It was a damp and soggy weekend, but that didn’t slow down Living Root one bit. A Division, A Division!! For the first time ever, both Red and Blue boats made the A Division, and learned the Fast Boat Curse: the faster you go, the harder it is to win. Our outstanding time trial results put us in the top 9 teams out of 53, which meant we were racing teams from Canada, California, and most of the state of New York. Good company to keep, but tough to beat. Here are the times from Saturday:
2:33.35 (11 seconds faster than their fastest 2010 time)
2:25.08 (9 seconds faster than their fastest 2010 time)
Both boats made HUGE improvements compared with last year. The Red boat this year beat last year’s Blue Boat’s best time of 2:34. I may have had to threaten murder once again, but it seems to have worked.
Sunday was wet and rainy, but Living Root had the most cheery and happy campsite on the waterfront. Numerous people stepped in to say hello and ask how they could join our team. I believe the smell of turkey bacon lured them in. Food was plentiful and incredible, and we were surrounded by our good dragon-friends Ocean State, NAAAP, Bank of America, and Hope in the Boat. (That list gets longer each year—I love it!!)
We had a long wait before our first race, which was an all-hands on deck operation. Red and Blue Boats both raced in the same heat against DBCB’s Water Puppies. It was a tough race, with Blue Boat taking second and Red boat third. Blue Boat hopped right back onto the water to take on Catch 22 and MAD for a challenge race held for the top three teams from Saturday. That race was really good for the crew since they were able to make some improvements in rating that paid huge dividends in the final.
In the Red Boat final, we were stacked up against Harvard Veritas and Team Remix from Montreal. Red made a strong showing and pulled their time down to a 2:36 from an earlier high at 2:43. It was a tough race, but the team held together and pulled an outstanding time.
The Blue Boat’s competition for the final was the Vitasoy Seadogs – Black (NY) and Dieselfish (from San Fran). Blue had a great start, but so did the Seadogs and Diesel. All boats were holding steady through the first third of the race. Seadogs started creeping ahead and held a one-seat lead through the second third of the race. Blue held their power nice and steady with good long strokes and a controlled rating, which began to pay off. Vitasoy drifted back a bit, and Blue kept pouring on the power. Blue steadily crept ahead and gained a pair of seats on them, and then Sandy screamed FINISH! Blue just walked away from the competition. Each stroke brought the boat ahead of the other two. It was strong, it was in control, and it was beautiful. Blue Boat beat two excellent, experienced crews, and managed to set a team record at Boston with a 2:24.
Here are the final times from Sunday:
2:43.27 (A Div. Semi Final)
2:36.44 (A Div. Tail Final)
2:28.81 (A Div. Semi Final)
2:32.88 (Club Crew Challenge)
2:24.47 (A Div. Minor Final)
This weekend would not have been possible without the help of many key players. I have many shout-outs to give. The first goes to Chris who stepped up and coached the NAAAP team. He was there training them on Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons (and drinking with them most other days of the week). His work paid off big with a huge 1st place win in their division. Special recognition to our PICOLS (Paddlers In Charge Of Lunch and Sustenance), Julia and Chris. Their organization ensured we had an amazing, nutritious spread on Sunday to keep our tanks full. Thanks to Evan for bringing his cooking gear and making an awesome, breakfast for all. Many passers-by were quite impressed with our setup. Evan also steered Bank of America to victory in their division. He is truly a man of many talents (and scents). Thanks to Kumar who paid for breakfast through a kind donation to the team!!! Thanks to everyone who helped lug equipment back to the Mini after the race. And a huge shout-out goes to Scott and Amy. Amy has been priceless when it comes to getting out team warmed up and ready to race. She’s fast becoming one of our most prized drummers. Scott has recruited half of the community paddlers to join the team and handed out scores of info cards that he designed and produced. He’s been a great motivator and teammate. Sandy and I have loved having them with us to keep the rest of the team pointing in the right direction.
Who’s with me for Montreal? See you at practice.