A smokey start at the Fall Classic
The Tahoe Cup Fall Classic
The Fall Classic is one of those races you love to hate. Love the race when you are finished but hate it when you are at the 18 mile mark and have basically blown up. At least thats what happened to me for the past two years. This year I decided to take break from The Fall Classic, not a decision I pondered lightly but judging from race reports, pictures and other various social media data I would say I missed one of the hardest Fall Classic’s in history. Smoke, headwinds and difficult navigation made for a very, very tough crossing.
To tell the story and relive her experience of racing across the Big Blue, I have asked esteemed female SUP paddler (2nd place Woman SUP) and the new Cal 100 Race Director Teresa Rogerson to give us her recap of the day.
Tahoe Cup Lake Crossing by Teresa Rogerson
The 2015 Fall Tahoe Classic 22 mile south to north lake crossing: I guess it was kind of like SUP’ping confused open ocean chop, with no sight of land or sky in any direction, surrounded by and breathing in the smoke from burning lands, guided directionally by kind spirit guides on jet skis. It has been a long time since I have felt as >>out there<< as I felt out in the middle of Lake Tahoe last Sunday. For the first time ever, my Garmin was not programmed to show the distance I had already paddled (don’t change strategies on a race day), so I felt even further afield in the aquarium.
I could see water and I could see other paddlers ahead of me like kachina dolls ghosting over the blurred surface, shifting en masse when the bunch got word from the spirit guides on jet skis, that they were all off course, and to line up with the two boats holding the direct line. Thanks to the fast kachina dudes, I only had to arc a few degrees to be on course. I could hear Andi Traynor as she came up from behind me, yet a second time, to eventually surpass and win the race for the women. She was singing out loud, maybe Aretha. The sound shot over the water, over all of the chop, and the side chop, and the diagonal double back chop, straight forward through the six or seven knot headwind, and it got louder and louder as she gained on me.
Okay, so maybe that was just the mind-bent portion of the race, only about the 18 miles in the middle of the race. The other few miles- less than four because the Lake has shrunken due to a drought(!)- those miles were serene and eerily quiet. In the morning, I guess we could see maybe a mile out into the Lake from El Dorado Beach, when race director diagrammed the route and the landmarks we would look for on the North side. The weather report at about three or four miles out, we were assured, was bluebird, so we started off with the horn and the usual jockeying for draft positions. We never did get bluebird, but we did get a six or seven knot headwind, maybe a hundred drops of rain, and enough funny water that drafting became difficult. Unfortunately, the blues for which Tahoe is so famous didn’t sparkle about, as the overcast day flattened everything to greys and a nice, 5.5-hour session with navy blue.
Having said all this, I would never change my decision to have raced. It was amazing, and as usual I am humbled and inspired, and satisfied by the experience and by the people who show up. There is so much gratitude among the paddlers for the skillful work of Jay and Anik Wild, and to the crew of spirit guides who allowed people their pace, and herded us all to eventual safety. Several athletes backed out, fearing for their bronchial; and judging by the din in South Lake Tahoe the night before and the morning of the race, those were not unwise decisions. It left more fig bars for us, but it meant fewer boards at the lineup. Some athletes had to turn back or surrender and be brought in, not too surprising as conditions were the worst ever for this race. The heroes were the ones who came in by themselves, later at about seven hours, after refusing to give up, after most of us had moved on to beer and hearing stories about the sponsors’ tents blowing over in windstorms on Kings Beach just hours before, canceling the kids’ race and threatening the continuation of our race.
These long suffering heroes each finished solo, reaching shore after having taken accidental detours in the haze, or having gotten sea sick out there without a horizon to use as a reference point. On the beach, we made paddle arches for them as they came ashore and ran through, obviously glad to be finished and looking so fresh doing so. They were given complimentary entries into the race next year and seemed happy about it.
The skies cleared and the sun got strangely hot, as we swilled a couple of craft brews and ate yummy wraps and cookies provided by Cold Water Brewery and Grill. A BARK Commander prone board was raffled off. A shuttle was provided for paddlers and boards, and most of the world seemed a happy place. News of the latest Valley Fire ravaging Lake County, however, was a constant reminder on many minds throughout the paddle.
Pictures from Facebook
Garmin Data is forthcoming.
