It was another fun Cold Stroke Classic, my fourth.
This year we had nice sunny and mild conditions with a slight northerly breeze to go along with it. Everyone was relieved it wasn't crazy windy with sustained winds 30+mph like last year.
Big thanks to Coastal Urge for putting on another great event. They did an excellent job running the race along with quick and accurate timing. And keeping with history, also gave away a ton of prizes to each and every racer.
I had an OK start but lost the lead pack quickly. 2 groups of 5 started drafting not too long after the start and I didn't jump in the fray right away like I should have. I couldn't catch the 2nd group to draft with them, so I was all alone the entire race and couldn't reel them in. It was those 2 groups ahead of me, then me, and a bunch of folks behind me for the entire 7 mile race. Drafting is king in these big races when its flat water. You have to really pay attention to what's going on around you and be ready to jump on those opportunities fast, or they'll pass you by. I heard some good drafting stories after the race. I felt like everyone else got faster and I got slower, but upon further post race thought, I need to really improve on race tactics to be faster. Although, the competition is really getting faster and faster. The field is growing with all kinds of athletes from various backgrounds - elite triathletes, Cross Fit champions, marathon runners, former pro whitewater kayakers, former Olympic canoe paddlers, outrigger canoe paddlers, etc etc. Serious athletes.
There's no way I was going to catch and keep up with that first group (Dan Gavere, Chris Johnson, etc) but I wish I had jumped on the draft with the 2nd group to see if I could have competed with them. That is a big shoulda coulda woulda - it was all good fun, and a good learning experience for me for these big races. It's fun to have friends to compete with on the water. Congratulations to all the top finishers and all the racers.
It was another great family oriented event as my wife and daughter also raced and my daughter finished 1st in the Kids 14 & Under class in the 3.5 mile race. Matt's son Nick finished 3rd in the Men's 3.5 mile 12'6" class. It's great to see the youth and families come out and compete, especially in the winter.
We stuck around the rest of the weekend and enjoyed the beautiful beach weather. Rob and I SUP surfed a couple of times in small but fun surf, one of those times with our friend Fishcamp, who lives in Wilmington, is a very good surfer/windsurfer/kiter and competed with us at the Hatteras Wave Jam a few years ago. I fell back in love with my larger 10'10" SUP surfboard in small waves.
Here are the results. It starts with all 112 competitors' times, then below that is the class/division break down.
Here are links to years' past Cold Stroke Classic posts:
2012 - The crazy windy one
2011 - the mild and calm one, and my first win outside of our local races
2010 - the freezing cold one - most everyone still had all-around boards and wore wetsuits - my, how times have changed.
Here is video of the very first Cold Stroke Classic that took place in December 2008:
Here is video of the 2nd Annual Cold Stroke (the first that several of us from Lake Norman participated in January 2010):
Thanks to Matt's wife, Jen, for taking many of these pics with our camera.
|By the time the racers meeting started, the sun came out, temps were 45+ and warming, and light north wind 5-10mph.|
|The Ladies - McIntyre, Kris, and Dawn|
|That's me 4th from the left at the start. Dan Gavere (winner, Starboard team rider) is on the right in the lime green shirt, already gone. There are a ton of racers to the left of us that you can't see here.|
|Rob on his new race board|
|me, all by my lonesome, fighting off the crowd behind me|
|Matt on his own shape|
|Dawn on her new race board|
|my daughter, McIntyre, digging deep.|
|nice form in the recover phase of the stroke|
|My lovely bride|
|The top 5 coming in to the finish - you can see how close it was|
|yours truly, finishing without a pack to play with|
|Matt, finishing on his homemade board he shaped and made himself - look out for a future post on this|
|The Lake Norman racing crew - Kris, Rob, Dawn, McIntyre, Mac, Matt, Nick|
|Congrats to Lake Norman local and Matt's son Nick (17 yrs old) finishing 3rd in Men's 3.5 mile 12'6" class|
|Congrats to McIntyre (13) finishing 1st in 3.5 mile Kids 14 & under class|
|post race gathering - Mark Colino (Starboard), Mac, Matt, Jason, Rob|
|Intracoastal sunset across from the Blockade Runner|