Starboard riders race reports from Lost Mills
Bart De Zwart
For the Fastest Paddler on Earth Sprint time trials, I had a good qualifier in 7th place but the final I started to fast and couldn’t keep it up until the finish and ended up in 19th.
The slalom race the next day was something new. I didn’t have high hopes because the sprint I thought would be harder to turn than most other boards. But I realized again how good the changes on this board over the last 2 years with the bigger rails. It is very good in quick turns. In this nock out system we raced one on one. Great race format but hard to get the 2 races courses next to each other exactly the same. The organizers got very close though. I battled 5 rounds until in the semi finals had to race against Connor who got the better of me.
4th place shared with 2 others. Connor won.
The next day was the real race we all came for. I wasn’t sure about my fitness but felt good especially after last week where I felt I was on the right track again. The start was a little more hectic because they narrowed the starting line to one third of last year. I struggled and didn’t’ start aggressive enough. When I got some clean water I worked my way up to the front but I just missed the front train. At the run I lead a little train and tried to connect again with the front. They proofed hard to catch. 2 of us padded away from our train and caught a few dropped riders. But the main train was gone.
The 2nd half I could only maintain my spot and drop the rider I was with and ended up being 21st. Although not a result to be proud of I felt I am on the right way to be fit again, and I felt especially good the last half were most suffered. I have plenty of time now to train fro the 11-city and Muskoka and Chattajack race. There will be a lot of racers for the 11-city this year and I want to make sure I win a 5th time.
This race is a very flat-water course, which made it a drafting race most of the way. I chose to use the Sprint 14’x23 and it worked very well, particularly when you draft somebody side by side, which I favored instead of drafting directly behind another paddler. I arrived with Connor at the last run section and there we sprinted together for 2 km.
I think I lost the race when I put my board on the right side of Connor at the last buoy, which allowed Connor to sneak inside and push really hard to get in front for the last 50 meters of the race.
Bavaria- the lack of noise is the loudest sound in the room. Birds chirping, tractors haying, and the bicycle bell ringing is about all the reaches the ear… That is until the Lost Mills race comes to Kleiner Brombachsee. Then we add the accents of Americans, Australians, Spanish, Mexicans, British, the clanking of glasses, the cheering, and the very cleverly engineered German Starting horn.
At the clap of the starting horn, we were off. Two hundred meter sprints kicked off the weekend with two paddlers fighting against each other, but more importantly against the clock. All us girls wanted to have the top 10 times to make it to the final round of the “Fastest Paddled on Earth”. In the preliminary round, I was a bit slow, coming in at 1:14 for 200m, however I was fast enough to qualify for the finals. In the finals I dropped my time be five seconds to finish at 1:09, but that settled me for 5th position over all. The sprints were not easy, but I really enjoyed them. Pushing myself to the point of exploding, finding my outer limits, competing, is all part of the process of learning to be a professional athlete. And everything little thing I do, bad or good, I learn from it.
On Friday, the 200-meter slalom took place. Unfortunately I caught a bit of a cold and had to sit out the last couple rounds of the slalom sprints. The one round that I did race in was so much fun, but I decided to rest up for the 18k distance race the next morning.
With possibilities of thunderstorms in the afternoon, the 18 k distance race was pushed up to start at 11:30am. It was a scorching 37* on the start line and about as glassy as can be. You could almost see the heat reflecting off the lake. The race started in Kleiner Brombachsee (the smaller lake), but at the bottom of the first lake, we had to pick up our boards and run 150 meters to Grosser Brombachsee, the much bigger lake. I was sitting in third coming into the first portage. After the portage Celine, the strong French woman, pulled ahead, and now I was in fourth. From there I traded off in a draft train until we paddled the entire perimeter of the bigger lake and were coming back into the portage. Carol Scheuneman had also pulled away from the train, and now there were four of us jockeying for 5th through 8th. I made a mental decision that I was not going to finish in 8th. In the portage, I made up two places and entered the small lake in 6th; with 5th place about 20 meters ahead of me. There was only three kilometers left until the finish. I put the hammer down and was able to catch Susanne, who was in 5th. I dug deeper and was able to muster up the power to push by Susanne about 150 meters before the finish. From there, I held it together and came across the finish in 5th. Maybe not the most amazing result I’ve ever had, but all the little personal battles I fought through this race, made it a huge success! Congrats to all the ladies who pushed hard and finished 18k in that incredible heat! It was not easy!
So now, 3 races, 3 days, tired muscle groups, and lots of bratwursts later, I’m on a plane home. Saying “I love Europe” might be a bit on an understatement. Thank you so much to Starboard Germany for helping me out and providing me with really fasts boards while being over here! Many thanks!! See you all soon!
