SuffolkSUP At The BOTT

BOTT 2014 Well what a day for Suffolk Sup. A number of club members woke early on Saturday morning to the sound of alarm clocks reminding them that it was RACE DAY! Not any old race, the epic Battle of the Thames. The day that was to be the hottest day of the year so far!!! Hearty breakfasts were eaten, camel backs were filled with copious amounts of water and clever rehydrating stuff, snacks were stuffed into bags and Boards were stuffed in or racked ready for the journey. Yep, Suffolk Sup, like migrating birds were heading for the city, next stop- the Thames Sailing club, Kingston, London. We arrived to meet the hustling and bustling of athletes and boards in a very crowded club car park. With not much time to spare, we unloaded boards, kit and race food (most important!)Suffolk Sup team riders were easy to spot in Cool Club kit and we grouped for moral support and team tactics which went a bit like this "Good luck, You can do it! Go for it". Inevitably, there was that all important nervous loo stop to negotiate and then we were ready. Before long the briefing was over and expanse of technical boards and kit that had lined up along the river side was in the water with paddlers warming up and ready to race! Dressed in colour coded bibs, we jostled around on the water anticipating our start. The 14' men, 12'6 men, (go Neil! and Jon!) 14' Ladies, 12'6 Ladies (go Kirsty and B'), the surf and Inflatable class (Go Sarah!) and the 2mile race (Go David!) Jon had a great start finding himself in the chasing pack. Using his early Birthday toy he was able to pace every minute of the race with fine tuning. Throughout the race he found himself pulling numerous others in a draft train and that was tough. We battled with up stream currents and plenty of other Thames traffic, passing boats and the wake swell that comes with this too. There were paddle boats, cruisers and rowers. Endless spectators viewed from the river bank, bars, bridges and boats, some even offered support. As we paddled, sweat poured and water was supped. We called to each other as we passed going in the opposite direction (The race was 3 laps). Our race practice and buoy turn drills were beginning to pay off. Over this distance, persistence, stamina and determination had to play a massive role, Neil, Kirsty and Sarah had this in bucket loads! I battled it out for 3rd throughout most of my race. I knew that if I got to the last buoy level with my competitor I had enough energy left to sprint the last 500m. Luckily for me, my plan paid off. I pulled a great inside turn and kept my head down to the finish. There are some choice words that could describe how we felt at the finish. But I think we all felt mostly a massive sense of achievement. The BBQ that followed was greatly received along with the long list of FREE raffle prizes. We'll be looking out for Kirsty and Neil's Ts and Jon's new cap on Wednesday Club meets. Suffolk Sup Celebrated three medal winners. Congratulations go out to David Maile for the 2mile mens race bronze position, Sarah Smith for winning Gold in the Ladies 10m Inflatable and to Belinda Smith for coming 3rd in the 12'6" Ladies 10m. We celebrated over a drink whilst sharing race stories and reminded ourselves of what a great day we'd had before heading home back to the east. A fantastic effort from Team Suffolk Sup.