It had been many years since Sue and I had competed at Lane Cove but with thanks to Annette for opening the club for us on Sunday, we were able to attend the doubles round.
We had memories of parking a long way from the start and carrying heavy doubles a long way until finally reaching a mangrove covered starting point.
Fortunately, a couple of years ago, the club made changes to the start area which was much easier to access.
We arrived early on the day,as did many club members with warnings of limited parking ringing in our ears from the Wyong race.
Arriving early had it’s great advantages as we gained prime parking, and it appeared that there was enough parking to cover everyone who attended.
Boats were arranged in numerical starting order to avoid a crunch at the deepwater start.
I’ve counted 22 people in our club photo pre-race, so what a terrific effort by club members.
Sue and I were in Division 6 so, with no Division 7 on the day, we were to lead out. The arrangements by Lane Cove of having multiple club members assist in getting us into the boat was fantastic
We were allowed about a ten minute warmup period before being called to the start line further down the river.
Start time and off we went, trying to set up a marathon pace, and with no turbulence in the water, an unusually smooth run for us in the first leg.
The smell I remembered from those races years ago was still there as we passed some factory around the bend.
The club had set up a well defined course with pink marker buoys and hazard buoys set along the course.
The only doubt came as we passed under bridge # 2 and found nothing to denote the course until we spied a line of orange buoys leading to the first turn.
Sue doubted we had completed the first 5km as the 10 km course leg makes time disappear very quickly. She asked me “are you sure we’ve done 5km” as we rounded the buoys.
Yep, just over 5km.
With an incoming tide, we were looking forward to a carpet ride back but were sadly mistaken as we seemed to hit the shallow side of the river on the way back.
I know other club members thought it was a great run back, but even though we had increased pace it did seem to be going through mud like conditions for us.
Another turn up the top end and we were on the way back towards the harbour where the wind had increased in strength and reaching the final turning buoys came broadside to the wind making for a fun and bumpy turn.
The last leg came and went, and we finally reached the end with the prospect of exiting our kayak in deep water.
How good was it see 2 friendly faces in Ross and Adrian who had taken it upon themselves to help out finishers. Ross and Adrian, thank you for your help in getting us out and for carrying the boat.
I must say it was an ungracious exit for me as I really couldn’t stand up straight and had to struggle to find my feet. Sue, on the other hand did manage to make a gracious exit as she was hauled out of the boat.
To all club members who attend, some of whom had not paddled doubles before – well done. We have a wonderful, inclusive club, and it’s a pleasure to be around such people.
Here’s a snapshot of the GPS data for us(watch was started early, and the time is not accurate)