|Drakenstein Pink Lady 2016|
|4||BRANDON||VAN DER WALT||2:03:09.75||2:42:07.83||4:45:17.59||M4||3||101.12|
|20||WALDO||VAN DER LINDE||2:18:19.61||3:06:55.26||5:25:14.88||M19||(SV)4||115.28|
|44||PETER||VAN DER MERWE||2:32:47.79||3:31:35.77||6:04:23.57||M42||(V)5||129.16|
|62||HANS||VAN DER VEEN||2:42:14.03||3:35:40.00||6:17:54.04||M57||(M)3||133.94|
|87||ANNEKE||VAN DER MERWE||3:33:50.47||3:36:01.96||7:09:52.43||F9||(SV)12||152.36|
|Day 2 only|
Pink Lady – race report. Andre’s Chirp
You just gotta love river racing…. Isn’t this what we live for? We paddled Gouda Bridge Town 3 times in the last 3 weeks and every time it was a different river! The Pink Lady? 2 days, 2 river levels. That’s river racing for you!
This was a highly entertaining race with great variety. Water levels, weather, entertainment and great achievement. Denver and Chris qualified for the berg, so now they have to really look down the barrel of the long gun! Gavin White paddled really well to wave the CCCC flag in the top 10. Bianca, paddling in her pink tutu shot through from a relatively slow 1st day to finish 17th overall and way out first lady.
Huge hats off to CCCCs most promising junior Matt Anderson who dominated the U16 class! That’s a big Gold medal Matt, that wasn’t an easy race, and even if Rich was keeping tabs on you, you were the one paddling your boat, it’s your achievement. Now keep your head down and carry on training!
While Rich was hanging with Matt he had his own little drama. He got a metal spike through his boat about quarter of the way through the second day so he had his own TT emptying and doing intervals back to Matt. Go to Rich’s FB page to see the photos. As Denver so aptly commented, “Holy crap”! If he didn’t have a kick plate I think our Chairman would be talking in a much higher voice!
There was lots of drama on the first day with the main attraction being Mike Monson’s wrapped boat! (The police divers bustled off after lunch to go and pull it out of the tree block for him). Greg Bamfield swam somewhere near train bridge and lost his boat for about an hour, but carried on and had a great race, just an hour slower than it should have been. The other bit of amazement was Russel Toohey’s paddle! On Thursday he lost his Paddle in the “Tunnel “and had to walk out. On Saturday he also had a swim in the “Tunnel” and found his lost paddle….. rivers, you got to love em! There was lots of other drama that has escaped me, (I suspect that if I had asked a few more probing questions, Denver and Chis would have given me a whole report on their own!) Denver was most embarrassed about his swim at the finish, but I take great pains to point out that he was in good company, some of the top paddlers swam there, but I suspect he got through ok but swam at the bottom for the cameras!
The start at Gouda on Saturday was on really nice fast flowing water, about 20-30 cumecs I think, and as we progressed down the river we were catching water all the way, Rob MacLean recons 30 at the start and 50 at the finish and he’s usually right.
Once again I have no Idea what was happening at the sharp end of the race, you’ll have to ask the racing snakes, but back with B batch things were hot off the line with no one taking prisoners. I managed to get onto a bunch with Mynhardt Marais and a whole pack of other youngsters. My arch rival and buddy Rob MacLean had his nose alongside for a while until he came to his senses and organised a more user friendly bunch. I, with my twisted wisdom, tried to stay with the youngsters and got dropped off just before Black Rock. That didn’t worry me too much because I had a game plan! I was going to go right instead of taking the main channel to the left into the pool. If I could get a clean run I knew it would be faster (gamble), so I committed to the line.
