So afterwards at the Shaw ferry landing everyone sat around telling stories about the race. They all begged me to do a race report. Probably because they were weary from the race and were having a lot of fun yanking reivers almighty around.
Typical SR race where each race has wierd quirks and features that the general public would find bothersome and irritating, but we paddlers and rowers think are so charming and wonderful. Maybe an analogy would be that special class of folks who find Sharpeis to be cute. So like that, the ferry was a hassle and cost bucks, but the race was free and we all got to practice backing our cars down the ramp on the Orcas landing. When we got to the county park everything shifted into "island time" and nothing got done and nobody cared. Cell phone coverage was nutty. Someone complained and Shane said, "just take two steps to the right". Post race refreshments were lots of water, some jars of chunky peanut butter a jar of smuckers jam and some loaves of bread. Oh. and a rhubarb-berry pie that was out-of-the world good. Oh yeah, no plates. So Peter H. showed us how to load up a slice of bread with a glop of pie. But let's talk about the main event.
Web weather was screaming about "small craft advisory". Hazy on the ferry over, but wind picked up once we got to the park. White caps were getting awful frisky coming into that bay and we're all thinking San Juan channel would be nuclear with the heavy ebb. Nobody wanted to take that on for their last half so we all went clockwise. It seemed like the race director looked ten years younger once that was solid. Even though it was a small group all the major paddler/rower groups were represented. Maybe 14 boats. I was sure the four seat rower would smoke the day.
We started at 11 with a few slow to the line. The R-4, Kevin O. and Paul C. ran out ahead. Somewhere in there the Knakals (R-2) got by me. I clung to the illusion of youth not far behind. First leg was against that wind, but it was easing. Then we got mixed rollers from the dyeing wind and big boat traffic. Leaders hit the point turn into San Juan channel and it was a gol dang rodeo show. My thoughts were something like, "shit ahoy, I don't want that". so I snuggled close to shore and crept past everyone but KO. These monkey shines continued up the channel with everyone swapping places except KO. He had gone mid-channel and made his lead stick. Watching the R-4 get treated so badly rattled me. But pretty soon I found myself chasing Jeff and Teresa K (The Knakals in the R-2). I hung on across the North leg of the triangle, but faded coming down the East side. I looked and saw Paul creeping up on me and found a little more to finish with. Found out later that Paul found a rock on that last stretch. He fell in, but I'm thinking it was a "soccer flop". There were some great back stories. For example Amber The Hammer pounded the course in three hours in a touring kayak. Considering that the best in show (Kevin) just barely got in under two, that says tenacious.
Race director is my new hero. Conditions had the aspect of "i'm going to hurt someone"". But he kept the faith and it paid off. I hope some of you bums show up for the GSX (Great Cross Sound) in a couple of weeks. It was strange to not have any Tracy of any spelling. So then of course Shane and I ended up talking of all the ghosts of paddlers past. Pretty cool race.
Oh Hey!!!! Either this one or next year is the 40th running of this race. Might be the first all human powered race in all of North America. We might get T-shirts next year.