"I forced myself to drive to Golden on Saturday night so that I would compete in the Cross on Sunday. I woke up on Sunday morning depressed because of the changes to my life lately and I was questioning my decisions in everything. I was questioning if I should justify spending the money for the entry fee for this race and that if sacrificing so much to race every weekend was worth it".
This weekend was rough. The dust is settling as the complete lifestyle change (and humbling of my ego) of living in my own car is setting in. And it was a harsh wake-up call when I endured the heavy 12 inches of snow in Boulder the first two days I arrived. My diet is also changing drastically because I'm living out of a crappy cooler and I'm too stubborn to buy ice all the time to keep my food cool, so I'm a vegetarian for now out of convenience.
I was in Colorado for two days (snowing the entire time) before the Golden Games event started. I missed the Down River Race on the first day for several reasons. If I raced, then I would have missed a Werner Paddle Clinic hosted through my job at Rocky Mountain Paddleboard, which I knew that it would be beneficial to learn about different paddle designs. I also didn't sign up because I don't own a dry suit. I only have 3/2 mm wet suits, which were not going to be warm enough for the frigid waters with snow on the banks. And lastly, I didn't sign up because money is tight right now. The joys of seasonal work paired with moving and converting a van means that I have to live on scraps until it warms up enough for people to start paying for paddle boarding lessons and rentals.
I forced myself to drive to Golden on Saturday night so that I would compete in the Cross on Sunday. I woke up on Sunday morning depressed because of the changes to my life lately and I was questioning my decisions in everything. I was questioning if I should justify spending the money for the entry fee for this race and that if sacrificing so much to race every weekend was worth it.
After venting to my boyfriend, I received a transaction in my Venmo account from him with the caption "Go Race"! He is amazing, but he also kinda sucks for supporting me so much. I'm losing my independence ;)
So I got myself together and got on the river on Sunday. There were two other women who were signed up to compete in the cross, so we did the course three times and accumulated points based on our rankings each run. At the end of the runs the lady with the lowest number of points took the cake. It was a ton of fun running the course with Christine and Kerri! They are amazing paddlers and very strong women. It was one of the funnest Cross courses I've done because we were pretty stacked each time.
Starting a SUP Cross race is always tricky because there's always a starting place with a mega advantage/disadvantage. This course's disadvantage was starting from the opposite eddy versus the eddy closest to the main current and first buoy. The women alternated who started at that position since there were three of us doing three runs.
The first run I started on the good side with Christine, and Kerri was on the opposite side. Christine and I were duking it out that run, and I got first with Christine behind me.
The second run, I started on the opposite side in the disadvantage spot. I saw that Kerri struggled getting into the current and to the opposite side of the river in time, so I adjusted my starting place in the eddy by placing myself close to the upstream side of it (which is the weakest point in the eddy). The river bed was shallow enough that we could stand and jump on our boards at the start, so I positioned my board at a downward ferry angle, so as soon as we got the go, I was able to cut across the current to get in the running.
My plan went well and I was right up with the other two ladies at the start. It was pretty crazy as we all were struggling to get our paddles in the water and maintain our balance as we battled it out for the ideal spot in the current through the first hole and the first buoy turn. We were all stacked up until the first buoy when Christine broke from the herd and left Kerri and I in the dust.
Kerri and I were neck on neck the entire course. It was amazing and absolutely a blast! We definitely provided some entertainment for the crowd as we had a photo finish at the end of that one, tying for second place.
The third run was tight because Christine and I both had three points, so we were tied and this one was going to determine who took the cake. This time Christine was on the opposite side with the disadvantage. We were all pretty tired, so a lot of us were struggling to maintain balance on that run.
All in all, I placed first, Christine second, and Kerri third. My lungs were burning and my mouth tasted like blood from the altitude, but it was a great kick off to the river season :) The river racing scene really is amazing and my competitors and river friends are like family to me. I guess I was forgetting that while I was stressing about the dumb things, like money, and what I want to do with my life. ;)
And I also want to thank Golden River Sports and Shaboomee for putting on the Games! It's races like these that grow the sport, and I know that they are no easy event to plan. I also want to thank Hala Gear SUP for their support, I would not be where I am today without their amazing boards! The 9'6" Atcha was my board of choice for this event, and it served me well.