Interesting point here, if you want to take the conventional left channel you have to be right next to the Palmiet on the left to get your nose into the eddie on the inside of the left turn. If you don’t you will be scrambling to make the corner and be all out of line for the bottom drop, or pegged into the green stuff on the outside of the turn! To make the right turn you have to stay central and slightly right, and then stab you nose into the eddie that forms just before the right turn. For those of you who paddled Black Rock on Saturday will know that this all happened quite jolly fast! Plus the only way to paddle BR is hard! You have to keep paddling to maintain steering. The moment you stop paddling you will slow down to river speed and your rudder will not work and you’ll be all over the place. (NB: If you are going through any sort of current, DON’T stop paddling. If you need it, a quick slap support stroke is all you should do. As soon as you stop paddling the swirlies will push you off line and if you are lining up for something that will be critical.)
Well of course the best laid plans…. I had a good distance between the guy in front, Jan Venter, and he went in hard, but the size of the waves seemed to worry him and he stopped paddling so I was coming at him fast, until just before the split where he suddenly turned right! Problem was that was on his right and he was on the middle line and had missed the eddie to break right! He had seen the guys in front mess up the last drop and made a split second choice to go right, and to his credit he did very well to get his nose into the channel. All he had to do was sit on the Palmiet and wiggle his boat round the corner and he would have been away, what he hadn’t bargained for was a high speed projectile called Andre coming at him like an intercontinental ballistic missile! What I saw was Jan’s rudder closing the tiny gap that I was aiming for. I had visions of sliding up his back deck and pegging him like sosatie, or even worse, sliding next to him and getting stuck in the Palmiet with him! There must have been about 2 centimetres for me to squeeze my nose into, pushing his tail back into line, nearly giving him a heart attack, though I was screaming at him that I was coming fast. It was ok though because he quickly got off the Palmiet and although I had lost my momentum I slithered over some rocks and got out into the river just as the first guys in the bunch came past. Big mistake. I was so worked up about the sneak and Jan and slithering over rocks that I was knackered! When I should have been hanging onto a lovely young wave I huffed and I puffed and they just paddled away from me so there I was in no man’s land again.
That left me the 3 or 4ks to the left hand “Tunnel” sneak with all its twists and sticks. On Thursday with about another meter of water going right there was faster, but it was a no brainer so there I went, pure “Berg slalom” through the channel but still with no wave to ride. I’d been hoping that some big youngster would have struggled there so I could hop on for a loooong ride! No such luck, alone again. From there on through I had a really pleasant paddle with various guys swimming and getting stuck so that I passed them but got no wave! Then about 7 k from the finish a youngster caught me and sat on my wave for a few minutes, until I thought he had had enough of a rest and was about to let him take the pull, when he put his paddles down a stopped! So that was my 1st day… or should I say time trial!
The finish was absolutely fantastic. Bridge Town at its best, sunny and peaceful, it was only at about 3pm that a hint of what was to come the next day became visible! (We were waiting for Mike’s boat at that stage.)
Well, we all know that Sunday was exceptionally inclement, even if you weren’t on the water! I’ve been cold on the water before, but usually you can warm up in sheltered spots, after all it’s not as if we weren’t exercising! No chance, I just got colder and colder, and to make matters worse the slip that I was riding broke up and left me when we got caught up in the slower paddlers who had started first!
I have to question the wisdom of a reverse order start on a river the size of the Berg. I’m not sure what the organisers wanted to achieve but it only seemed to aggravate most paddlers that I have spoken to. If they wanted to get the slower paddlers to the finish nearer the leaders they should have started them much further ahead. If they wanted to get the whole prize giving thing over and done with earlier they should start earlier or of course planned the prize giving later, but starting the slower paddlers 15 minutes before the elapsed time group made no sense at all.
It was unpleasant having to haul over wave after wave, because I’m old and only just faster than them, whinge, whinge! But seriously I don’t think it was much fun for the slower guys having paddlers blasting through the cannels with them, and it was quite frustrating having slower guys rushing into the gaps in front of you and then slowing down and getting stuck.
After a really exciting 1st day I found the level and this stretch of river to be extremely uninteresting, and very, very cold. However the finish was exceptionally festive!
Big congratulations to all who finished and great and well organised race even with the reverse order start!