9th Annual Tahoe Nalu Paddle Festival
The 9th Annual 2015 Ta-Hoe Nalu Paddle Festival coins itself as the Worlds Original Standup Paddleboard Race and that it is. Speaking from experience, my first standup paddle race was the Tahoe Nalu back in 2009, I have the event t-shirt to prove it. Since that first race in 2009 I have been committed lots of paddle races in California, Hawaii and Utah but always call The Ta-Hoe Nalu home. As my previous post explained, the Nalu has seen oh so many changes over the last 6 years since that race in 2009. This years 9th Annual Tahoe Nalu carried the same cool paddle festival vibe that I always remember. Hosted again in Kings Beach on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe over 250 paddlers took to the Big Blue in outrigger canoes, on standup and prone paddle boards.
On Saturday morning, the 10 mile race took off around 9:30am with staggered starts amongst the different paddle craft. For this race I chose to paddle an outrigger canoe (Ehukai-Puakea). There were a couple of OC-6’s and around 16 OC-1/2’s. Pretty strong field of paddlers I soon found out. SUP and Prones started about 4 minutes after us. It was a glorious day on the water, almost no wind and relatively flat for the speedy run into Crystal Bay. Deep, crystal clear water greeted us as we made the final buoy turns at the half way turn around point of the race. Being somewhat of a newbie to the OC-1 scene I was just trying to keep up with a pod of three other canoes including standup paddler Nina Oakley, she was making me work all the way to the finish. I had a great vantage point of the lead standup paddlers as they were behind us. Rand Carter was off the front on his unlimited board with Keith McConaughey a minute or so back on a 14ft board. Fast times on fast water was the talk of the morning race. Full results by class from the 10 mile race are here. But wait the day was not over as there was a 2 Mile Race and a Grom race that went off in the morning and early afternoon, here are the results for the Grom Race and the 2 Mile Race.
The highlight of Saturday besides the racing was the killer food court Ernie Brassard assembled, great food vendors offered up bacon wrapped hot dogs, crepes, sushi and other assorted delectables. Of course a good food court was not complete without the Kona Brewing Beer tent, I had a couple of those with my buddy Brian Thomas, in fact I had a couple beer right before the Waterman’s Challenge event in the afternoon. What’s the Watermans Challenge you ask? Pretend you are a Aussie/US Lifeguard, this event is how they challenge their waterman skill in swimming, then prone paddling then finish it up with some standup paddle. 4 person heats, no wetsuits and absolutely flat out as hard as you can go. Jay Wild organized this event and frankly it’s a blast but you better be ready to hurl afterwards. And don’t drink beers or eat hot dogs prior to racing! Had good fun but training is advisable.
The Ta-Hoe Nalu is one fun weekend but still seems to be finding its way amongst so many other paddle races happening in the month of August. Many paddlers chose to head to the Columbia Gorge for the Gorge Paddle Challenge which happen this coming weekend. Too many races in close proximity is becoming an issue and unfortunately dilutes all of the races collectively. More on this topic at a later date.
Can’t finish this recap without paying homage to Jay and Anik Wild for their incredible work they are doing with Tahoe Waterman. Their athletes d(young and old) are true waterman/waterwoman who work hard and their hard work pays off with impressive results.
Chris Hollingsworth you are the master MC, superb work this past weekend at the Nalu. Always nice to see you and your family. Ernie Brassard many thanks for your continued and undying support of paddling, specifically standup paddle. The Nalu is the event that started it all. Many thanks to all of the exhibitors and sponsors of the Tahoe Nalu this year. And last but not least Big Sky Endurance Timing, thank you.
GPS Data in Training Peaks-10 mile race in outrigger
I was digging through all my t-shirts this morning and low and behold what did I find….the event shirt from the 2009 Tahoe Nalu. Yep, you read it right, my first standup paddle race was the Tahoe Nalu in 2009 at Kings Beach on Lake Tahoe. Consequently, I have not missed a Nalu since that first race in 2009, tomorrow will be my 6th year competing at the Tahoe Nalu.
Last night, I stopped by Waterman’s Landing for a Tahoe Nalu Sponsor event, event founder Ernie Brassard was telling me next year the Nalu will be celebrating its 10th anniversary. Not sure if the Nalu is the oldest SUP Race in the country but I would imagine it’s got to be pretty close. These days there are so many races in the summer that you actually need a race calendar to keep track of all the races hence the birth of supcurrents.com, supracer.com, distressed mullet.com etc. Tomorrow’s Nalu will actually encompass all sorts of paddle craft with OC-1, OC-6 teams, surf ski and prone, yes this will be a true paddling festival celebrating the heart and soul of what we all love to do regardless of the paddle craft. The Nalu has endured and pioneered so much over the years including prize money then back to no prize money, lots of pro athletes, gnarly race conditions (remember 2010), different race course and formats, the list goes on but at the end of the day this race is all about paddling on this great lake called Tahoe. It’s about the families that have been showing up and doing their first race together or the growing group of next generation of young paddlers. And of course its about the people, seeing the old friends, meeting the new ones. Thanks to the vendors and the sponsors over the years that show up to bake in the hot sun all weekend so we can be on the water. Lastly, thanks to Ernie Brassard and his crew (I know its a big crew), thanks for your stamina and keeping the sport of paddle fresh and fun.
