Okay- it's on. Our little stand up paddle race crew is getting fired up for the Seaside Slide race this Saturday. I've never done this one before but Kiwi said that since it's in our backyard, we've got to do it. I'll admit, I have some reservations about it.
First of all, I suck in the open water. I can handle a bit of roll and chop but when it gets all crossed up and nasty- that's when I really slow down. Dealing with all that motion wears out your legs. By the time the thing is over, you feel like you're going to collapse- your legs have become linguini. Secondly, it's frustrating to have to paddle at a slower rate than you're used to- instead of powering along like you do on flat water, you've got to get into rhythm with the chop and swell. Sometimes you never get in rhythm (that's what happened to me at the Redondo race- the conditions owned me outside of the breakwater) and you never get to the point where you can power up comfortably. That's when it gets frustrating.
Secondly, this is a seven mile race with a water start and a beach finish. The water start shouldn't be a problem, except that a solid northwesterly groundswell is supposed to peak on Saturday morning. Luckily, there are a few channels at Seaside reef that allow you to sneak a 12.6" race SUP through- at least that's the plan. The finish should be interesting- surfing a race stand up board always gets me nervous- the things have sharp rails that can catch and throw you off. I'm anticipating some serious chili con CARNAGE at the finish. But, like I said, this one's seven miles long and I'm anticipating that I'll be bringing up the rear of the pack- I'll probably be missing out on the carnage asada- unless the joke is on me.
|Of course, I'll bring my own magic marker to put my race number on a couple additional spots on my body. I want that number to be really easy to see- I'm not going to be left out of the results ever again!
And finally, the winds look screwy for Saturday. The forecast calls for light and variable winds predominately out of the south. This means a tailwind for the first half of the race and headwinds all the way back. Brutal.
Open water races throw many more variables at you than the protected flatwater races. I'm looking at this one as a learning opportunity. If I'm ever going to be a complete racer I'll need to get comfortable on a race board in live water. And, we are ocean racers aren't we? Ocean racers weren't meant to sit safely in harbors- see you out there on Saturday!