National Canoe Time Trial – Worcester 17th May 2015

The series kicked off with the first time trial, in conjunction with Worcester Canoe Club Hasler event last Sunday.

Worcester is a great venue, and the river Severn is a nice piece of water to paddle on. The weather was kind, dry and not too hot. Other than the lack of entries, it went off ok and gave me the opportunity to test the administration and organisation.

We setup our registration desk next to the Hasler organisers. We need to get a sign to show that it’s sign-on for the canoe event, as lots of Hasler competitors tried to get us to take their entry. (yeah, we were tempted!!)

I also should have advertised the next event in advance, lesson learnt.

I had generated too much paper work. I replicated the forms and process from organising cycle time trials, but the difference is that riders all have to register in advance by two weeks, so all the paper work is prepared. I’m going back to good old fashioned carbon paper. I wonder if one can still get it?

A couple of friends were despatched to the start with a clock, start list and union flag, whilst I marked the portage and finish. I then paddled upstream to the turn with a marker buoy. On the way up I noticed that the turn buoys had been deployed for the Hasler turns, I hoped my paddlers wouldn’t mistake them for their turn.

The start - looking upstream

The start – looking upstream

I used a large piece of lead to anchor the turn buoy and nearly capsized when I dropped it over the side. Then I waited for the paddlers to start, portage and paddle up to the turn.

First to arrive was Stuart Lovell paddling an Apache. He turned and was soon out of sight going back downstream to the second turn which was back at the start.

Stuart making the turn

Stuart making the turn

Shortly afterwards Lucy Perry turned up in The Darkness. Unfortunately my turn buoy had “capsized” by them.
Lucy approaching the turn

Lucy approaching the turn

Once they had turned, I collected the buoy and paddled down to the finish. I setup the chequered flag, made sure I could see the clock, and found a whistle to indicate when a boat had finished.

Stuart came into sight, paddling hard for the line after the last upstream effort.

Stuart, after setting an impressive time

Stuart, after setting an impressive time

Fifteen minutes later, Lucy crossed the line.
Lucy, pleased to finish

Lucy, pleased to finish

We now have benchmarks for ladies sit&switch with Lucy Perry (Falcon) going under two hours with 1:55:00 in The Darkness, and Stuart Lovell (Whistable CC) setting a male target of 1:39:23, paddling an Apache.

There was a lot of planning and organisation for two paddlers, but it was good not to have a lot of competitors whilst I sorted out how to run an event.

It’s going to be a challenge to get these races on peoples’ radars and generate the enthusiasm to increase participation, but the first one is done and dusted and it’s onward to Reading on May 31st.

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