Good luck to everyone competing tomorrow and have fun!
See you in the AM for the 10 miler!
Michael Melville and John Allen, double shaka at the finish of the long course
Having just returned from my 4th year at the Race the Lake of the Sky, the social media feeds have been buzzing with pictures, video, race results & recap and most importantly peoples stories from a glorious weekend of race events. In my humble opinion, sharing and reliving the event on social media is what social media does best. My post today is not so much a race recap or a race report because that has been done in triplicate (see SUPRACER.com,and Distressed Mullet.com) but more of a thank you and a highlight of my 4th year at the Race the Lake of the Sky.
But first a heartfelt thank you to the entire Race the Lake of the Sky Team; the volunteers, Dreu Murin, the Hard Rock lunch folks, all of the sponsors and exhibitors, the water safety crew, and of course Chris Brackett and his lovely family. There is a reason this race event is so much fun, its because it has so much heart and soul from people who just want to make it better year after year. I was at the 1st Annual RTLS and frankly it was pretty darn good back then but every year this event just gets better. Given that Mother Nature has not given us much in the way of snow or rain this past year, the lake level at the race venue looked to be more challenging than last. No problem lets just move the finish line out into the lake….brilliant idea! Having the spectators line the finish chute was incredibly inspiring and added a dimension that I don’t think I have seen at another race, once again the RTLS team adapted to the challenge. Bravo!
Back in 2012, we heard a rumor that a big race was going to be put on by the Brackett Family over on South Lake Tahoe. And the RTLS was born, this past weekend I watched almost 300 paddlers take to the water for the El Dorado 5 miler. My plan was simple for this race, take it easy so I could go hard for the Emerald Bay 14 miler the next day. Easier said than done, the patented dual buoy gated start was a mad dash from two sides of the best and straightest start line I have seen. What took my breath away while racing (other than the altitude) was an endless line of paddlers testing their buoy turn skills at every turn buoy, trust me there were plenty of turns, over 15 is my guess. And who could forget the limbo bar you had to go under on the straight away near the finish? But then I noticed the all of the kids racing, girls and boys, teenagers all charging this course and many passing me with ease. Yes, the Race the Lake of the Sky was fueling the next generation of paddlers and they were good, really good at the sprint, the buoy turn and certainly had better board handling skills than I.
After finishing the El Dorado 5, I wandered up to the Hard Rock Cafe Tent for my killer cheese burger, chips and cookie; while waiting in line I struck up a conversation with a woman who had come from Dallas, Texas for her first Race The Lake of the Sky. She said she had heard about this race but had never made it out for the race until this year. She commented at how friendly all of the paddlers were on and off the race course and how it felt like one big family. Then she proudly said she was the racer in her family and she had a loved every minute of the El Dorado 5.5. Pretty sure she will be back next year. As I paddled to my hotel down the beach, I watched a bit of the SUPCross and listened to Dreu Murin putting so much energy and excitement into each heat of the SUPCross event. Inspiring how that guy can go for 48hrs straight. Tomorrow was the Emerald Bay 14.4, BTW…the sunsets were just spectacular both Saturday and Sunday evening.
sunset over SLT
Sunday morning was a bit overcast with a slight bump on the water, today was the race to Emerald Bay and back. Setting the record straight, the Emerald Bay Distance Race could be one of the most scenic races on the planet especially when you get into the bay itself. This year over 160 paddle athletes treated themselves to an ass kicking 14.5 mile grind that is evidenced on everyones face as they come across the finish line, it’s an exhausting paddle at all levels. The Emerald Bay Distance Race takes on a life of its own as part of the Race the Lake, there are so many terrific stories that emerge from this race that it deserves its own blog post. There are races within the race that no one really hears about, draft trains emerge and blowup over the 2.5-3.5 hours of paddling. And then there are the inspirational stories of people who set their sites on just completing the Emerald Bay Race, making this their race for the season and they succeed and they have a personal victory and sense of joyous accomplishment. And just in case you are wondering, I beat my last year’s time on this course by almost 10 minutes, no trophy, no podium but the feeling of pure exhaustion was exhilarating in itself. BTW many thanks to Jay Wild, he has coached me through this season and made me a stronger paddler. My age group (14ft SUP, 50-59) is an incredibly competitive class, getting on the podium is not easy, finishing 7th in the age group seems pretty good to me. I do love the stories of all the first time racers who show up at this race and get on the podium, watching their faces light up when they get their trophy is priceless.