Recap of “The Fastest Paddler on Earth”
I woke up that morning to a wind free lake. I thought the times would be quick today but for some reason the flat lake wasn’t enough and the times were noticeably slower from last year.
In the heats, the times were around 5 seconds slower than I had expected even though we were paddling just as hard as the previous year. After coming second in the heats (behind Arthur Arutkin) I was pumped up for the afternoon finals. In the finals the times were reset, making it a level playing field once more. I had three tactics going into the race:
- Keep my head up
- Paddle as fast as I could
- Switch sides a maximum of two times
With these tactics in mind I was off, racing the fierce competitor Arthur Arutkin. We were both quick off the mark and I felt myself slowly pull away as the race progressed. When I finished the race I looked to my side, expecting to see Arthur. Seven seconds later he crossed the line. That is when I realized that I had set a good time.
The sprints are a weird event. It isn’t about muscles or wash riding, it is a test of yourself. The sprints prove what your body can do and the limits it can be pushed to when a little adrenalin kicks in. I really like the 200-meter sprint format and I hope to see more races like this. It is awesome battling it out with all the big guys and it is amazing to see how different each technique is.
Recap of “The Lost Mills Distance Race”
Photo credit: Stephan Gölnitz/sup-photo.com
Distance is not really my forte. I was very nervous going into the race and wasn’t really sure what to expect in the wash train. All I could focus on is not repeating previous mistakes… like going the wrong way… The start line was fierce with many international racers standing there, waiting for the horn. We all set off, sprinting for about 50 meters and formed a wash train (as expected).
Photo credit: Christine Fuglsang
We were like a flock of birds and aligned ourselves into two or three lines. There were around 15 paddlers in the front group who were capable of winning Lost Mills. The group shared the leads, switching around constantly and making new lines. It was great and there was a lot of teamwork involved. We all stuck together until the final beach run over the weir. That’s when Connor, Titouan, Arthur and myself sprinted as fast as we could. The four of us (with 3 being on Starboard Sprints) paddled as fast as we could to try to separate from the main pack. And we did. Connor, Titouan, Arthur and I sprinted until the very last buoy.
Photo credit: Stephan Gölnitz/sup-photo.com
I was lucky and had a little more in the tank and was able to overtake Arthur at the last minute. It was fantastic to see the Starboard Sprint claim 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Congratulations to Connor and Titouan.
Photo credit: Andy Klotz
The 2015 Lost Mills event was definitely a great way to spend the week in Germany. Thursday and Friday there were just fun races but the long distance was where all the points for the Euro Tour were. So I put all my focus into that but still raced the other races for fun. The races were nice and short but I had to race a bunch of them. It was a good warm up for the long distance where I knew I had to work harder then ever to beat the stacked field that showed up to race.
The day of the race I got a good breakfast and did my normal routine of stretching. I was in the zone and knew it was going to be a long hard day of paddling 18km but I knew exactly what I had to do. My plan of attack was to try and take it easy so I would have extra gas in the tank for the last sprint. I got a warm up paddle in and then I lined up on the start line. I looked around and made sure I was close to my competitors that I knew would be a threat. When the horn blew I made sure to get out of the mess and into clean water. After 10 minutes of sprinting everyone got into a line and the drafting game begun. I set my self up in about 7th place so I was really saving my energy.Like always we all had to jump out of the water and run up and over the dam into the big lake. Before I hit the beach I speeded up so that the lead guys didn’t pull away from me. As I got into the big lake I was in 4th place, which was exactly where I wanted to be. Not much happened in the big lake other then a lot of drafting and a few attempts of people trying to break away. I always stayed in a position where I was in the top guys and trying to save as much energy as I could.
Photo credit: Andy Klotz
On the way back the pace started to pick up and everyone was getting more and more excited. At times we had 2 to 3 trains going and it was a nut show but I stood my ground so no one could knock me out of the train. As I got close to the dam I jumped into the front because I knew someone was going to make a move and I wanted to be ready. I turn the buoy and picked up the pace into the beach. Titouan and I hit the beach and sprinted up and over the dam straight back into the water. When we hit the water we were side-by-side and sprinted as hard as we could to make a gap on the rest of the train. I had my head and didn’t let Titouan leave my side.
After a little bit I took a quick glance back and only Trevor and Arthur were behind us. From the dam to the finish line it was 2.6km and Titouan didn’t let up for second so it was one of the longest hardest sprints I have ever done in my life. As we got close to the beach I knew I was going to have make a move so that is exactly what I did and shifted into the next gear. I was only able to put a board length gap on him but that was all I need to run up the beach in first place. I was so stoked and relieved to finish the race and to have beaten a super stacked field of paddlers.