As this is our first season on the dragon boat team Loreley, we were consumed by nervousness and afflicted with insomnia the night before the first race in Deep Water Bay. Despite this turbulent sleep we both woke up around 6:15am. Jodi began the day with a hearty bowl of oatmeal, while Kat had a gourmet ham and cheese sandwich. Like mom said, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” We met in Wan Chai at 7am, which is funny considering that’s usually the time you leave Wan Chai on a Sunday morning! We hailed a taxi and headed to DWB.
Our first race was scheduled at 9:15am with the line up at 8:40am. To help us overcome our nervousness, the captains reminded us to keep our heads in the boat and focus on timing. We entered the boats on the water from a floating dock, which was much more difficult than entering the boat from the beach. Once we were in the boat we decided on doing our usual practice start and then light paddling to the start line. During training we were told that lining up the boats could take forever- and it did! The race began with a good start from Team Loreley, which of course left room for improvement. The timing was ok, but not good enough to overtake the three fastest boats. We ended the first race in fourth place with a time of 2:45.
The second race came soon after our scores were revealed, so we had a brief moment to grab some water and food before we lined up again. The team’s goal was to beat the previous time. This time the line-up didn’t take as long and the starting horn came much more quickly. Our start was comparable to the first race. We, once again, ended this race with a respectable fourth place and accomplished our goal of beating our previous time with 2:37. Considering the rough water conditions, compared to the earlier race, and the fact that we beat the Swiss, it was a great victory!
The next break was quite long which gave the Team Loreley fans time to arrive at the beach to cheer us on for the final race. Based on our previous scores it was determined that we would race in the Tail Final. Once again, our goal was to focus on the timing, keep our heads in the boat and continue to improve on our times. When the “ready” was called we were prepared to show DWB and all our fans what a great team Loreley is (plus, we had to earn the beer we were about to drink!). The horn blew and we executed the best start of the day which gave us a clear advantage over the other teams. The energy in the boat was extraordinary and everyone gave 110%. As we approached the finish line, the energy overtook our ability to keep the rating stable and the timing in the boat fell apart. Despite this mistake, we crossed the finish line first and beat ALL the teams in our heat. Cheers erupted from the boat and the shore where our fans and friends were celebrating our victory. Our first race day appropriately ended with a gratifying victory and a well-earned beer!
By Katharina Radtke and Jodi Beck