I think Mother Nature is sending me a message to take up sailing as a pastime — or perhaps flying a kite. At the very least I should get on board with a company that harvests wind for energy so I could make some money off of the increasingly evident fact that WIND seems to follow me everywhere I go.
I know, I know. Saltwater fishing guides don’t like their clients to complain about casting in the wind. Fair enough. But a strong gust of wind on a trout stream blows the hatch and my cast, not to mention puts the fish down. So even though it’s not cool to complain about the wind, I do.
Especially since I have apparently picked up another sport where wind is my nemesis: paddling.
Banning and I competed in our first paddling race this past weekend, a simple 6 mile course on Town Lake right here in downtown Austin. The race was loads of fun, super cool people, great scene. But the wind was howling.
There were three alumnimun canoes in our flight, and we had a handicapped start at 10:02 am. I practically used up all my energy paddling in place at the starting line with a fierce headwind blowing us backwards.
My superstar partner and river guide extraordinaire made the brilliant call that we should paddle all the way across to the other side to find some protection from the wind. I’m sure the other teams thought we were crazy – or assumed we were quitting—but when we took an edge of a lead, they followed us over to find some relief from the wind.
Once their flights started, the super sleek race boats got in the mix and overtook us. However we were neck-in-neck with another aluminum canoe right at the mid-point as we made the turn around a pylon, but on the way back they kept the lead all the way to the finish. We surfed back with a tailwind and finished in 1 hour and 36 minutes – just 4 minutes after the other aluminum. Overall out of 23 boats we finished 14th. Not bad!
I must say I really enjoyed this race, even with the pounding wind batting me about like an evil cat with a ratty little play-toy. It was hard paddling into those gusts! But it’s one more step on this journey toward the Water Safari in June. And now we have a benchmark time that we need to beat in the February Town Lake 6-mile race. With regular training I am confident we will improve our time at the next trial…assuming the wind cuts us a little slack.
In the meantime, MANY THANKS to the race organizers, the other teams who participated, and our Team Paddlefish cheerleaders!! Go Team Paddlefish Go!!