Early Season PNW Surfski Racing
Surfski training in the Pacific Northwest is a challenge when spring feels bipolar– warm & sunny one day, back to winter conditions the next.
Trying to fit in quality paddling sessions as we progress through the local spring race series has been a challenge for everyone. After last weeks ‘draft to hang-on’ race at the Dirty Dan Harris Challenge, I’m trying to get excited about another slog coming up at Lake Whatcom Classic. Don’t get me wrong, I spend plenty of time on the lake for winter training and log most my base miles there in a surf ski or K-1, but a 12 mile slog out to the island and back just sounds painful. Last year, I lost a double ski draft near the mid point of the race while trying to eat a power gel. It’s a long enough race that eating some gel is worthwhile, but at the same time it’s usually flat enough that single surfskis are best off hanging with the double surfskis for drafting opportunities. While I lost my draft mid-Gu at last year’s LWC, I had good luck gelling at Round Bowen Island last summer. My end score was 6 double shot gels while holding onto the lead pack draft – but I decided I might of overdone it a bit as I felt like my skin was walking off my crashing body as I was driven home by Kristen.
The competition in the PNW is looking deep for the 2011 season. Looks like Don is stepping it up and spending more time on a ski this spring, as he took top honors last weekend at the Dan Harris Challenge. Gabe is as fast as always and my front-runner pick for the Bellingham S2S Special Olympics top gun (as long as his Epic rudder system works!). Kirk did a good defending his drafting spot last week at the Dan Harris Challenge. It was the first time I’ve seen Kirk get fired up as I tried to rob his drafting position at the start at the race. He held onto it and ended up having a great race. Maybe someone needs to ‘fire him up’ with a little hostility before a race and he’ll be untouchable, but I’ll leave that for someone bigger than me. Seeing as he’s my Wildside Relay partner, I’m psyched he’s paddling well right now. We tried to get an Elite double to paddle at the Whatcom Classic, but that fell through, so it looks like it’s time to scrap it out with all the singles and hang onto the double drafts. I kind of liked the idea of a nice relaxing doubles paddle with a couple intervals thrown in there, but looks like it’ll be another singles shoot-out on Saturday morning.