully acknowledge our dedicated Captains, Crystal and Tabitha, as well as Board Members for all of their coordinated efforts in enabling our crews to simply focus on race prep. This year's CCWC race was the largest IDBF event ever, with over 4700 competitors.
You wouldn't believe the paperwork these ladies had to submit (think daily race rosters, on top of master rosters, a 5" D-ring binder) or meetings they had to attend before all of the racing began, and every evening after all of the racing ended before heading back to the hotel to get cleaned up. Also, due to an unexpected hiccup the Directors were able to set up a wonderfully relaxing LARD family dinner on short notice to close out our Hong Kong experience. Topped off, of course, by a team cheer led by Megan :)
As you're also all aware, these races marked Chuck's last hurrah as a coach. I think Hong Kong was such a fitting exclamation point to his selfless tenure; on behalf of the coaches we've appreciated every bit of insight, initiative, and perspective he's brought to our discussions, as well as his preparedness on race days. We're glad to still have him on board as a role paddler!
And with that, let's get back to it! Our home race is just around the corner, and TI only several weeks after!
See y'all on the water,
Race 231 07/07 14:40 Premier Mixed Rep 1
|1st||Los Angeles Racing Dragons||2:08.384|
|2nd||Singapore Management University Dragon Boat Team||2:11.957|
|3rd||Lamma Dragons Hong Kong||2:13.671|
|4th||BGC Stormy Dragons||2:14.431|
|5th||NTEC Dragon Boat Team HONG KONG||2:16.451|
|6th||JiuJiang Windsor Arch Dragon Boat Team Foshan city,Guangdong prov.||dns|
Jeff Chen (July 22, 2012)
“That's the look of exhaustion if I've ever seen one” was the comment left on Team LARD’s Facebook page by the team’s very own registered dietitian, Elizabeth Lee, and no better comment could’ve been made. This picture, I’m sure, was taken immediately after the first Open 500m race of the day, and after 4 consecutive days of paddling a combined total of 6,700m (not including the distance marshaling to the start line and returning back to the docks), I’m not sure what other expression I could have made coming off that boat.
Going into the race, as a stroker, my main focus was setting an aggressive stroke rate for the boat. Knowing that this piece would be the Open boat’s first race of the day, which typically feels the most sluggish for Team LARD as everyone’s getting their paddling muscles warmed up, I wasn’t sure how the boat was going to respond to the rate I established as it was more aggressive than we had previously practiced. Fortunately, we were able to lock in a solid rate but ended up battling the large swells of the harbor and then got caught in the wake of the team that would eventually win it all in the Grand Final’s race. It was like having to sit on Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain while paddling through the waters of Big Foot Rapids at Knott’s Berry Farm. Yet, despite having to face these challenges, our boat was able to finish the race with a very impressive time of 2:03.680. It sure was a wild ride, and that look of exhaustion on my face captured my reaction to it perfectly. There’s no doubt in my mind that the remainder of the season will be an even wilder ride; I’m strapped in and ready for it! Though… I wonder what kind of expression I’ll have on my face then?
Race 240 07/07 16:00 Premier Mixed Semi 2
|1st||Hong Kong Island Paddle Club||1:59.249|
|2nd||22 Dragons Montreal, QC||1:59.402|
|3rd||Pacific Dragons Sydney||1:59.689|
|4th||Brisbane River Dragons||2:01.709|
|5th||Ice Dragons Canberra||2:03.282|
|6th||Los Angeles Racing Dragons||2:08.556|
|7th||Singapore Management University Dragon Boat Team||2:10.576|
|8th||Onslaught Racing Dragons Manila||2:17.562|
A Bug's Life
Kenny Kim (July 18, 2012)
Some of us are more squeamish than others, but oddly Jeannie was the center of attention for both bugs, both huge, both creepy as all hell.
bug on Jeannie
Bug #1. We were standing in the tent areas after our warm up and prior to our first race for the day when I see a HUGE bug flying towards us from the nearby bushes. It makes a bee-line for Jeannie and lands of all places, on her skort. It was so heavy, it pulled her skort out of shape. And then it just hung out. It was big, and a little scary, but not too creepy. That was later.
WTH is THAT!?!
Bug #2. We had given up on hanging out by our tent. The tents were too far from the marshalling area to hear anything and turned into ovens in the sweltering heat. So all of us hung out by the race course where there was a nice breeze. Half of us were sitting, giving our legs and feet a rest when out of one of the cracks emerges this creature. None of us knew what the heck it was but after much screaming (mostly from the boys) Jeannie picks it up and tries to put it where it won't get stomped on. But there are too many people, so what does she do? She picks it back up and starts playing with it and convinces a little kid to start playing with it too. shudder.
And the icing on the cake? The evil kid walks far enough away to give a sense of safety but then comes back and scares the bejeezus out of Crystal and Tabitha with the bug. Ah, the screams. Puts a smile on all the evil little boys inside of us.
500m Mixed Open
Sun July 8, 2012 89.6° with 1 mm of rainfall and a Heat Index of 112°
Race 305 08/07 13:05 Premier Open Heat 4
|1st||Shunde Dragon Boat Club||1:51.173|
|4th||Los Angeles Racing Dragons||2:03.680|
|5th||Monte Dragons Cape Town||2:06.513|
Jeremy Wong (July 19, 2012)
Five hundred meters. open race. The last set of races in a week full of learning experiences, OMG's, WTF's, Pocari Sweats, and non-stop bun runs. My previous races before sunday was the festival 2-parter, so i could say my feel of the race course was a bit rusty with a 5 day break. However, attending all the race recaps showed me how LARD went from adaptive to reactive paddling and what to expect for Sunday's showdown. Our first race pitted us against some top teams, including the Shunde Dragon Boat Club. But the sense from others around me who paddled every day since Weds was "stick with the program, improve your team". And we did just that, having a great pace and not DFL'ing.
