Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Ke Aloha Outrigger's Hudson River Cup, Hoboken, 7/28/2018

So glad my friend Derek stopped by - thanks for the photo!

I haven't been keeping up with the blogging very well, but that's at least in part because Operation Seize the Summer has been going pretty well and I've been getting out and doing a good bit more on and in the water this year than I managed to last year.

My last post was from the inter-club race day at Inwood, where I ended up racing for Sebago, getting the club points pretty much by virtue of putting my butt in a boat and not getting distracted by a passing seagull (paddle paddle paddle paddle OOH LOOK BIRD! MUST TAKE PICTURE! - anyone who's paddled with me can tell you that's not really too much of an exaggeration
) and wandering off the course without crossing the finish line. The following week was Ke Aloha Outrigger's Hudson River Cup race; I'd gone to the first one the year before and just had a blast, winning the kayak race, which consisted of me and one of the volunteers from the Hoboken Cove Boathouse paddling the sitatops the boathouse uses for their public paddling program (you can paddle with them for free on summer weekends, there's a link at the end if you'd like more info, also a link to a Flickr album of course - if you're just here for the pix, skip on down there!). The other guy was actually faster than me, but the timing was such that we were paddling into a strong current on the return leg, I knew the trick about pulling over to into some slower-moving water, and the other guy didn't and by the time he figured out what I was doing it was too late for him to catch me. It worked out fine but oh, that moment I made the turn at the buoy and suddenly discovered that I wasn't making ANY headway AT ALL...jeeze, I was having visions of having to be fished out by one of the safety boats! It was such a relief to find that sidling over into quieter water let me start moving again. 


Starting Line 2018

This year they stepped things up a bit. The sea kayak race went from being a little short one of I think it was about 2 miles up to a 5 mile distance, which I thought that sounded like a good test distance to see how I'm coming along with the general fitness level. I was not interested in doing that distance in a Drifter, though, so I got in touch with some friends there who were kind enough to hook me up with a QCC700, which is a good fast touring boat. Unfortunately I failed to do justice to the boat - I set the foot pegs a little too short and ended up getting foot cramps and a shin cramp (ow ow ow, that was a new one for me!) maybe a third of the way in. I'd been holding onto 3rd place of the 4 sea kayakers until that happened; I tried to suck it up and keep going but when the guy who'd been in 4th breezed by me I decided that if I was going to be in last place, I might as well be comfortable. Fortunately QCC's have footpegs that you can adjust easily while seated in the boat , and once I took care of that the cramps eventually eased off and I was able to get moving again. I didn't catch the guy who'd passed me to get into third but I also wasn't too far behind him.

Answer to the test of my general fitness level - I did five miles in just under one hour and eighteen minutes, in a fast boat, but with a episode of foot cramps; it's frequently said that the average cruising speed of a trained paddler is 3 mph, so I was at least doing better than that. However, I had absolutely no extra gas for a finishing kick at the end (I wanted to 'cause the other guy was just NOT that far ahead of me, but it just wasn't happening) - so there's still progress to make.

Sea kayaks were split by gender this year though, so I still brought home a trophy - 2nd place women's was the same tiki bar coconut mug as last year's 1st place so now I have a matched set! Now, I would LOVE to see more sea kayaks in this next year, but they drew a really nice number of outriggers and stand-up paddleboards - the race definitely grew this year and that was really good to see. Ke Aloha is a relatively new organization, but counts among its founders and members some of the most experienced outrigger paddlers in the area - I'm happy to support them, many of them are old friends from my Pier 63 days and they're good people, they didn't name their new club "Ke Aloha" lightly. These folks know how to run a major race and I'm looking forward to seeing the Hudson River Cup continue to grow.

In addition to the races, the boathouse folks also put together the Ohana Festival that went on throughout the day in Maxwell Place Park. The post-race atmosphere was thoroughly enjoyable, with ono-kine grindz, arts and crafts for the keiki, cornhole boards (not particularly Hawaiian but good fun for a summer day in the park), and lovely music and dance by the talented performers from Aloha Hula NYC - couldn't think of a nicer way to spend a day. You didn't have to be in the race to have fun!  As I said on Facebook when I posted the video snippet you'll see at the end of this post, "Lying on the grass after a five mile kayak race on the Hudson, looking up at the sky, Bill Wynne singing, happy people all around...can't get much closer to da 'aina without getting on a plane". Mahalo nui loa to Ke Aloha and the Hoboken Cove Boathouse for another great event!

Looking forward to 2019!

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Lots more photos on Flickr, click here to view



147 from Bonnie on Vimeo.