Thanks Race The Lake of the Sky, see you next year (just booked my hotel).
El Dorado 5 Race Results
Emerald Bay Race Results
Pictures by Gail DeSoto DeMarco
Data from Speed Coach2 (Emerald Bay Race)
NorCal Crew at the Emerald Bay Long Course Finish
Annabel Anderson Finishing the Long Course
June 23, 2015
The 2015 14th Annual Jay Moriarity Memorial Paddleboard Race was a booming success with terrific weather, challenging conditions and over 300 paddlers! The Jay Race definitely has a following, given that there were two competing events the same day; the Payette River Games (Cascade ID) and the South Bay Dozen in SoCal but the paddlers came out for The Jay in Capitola. Yes, its true there seems to be a paddle race or paddling event happening every weekend in the summer here in California. Yes, The Jay is an incredibly challenging 12 mile paddle race from Capitola to Cowells in Santa Cruz and back, but its the coming together of the community that celebrates spirit of Jay Moriarity that make this race one of the most special of the season.
Let’s run through the stats and numbers real quick:
Total Number of Paddlers (prone and SUP) between all races (12 mile, 2 mile, waterman and grom): 300+, 12 mile-152, 2 mile-141, Waterman-20, Grom-20?
Long Course Distance: 12 miles (10.77 gps corrected)
Weather and Temp: Sunny and let’s call it 70 degrees
Winning Long Course Time: 1:49 prone paddleboard, 1:52 sup
Winning Short Course Time: 33.28 mins prone paddleboard, 34:03 SUP
Yours truly raced in the long race, I came away with the following reflections on my race.
The Jay Race long course 12 mile race is undoubtably a hard, grinding race that requires stamina and various board handling skills. After the beach start of the race, we hammered our way up towards the Santa Cruz Wharf, conditions were sloppy at best. Seemed like a bit of left over west wind swell with some bounce off of the shore and a little morning southwest wind swell to make things interesting. What I am trying to say is that it was not calm and flat. In fact it was just downright hard to get a consistent paddle stroke rhythm. At least it was hard for me to find my rhythm! As we pushed toward the Cowell’s turn buoy the water became smoother and the strokes became more solid hence my speed was increasing. My legs were getting a bit tired from the constant balancing against the bumpy water. For some reason once we all made the turn at the Cowell’s buoy a sense of relief with a rush of energy came across my body, it was time to head out to the Mile Buoy for turn to head back to Capitola. Not so fast….that bumpy water returned with a vengeance only this time it was coming perpendicular to our boards making the bump even more challenging. I kept thinking, oh this is ride back to Capitola is going to be fun since we could catch the windless bumps back to the finish. Somewhat accurate, riding the bumps was fun and much faster than taking them head on. So the whole fleet of paddlers became bump riders, looking for any forward momentum to get them down the coast to the finish. It became a hard and hot run back to the finish. Let’s just say some were better at riding the lumpy bumps than others, not sure where I fell in the middle of that mix but I did make some progress to finish with a time of 2:09:20.
This race has great stoke which was evident at the finish line, Chris Hollingsworth kept the energy alive and kicking with every racer that came through the line. Fast time were had by many racers including Jay Wild with a course record breaking time of 1:52 on the standup paddle board. On the woman’s side, Jen Fuller took the SUP win charging the course with a time of 2:08:05.
Hard Chargers for this race include Haakon Hoyer-Nielsen the 16 year old who is kicking all of our asses these days. Brad Seyffer who doesn’t really train according him but recorded a sub 2 hour course time, John Walsh who made the comeback riding the bumps back from the Mile Buoy.
So many people to thank for putting on this race namely Kim Moriarity, Duke Brower, Chris Hollingsworth and the Capitola Junior Lifeguards and volunteers. The amazing sponsors, Surftech, Adventure Sports Journal, Jolyn Swimwear, Seven Seas Industries, New Leaf Markets, Pono Hawaiian Grill, H20Audio, Jay Moriarity Foundation, and BARK Paddleboards.
Suunto Ambit 3 Race Data
Overall Race Results
Last Year’s 12 Mile Race Results
the before race photo of the three amigos
at the finish with the hard chargers Jen and Haakon…..
steve pugh finishing in style
With the overall SUP Winner Jay Wild
fast freddy always finishes with a smile