Ocean Paddle race (IOP Winter Series) 1:08:18  12.6 km (5:25 / km)
shoes: Epic V12
I realised at 5:50pm Friday that the IOP race was actually on Saturday, not Sunday and entries didn't close till 6pm. With such detailed prep how could I go wrong?
Um yeh, anyway. I decided to register in wave 4 (of 5) since whilst I can beat some of the wave 5 guys on a good day, I knew today wasn't going to be a good day. Wave 4 was probably the largest one and with Mark in it I knew I wouldn't get pegged for sandbagging.
It was a beach start with 4 laps of a square course, there was a slight breeze that meant for one slightly downwind leg, but no real assistance from the waves. I lined up on the very left had side of the group since they were all too close together and I suspected they would foul each other at the start.
Off the gun it looked like I was right as I charged the small break and ended up nicely off the front of the pack, by the first turn Mark and purple ski had caught me, and after the second I got annoyed with being on the front so I stopped and made Mark take a pull.
Mark turned out to be far too keen to take a turn though and on the next leg he started pulling away from me. I was already working harder than I thought I could keep up for 12 km's so when he started pulling away I just had to let him go, and watch Purple ski jump the gap and follow him off into the distance. The fast start had meant that we had a healthy gap on the rest of the field though so I settled in to a time trial pace on my lonesome.
At the end of the first lap we started going through the stragglers from grid 3, and that was really all that punctuated the next two laps as I tried to hold a steady pace adn chase the slower grids down. On the last lap I was fading a bit and a guy from my grid caught me, I sat with him for one leg but he kept attacking me so after one too many surges I had to let him go.
With half a lap to go the grid 5 finally caught up, and annoyingly towed another grid 4 bloke up to me. Sadly I had nothing so I just let him go too and limped in to the finish.
Ended up 14th out of 60 overall, with it being a fairly weak field in general. I am probably 2-3 minutes slower over an hour that when I used to train. Annoying, but not unexpected.