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2010 Rusty Iron Participant Accounts

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Here are a few personal recaps of the 2010 Rusty Iron race in Portland on 4/24/10.


Thanks everyone for a great Saturday event. The only thing I can imagine being improved upon is the scenery. Certainly, Gibson’s in July will be better from that perspective.

I remember one race director’s pre-event speech for an event many years ago. It was the shortest race director’s speech ever. He just said – “You will have stories for a lifetime…ready, set, go!”

So here are some stories… but short and sweet.

Everyone on the SOCC team worked together rigging. There are rituals about races that are as important as the race itself.  Rigging the canoe is one of them. The team…it’s about being a team…but more important… it’s about everyone in the team. My personal rituals have been developed over 40 years – kinda weird in some ways. Stretch, run, stretch more, run more. We’re developing team rituals every time we prepare for a race.

The men started the race by running the ama onto another boat. The ama was completely out of the water. We managed to recover from that and push ahead. (We were lucky that I wasn’t the steersman.)

Coming into the north turn, a competitor was squeezing us out of the turn. It was obvious that the steersman on the starboard boat was going to push us completely into the buoy, so Doug had to back off and go around. And you know what? It didn’t matter!! We passed that team later anyway.

I wasn’t about to let up any time during the first race and the whole crew seemed pumped. With all due respect to everyone else on the team, Rob has got to be the most competitve guy in the group. He must have been hurtin big time stroking, but just kept doing it! 6 miles…7miles. … Finish.

Then: adrenalin, gel and water are fueling the next start (short course).

Mixed team, 4 mile race, Sabine in Stroke, Doug N. at steersman, Lisa and Michelle’s first race, GO! So many positive things can I think of. Doug says most of them to the crew. The only real tough part was heading in the wind and the waves where we slowed to about 1mph for a few seconds. And at the finish we were miles ahead of the other OC-6s.
2nd race is over and I’m hurtin’ but still pumped. Can’t wait to do it again.

Looking forward to training++

I have a million training sayings… and here is one:
“It isn’t the will to win that wins, it is the will to train.”

See you soon.



I’m not going to try and match Murray’s poetic prose but I just wanted to say that SOCC rocked it this weekend and extend congratulations and thank you’s to the entire club.

Doug all your hard work paid off for us. Thank you for your enthusiasm and dedication in leading this men’s crew. This was just the first of many to come but for the crew this weekend, everyone trained hard and gave 110% out there on the water, the boat was light and no matter how we place that feels good and makes all the effort worthwhile.

Everyone knows it takes six solid performers to move a boat well and last Saturday everyone was on. I’ve got a lot to learn at stroke but it was Doug N that said “if you have a crew that can follow, you can do anything,” and that’s exactly how it felt Saturday. Whatever I did the crew was right there backing me up stroke for stroke. Seat two has to keep the other half of the boat in time and it felt like Mike was perfect, amazing considering he’s just started paddling. Murray’s seemingly limitless energy kept us charged the whole time. You can’t very well feel like quitting when Murray, who’s been doing the same amount of work, sounds like he is just getting started. And to the power house, Matt and Steve: Matt has a stroke longer then any I’ve seen and Steve’s sheer size can demoralize an opposing crew. Together they supplied the muscle that kept us moving fast right through the end. We had a bow wake a tuna could ride. Doug did a fantastic job pulling through that nasty start, tactically navigating the course and handling the turns.

In the end the highlight for me was being able to hang with that Mirage for 45 minutes, never giving up on it and eventually passing them. Who knows, if we had a clear start we may have been walking on the lead pack.

That’s all I’ve got
~ rob


I’ve really enjoyed reading the different write-ups from this past weekend’s race.  And, the fact that people took the time to write up something not only demonstrates the passion and commitment of my fellow-SOCC paddlers to this upcoming OC-6 racing season, but also, the respect for their teammates.  I can’t even tell you how motivating that is to me.  With that, here is a Rusty Iron 2010 race report (my POV) from the women’s boat.

For the SOCC women, it was really the first time all 6 of us had been in one boat together this season and the vast majority of us were just getting back into paddling.  We had no expectations of winning or placing.  Our main goal was to work on technique, timing, and establishing a baseline to measure our performance as the season progressed.

Nevertheless, the pre-race butterflies and adrenaline were there – especially for me because it was my first long-distance race in seat 1 and there are so many aspects of my stroke that I am working on.  Out on the water, we practiced stroking for the start of a race and, maybe, it paid off, because when the flag went up, we were off and quickly found ourselves in the lead position!  I have to say, that was the best start I’ve seen for any of boats I’ve been in during my very brief (not yet one year) of paddling.  OK, we weren’t exactly all lined up, so, kudos to Sabine’s expertise and experience for putting us in an optimal place.  Eventually, Mountain Home, passed us and we followed them up the river for most of the race.  For two-thirds of the race, the boat felt strong.  We even passed a couple of the co-ed boats that had started about five minutes ahead of us.  But, after we passed them, we were, literally, alone for most of the race.  On the one hand, it felt great knowing that we were doing well enough to build such a considerable gap between us and the next women’s boat behind us.  But, on the other hand, you lose some of the competitive perspective with no one else around you.  So, while the men’s boat had their drama in the beginning of the race, the women’s was towards the end.

With just over 3 miles to go, Sabine started calling power-tens which meant either:  a) Sabine was doing it to keep us focused on the race, or;  b) someone was coming up behind us.  But, I didn’t hear anyone so I thought we were just doing more drills.  Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see the Sail Sand Point ladies and their matching blue jerseys storming up behind us and suddenly it was a race to the buoy for the final turn.  You see, Sail Sand Point was paddling up the river on the other side and then paddled across to beat us on the inside of the turn.  Just then, as if on cue, the clouds opened up and dumped all its contents on us as we struggled in the headwind and dug down deep to try and keep up with SSP in the final two miles of the race.  “That’s just great,” I thought as I felt our second place position hold up about as well as my so-called waterproof mascara did in the downpour  🙂

SOCC women placed third (just over 1:15) which was an amazing feat for the first race of the season with Mountain Home and Sail Sand Point finishing first and second respectively.  Congratulations to the women’s crew:  Kristi, Naomi, Melissa, Kim (her first race with SOCC), Sabine, and Jocelyn.  Thank you for your energy and your spirit along the race course – and, mahalo Kristi for being my #2 and giving me excellent feedback on the stroke rate.  It is going to be a stellar racing season!!!  Go SOCC – Our canoes leave a bow wake a tuna could ride!