I paddled the Longridge Haslar last weekend. The venue has some great facilities, but parking remains a challenge. I parked under the motorway bridge, ready for a fast exit!
Organisation was good, but many of the Div 7 – 9 paddlers (myself included) thought that the race course was unnecessarily complicated. It involved four 180 degree turns in four miles. I had a word with the course designer and he said he wanted it to be like an international event with lots of action at the turn points.
Anyway, 26 kayaks lined up for the Div 7 race, plus me in a C1. At the start I floundered a bit in the “washing machine” as the faster K1s took off. Once I’d found my rhythm, I managed to pass three boats before the first turn, only to see them nip inside me as I struggled to bring The Darkness around.
I passed five boats up to the second turn and once again, two took the inside line. This pattern was repeated to the finish and I eventually finished in 19thposition, being beaten by the two boats by a margin of 12 seconds. If the course hadn’t so many turns, I could have improved on my position.
I can’t blame the course though, it was designed for kayaks (with rudders) and they are hardly likely to make allowances for a single C1.
I stayed to take some pictures of the later races which I posted on Face Book.
Looking forward to Pangbourne.