Monday, March 31, 2014

Forty Degrees and Sunburnt

That sums up my day yesterday.  I was bundled up (against the wind, mostly), with just my face uncovered, and I still got a sunburn.

I went to see DS2 in the regional concrete canoe competition, this year held on a little inlet of Lake Erie down near where Michigan and Ohio meet.  The day started out so cold and windy--temperatures were still below freezing at 9 a.m.-- there was a little problem with ice forming on the canoes.  But the sun was out.  That should have been a clue to me of what was going to happen.  After all, I had been to two previous canoe Regionals, in 2012 and 2013, and came home from both of those with sunburns.  Somehow, though, I was too concerned with keeping my hat on my head, my gloves on my hands, my coat zipped to my chin, and blankets wrapped around my legs while seated, that I didn't even think about sun block.  Not that it would have done me any good to think about it, because I hadn't even brought it with me.  Nope, my sunblock was still at home, in the same bathroom drawer it has been in since September.

Oh well.  If there was any doubt about Spring being here--last week's high temps didn't really hit 40 but maybe twice--that doubt is gone.  Sun burn = Spring.

I may have left the competition with a red face, but that was totally sun burn and not at all out of embarrassment.  DS2's team did very well, taking first place in 3 out of 4 categories, and being named overall winner of the competition.  So they will be traveling to Nationals once again, being held near Pittsburgh, PA this June.

I took lots of pictures over the course of the two days I observed the competition, but of course most of them clearly show the faces of people, so for the sake of privacy, I won't be able to share those with readers of this blog.

There are a few I can share, the more distant or less recognizable ones.  And the couple pictures I took of swans that were also there during yesterday's races.  The ironic thing about the swan pictures is that I took them because I so rarely see swans--there really aren't any near this little place here being as far inland as it is.  Except last night.  After spending all day way over on the corner of the state that touches Lake Erie, I got about five miles from home and saw roughly three dozen swans in a flooded out field.  Stopped for the night during their migration, I guess.  Unfortunately my camera was packed away out of reach when I saw all of those swans, which would have made much more interesting pictures just because of sheer numbers.

Anyway, the swan pictures:

lone swan

pair of swans

the pair in flight

Plus a zoomed in picture of a boat I spied way out on Lake Erie: 

Canoe race picures:

First, the first heat of mens' sprint right after the start whistle, DS2's team's boat out in the lead

The first heat of the co-ed sprint, DS2 is the paddler second from front.  Team is paddling so fast they made a wake.  

Final (and championship) heat of the co-ed sprint, DS2 in the bow this time, his team rounding the first buoy of four they had to race to and turn around.

DS2 also paddles in the mens' endurance race, in which they have to do a slalom course around seven buoys in 100 meters, then sprint 200 meters down to an eighth buoy, turn around that, and sprint 300 meters back to the finish buoy.  The boats are sent in a staggered start, only one boat on the slalom portion at a time, and the team to complete the course in the fastest time wins.  This picture is him and his teammate, poised at the start, waiting for the signal to begin.

They did win.  In fact, his boat/team won every single race.  I can't wait to see them again at the National competition.

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