Race report for Another Dam Race 2019

My husband Bill and me and my 2 youngest sons went on an adventure this past weekend.  We signed up for a 10 mile paddling race from Parker Dam Arizona to Parker California.  It's open to kayaks, canoes, Stand up Paddlers, Surf Ski's, you name it!  Pretty much anyone on anything with a paddle is welcome to jump in.  There were even a few Prone paddlers as well as the event. 

Let's just skip talking about the drive there...  Only to mention, we had planned on being there early on Friday for demo day but due to car problems that started halfway there, we took a LOT longer to drive there than we had planned.

So we got there late Friday and checked into our bungalow on the beach of the Colorado River.  Such an awesome place.  So gorgeous!

Saturday morning we got up bright an early.  But since we were only steps away from the start, we took our time getting rolling and heading over.   As the sun was coming through the windows of our bungalow, Bill was out figuring out how to check us in and I was giggling and playing with the boys.  

Such a treasure to have my 2 young boys ages 12 and 14 with me on this trip.  Bill and I could have gone alone, but these boys coming along just made it so much more amazing.  Times like this are rare.

Around 8am, we brought our gear over to the starting line.  My 12 year old, Ferrell, had some equipment issues and needed to borrow a Stand Up Paddleboard from our friends, Cory and Traci of Riverbound Sports Paddle Co.  Thanks friends for hooking my kid up!

I saw a lot of friends there at the line-up.  It was so good to see my buddies, Audrey, George, Linda, Teri, Cory, Dawn, and Scott on their respective Boards and Kayaks.

My 14 year old, Dane, was in an Old Town Recreational touring kayak, I was on an OLD 14 foot SIC racer, and Bill was going to stay by Ferrell's side and bring a Large HIIT Composite All-rounder SUP from Art in Surf.  Bill was on a BEAST of a board,  Huge and stable, not great for speed, but really good for hauling equipment or a second person if needed and we had a sneaking suspicion that might be the case if Ferrell didn't last 10 miles on his own.  He didn't.

The race gets underway, Outrigger canoes are first to get sent out, then Stand up Paddlers, then Kayakers.  I am still waiting back making sure Ferrell is all set and up and waiting for Bill to join him before I take off.

All the other paddlers are about a half mile ahead of us by the time I get on my board and take off.  I have a LOT of ground to make up and this is my first SUP Race.

I trust my youngest son in the hands of my husband and I dig in deep.  There is no way in hell I am going to come in last!

I'm a decent paddler and I know what good form is.  I understand that excellent form with make up the difference between a younger more fit competitor and myself.  I start closing the gap to the slower less experienced paddlers.  It felt good to just catch up.  But there is 10 miles of this and it can get intense pretty quick.

I find a steady cadence I can keep for a bit.  I'm passing several people.  "Competitive Michelle" kicks in.  I start talking to myself.  "The next person up there with the red camelback.  I can catch them.  Watch their paddle stroke.  Analyze what they do wrong and fix all those things on me.  Now dig in and go for it!"

I get right behind them and find out how to "draft" from their efforts.  I had never done that before.  That was cool to discover I could catch my breathe and let them do the work while I enjoyed it for a moment.  Then I would decide it was time to leave them in the dust, kick it in and double my paddling pace.

I Started counting how many people I "killed" (Passed).  22. I am proud of that number.  I am stoked on how I was able to catch up, draft, and pass over and over for 10 miles.  But the last mile... that's where I found my competition.   I got passed for the first time!  Someone I had passed earlier and kicked it in and blew past me!  Her technique was impeccable!  Her legs were pure muscle.  I kicked it in, but there was no catching her!  That's where training would have come in handy for me.

No, I didn't win anything.  I started dead last by about half a mile and finished in the middle of the pack.  I can't wait to see what I can do when I start WITH the pack. 

My buddy Audrey Lee took first in the HIGHLY competitive division of women Racing SUP's!  NICE!  Linda and Dawn also placed in their divisions as kayakers.

 

My kids both placed first!  Dane had an awesome time on his touring kayak and placed first in his class as did Ferrell and Bill on their Tandem SUP (which is what they did the majority of the race).

Do we need to mention they were the only kids in their divisions?  Eh...  it doesn't matter.  I am so proud of them!

10 miles of paddling is NOT easy.

The most exciting thing is this - I AM NOT SORE!!!!!!  Seriously though.  The whole reason I work out is so that I can enjoy activities like this and not hurt bad or get injured.  It was awesome!  I can't wait for another one!

Afterward we enjoyed an amazing lunch from ADR (Another Dam Race) and visited friends for a couple of hours.  We got back to our bungalow and from our balcony we watched the most amazing sunset over the water.  Bill could not sit still and HAD to get back on the water.  I just sat and watched the view and took it all in. 

 

We had no phone connection or internet.  That was awesome!  I felt bad not communicating with my challenge crew the entire time.  But this was a needed escape.

Sunday morning we fed the ducks, packed up and began the journey home.  Only AFTER a few stops for some photo opportunities and popping in to a local church real quick.  There was that weird Alien head in the rocks and then of course we had to stop at Havasu city and visit London Bridge and read about the history there.

And then we came home arriving late Sunday night.

What a treasure!

We will definitely doing this again next year.  I plan on being a lot faster and training better for this.  I'm already looking at homes to rent.  Does anyone want to join me?

 

 

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