Author Topic: 5mi. Paddle Strategy  (Read 3263 times)

JCM

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5mi. Paddle Strategy
« on: June 13, 2019, 07:53:11 AM »
Hey Guys, (I think this best fits in Technique, though it does have some general questions)

Looking for some fast advice for a race this weekend.
I am racing the Charles Island SUP Cup. It's a 5.5mi. elite race or a 2.5mi. Rec. race along the Connecticut coast of the Long Island Sound.  It'll be my first race in 2 years and i've only ever done 2 other races that were both 3mi. (one on a rented race board and the other on my 'barge')

Looking for a good strategy if i choose to do the 5mi. what's a good approach?  Is it an all out sprint? Sprint a mile, find a strong steady paddle for 3mi., sprint last mile.? Alternate, Sprint, Steady, Sprint, Steady, Sprint? other strategies?

Here's some info and why i'm asking.
1. I don't own a race board, instead i'm paddling a 2010 12' Bote HD. It's like racing a barge or a tug boat, whenever one else has quad engine cigarette boats.  and i'm pretty confident the other elite paddlers will all be on race boards.
2. Did a time trial last weekend, paddled about 5.25 mi against an outgoing Saugatuck River current (Westport CT, ~7' tidal change). it took me about 1hr 45mins. (incl. pauses get lap times on phone).   I checked last years race results. the slowest times were about 1:45.  So I kind of feel like i'm not going to be competitive and i'm setting myself up for failure. However, i'm also thinking do the 5mi., someone needs to come in last - may as well be ME.
3. It'll be high tide/slack tide, so little to no current, however the Long Island sound can get a little choppy from wind and boat wake, which gives me more confidence on a wider board.
4. I can normally fast paddle 3mi. in about 50/55mins on my Bote board.
5. i can do the Rec Race no problem and be competitive with the touring board. So i'm torn on what race to do. -I am trying to get my hands on a race board, if i can i'll automatically do the 5mi.
6. current physical condition and training is well below par.

Thanks for the help

Joe

Ichabod Spoonbill

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Re: 5mi. Paddle Strategy
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2019, 08:38:07 AM »
Hey JCM, I've done that race twice, always in the rec category. 5 miles isn't a sprint, so you probably want to find something more than a cruise but leaving some left over for the end. The chop usually isn't too bad except on the Sound side of Charles Island where things can get rougher. Winds usually pick up during the day but aren't too bad for the morning race.

That's a really fun event, BTW. It's nicely organized and the venue is great. I'm not a serious racer, BTW. I podiumed both times, but as I said only in the rec category. Other people might have better advice.
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JCM

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Re: 5mi. Paddle Strategy
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2019, 09:56:19 AM »
Thanks Ichabod,
 That's sort of what i was figuring, strong consistent.
I paddle around Cockenoe and the other Norwalk Islands in the Sound, so i know what you mean about the chop when you get further out into the Sound.
race is at 10:20, so i'm expecting that boring to afternoon wind change over. 

the only other races i did were the 3mile rec paddles in the Saugatuck river - did decent both those times - 3rd and 6th (i think)

TallDude

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Re: 5mi. Paddle Strategy
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2019, 10:48:57 AM »
You race to beat your last time, and so on. There is a whole field here in SoCal that would be under and hour for that distance. My sprint is a younger more fit persons glide. When I race I'll go for the tippy fast board. I may get wet a few times, but it's about going fast. Comfortable racing is an oxymoron. Racing is about pushing your own personal limits. I probably did 4 or 5 races before the concept of 'race strategy' came to mind. Even then my "strategy" went out the door before the race even started. After years of races, I knew what to eat before and when. I knew what board for the conditions (and had a bigger quiver, but started just like you). I knew where to position myself at the start. I knew who I could keep up with and try to get a train going with them. I knew where the 'clean water was'. I knew how to adjust my stroke (long to short, deeper into the wind with head down, waist bend vs, knee bend, paddle feathering in chop, etc. etc...
The fact that you want to do it, and you are challenging yourself is what it's all about. Races give me a reason to train harder. Have fun. Try to find a faster (narrower - longer) board to rent or borrow.

Bean

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Re: 5mi. Paddle Strategy
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2019, 11:12:41 AM »
It sounds like you can do the distance, so don't sweat the stop watch.  Have fun!

As a mid-pack paddler (at best) my strategy is to pick out someone who might be a little faster and try to keep up.  This strategy changes throughout the race as I get dropped or pass my target. 

Avoid exerting yourself until you get close to the finish line (where people can see you ;D).
And, most important, save your energy for the after-party.

kayadogg

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Re: 5mi. Paddle Strategy
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2019, 12:47:01 PM »
Hey JCM, I might be there on Saturday. If so, I have a 2019 Infinity Blackfish 14x24 that you're more than welcome to paddle. I'll shoot you a message Friday evening if I decide to register and head down there on Saturday.

jamartini

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Re: 5mi. Paddle Strategy
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2019, 02:21:48 PM »
I'll be there too, one thing that you should really consider is that the majority of the guys are on those quad engine cigarette boats are only fast when they are getting power out of their stroke.

When it's very choppy... like it will be on Saturday, their form will not hold up as they are focusing on balancing on a board, if there is any race where you'll want a stable board, it's this one.

There are also a few guys who have raced quite a bit that are doing the rec race, a couple of them will even be on  race boards, maybe this will help your decision.

