|complete race results|
|Bacon||500m Div A Semi-Finals||4th||2:26.996|
|Eggs||500m Div A Semi-Finals||4th||2:25.749|
|Bacon||200m Div A Semi-Finals||4th||0:56.660|
|Eggs||200m Div A Semi-Finals||3rd||0:54.559|
As far as we know, this is the first time this type of starting gate has ever been used in the US for dragon boating. If you've raced at all, you've experienced two types of race starts. There is the classic float in the water and eyeball a straight line start. And there is the back up to a floating dock and hope that the dock hasn't drifter too far and that more importantly when it does drift that you're not stuck in the longest, choppiest lane.
But back to the new starting gates. These beauties were imported from Italy and have apparently been used extensively in Europe for dragon boat races among other things. While I'm not a race steerer, I don't think this really solves all the problems that dragon boat races have in setting up a fair start for 6-8 boats where currents, winds, and water depth affect each lane differently but they are an interesting solution.
First problem. As a team, we're used to having our steerer solely responsible for setting us up for the best start possible. With the cage, this is impossible. The cage is only a foot above the water line and with a drummer sitting at the front of the boat, it is impossible to align the boat into the cage from the sight line of a steerer.
Once we figure out that our 1st row would need to peek around the front of the boat to draw the boat into the cage, all was well, but until we figured that out we missed a few times and had a *ahem* mishap when we missed the cage and the race starter called for us to back up and the horn of the dragon head caught itself in the cage without our knowledge. We unfortunately pulled the cage out of its mooring. We had no idea this happened. And although there were some accusations of ill intent, it was simply an honest mistake made with a new start system. We quickly rectified how we pulled up to the start and had no further mishaps this day nor at Big Long Beach.
We'll see how this new start sytem compares to other race venues...
Great seeing everyone last weekend, both at Saturday's practice and Sunday's races. I've actually missed the past few Baby LB races, so it was particularly refreshing to kick off our season-opener with 'Bacon & Eggs,' and getting a chance to know a bit more about the newer paddlers that have come aboard thus far in our 16th season. Though it probably wasn't the abbreviated race day most of us had in mind, Baby LB certainly packed in all of the elements of the summer race, and then some!
Most obvious, of course, were the new starting gates, complete with pneumatic arms, staging buoys, and a 'basket' to hold the dragon heads in place. Kudos again, to Crystal C, Jeremy, and Leon for adapting to this new system as steerspersons (and to our callers Kat, Cathleen and Jeannie for the Pinks) as the day progressed. I had an opportunity to steer for UCI as well, and I think the experience definitely brings to light a few adjustments that we can make as paddlers to better prepare for a clean start.
New starting system aside, it was a relief for me to finally see both crews being run through our paces in a race setting in both the 500m and 200m distances. Good post-race breakdowns and adjustments. Many of you are new to the coaches, so it's good for us to see how everyone blends together with our race program, as well as among (and with) one another in the boat so we can address needed improvements. It's great to see our attendance numbers at practices increasing over the past few weeks; finally, with our first race behind us, let's continue to build upon this debut. Nice seeing a Wednesday crew out again, too! Keep up your midweek cardio and strength routines so we can more effectively use our limited time on the water!
Of course, a big THANK YOU to everyone who had a hand in...
Next up, the Alcan Festival Races in beautiful Vancouver (6/22-6/23)! But before that, we'll have our 2nd oc2 & erg trials on Saturday, 5/18. For those who were unable to make the first one at the end of March, come out and get your baseline run in! For everyone else, this is a 6 week check-in :-)
Looking forward to seeing y'all again in a few weeks, team!
If the bacon strips, do the eggs get laid?
Fork you! Bacons got this race!
Makin' bacon! Courtesy of the Karate Kid. (a fantastically inappropriate shirt)
LARDies New to Long Beach Spring Race