Sunday, September 17, 2006

Canoe Racing!

Yes folks, I have ventured into the high paced world of canoe racing.

My friend Ginger asked me to be her paddling partner for the TX. Junior Water Safari race this saturday. It was a 16 mile race on the San Marcos River. We put in near the Lions' Club tube rental and ended up in Martindale 3 hours and 45 minutes later.

We got off to an excellent start and were ahead of most of the pack. We kept getting passed by people in single kayak-like canoes. I asked Ginger if this was something to be worried about, and she said no, they are usually much faster than 2-man canoes.

We managed the portages over the two dams pretty well, and were making good time, even keeping pace with a few kayakers.

Then, as we went under a bridge just underneath the Martindale Dam, I heard a distinct crack. We then ended up running aground on a rock and had to get out to get it unstuck. We took on a little bit of water, but it wasn't a whole lot so we kept going.

A few hundred yards downstream, Ginger suggested we pull over to dump the water. Quickly, we did and got back in the canoe and kept going. A few hundred more yards, Ginger notes how much water there still is in the boat, and wonders if we've got a hole. I turn around and look at the hull, and sure enough, we've got a sizable gash letting river water in.

We pull the canoe out of the water to quickly patch it with a food wrapper and some foam we cut off of the water-jug holders. Sadly, the patch is not very effective. It slows the flow of water into the boat, but it does not stop it. We continue to have to pull over every half mile to dump the water from our boat. We can't even go over shallow parts for fear that our makeshift patch will come undone.

All in all, we finish just 5 minutes behind our competition. We would have easily smoked them if we hadn't been towing half the river along with us. The hole in the boat makes for some lively conversation once we've pulled it from the river.

Free chilidogs are provided for all race participants. I eat waaaay too many... Life is good.

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