Hawkesbury Canoe Classic 2011

It was a hot day as I registered and waited around in the shade. I selected a short sleeved thermal t-shirt for my paddling garb this year. It was the perfect choice for me and I didn’t need to change my kit to put on warmer gear. Aside from the daylight section at the start, I hardly wore a hat and, in fact, in the final stretch to the finish, I was dousing my head, neck and back in water to try to cool down and it was only 4:30am.

My record in the HCC is growing. This year was another personal best time by the slender margin of 8 minutes and I’m super pleased with it, especially considering the tides were more adverse than in 2009. My time was certainly helped by teaming up with fellow Mirage 580 paddlers John Duffy, Andrew Benoit, and Chris Thompson at the Wisemans first ferry crossing. They are all in LCRK and were a strong team and they kept me motivated and pushing on without taking unecessary breaks. They were great company as we chatted as we paddled. It also helped to have their opinions on navigating the river when the fog rolled in.

Except for 1992, each race has been in my Mirage 580. I figure that cutting more time off this time, should I do it again, will be down further improving my strength, fitness and technique. I’ve can only cut maybe 10 more minutes out of breaks by not stopping at all. In this year’s race, the only time I hopped out of the boat was at Wisemans Ferry for 5 minutes when I never left my kayak, towelled the interior dry, restocked some supplies and left into the darkness again.

1992 98.5km 14h 27m 2s
2006 98.5km 17h 35m 0s
2007 17h 16m 32s
2008 15h 24m 15s
2009 13h 3m 13s
2010 Didn’t enter the event
2011 12h 57m

I can honestly say I was knackered at the end. After Wisemans, my gps was telling me I was going to beat my previous effort, something I thought was impossible as I was 1 hour behind schedule coming into Wisemans. Of course, the gps was calculating its estimated time of arrival on me maintaining the huge speeds we were doing in the ebbing tide and of course that was never going to last the entire remaining distance. It was down to how long the ebbing tide would last us and a matter of guessing what impact the changing tide might have and keeping on the effort and pace to give it a red hot chance of beating a 5AM finish. Even in Milsons Passage, the last few kilometres, it was clear it was going to be touch and go whether I’d beat a 5AM finish and so I dug deep for the best sprint finish I could muster.

Thanks to my hard working landcrew, Lynda and to the support of the John, Andrew and Chris.

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