Dragon Run 2011 Race Report

Thursday, 24-Nov-11 10:31:18 UTC
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The 2011 Steelcase Dragon Run, Hong Kong

One of the most talked about subjects before a race is the conditions, what are they going to do? What does the forecast say? How strong is the wind going to be on race day?
If you travel for a race or line up in a race be ready for anything, at home I train in all conditions. You can’t have a weakness whether being mental or physical if you want to race the best competitors from around the world.

The morning of the race was shrouded in low fog, with no breeze to blow it away and the sun taking its time to help burn it off.

All craft were loaded onto trucks for the journey up to Clearwater Bay, our start for the 2011 Dragon Run.

Team Nelo, were ushered away to their waiting limo while everyone else was herded onto buses for the ride to Clearwater Bay.

The race start was held up for an hour to gain more favorable conditions and the race organizers were rewarded, as the wind continually grew stronger with each passing minute.
Final briefings were said and competitors hit the water for their warm up and their 22km journey down the coast to Stanley and the finish line.

10 minutes to start warning.

5 minutes to start warning.

Competitors were crowding the start line but others lagged behind and before 5 minutes were up, the flag had dropped and the horn had sounded.

The race was on.

Andre Santos, team Nelo, had a flying start, quickly putting distance between himself and every other paddler. His reign of terror was short lived as the lead group of more than 20 paddlers swallowed him up. 

The wind and surf made for great race conditions as we headed out to the Nine Pins, a group of islands 6km off the coast where we would turn and head south for Stanley.

Tom Schilverport set the early pace gaining 40 meters on the chasing pack which included myself, Dawid, Hank, Shannon, Jeremy, Cory and others.

We had runs all the way out pushing us straight to the Nine Pins.

Tom rounded first followed by myself, Dawid and Hank.

Sorry I can’t add more names but I don’t look around during the race, peripheral vision only.

It was a ninety-degree turn around the Island to set our course for the finish, so that meant; crosswind for the downwind leg.
But it didn’t. The prevailing swell was a cross tail from the left and the wind was a cross tail from our right so the runs lined up beautifully to form nice V’s and allow for great surfing across the backs of them all the way down to our headland mark of the ‘Kissing Whales’ outside Stanley Bay.

Dawid and Tom took an outside line while Hank took a line tighter in than me.
Dawid was the only other competitor I saw, pushing hard on the outside line. I stayed inside knowing that the swell and wind would be more in my favor as we neared the ‘Kissing Whales’. I hit them straight on while Dawid had to work against the runs for longer to get to the mark from his line. There was a straight line across us both and it would come down to who hit the headland first as it is a 5km paddle into the bay with a strong cross head wind due to the prevailing wind direction.

4km before the bay Dawid put in a solid effort, coming more onto my line, while I worked further in again aiming for the straightest line to the headland with the swell behind me.
Still neck and neck between the two of us.

I know that Dawid leaves nothing out there on the course and I would have to do the same if I wanted a chance at the win.
2km before the bay I made my move, working that little bit harder to chase and pull over the top of every run that I could, if I missed one I knew that he wouldn’t. Most of these races come down to not who caught the most runs but who missed the least; it is the ones that you miss that make the difference. I wanted to make the difference by getting more and not missing any.

Last 6km of the race, “concentrate and don’t make mistakes is what I kept telling myself”.

My equipment was never going to fail. Nelo XXL ski and a Braca paddle.

Races are won and lost due to human error from being tired; I didn’t want to have it happen to me.

From my push I hit the entrance to the bay first with about 50m over Dawid and look out here comes the headwind.
5km of it get to the finish line. So much time for so much to go through your mind. Do I have enough left to hold on? Is the person behind me more tired than me? Is someone going to come over the top of both of us?

I tried not to look around too many times but it was necessary to give mysef a confidence boost as I was getting tireder. Keep working hard! My lead was slowly growing as the finish line got closer. No one wants a sprint finish after hard racing and I made sure that every stroke that I did was as efficient as I could make it for how tired I was feeling.

22.5km and an hour and a half after the start I crossed the finish line first with Dawid second and Hank in a fast finishing third with Kellogg’s Ironman Cory Hill having a great paddle to finish fourth. 

Well done to all that competed and fantastic work to all the organizers, volunteers and supporters who again put on one of the best races of the year.

Big congratulations to Clarence ‘Team Nelo’ who took out the shorter 10km Chicken Run.

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Perfect pre-Dragon Run prep for Tim Jacobs

Thursday, 17-Nov-11 14:16:44 UTC
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From surfski.info, kindly provided by Rob Mousley.

NOT even three-time world ironman champion Shannon Eckstein could stop Tim Jacobs on Saturday in the Vajda Narrabeen Downwind Challenge.

Shannon’s brother, five-time Coolangatta Gold winner Caine Eckstein, couldn’t either.  But the most excited person on the beach was Jacobs’ proud mum, Jenny.

“I am so happy for Tim, he works so hard,” she said as he crossed the line in 1hr 13min 22sec.
“He loves taking part in the Ocean Series, and is very proud of his (undefeated) record this season.
“It was great to see Shannon and Caine taking part, it lifts the quality of the race.
“Hopefully Tim can keep his record up in the next few races.”

Summary Results

(Full results at: http://tinyurl.com/narrabeen2011)

Tim JACOBS 1:13:22
Shannon Eckstein 1:14:23
Nathan SMITH 1:15:27
Mark ANDERSON 1:15:43
Cain Eckstein 1:15:46

Steelcase Dragon Run

Next on the agenda for Jacobs is the Steelcase Dragon Run in Hong Kong on Saturday.

