Saturday, January 26, 2013

5th Annual Cold Stroke Classic

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

Thursday, January 3, 2013

One Fine Day

First the video, then the details...

Turn up the volume for a remake of an old classic and watch in full screen...

One Fine Day from WaterTurtle Media on Vimeo.

I got the new GoPro Hero3 camera for Christmas and this is my first use of it. I love the wifi remote control feature.  In this video, I used my older GoPro Hero2 camera as the helmet cam and the Hero3 mounted on the boom in two different spots (front of boom and clew end) to get three different shot angles.  I strapped the remote control next to my mono harness line and was able to power the camera on and off, record and stop recording of the boom mounted camera without having to reach for the camera itself.  The Hero3 is smaller and lighter weight. There are more features and capture options I'm still exploring.

It was fun editing the split screen and picture in a picture formats using the dual angles of the same windsurf timing.  Note in the video split screen that when I look in a certain direction, it also happens in the other angle at the same time.  Yeah, I definitely geeked out big time with the helmet cam but it was fun capturing that footage.  I geeked out in those Sun Specs too, but you can see in some of the video scenes there was a serious glare on the water.  Those Sun Specs are lifesavers for the eyes.  By the way, I usually wear the life jacket (That's the Neil Pryde logo, not Target) when its cold and windy and/or when I'm sailing alone in high wind.

Most of our lake windsurfing involves short reaches...maybe a few hundred yards at the usual spots.   But we have a little known secret - an actual 2 mile reach.  This particular reach is only possible in the lake's main channel (D5 - D8 area) in a WNW wind direction.  You can see in the Google Earth Map below that we have to actually shlog our way upwind from the "launch cove" about 1 mile to get to the good wind line (depicted with the white line in the channel) between "Treasure Island" and "Bird Island" (my personal names for those islands).  Once out to that wind line, we get the long open fetch for WNW wind and can sail all the way from the Mooresville side to The Peninsula on the Cornelius side of the lake.  NW wind works too, but we've found WNW is best and more consistent.  When the wind is really good, as it was on Saturday December 29th, we can get fully powered reaches between 1.5-2 miles.

Our launching spot in the "launch cove" is private property and not my place, hence why I can't divulge its exact location.  The upwind 1 mile shlog requires a floatier board and bigger sail than you would normally need out in the main channel.   Once out in the main channel, I want my smaller gear.  We did in fact go back in to re-rig smaller but could have been on even smaller boards and sails after that.  There are a couple spots between Bird Island and The Peninsula that serve up BIG swells and chop with this wind direction.  Next time, I'm thinking of taking a boat out there with our smaller gear, anchoring leeward of Treasure or Bird Island, rigging up on the island's beach and windsurf my smaller board and sails to my heart's content.  Next time it looks like we'll get another good WNW blow, we'll have to organize a locals' boat outing with our gear.

We windsurfed for 3+ hours that afternoon, hootin' & hollerin' the whole absolute blast.   And a gorgeous sunset as we de-rigged.  The video kind of says it all.  One fine day...and a memorable one for sure.