As far as strategy, keep it steady, focus on steady cadence and a good catch at your apex and take blade out before it passes your heels. Your form will go to crap as you fatigue and focus on staying upright in wind chop, be aware and correct it before it happens.

There is no better training than racing, tons of lessons to be learned regardless of the shape or condition you're in.

Good luck dude!


supthecreek

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Re: 5mi. Paddle Strategy
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2019, 02:33:17 PM »
Some thoughts from another non racer

Racing is competitive.

I only raced twice
Just entering for fun at the age of 66
Both times on All-round Surf Sups... against all race boards

Totally planned to just cruise around the course, having fun.

Something happened when the gun went off.... my competitive side kicked into high gear.
BAM.... I paddled harder than I ever have before.
(might have been the young guy on a 14'er, who laughed at me)

The surprising thing was, that I was able to actually get faster, as the race went on.
My rhythm increased as I passed the next paddler.... you up your game.

When the last mile arrived, I had even more in the tank, and gave an all out sprint to the finish.... because the final kick, is where you dig the deepest.

I did well. The guy on the 14'er shook my Hand and said he was glad that I wasn't on a race board.
If you can talk or walk at the end..... you weren't trying hard enough.

So I quit racing. Apparently I don't have an "off" button and my shoulders would have self destructed.

Talldude's advice on what/when to eat and drink pre-race, is something you can plan.....

The race will plan itself.  :)

Have a great weekend.... racers are awesome people to hang around with!

PonoBill

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Re: 5mi. Paddle Strategy
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2019, 07:37:30 PM »
I'm a firm believer in paddling unconventional boards. The board I've raced the most is an ancient SIC KuNalu or the Starboard equivalent production board, the Starboard 12'2". Mine is probably circa 2007 and I still race it. But the board you're going to paddle in a race is as far away from being remotely fast as anything I can think of except perhaps a Tower inflatable. 45 pounds and 32" wide--you just can't get a lot worse than that. With scads of more suitable boards on craigslist for nothing money you can pick up something that at least makes some kind of sense. I like racing my 12'2" because it's a surfboard, but it's competitive with 12' race boards--straight profile, minimal rocker, 25" wide. Tippy as hell but pretty fast. I can hold five miles an hour on it for long distances in flat water, no current. And I'm old and fat.

I'm REALLY not trying to be mean, but 5 miles in 1:45 means everyone else has showered, loaded up, and all the beer is gone when you get to the beach. I don't know how good a paddler you are, but I know that time is not you, it's the board. You can't buy top ten speed, but I think you own bottom two slow. That's just not fun. Give yourself a chance. As far as technique goes, it just won't matter with a board that limiting, but I'd consider a 5 mile race to be flat out from the starting horn. 1:45 for 5.5 miles is three miles per hour. That's quite a bit slower than walking pace.

Do yourself a favor and get something suitable. If you don't want a flat out raceboard find something with minimal rocker, no wider than 28", and put a single fin in it. If it's 12' then it should be in the 20 pound range. If you were closer I'd just give you something that would work better, because almost anything would work better.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2019, 07:45:35 PM by PonoBill »
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Ichabod Spoonbill

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Re: 5mi. Paddle Strategy
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2019, 05:18:20 AM »
The good thing about Charles Island is that you don't need to be super competitive to win. They have the rec category, which is perfect for people who aren't in it just for the speed. My wife and sister in law did the race for fun, and they had fun! The surfboard class race is perfect for those who just want to have fun.
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Ichabod Spoonbill

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Re: 5mi. Paddle Strategy
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2019, 12:40:50 PM »
Here are some of my Charles Island pics from two years ago. Yup, that's me bringing it in on a 11' Pau Hana. The last pic is from the Charles Island site.
NSP 14' Race (Ghost)
Pau Hana 11' Big EZ Ricochet (Beluga)
Bic Ace-Tec 9'2"

Area 10

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Re: 5mi. Paddle Strategy
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2019, 12:50:39 PM »
A friend of mine, who is a top racer, gave me this advice about race strategy:

“Start the race at 100% effort. Then speed up through the middle of the race, before finishing fastest of all”.

That’s how you do well in a race. Check your life assurance policy first.

JCM

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Re: 5mi. Paddle Strategy
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2019, 06:16:57 PM »
Thought i'd give you all an update. Made it! 
Time: 1:34.38
Goal Accomplished: NOT LAST overall.  However, 5/5 in the 18-49/12'6" group - oh well.

the others were 1:13, 1:20: 1:24, and 40mins. so not bad for the first race in 2 years, and racing a barge. Not sure about the 40mins.  the timer never showed up to the event, so a lot of the times got screwed up, everything was done manual, which they weren't prepared for.

Once i get my race board i'll be a regular speed demon.
Thanks for the suggestions.  Started out with a sprint, then got into a good strong paddle and just tried to keep the pace.  Found a person a head of me and just keep trying to catch them, and stay ahead of the people behind me. did catch myself easing up a couple of times, but then was able to drive through.

Overall great event, lots of fun and a perfect day. About 125 racers between the Elite and Rec races.

PonoBill

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Re: 5mi. Paddle Strategy
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2019, 07:06:25 PM »
18 to 49!! That's a vicious group. I like events that have decade increments, especially when they go as far as their oldest paddler. Typically in the 70 plus group, there is me and some guy they carry out to the water. My competition is mostly dead.
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Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.