So LOST Swimming is mostly about swimming. But a) it isn’t quite open water swim season yet… and b) it isn’t “just” about swimming… it’s about life’s adventures!
You see, at its heart, LOST Swimming and LOSTies are all about adventure. We just like “doin’ stuff”. Swimming, obviously, but also triathlons, running, cycling, trail races… pretty much anything that gets you outdoors and having fun. But mostly swimming. If you happen to be good at it (whatever “it” is), then that’s a bonus. If you are fast or can go far then kudos to you… but ultimately the goal is to just do “it”. Because the fun is in the participation, the journey, the training, the team camaraderie and the event. That’s life… that’s fun.
And the LOST adventure a couple of weeks ago was: a kayak race.
“The Great 16 Mile Creek Kayak Race” was started by a LOSTie original, Peter von Euw. Who was also the 3 time reigning champion going into this weekends’ race. Like many things LOST, it has humble beginnings. The first year Peter won. The second year Peter won again. And the third year Peter beat the second person to enter the race, Brett. Mind you, in all fairness to Brett… his inner tube did get a flat near the end of the race! Did I mention… humble beginnings!
Well, this year we hit the big leagues! 6 kayaks, 1 canoe, 2 blow-up rafts for $19.99 from Canadian Tire… and off we went!
The contestants this year were:
1) Peter… of course, the founder and wiley ol’ vet!
Peter and David… ready for anything!
2) Brett… the less-than-wiley-ol’-vet… the guy doesn’t learn to quick… he only upgraded from the inner tube to the inflatable raft! But he does get points for keeping to the humble grass roots of the race! Turns out the inner tube from the previous year worked better, this time he only made it a couple hundred meters before his ship perished in the rapids!
Brett… I cant believe he made it 100 meters!
3) Ron and his son Ethan… also in a very non-durable inflatable dingy… some good father and son bonding… until the ship went down just after making it through the Glen Abbey Golf Course!
Ron and Ethan… oddly Im thinking this boat was Rons idea!
Cousin Al and Mike… duking it out at the finish!
4) Mike Morton… the only real pro in the group… he had a skirt on his kayak and everything. You might recognize Mike as the LOST Swimmer kayaker… out there every Saturday morning with us! He cheated. He knew what he was doing.
5) Scott… tip of the ol’ hat to Scotty for the last minute decision to join the race. He brought his virgin wetsuit to the race and at the last minute decided to jump into the canoe with Dale. He was a good of a human ballast as a team-mate could ask for. We are slowly getting Scotty closer and closer to being a full fledged LOSTie… and not just the land-lubber LOSTie… first the Polar Bear Dip, now the kayak race!
Scotty… well at least he took lots of pictures!
6) Dale… a bit of a dark horse. He’s pretty new to the group, so we didn’t know how he would do… and we all thought that he was nuts when he showed up with a beautiful carbon fibre canoe! I wasn’t betting on it making it much further than the inflatables! (plus he had Scott in the front… which was necessarily an advantage!)
Dale… the dark horse… who knew someone would know what they were doing!
7) David – newbie-moron in a kayak
8) Cousin Al – newbie-moron in a kayak
Cousin Al… musta had a fast boat… because it wasnt talent… or maybe it was the gels in his cap! Finish at the LOST Lighthouse!
9) Darren – newbie-moron in a kayak (see Tree story below!)
dats me… ready to go! (note the strategic use of dish gloves!)
10) Your’s Truly – it occurred to me that even though I throw my kayak in the back of the Jeep every Saturday morning and bring it down to LOST swimming, I always swim and let someone else kayak… thus putting me in the same category as some of the above mentioned gifted athletes… newbie-moron in a kayak.
It started out well. As in, yes, we all started… but we had no idea what we were in for. The water was high and really roaring. It wasn’t long before we realized we were in over our heads. Figuratively at least… not literally (well except maybe for Darren… but he’s short)… it was still pretty shallow in most spots.
So off we went, paddling under the same bridges we had run 20k over earlier that morning on the trails. Before we knew it we had lost Brett… ripped a hole in the bottom of his “boat” in the first rapids.
20k over the bridge in the morning… and paddling under in the afternoon!
Ron and Ethan also ripped a whole in the bottom of theirs… but the outer part was still inflated… so they kept going.
We weren’t sure how cold the water would be… but we all had wetsuits on… and were perfectly comfortable. A few people actually had the right equipment, Mike with nice neoprene gloves, for example… whereas I went for the 99 cent, disposable dish gloves, to keep with the theme… and they worked fine.
Ron and Ethan pulled the plug after Glen Abbey. The novelty of just floating down the river had worn off.
When we were still in a big pack, we came to our first obstacle. The river (I know it is technically a “creek”, but it sounds scarier when I call it a “river”) had flooded and went around a huge old tree, which looked kind of funny all along in the middle of the river… so I yelled to the group “watch out for the tree!” With more than a touch of sarcasm… because you’d have to be a complete moron to hit the only thing in the middle of the whole river!
Darren hit it first. In fact, he hit it and got sucked under into the roots. Tipped off his kayak and right under. I ran right into him and his kayak. I was genuinely a bit scared. I fumbled my way around and yelled back… he was okay. But we were all taking this a bit more seriously now.
It was hard to hit the tree… but we pretty much all manged to do it!
This was just the right level of adventure, danger and stupidity for this crowd. It was a piece of cake for Mike and Dale. The rest of us… um, not so much.
There were numerous patches of serious rapids. And when we went through, having not skirt on our kayaks, they filled with water. Peter’s sank. Several times. Mine gradually filled… and finally sank in the very last set of rapids. It was washed away, as was I. I was calling for Darren to come and help me as I was being washed down the river. My kayak got hung up in the rapids and Darren and I finally dragged it over to the shore and dumped it out, not much worse for wear.
Mike and I were not as smart as David… we didnt stop and pick up the 10 minute golf balls!
This didn’t help my positioning in this highly competitive race. Several of my competitors passed me… laughing aloud. But I hopped back in and continued on. Passing Darren as he walked back to his kayak. Sucker.
In the end the prize money was split between the 3 way tie for first place. And by prize money, I mean the two-four of beer.
Mike, Cousin Al… and David!
Photo finish! Cousin Al and Mike battle it out crossing the finish line!
You see… Mike and Cousin Al paddled and got there ahead of the rest of us, ya whatever. But David, being just a lowly moron-in-a-kayak, wasn’t fast… so he out-witted them!
There is a long entrenched, but lesser known rule in this race (as in: I yelled it out as we approached Glen Abbey Golf Course!), “Any kayaker to retrieve a golf ball from the golf course will receive a 10 minute bonus for each ball retrieved”. It’s a rule.
David found one on the banks of the river! And he saw a golfer… stopped and got chatting with him about what all these morons were doing in the kayaks… and asked him for a ball! 20 minutes deducted from his time! The wiley ol’ bugger!
I must say that even though I finished with a time of 1:15… just out of the prize money… once I collected myself and recovered my defeat… and had a beer in Ron’s hot tub… I was able to look back and reminisce fondly on the days event.
Sure Cousin Al got the Two-Four of beer… but Mike got the cool Captains hat! (Brett, Scott, Ethan, Ron, David, Dale, Darren, Cousin Al, Capn Mike, Peter, Rob)
It was a blast! Good work Darren for “planning” it (ie. sending out an email within 24 hours of a good rain storm!)… and Peter, for being the original moron-in-a-kayak!
A spectacular time was had by all!