Canoeing 3:22:10  29.29 km (6:54 / km) +198m 6:41 / km
shoes: 201104 NB 759
Keith and I raced in the 30th Run of the Charles race, in the intermediate 19-mile distance. I hadn't paddled at all, apart from yesterday, in six months, but I felt strong. After Keith's friend Josh graciously drove us to the start (and then deposited Keith's car at the finish), we went through pre-race preparation: registration, taping our Gu to the interior of the boat for easy access, loading energy juice™, applying sunscreen, and chatting with Aims. Ours was the third or fourth mass start behind the pros racing the 26-mile course and the C1s on the 19. The start line was narrow, so we hung back about two boat lengths to avoid the congestion. I
rowed paddled stern; with my longer legs, it was easier for Keith to move forward in the bow, make a larger moment, and increase our stability.
The first nine miles of the race felt great. The river was narrow and twisty, and steering a good line and hugging the turns was the main objective. We had a comfortable, steady cadence of around 60 and flirted with 6 miles per hour. My technique was sloppy from lack of practice. I had minor difficulty with steering - I tended to overcompensate and underdamp our oscillations, but I improved.
The 9-mile race started at Auburndale about 1:40 after our start, and we saw the K1s starting as we passed the Charles River Canoe and Kayak boathouse. Unfortunately, shortly after crossing north of I-90, we hit some large patches of open water, and the formerly stiff wind became murderous. Even with longer strokes to minimize the effect of the wind, paddling as hard as I could, I was unable to bring our bow to the right whenever we drifted left. We solved the obstacle by having both of us paddle on the left, and I would occasionally rudder. I imagine that because I wasn't very efficient with applying lots of power, but it was incredibly frustrating and tiring.
My muscles were a bit wasted after the open water fun times in kilometers 11-12, but I recovered a bit after the portage at 12. We capsized just after the portage at km 13 foolishly. We had hopped in the boat and launched, and I wasn't secured. The current was swift due to the obstacle we portaged around, I wasn't attentive, and when our bow caught the current and the stern the slow water, we spun. I failed to correct our list, and we went in. We were near shore and probably lost at most a minute, though our dignity was sacrificed.
We were concerned about passing the broken dam at Bridge street, at which the current massively increases and there are obstacles. We checked it out yesterday and had a decent plan. When we came upon it during the race, it looked so different from a boat that I didn't recognize it and had no fear as we descended. Keith, however, was apprehensive, and overcorrected as we entered the fast flow. He drew the bow too far to the right, and it hit slow water - we spun again but were alert and didn't spill.
The last forty five minutes was a death slog, and I just concentrated on each stroke, keeping us on course, and not flipping. We had a spirited race with two other C2s from the 19- and 9-mile races, and the 19er of two women pulled ahead. As the finish neared, we attacked with all our remaining energy, but finished two seconds behind them.
During the race, I took four Gus and about a liter of energy juice; I was spent by the end, and in the aftermath, my back and shoulders are wrecked. It was a lot of fun, though of course, I would have preferred to have run the Billygoat. Gimpyfoot held up perfectly fine during the portages, and I jogged on it a bit just before the race.
Kudos to our fellow 19-milers Aims Coney, the Miller brothers, and Andy Hall. Andy brought his A game (or so it would seem), finished 2nd among the C2s with his 67-year old partner, and smoked Keith and me by over 40 minutes.