Team USA

Team USA
Sloan's Lake

12 December 2014

“The Art of Racing in the Rain”

My plan in going to Seattle was to check out the local paddling clubs and accredited ultrasound programs. What I found was amazing people! I cannot believe the experiences I’ve had here. I may not have found an ultrasound program for me, but my time here has been astounding!

The 1300 mile road trip up here was without incident. Thankfully the weather was good until we were just outside of Seattle, then it started pouring rain.

During my travels around Washington and the Seattle area I listened to a book that was perfect for my time here… The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.  The book is narrated by a dog and the title refers to racing cars in the rain, but I got my fair share of driving and kayak racing/ training in the rain. I don’t think I have ever gotten as wet as I did while paddling here … without swimming. The worst day was the day I went and paddled with the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team, the rain just saturated every layer I had on. Yet another moment of growing stronger through perseverance! 

I had so many good things happen here in Seattle I cannot even begin to address them all but I’ll try to touch on some.To start, my close friends opened their home to Burton and I and gave us a great place to stay. Then, I was able to paddle at three different locations in my first week in Seattle. Within just days of arriving I met a nice friend of a friend who introduced me to a great coach, and then subsequently let me stay at his house which was very close to the KenmoreCascade boathouse where first distance race of my career would take place.  

I chose to race the 5km the following Saturday. It was a rainy, cold morning and I traded boats with my friend Alana she could use a seat designed for her. Unfortunately, I struggled with the other boat. I finished the race but zig-zagged the whole way. I paddled ~6km in total, not great. I was tired but happy to have my first distance race completed.
Finished the race

Vadim, myself and Alana- post race
After that race I attended the Frostbite camp and race with some great coaches with the Seattle Canoe and Kayak Club, in the rain of course. But the race there on Green Lake went a lot better! I improved my time by MINUTES, I had a mini fan club, the sun even came out, and I walked away with a blue ribbon in my hand!
Post race at Green Lake

The following weeks I had the opportunity to train regularly with the Kenmore Cascade Canoe and Kayak Team. The coach, Dan Henderson, is incredible! I have improved leaps and bounds! I extended my stay so I could train with him as long as possible. I am so excited about the progress I’ve made working with Dan and I will be returning after the holidays to continue to train!
Lake Washington. Photo credit: Spike Kane

Photo credit Spike Kane

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