I knew the next sup race was going to be the sup cup in bastrop. I was interested in going, but very undecided. The problem with not having my own race board is that part of my decision is based on the availability of a board to borrow. But even then, I still wasn’t sure I was going to travel out of town for a race.
Deciding To Go
UNTIL… I was driving to Dallas listening to Pandora. Usually Pandora will serve up an ad for the new Baylor hospital. But on this particular day the ad was about kayaking, paddle boarding, and other adventures. The ad caught my attention. Had pandora hacked my Facebook? How did pandora know about my interest in kayaking and paddle boarding? But wait, it gets better. The ad concluded saying the adventure was in Bastrop, of all places!
That was it. That was all I needed. A sign. A nudge to push me off the fence. So as soon as I got to my computer I sent an email asking if I could take a board to bastrop. The answer came back yes! Okay. I’m going!
Of course, the next obsticle to solve was HOW would I get the board to bastrop? Now, if you read the post about my adventure to Baton Rouge, you already know that we figured out how to strap the board down to my car with the top down. Thanks to Cody and his ingenuity!!
This race was 6 miles down the Colorado River. I was pushing myself again. This was going to be almost three miles more than I have paddled at one time. Not to mention this was my first time to paddle on a river. .
The 14′ boards started first and I watched them take off. As soon as they were out of sight the 12’6 racers crouded the start line. As wee took off it was crowded and I was just focused on getting ahead enough so that I was bumping into others. That worked! Within a few minutes I had some room and found a steady pace. Now that I was settling into a rhythm, I was able to enjoy some of the scenery. It was beautiful. Trees lined the banks providing a green canopy that helped shield the sun.
There were supposed to be some cones marking the 2-mile and 4-mile points. But apparently I missed those! At the point that someone within ear-shot had asked where we were I learned there was only about a mile left. I was quite surprised at hearing this news, and very relieved. I was going to make it to the end!
As I crossed the finish line all I heard someone say that I was the first girl to finish. I didn’t know what to think. I had won a race? How did that happen? But as excited as I wanted to be about finishing first, I was exhausted and shaky. I needed some water and something to eat. As soon as I finished my snack I joined the other racers back in the water at the finish line to cheer on my new SUP friends making their way to end o f the race.
I have never won a race before. This competing was still so very new to me — after all, this was my second SUP race; and I hadn’t competed in any type of sport or competition in over a decade. So no one was more surprised by this 1st place finish than I was.
Of course my favorite moment of this weekend came later in the day. I was hanging out on the river bank watching the skills event with a group of other spectators. Out of nowhere really a guy says to me, ” you know if Hannah would have been here you wouldn’t have won today.”
Time paused for a moment. Did he really just say that? And why? I had not been bragging or even talking about my win. That’s just not who I am. I don’t think he said it to be mean… At least at the time I didn’t think so. And yet, I can’t think of anything more mean-spirited to say to someone. Maybe if I had been a bad winner, rubbing it in the face of everyone around me. But that’s not how it was at all.
My response, immediately following his statement surprised him, and everyone else around that was listening, as much as it did me.
“Yeah, you’re probably right. Especially considering that she is half my age, the fact I have only been paddling for three months, have never paddled 6 miles before today, and haven’t really trained to race…. I would be totally okay finishing second to Hannah.”
The look on his face is forever burned in my memory. Never before have I seen someone so apparently speechless by something I said.
I turned my attention back to the activities on the water and cheered on my fellow competitors. But now, with a little more enthusiasm and probably even a smirk. I think that was more satisfying than the win itself.