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Harrison Dragon Boat Race Festival July 25, 2015

29 Jul

This past Saturday was the Harrison Dragon Boat Festival, held at (in case you didn’t guess) Harrison Hot Springs. The race is held on a beautiful lake. This means clean, heavy, choppy, water – it’s pretty much awesome. πŸ™‚

2015-07-26 12.00.59There are four races in a day, which is average for festivals. The day and most of the night prior it was raining and not cold exactly but not warm, ya know, cause of getting drenched every time you went outside on account of the rain so we all prepared for a rainy race day but lucky for us when we woke up it was overcast and windy but not raining, yay! πŸ™‚

The paddler’s village is on the beach so we all lugged the stuff we would need for the day the whole 5 minute walk from the motel to our team’s tent and settled in for a day of awesome.

Our first race started fairly normal, the teams lined up, madam caller gave us the mark to go and boom! We are off! Then all of a sudden we weren’t because another team rammed their boat in to ours! Fyi, this is not normally a contact sport so yeah, not cool.

Since the team that hit us never came over to apologize we don’t know for sure why it happened, I am going on the assumption it was an accident since there was no reason for them to do it on purpose.

Let me set the scene for what happens when dragon boats collide…the boat with the most momentum tends to go over / into the second boat so the dragon head and part of the boat actually ends up inside the other boat. Since there are people in the way this generally means the dragon head hits or goes over top of a paddler, or two, or three…and sometimes hands and paddles get squished between the boats. Sometimes boats tip, sometimes they don’t, there are a lot of factors that decide that.

Here is a video of multiple dragon boat crashes, you can see how there are a lot of different reasons for boats to flip. Just ignore the propaganda type text that is talking about dragon boating lol oh, and no, none of the crashes shown are our crash, I don’t think it got caught on video which is too bad really, it’d be fun to see!

So yeah, we got hit, at first we kept paddling but we got the call from the water marshal to stop so we did, then once the boats were no longer connected we were told to keep going so we are hmm, maybe halfway through the race and have to start from a dead stop while the other teams had kept going (well, except for the boat that hit us). Basically we just dug in and gave it everything we had and then some to stay in the game. It is amazing how motivation and adrenaline can help boost you lol For that race we ended up coming in second place, I know right?! You’d of thought we’d be last but nope, second. πŸ™‚

The water referee saw the collision and recommended we file a complaint with the officials so we did and they took 6 seconds off our finish time. That kept us in second place finish for the race but that’s ok, it’s still a good finish, especially considering the collision!

The remaining three races seem a bit anti-climatic compared to the first, no more collisions, no more drama, just normal racing. We placed first in races two and three which put us in to the medal round for Division A Rec which is awesome and terrifying all at once.

Part of me was all “how’d we get in to A Division? We’ll never medal in A Division, dammit, why aren’t we in B Division?” but I think that was just my nerves talking. I know how we got in to A Division, we earned it, and we were going to show everyone there we earned a spot in that medal race by kicking ass! πŸ˜‰

There was a bit of nerves, a lot of encouragement being shared amongst the team, reminders that we know what we are doing and we’ve been doing great all day so just keep it up then before you know it we are lining up for the race and there is no more time for nerves, no more time for doubt, no more time for anything but focus, determination and control. Relying on training and technique and muscle memory, relying on our steersperson to keep us safe, relying on our caller to keep us motivated and in the game, relying on ourselves and our teammates to get us to victory!

So how did that race go you ask? Oh you know, fairly well, we only came away with the GOLD MEDAL!!!

The Twisted Hips Won Gold!

The Twisted Hips Won Gold!

You can see me over to the right wearing the black baseball cap. πŸ™‚

2015-07-26 12.04.14

After the festival was over we all went back to the motel, we were in a bunch of suites but congregated in one as it was the biggest. All the normal things happened after that, people showered and changed, we all kept our medals on, went for dinner at a local pub, got congratulated by random strangers (fellow dragon boaters and non-dragon boaters) as we walked through the town, then we ended up back at the motel to celebrate (aka drink and revel in our victory lol) πŸ™‚

The next day those of us that stayed overnight (which was most of us) went for brunch where I had the most amazing omelette ever, Mmm! and we slowly started to drift back to our vehicles. We all car pooled to some degree so don’t go thinking 22 people all drove up there individually! πŸ˜› You could tell that nobody wanted to leave even as we were all saying how we should leave because the goodbyes kept being drawn out, excuses were found to take pictures, people lingered for ages until finally we all went our own way. You’d think we were never seeing each other again or something when in reality it was Sunday and we were going to see each other at practice on Tuesday lol

Our last race weekend group selfie…

Some of my awesome team!

Some of my awesome team!

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