“I know the competition is going to be fierce but I don’t mind that one bit, it brings the best out of me.
“Hopefully everything goes according to plan, it would be awesome to win on the world stage.”

Jacobs was on the water this morning with Nelo boss Andre Santos and South African Sean Rice.  Conditions were perfect for the Dragon Run course…  A brisk 15-20kt NNE.

Forecast…  aaaaaargh!

The forecast for Saturday though is not ideal at present:  the Hong Kong Observatory is predicting “South force 3, becoming north force 5.”  It’s already started raining and it’s expected to continue through Saturday with heavy falls on Saturday morning!

For Hong Kong forecasts, see:

http://www.hko.gov.hk/wxinfo/currwx/fnd.htm

http://www.windguru.cz/int/index.php?sc=222018

and bouyweather.com says that it’s going to be flat; winds light and variable…  curses!

http://www.surfski.info/races/aus-nz/item/1354-perfect-pre-dragon-run-prep-for-tim-jacobs.html

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Karukera Kayak Challenge 2011

Tuesday, 01-Nov-11 13:58:36 UTC
Yannick Laousse

Yesterday was held the final of Karukera kayak challenge. More than 50 participants and two winners. Yannick Laousse imposed himself on the race over Franck Fifils, becoming champion of the Caribbean.

Billed as a favorite Yannick Laousse proved just that, winning the second edition of the Karukera kayak challenge. He imposed himself after 2h 14min on a long course of 30km between the beach and marina of Rivière-Sens. At the start of the race at 9 o’clock yesterday morning, Britain’s Ben Brown, world champion in marathon canoeing in 2010, started strong, but perhaps a bit too strong for the heavy waves. But the Englishman wanted to establish the pace. He continued to lead the first kms but quickly, another favorite, Spanish Walter Bouzan, world champion in marathon kayak double in Singapore last week, was in its wake. In Capesterre-Belle-Eau, he overtook is competitor and took off.  Walter very quickly suffered from heat and bad sea conditions, because he is an expert in flat water kayaking. Yannick Laousse, controlling his strokes, found the form, taking opportunity to slip in the lead ahead of Spanish. “I took a good path, and I run the race,” he said.

The race for the podium

The Vice-champion of France kept the lead throughout the race, while remaining alert to the competition returning. Behind, the podium contenders succeed. Walter Bouzan, Franck Fifils, Ben Brown and Stephane Roudaut. It’s a fight to try to take one of three places. The sun is high and the sea very rough, but kayakers have the tail wind, some choose to take the other side and where the sea is calmer and the manage their energy. At this stage of the race, fatigue is felt. But nothing can be done!

The last 3 km ...

“The race does not stop the passage of Lighthouse Old Fort and it’s in the last quarter of the race that all can play”, said Franck Fifils, kayaker member of Yacht Club of Basse-Terre, and organizer of the event, during the presentation of the event. Indeed, the last 3 kilometers between Old Fort and Marina have been fatal to many. The podium places were played at this level. Difficult when you are champion of Ocean Racing, to paddle in the open sea in calm water. That was the benefit of the Spanish. “My specialty is the calm water, at the start of the race conditions were difficult but now I could come back.”.  He passed Stéphane Roudaut, a member of the France team, which has struggled over his limit. “The last mile was hard. The Spaniard was able to enjoy it, he has a technique that I do not have ” he said. The only one to succeed at the game seems to be Spanish, to the regret of Ben Brown, who sees him escape to the podium in the last kilometers. “I saw him move, I said oh shit! I was too tired at the end. I am a little disappointed, but we always learn. ” The Briton finished fifth after Franck Fifils. “My goal was to manage my race to win the championship in the Caribbean. At the lighthouse, I was dead, I wanted to held and there was a little wind. I knew I was leading the pack, but I did not know how I was. “. Franck finished in fourth place and won the Championship and the Caribbean Ocean Racing in front of Olivier Tanton of the Yacht Club of St. Francis. Yannick Laousse won with more than one minute ahead of Walter Bouzan and Stephane Roudaut.

- 3 QUESTIONS to RONY Martias, Saur-Sojasun cyclist: “I wanted to show that we could succeed”

The cyclist, currently on holiday and sponsor of the second edition of the kayak challenge Karukera 2011, had opportunity to try kayaking. He completed a course of 8 km.

What are your impressions after this test?

It was fun, I hurt all over. I have not said that we should adjust the shims, so my feet were too far and I made more effort than others, but I came out pretty well. As a competitor, I wanted to show that we could succeed. I wanted to learn as soon as possible and show that an athlete is an athlete, even if the discipline is not the same.

Were you injured during the race?

It’s nothing. After the channel of Saintes, I stopped to drink water and I returned. I did a little leg injury. I did not panic, there was a monitor and I had the buoy, but back in the kayak was not easy.

Is this an experience that you will repeat?

I will repeat, this is something that I can bring from the bike, because there you work up and then admire the coast of Guadeloupe. I really enjoyed it very user friendly. It changes with respect to bicycles, because there is no high level pressure. Everyone helps each other, it creates links. I think to do in leisure, but not this year, I have 15 days holiday, but why not next year. I want to make the voyage to the Saintes kayaking, it’s a challenge that I want to achieve.


Nicole and Hervé

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