The BessemerConvivialist insists that the Two Harbors race be referred to as an event. This is not a problem with the SKOAC Renegades for the most part, especially the BC who did not quite answer the bell for the 'event' this year. Even though I will admit to paddling hard when my buddy from Thunder Bay pulled alongside me 400 meters from the finish, I find it hard to get too worked up over the deal. After all, we do no training and basically drink beer and eat pie for our workout. One of our female 'eventers' tried to chat with a guy she paddled alongside and was informed, "don't talk to me when I'm trying to concentrate on paddling!" She promptly pulled ahead of the fellow and left him to his concentrating. While there were plenty of folks in the race that were paddling hard, most of the folks I talked to (no one asked me not to talk to them) seemed to be out for a good Saturday morning paddle and a piece of pie. This was apparently not the case in the 18 mile marathon.
According to reports received from an reliable source (to use the State Department jargon) in the city that the greatest football team in the NFL calls home, things were ultra competitive in the 18 miler. Bumping boats, attempting to interfere with another competitors paddle, and some allegedly illicit drafting involving a tandem were all in the mix in the big race. RonO and the ManFromSnowyLegs did not see any of this but they were firmly in the 'event' mode also. In an example of selflessness in the same 18 mile race, Gail Green was in the process of smoking her own womens course record when a guy in a surf ski ahead of her went over. She said she kept mumbling to herself, "please get back in, puh-lease get back in!" but it was not to be. The fellow had apparently bonked from the heat and exertion and was disoriented. Gail being Gail, she stopped to help. She still won the womens event by 8 minute but missed breaking her record in perfect conditions. I guess thats what I'd call the true spirit of competition.
Back to the Betty's Pie 5 mile 'event'. As luck would have it, two members of the SKOAC Renegades work for competing medical device companies, Medtronic and Boston Scientific. In the perch-eats-minnow, walleye-eats-perch, northern-eats-walleye-world of mergers, Guidant was recently digested by Boston Sci. Mr EngineerGear was wearing his favorite Guidant cap (they ain't makin' em anymore, of course) when it went in the drink during a violent turn at the halfway buoy. He said he thought about stopping for about 3 seconds and then kept paddling. He was bemoaning the loss of the hat at the finish line however. As we headed back to camp to begin the afternoon long fluid replenishment, KleanDeckKate, loyal Medtronic worker, strolled up wearing a Guidant cap. Since I work with both companies in my 'real' life, I felt obligated to give her some grief and harassment. She told me she pulled the hat out of the water when she saw it near the Stewart River turn around buoy. How's that for karma!?
The images are of the start, the pack coming at you, the turn at the infamous hat grabbing buoy, and the finish. I guess I was amazed at the turbulence a bunch of kayaks can make when everyone is digging in at the same time. The thing that becomes apparent from the images is how absolutely perfect the day was, a perfect day for a kayak 'event'. I need to thank the IrishPirate for handling the Nikon while I was paddling the 'event'. I guess I was just to busy to shoot pictures, much less talk!