Saturday, June 7, 2014

Biting off more than I can chew

I had this grand vision that I'd be kite board racing this season
What I failed to remember was that there's a certain amount of dues that one has to pay- regardless of one's experience...Humbling dues!
While I've paid my dues in windsurfing, this experience is like starting over again.

Sometimes you want to arrive at your destination as quickly as possible, but as I keep trying to remind myself, it's the journey that gets you there.

My goal- the St.FYC Thursday Night Series.
With a local fleet of almost 40 racers and top racers from across the US and World joining the bi-monthly series- this is the place to be if you want to be kite board racing.
Luckily- right in my backyard.

Week 1- Not sure I even ready for the race but I figured it's the best way to push myself and free rescues if needed! I made it quickly downwind in the flood tide to the start and just kept going down wind when things got light and I couldn't relaunch my kite. The safety boat got me somewhere north of Pier 39.
To be fair, I was 1 of almost 20 people who got rescued that night when the wind died and fog came it. I shared the rib rail with Jimmi Spithil on the rescue ride home as the wind knows no boundaries.

Week 2- I was determined to make the start. I timed it so I was about 30 seconds late but didn't account for all the downed kites on the line.  This isnt like windsurfing where you can just weave around people. Lines were everywhere.  I certainly dont know what my lines are doing, nonetheless the guys around me. I  gybe to get out of there ('cause I still cant tack) and make another run at the starting line. Ahh the flood tide again- pushing me downwind. I make another 2 attempts to cross the line in the strong flood only to be denied as the top racers are just about to finish. Luckily I make it back to the beach on my own accord. I call this one a victory. No rescue!

Week 3-another big flood tide, light breeze and fog. This is the curse of  Thursday Night. I choose the 11.0 for the first race and made the start and floundered in the light breeze near the top if the course.  Going upwind is still a challenge especially on starboard tack. After realizing I want going to make the top mark I hightailed it down to the starting line again to make the 2nd start- a bit late but 2 starts for the evening! I'll take the small victories when I can. 

Week 4 -new windsurfing gear arrived last week so no time on the kite board. I set my goal for making the windward mark despite the raging flood tide and light wind on the inside of the course. I get off the starting line and make the long haul on port tack upwind. The leaders are far gone but there's one another newbie just in front of me. I try to chase him down but we both get stuck up in the corner with no wind. I gybe again and go out to the middle of the bay for more wind. I finally make it around the windward mark and begin to head downwind as I hear Johnny Heineken take the bullet of race 1. My kite goes down in the light wind and I spend the next few minutes trying to relaunch and use most of my energy. Making it around 1 mark and back to the beach on my own accord is victory enough for tonight.

One leg at a time, Im going to conquer this course. Next weeks goal is to make it around the downwind mark.


Arden Anderson said...

Go get 'em Steve! I enjoyed the writeup and I'm sure you'll get into the thick of the races soon. We've seen you do it before!

Chris said...

Great seeing you out there Steve! We should try this experiment in reverse. I.e. one of us should try a Formula race. Seth, Chip, Heady and other ex windsurfing racers don't count though!

Steve Bodner said...

if you cant beat- join em!

Steve Bodner said...

'years to master' is the most difficult thing to overcome in windsurfing but yea- would be great to see more crossovers.