|Bill, Jim, Cindy, Dalton, Robert, Matt: Team Ka Nalu Nui|
|Placing the boat in the water.|
|Heading out for the start|
There was a bit of a collision at the start - K2N's ama (the smaller piece that helps balance the boat) got caught on a smaller OC2's back end. There were heated words exchanged. I'm going to skim over how this ended up causing some drama later, because I actually think it warrants its own post.
I saw them at mile 10, Suck Creek, as planned. (In fact, I made it to all my viewing stops this year without any drama or getting lost, which was really good because they were so much faster than when Matt paddles solo that if I had gotten lost, I probably would have missed them. I barely had to wait for them at all along the course!)
Next, I drove to mile 20, Raccoon Mountain. I always get lost getting to this stop, but not this year! As I waited for them to arrive, I noticed the rain and wind had picked up a bit. I saw them after about 15 minutes.
I made a pit-stop at Raccoon Mountain's visitor center to use the restroom, then hurried down to mile 24, Sullivan's Landing. This is the spot where the viewing point is farthest from the boats, as they stick to the opposite side of the river. With our new camera, though, I was able to finally get some good views of them. Also, the gigantic boat made spotting them much easier.
From Sullivan's Landing, it was on to the last stop: mile 31, Hale's Bar. I arrived so early they were still setting up the finish line! No one had finished yet! That's never happened before!
I got comfortable on the dock. As usual, Quack joined me. There was a bit of entertainment as the first finishers came in, especially because someone had tied a random fishing boat along the dock where the final sprint takes place, and a volunteer had to hop in the boat and paddle it out of the way so the surf skis could get by unobstructed.
|This volunteer paddling a fishing boat with a SUP paddle deserves an award|
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What a day yesterday. Still taking it all in. ✅ First place OC6. ✅ Fastest sprint finish after 32 miles (separate award). ✅ 5 year belt buckle earned for 5 consecutive successful @chattajack races. After finishing 3rd and 2nd in past years, I feel like I’ve hit for the cycle by adding the above awards this time. The conditions were awesome. 30+ mph winds. Sometimes headwind, but more often downwind. We were catching bumps on the river in a 40 something foot OC6 😍 Our final sprint was apparently a bit sloppy with some missed switches and not always in sync, but in our defense, the crowd on the dock was going wild, we just paddled 32 miles, and we could barely hear the switch calls. It was an amazing feeling and we still had a convincing win in the sprint awards. Big thank yous to all my teammates for killing it while having fun, @abk_runs for being the best one-woman support crew and cheering squad on the course, @_super_robert_ and Ka Nalu Nui for organizing it, my college buddy “Quack” for his yearly post-race help and support, and Brent at Dunedin OCC for lending us a fast @puakeadesigns unlimited OC6 and hauling it up here. More to come later! . . . . . . . . #paddlerace #race #fitness #itsaboutlifestyle #stokeonthewater #chattajack2019 #chattajack #oc6 #outriggercanoe #puakea #puakeadesigns #puakeamalolo #malolooc6 #outriggerzone #crosstraining #canoeracing #canoerace #outrigger #hippostick #hippostickherd #puakeaohana
|Matt and Karl with their buckles.|
|The top 3 OC6 teams|
|Matt and Danny|
|2/3 of team K2N|
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#Chattaswag At first, this race started as a bucket list race for me. But it was so awesome I had to do it again the next year. But I still figured I would just do it now and then since it is a big far away race and tough to do every year. But a few years ago, during the award ceremony for probably my second @chattajack in 2016, they gave out these super nice custom belt buckle awards to a small group who had done the race successfully in 5 consecutive years. I knew right then that I was going to have to do the same thing 😅 . I knew it would be no small feat. Racers I knew had to start their 3-4 chattajack streaks over due to having to drop out mid race from hypothermia, missing cutoff times at the end by mere minutes, life getting in the way, injuries, etc. 5 consecutive *successful* finishes is tough. This year, my final year of the streak, I decided to do OC6 to do yet another craft at the race. But I knew and stressed out all along about relying on so many other people to complete my streak. You see, even if one person dropped out mid-race, and the rest of us finished without them, we would all be disqualified. If someone got sick or injured on the way to Chattanooga, we would be in a tough spot. And I even brought my SUP up as a backup in case the OC6s were delayed or damaged in an accident on the way up. I made sure my teammates brought extra warm clothes to store in the canoe so hypothermia couldn’t derail us. In the end of course, my teammates were all badasses and I didn’t have to worry about them, just myself. And it was amazing to experience the thrill and accomplishment of Chattajack as a team for once. And to have a bunch of friends in the same boat helping me accomplish this streak was special too . There’s a strong chance I take a break from this race next year. After all, no 10-year belt buckle has been announced yet 🤣 And @abk_runs says its her turn for a big far away race which is definitely true. She’s been an amazing supporter these last 5 years. Thank you to @kimfriberg83 and @ben.friberg for organizing this life changing event 🙌