The Doctor brings the thrill of a true ocean crossing. The race course spans 27 kilometers across the Indian Ocean from Rottnest Island to the Australian mainland. With all of these factors at play, my day was always going to be an exciting one, but I had no idea what I was in for when I woke up on race morning.
I love to compete. There is nothing like training your body to perform at peak level, or learning to perfect the skills of a sport to beat other competitors. But at a certain point, you realize racing offers something more profoundly personal. It is an opportunity to evaluate how you approach everything you strive for in life. This, to me, is the true gift of racing.
The 2019 Lighthouse to Lighthouse Race (L2L) was a fun weekend celebration for watersport athletes and those who love the ocean. This is my 3rd year competing in the L2L and each year it gets more exciting. 2019 saw over 150 athletes competing in everything from rowing shells to outriggers, SUPs to surfskis all determined to test their skills against athletes from all over the East Coast.
Summer racing is over and my heavy volume training is back in full swing. I started gearing things back up in early August to get ready for the Fall races (Lighthouse to Lighthouse and Irish Coast Paddling Championships). With Lighthouse to Lighthouse coming up this weekend, I thought it would be interesting to write about how I fuel my body during these weeks of high volume and high intensity training.
The Gorge Downwind Champs (GDC) is a festival and celebration of downwind paddling and racing. Thanks to the visionary efforts of Carter Johnson (the event creator and organizer), the GDC has become a colossal event in our sport with over 750 spots selling out within 48 hours. Athletes travel from all over the country and the globe to compete in what has become the largest downwind event on the planet.
Surfski races are usually far and wide apart, occurring on different continents around the globe. So it is a treat to be able to compete this summer in two back-to-back international races in North America: the Canadian Downwind Champs in British Columbia and the Gorge Downwind Champs in Oregon.
Surfski, like any sport, requires hard work and discipline. But just as importantly, an athlete has to learn how to lose. Success doesn’t come without setbacks, as any champion will tell you. You have to keep looking forward and not let those moments define you. Once you have the physical skills to win, you need the mental fortitude to keep fighting.
One of the things that makes Molokai so challenging is that the conditions can vary so dramatically. It can be punishingly hot and flat where athletes must grinding across a mirror like ocean or the wind can blow like a tropical storm and churn the channel into a frothing mess. This year conditions were nearly perfect.
For me, the speed oriented lactic sessions have always been challenging. I love to grind and I will happily punish myself through longer threshold or tempo intervals, but when things get shorter and enter into the realm of lactic pain, I just struggle.
What a race!? The conditions were about as good as any surfski race could ask for. The wind was lined up perfectly and blowing 25 knots, the weather was mild for Maui and a merciful layer of cloud cover had rolled in to shield racers from the punishing Hawaiian sun.