Monday, July 27, 2009


This weekend I took part in my third Montreal International Dragon Boat Race Festival.

It was a tough festival. Elite teams that were away last year at the World Club Crew competition were in Montreal this year and we felt it. My team, Montreal Mix, did well. Not as well as we'd hoped but still. Our objective was to finish in the top 5. We finished in the top 7 (of 125 or so mixed teams). Not bad. But if you take away the out of town teams then we finished in the top 4 Montreal teams. So that makes me feel a little better.

This was our 5th of 8 competitions this summer. As a team we're finding out just how hard 8 competitions, plus training, is on the body. We have about 5 injured on the team now. This weekend we had 3-4 more team members working at the festival so they were exhausted. Another 5 team-mates were paddling on other teams. That left precious few of us who were in top shape and even at that I think it's fair to say we're all in pretty rough shape. We're tired. We're more than tired. I speak for myself and possibly a few others when I say I'm exhausted.

Saturday started off cool and rainy but it dried up by the time we started our first race in the Saturday qualifying heats. By afternoon it was hot and sunny and the Basin was crowded with teams and spectators. It was a real festival atmosphere. One of my favourite moments on Saturday was watching the National Women's Elite team come in second against 5 other MEN's crews! We were disappointed leaving on Saturday because we didn't make the A Final, only B. Our second race was better, a good race, but not good enough.

Sunday was an awful day. It started off rainy and truly didn't stop until sometime after 3pm. It was cold and damp and windy. Our morning race, the 500m final, was when it rained the hardest, naturally. While this is strangely when we paddle our best, we still only managed to come in second place. Still, meant a silver medal and (for me anyway) that is nothing to be upset about. Many hours later, made even later due to several thunder delays (now 90 minutes behind schedule), we raced our last race of the day, the 250m final. Head wind coming from the opposite side of the Basin, bad lane but now we were hungry for that gold. So guess what happened? WE GOT IT!!! We had the most amazing start of the weekend. Even though we were trailing on the start (against 5 other boats) we started pulling ahead after our transition and then killed it on the finish. It was a close race. Think there was something like 0.04 seconds between us and second place. But the race was ours. Nothing made me happier than coming out of the weekend with a gold medal.

I've been trying to convince myself that this will be my last season with the competitive team but after a race like that, I want more. I want to train harder, I want to compete harder at Nationals (which by the way, is something a lot of teams only dream about doing and we're actually going to do next month) and I want to compete in China next year. I'm back and forth between this decision every 5 minutes so don't quote me that.

We're resting this week (thank you, Coach!) and I need it. I screamed myself hoarse in the races and after winning. Honestly, sounds like I have laryngitis or something now, heh. But it was worth it. That gold medal in my hands feels good.

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