Sunday, August 10, 2008

Canadian Nationals - Day 3 (final)

Phew - good exercise. The clearing weather didn't quite make it up Howe Sound, so the temperature gradient was actually reversed (w/ Vancouver warmer than Squamish, and Squamish warmer than Whistler). At least it didn't rain anymore after 8 am. Winds were pretty light, and really flukey. We ended up doing three heats of formula late in the afternoon, but more so we'd have something to do rather than because we thought it would be good racing (I guess we didn't want to sit on shore like the kiters, who in their frustration were resorting to building a gigantic floating rail for sliding tricks).

Since it was so light, we couldn't even lure out most of the racers, so it was just Chris Pior, Carey Caronni, and me. Interestingly, we were all on roughly the same sail sizes (10.7's for them, 10.8 for me); I'm about 25 pounds heavier than Chris, and Carey is quite a bit lighter than that again. The first heat then was finished in order of weight, with Carey managing to squeeze out Chris (who then took the next two). It was an interesting experiment, as the physics of the whole thing became apparent - anytime we pumped up on a plane after transitions, I'd need a few more pumps and lost more ground upwind to get going. It didn't help that my light air fin had fallen victim to a submerged piece of wood while checking out the course - to get any kind of pressure and rail the board, I had to resort to hanging off my uphaul.

Good exercise, for sure - we might have been a bit chilly when we left the beach, but we were dripping with sweat when we got back (Rob had at this time commandeered the PA system; when we were slogging in on the last puff of breeze, I distinctly heard him say something like "better you than me"...).

Results are thus firmed up - I won the slalom before Rob and Chris; Chris won formula with Carey getting second and me third. Phil won freestyle.

It's unfortunate we got such atypical weather on Saturday and Sunday; nevertheless, it was a fun event. The slalom on Friday was about as good as it gets (we got nine heats of slalom bliss) - just for that it was worth coming up. And even though for us spoiled West Coasters the conditions on Saturday were light (and Sunday even lighter), the Europeans would have just put on their 12's and called it great racing. For me, it was that one race a year where I wished I had a bigger rig (which is a cost-benefit analysis that doesn't really justify the investment).

There's talk of some more grass-roots racing at Squamish, as Rob and Chris were recounting the glory years of slalom racing there; the place certainly has that potential. For anyone who likes to race slalom, if the overall weather pattern is right, it would very much be worth the drive even from Seattle or even the Gorge.

I'm hoping to get some pictures to post in the next day or so, as there was a very friendly couple shooting with rather nice equipment and promising to make something available that would showcase the racing we had.

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