It only seemed like a moment before we had to marshall again. Our second race was just as clean as the first, with fumes of gasoline in Leon's voice when he said "WE'RE ON PHILLY! WE'RE GAINING BENCHES! KEEP IT UP!". That definitely lit a fire in my mind, and finishing a close 3rd to Philly's 2nd with a clean race meant we were going to the semi-finals. the fourth LARD boat to make it into a CCWC semi-finals, showing that we consistently had the ability to field the same type of crew for various distances and still place in the top 20 teams out of almost 60.
Our last race pitted us against Shunde and a flurry of top teams from Canada, Australia, and Singapore. Although we did not place, we ran a smooth program and fought through some of the roughest conditions LARD faced in the entire week. We came out of the entire 8 days without a capsize, a collision, an injury, or a DNF. Seeing other boats veer off immediately after the start or making a complete 180 turn in the middle of the race, i'm glad we stayed straight. Our pieces never felt like they lacked the basics, but was more of a culmination of what we all learned through the days of racing in 90% humidity. It was, and will always be "Improve Your Team". LARD was now ranked among the world's best teams. Let us put the memories of the dumplings, buns, and annoying festival music behind us and yearn for the gelato and pasta that is Ravenna, Italy 2014!
Race 317 08/07 14:30 Premier Open Rep 2
|1st||New Dragons Racing Club Toronto||1:57.455|
|2nd||Philadelphia Dragon Boat Association||2:01.335|
|3rd||Los Angeles Racing Dragons||2:01.609|
|4th||United Fishery Dragon Association||2:03.295|
|5th||Filipino Dragons (Singapore)||2:05.869|
Kenny Kim (July 20, 2012)
It has been almost a week of racing. It's Sunday and this is our last chance. Our last chance to prove that we belong and our last chance to kick some ass. I was nervous and still amazed at the size of our competitors. I've never seen women taller than me with the physique of Chuck. It was a little daunting. But I knew we were the scrappiest fighters out there and our first race it was a little rough and rocky but at least we weren't DFL.
Okay, time to regroup. Its rep-ah-chaage time (thick Bostonian accent). Damn. Canadians are in this heat. Damn. Philly is in this heat. The first time I saw Philly was in 2002 for our first attempt at Worlds. And we got destroyed by them. I was determined that this time it would be different. Screw my bad shoulders. If they snap, they'll snap after we win this race. BAM! We charge out and it's a blur. There is a little chop but it isn't too bad. Breathe. Focus. Timing. PULL! In the end, Philly did beat us. But by less than half a second. We've come a long way. We used to be boat lengths behind them. Now? Now, we're nipping at their heels. Next time, we'll get them.
So time for a breather. And one more race. Many of us pass out on the wall while we wait the hours for our next heat. It was to be our last race, and the roughest. We were seeded into lane 7. A POS lane if I ever saw one. While we didn't have a bad start, it was unbelievably rough. We were thrown from side to side the entire race and I heard from others afterwards of missed strokes as we were thrown from side to side, unable to maintain our footing. But, I'm not ashamed of that piece at all. As a team, we came together. We were focused. And we paddled our hearts out. But the lane was just not cooperating. We heard afterwards that from the hotel you could see that the starting dock was bowed out and lane 7 was at a distinct disadvantage as the dock bowed behind the other lanes. It is what it is. We raced a good race, and what to do now but hit the beer garden!
Race 338 8/07 17:10 Premier Open Semi 3
|1st||Shunde Dragon Boat Club||1:57.312|
|2nd||22 Dragons Montreal, QC||1:58.139|
|3rd||Pacific Dragons Sydney||1:58.486|
|4th||Singapore Paddle Club||2:04.386|
|6th||Filipino Dragons (Singapore)||2:08.912|
|7th||Los Angeles Racing Dragons||2:10.992|
Most of us did not have the chance or were being good athletes and refraining from drinking until the racing was done. Which meant that for 7 days we walked by the beer garden without taking a drop. But once the racing is over, the festivities can begin!
We finally met the Pendragons, a team from Australia that we learned had been using our video for their website. We were flattered and had a good laugh as those of us who were in the video appeared in the flesh to their team.
bend and . . . snap
The rest of the time was spent, unwinding, being silly as seen here, and meeting people from all over the world.
A tradition at these larger venues is to trade jerseys with other teams. While watching the races, we had numerous people take pictures with us since its the first time Los Angeles has ever attended a dragon boat race internationally. Jeannie and Kenny swapped with the Monte Dragons who are based out of South Africa.The 2014 CCWC is slated to be held in Italy. Time to learn some italian! :)
Team Dinner at Xia Fei
There was a bit of a snafu with our registration for the team dinner with the Festival and in typical LARD fashion, we were able to switch venues with "style and poise". Located in of all places, a mall attached to the subway, we found a fantastic chinese restaurant where speeches were made, toasts were given, and much food was to be had.
There were some interesting items ordered as well, something covered in salted egg yolks, and of course the proteins were always served with the heads. We also found another hidden "talent" in Justin who does it old school and chowed down on the duck head to our cringing admiration :)
A toast to all who made it to Hong Kong and a toast to those who supported us from afar. Team LARD had a fantabulous time and I know I'm hungering for more and am now in training for Italy 2014!
The 2012 Club Crew World Championship Crew