Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rochester Race Report

The 4th Annual Armond Basset Memorial Race was held in Rochester on Saturday. This 10-mile race on the Genesee River was actualy (unfortunately) held concurrently with the Rochester Open Water Challenge (a 10-mile surfski race attended by Olympic Gold Medalist Greg Barton). Anyway, I had to choose between the two, and, given that I don't have a surfski, I chose to race c2 with Dylan on the river.

In the pro class, we were up against the Schlimmer boys as well as Jeff and Larry. The race starts at the Genesee Waterways Center and heads downstream through the U of R campus and turns at a buoy in the city. From there the race winds 5 miles upstream (past the start line) and turns a buoy in Henrietta just past that railroad bridge; the final 2 miles is a downstream finish back at the GWC.

Off the line, Dylan and I were able to stay with the Schlimmer boys and ride their stern wake all the way to the downstream buoy. Our plan was to relax and try to drop them in the upstream section.

On the upstream, we caught them and jockeyed back and forth for 5 miles. It was clear that neither of us was faster than the other, and so I figured it would be a sprint to the finish [since we couldn't drop them]. But by some miracle, we pulled away from them in the final 2 miles in the deep water. Go figure! We cruised pretty hard and beat them by maybe a minute, give or take. I don't remember. Wonderful. A hard effort... and the best part was that we raced smart. Out of all the races we've done together this season (4 or 5 maybe?) I'm most proud of this one.

It was unfortunately my last canoe race of the season, as I must now start focusing on kayaking again. I will be returning to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista on July 10. In the meantime, I will be racing kayaks in Lake Placid! More to follow.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why Kati Erwin is the most disappointing Hawaiian of all time

Kati Erwin, my house guest for the next 2 days before we drive to Lake Placid for the U-23/development team camp, is from Oahu. But don't let that fool you! She doesn't even fulfill ANY of the cliches.

She doesn't wear a coconut bra
She doesn't have a pet monkey
She doesn't surf to school
She doesn't use surf lingo
She doesn't even know HOW to surf
She doesn't grow bananas
She doesn't like mangoes
She never rides stingrays
She hasn't had any limbs bitten off by sharks
She doesn't summon anyone with a conch shell
She doesn't put little umbrellas in her drinks
She speaks English
She's not even tanner than I am
She doesn't have gills

Poor Kati...she doesn't even realize how inauthentic a Hawaiian she really is.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Anna's graduation

My little sister graduated from Fairport High School tonight!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tiadaghton Elm race report

We drove down to Jersey Shore, PA early Saturday morning. This race is cool because A. It's on the Western branch of the Susquehanna River (very pretty) and B. All the races are 6 miles, which is markedly shorter than any other pro races during the season C. They run an amateur race on Saturday and then Sunday's c2 and c1 pro races are back-to-back with 1 hour in between.

All these factors add up to make Tiadaghton Elm my third-favorite race of the season.. and my first-favorite race to spell.

For Saturday's amateur race, I raced c2 with Holly. We went just fast enough to take second-place... which meant chatting throughout the whole thing. Our "course preview," if you will. And we invented the game of "who can finish the course with the least total distance on their GPS" for which we had an extreme advantage because we switched it up and made Holly my stern guy [stern guy steers the boat] and me the big bow guy [flexes a lot and looks tough]. When we got back to the cabin [where we stay for this race weekend] Holly's dog started freaking out and we nearly had a run-in with two bears. Marc and Dylan followed them down the road but never got close enough to "wrastle them to the ground" like they wanted.

I am terrified of bears.

Sunday was the big day. I raced c2 pro with Matt. Our typical race strategy is to sprint off the line as hard as we can go until we die, and then just try to make it to the finish line. I don't really know why we do this every time. Maybe we like to? Anyway, we led the race for a few minutes and then like clockwork, died just before the first buoy turn so we could fight through the upstream shallows while watching the first two teams pull away. Funny how that works. We ended up third behind Steve and Jeff Rankinen and Marc and Holly. We broke away from the 4th place team at the top buoy turn around this small island in the shallows. We gained 45 seconds in a matter of a few minutes and it was easily the best part of all the racing.

One hour later we hopped in c1s for the C1 pro race. I ended up 9th overall, which was great for me. My c1 has improved a lot since last year, which I believe to be a result of paddling primarily c2 since I got back from California, and getting a lot stronger since last summer. And also, not having a broken hand.

After the c1 race- because you haven't had enough- there is a c4 race. It's about 750 meters with 3 buoy turns, and everybody comes equipped with squirt guns, pirate hats, and the like. More boats flipped than stayed afloat, though we were among the latter group. We even brought Bailey [Holly's dog] along with us!

Tiadaghton Elm also has cool prizes (I won a handmade seashell necklace which I really like) and delicious pizza. It was, as all the canoeing race weekends are, a fantastic weekend.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy 15th birthday to my brother!

I love making a big deal out of birthdays, especially when they belong to cool family members.

said cool family members: me and my brother

I was unbelievably exhausted today-presumably from the race- so I took the morning off of training and made Paul a giant mocha cake with an over-the-top decorating job. It's probably better that I didn't take a picture of the cake.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Loyalsock Flatwater Race

I raced today in Williamsport, PA (about 3 hours from Rochester.) We left early this morning and made the gorgeous drive South. What a perfect day for canoeing!! I raced c2 with Dylan, and Marc and Holly also raced mixed c2.

A glimpse into the pre-race hilarity:

Marc and Holly walked away from the car for a bit to put drinks in the boat and Dylan poked his head around the other side of the van.
"You ready to WIN, Emily?" I looked at him blankly for a second. There were teams way out of our league here. I didn't want to be negative... but I also didn't want him to think we can just go into every race gunning for first place. He must have realized this was going through my head because all the sudden he cocked his head to the side and said,
"Wait a second... What's wrong? Who are we racing?"
"Well... Marc and Holly, for starters." (You know, just one of the top mixed pro teams of all time) Dylan furrowed his brow for one second, then burst out incredulously,
"WHAT!?!? Nobody told me that!!" When I finally stopped giggling, he smartened up and corrected himself. "Okay fine... so... are you ready to come in second!?" I just looked at him and burst out laughing again and pointed to the Rankinens (Only one of the top men's pro teams in the country.) His face fell and he gave up on trying to get me fired up.

Another highlight of the day was when Dylan didn't know that the race was 12 miles instead of 9 miles. Not to rip on him too much, though. It was good for some laughs in the boat and luckily by that time we had secured a solid 3rd place for ourselves (behind Marc/Holly and Steve/Jeff) and so the subsequent carnage during the "un-anticipated" last 3 miles was of little consequence. We had a great time, finished respectably, and look great in our new suntans.

The course itself, on the Susquehanna River, is wide and shallow. It was fairly technical, which was cool for me and Dylan because we could practice popping the boat up in the shallows and executing 3 out of 4 buoy turns with perfection (I take full responsibility for the botched turn.)

On the car ride home, Holly, Adrienne, and I chewed mouthfuls of bubble gum, which- yes- is about as gross as it sounds. However, it's a good way to pass the time and try to drown out the sound of classic rock on the radio with incessant gum-smacking.

I used to chew bubble gum in my c1 to keep from getting bored in practice because I was so far behind everyone else. Maybe I will bring that back.