Canoeing 2:06:50  16.0 km (7:56 / km) +9m 7:54 / km
19c shoes: 201104 NB 759
NE Canoe-O champs, set by Aims Coney, with Ali in a C2; we won the race!
I was very pleased that this was not the only NEOC Canoe-O event of the year - Keith's race at Cochituate last weekend was a great precursor. The attendance was respectable this year, especially given the remote location at Lake Tully, about 90 minutes from Boston. I raced at Tully Lake in 2008 with Jeff Schapiro, so I had some idea what to expect.
Aims graciously loaned Ali and I his fast Wenonah C2; after a short calibration paddle, we started the long course. Partnering with Ali was quite easy because we are well matched in terms of power and canoe experience. She had never really used racing canoe technique, and my grasp of it isn't sufficient to offer much instruction. I told her about the basic premise of short strokes and a fast cadence, and apart from occasional corrections to her cadence, she readily took to the technique.
We were slightly confused to 1 without a compass, but found it ok. At 2, I did a poor job anticipating the torque of Ali's mighty cross draw, and we capsized a few meters from the shore and control. We made a quick portage to 3, then a long paddle to 4. We decided to take 5 by running with the boat for a bit over a km along a trail (my Garmin died before we reached 5); according to my track, we were able to trot along at around 6-7 min/km - comparable to our cruising speed in the boat. We missed the optimal trail, though Ali pointed it out when we crossed the stream. After we reached 5, I learned that my partner was bolder than any previous canoe partner (with the possible exception of Jeff Schapiro) when we plowed through a section of marshy reeds to get to the river. It was very effective, and we lost very little time for our vegetation traverse. Controls 6-11 were typical canoe controls along the river, with a smattering on land; Ali was our runner, and I did get to paddle alone for a few hundred meters.
We elected to again portage the canoe along a trail to 12. While we had planned to portage a short peninsula to get to 13, I changed my mind (to our cost) at the last minute when it looked like the peninsula was shorter than expected - probably losing about a minute. We traversed the lake on leg 16, and the cross wind had picked up and made it difficult for me to keep the boat straight. I had to rudder once to correct, but only just managed to keep our bow on the control site. 16 was listed as a wet control, but it really was dry - on a peninsula; we lost at least two minutes checking both sides before Ali saw the flag. We finished nine minutes over our reach goal of 2 hours after a short hop over a peninsula to 17 and some quick paddling to 18 and 19.
We managed to edge out formidable nemesis boat of Schapiro and Keith by about fifteen minutes to win the long course and the New England championship. Had Andy Hall showed up, I'm sure he would have crushed us by at least 30 minutes, but the field was sparse enough for us to prevail. I estimate 25 or 30 boats were in attendance, most of whom raced the medium course. Ali and I fared reasonably well; we had the stamina to persevere through the race and were balanced. I could use some technique practice, and while my steering was adequate, I'm sure it could be cleaned up. Our line across the lake to 4 is pleasing.