Well, as I quite literally sit in bed recovering from the weekend (okay, maybe I should have drank more water yesterday in the heat... lesson learned), I have been reading the Dragon Boats page on facebook and smiling as it has been lit up with positive comments from the entire team and our CrossFit community. Awesome.
First of all, with this post, I want to send "mad props" to my co-captain Randy Hills. This guy was all over it behind the scenes, and had the passion and drive to pull this thing off long before I came into the picture this year! Back in March, he was already thinking dragon boats! Once I came into the picture, it was awesome to be co-captaining with somebody already so organized and driven. Randy had everything together and was always thinking a few steps ahead with the what-ifs, and what-thens? (which, let's be honest, in the final stretch, we had quite a few of those!). So here's to Randy!
As for the day of the races? Well, there is much to be said. I always love this day for a couple of different reasons; I love dragon boating for the community, and I love it for the competition. I think it was fun for all of us to walk into the park yesterday, proudly sporting our Synergy shirts, knowing we were there to defend a first and third place finish. C'mon, purple shirts just SCREAM intimidation. Don't they? :)
And along with the purple shirts, the sense of community was phenomenal. With the gym growing at the rate it is, it was really nice to be able to spend an afternoon with many people I haven't really been able to talk to before. We have some real gems! We also have a really great adopted gem. We got to know each other, danced, ripped up some shirts, laughed, and Dale BBQ'd. There was much BBQ.
Now that we've covered one of my favorite parts of the dragon boats weekend, time to move onto my other favorite part... the competition! On Friday night, after a stressful scramble of not knowing if our final male would show up (he did, and we were all so grateful!), we took on the 250m sprint with everything we had! Unfortunately, in our practices, we had not accounted for the additional noise of other teams' counting, and we lost our rhythm. Yet, even so, we still pulled out a second place (to the Pirates) finish of fifteen teams! Solid! I was particularly impressed considering we did so with the minimum amount of guys allowed in a boat... I believe this says two things: first of all, our females are JACKED, and second of all, our males are JACKED. That is all.
When Saturday morning came, our team members were some of the first to the river. The river looks so beautiful at 6:20am (below is Brander's picture). All was quiet, leading up to the events of the day.
Once everybody from our team began to arrive, I cranked up my iphone for all to hear and began dancing (like a moron), partially because I wanted to get everyone excited, and partially because I, myself, was already ridiculously antsy. We were the very first heat of the day (which is why everybody was required to show up for 6:45am) and I was incredibly pleased to see everybody arriving on time. There was no stress of looking for any members of our team after getting called to line up... they were all there! Props to all of you for that! Being in the first heat was a bit strange though, because nobody had really warmed up by the time we were called, but out we went anyway.
I'd like to say we had a pretty awesome first race. The start felt good and for the most part, we were in rhythm. We were only racing one other boat in our first heat, and we won. I do not recall the exact milliseconds of this race, but we came in around 1:21. After all the other teams' times were posted, we were sitting around 8th place of 37 boats for race 1.
For race 2, we wanted to shave off some time, and we did! We shaved off a second, clocking a time around 1:20. At this point, the waiting game began. Our goal going into this was to make it into division 1, and those two races did, indeed, put us there! I'd also like to add, this was the race where, when going under the bridge to begin the race, Dale offered favorable fashion advice to a passerby on the bridge. I believe this shook off some nerves for many people on the boat. Good show, Dale, good show. You just never know what's going to happen with that guy on the boat. Fantastic.
Going into the final race, the boat was nearly dead silent except for the odd motivational comment; everyone was intensely focused. We knew this was the race for all the marbles. We were not in the final heat (with the Pirates), but we were up against Envirotec, and Black and McDonald. Both teams put up an awesome fight (with some of the fastest posted times of the day!), and it was quite literally a photo finish... between Synergy and Envirotec. The water was choppy, nearly filling the boat, but all the teams fought, and fought HARD! I was walking back to the tent with a member of Envirotec, and neither of us had any idea what the outcome was. Here's the photo finish (we are the blue boat):
After the final race, knowing we were not in the final heat, none of us had truly expected a top three finish, so the majority of the team went home to meet us later for the after party. Well, things got interesting at the awards ceremony...
First of all, in Division 2, Black and McDonald posted a ridiculously fast time, winning 1st place in their division. I didn't realize it until I looked over and saw Chris Reid beaming that they were the team in our final heat, coming in third place... meaning we had a good time, too. Then, they moved onto the division 1 results. I leaned over and said to Brander that the Pirates raced very well, and deserved a big win. Then I was shocked... the Pirates were called for third place, with a time around 1:13. Then even more shock... Enrvirotec was called for second, with a time around 1:11. Then we all lost our minds when Synergy was called, racing at a time of 1:10, to once again claim the first place trophy!
I think, for all of us, even those of us racing last year, this victory was the sweetest. Not only were we racing with over half a boat full of awesome peeps new to dragon boating, but also, we did so without many of our core amazing athletes (who are in California for the games, or are just away). It was amazing to represent as "Beasts," and back it up with a first place finish. As we took a picture with the trophy (those of us who were still there... I wish we all were... there was just no way to have known!), I was overwhelmingly proud... proud of us, and proud of our gym! Not only did our team overcome many last minute shakings and restructurings, we also overcame racing with the minimum number of males allowed (8), directly against other teams with 11! This tells me something... what we are doing at Synergy WORKS.
I am so proud of our team. Way to represent... you bunch of BEASTS!!! See you next year to defend. :)