Please welcome back Harmony Dawn of Urban Ocean with her recap of the BeachNBoard Fest! 

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Dan often has stroke clinics before a race, and I always go to them if I have the opportunity but I didn’t get on the water this time. I hurt my back on Wednesday during an ab workout that was part of beach fitness class we go to. It was completely my fault turning when I shouldn’t have but now my back was inflamed and in pain all down the lower right side. I had it massaged out earlier in the day so I wanted to let it rest because I was still unsure if I would be able to race the next day. I stayed on the dock and watching and taking pictures. After his clinic, we went out for dinner with Jennifer, owner of Epic Board Sports and some of the shops other team riders. I got to pick where we eat- this was important to me. I always hear Dan telling people that the night before the race is not the night to be trying food you don’t know if your body likes, so we went to an Italian restaurant that we’ve been to many times and I had pasta.  We were home before 10 and in bed not much later.

RACE DAY

I don’t like being rushed in the morning so this race having a later start was awesome for me. I woke up at 8am, excited to try my new bikini! It had arrived the night before so I hadn’t had a chance to paddle in it and I wanted to check it out before having a “costume malfunction” during the race. I put it on and headed across the street for some ocean time with my dog. Running, jumping, and handstanding in the waves, my bikini stayed in place, thus passing the test for me to race in it.  Back to the house for an awesome egg breakfast cooked by Chris (co-producer of the Ultimate Guide to Stand Up Paddling DVD) followed by a quick paddle session/ board testing of the new 2014 Starboard race boards that had arrived for the guys to race.  My back was still feeling a bit sore but I decided that a short 1 mile race wouldn’t be bad for it.

 

Rob Rojas was doing a clinic at 11am and I love clinics so we loaded up the boards and left the house at 10:45 to get to it. Once we got there I immediately went to the registration tent to get our numbers while the guys unloaded. The lineup wasn't moving very fast and when it was finally my turn Dan and Chris came over just as I started getting us signed in. Dan knew I wanted to get to the clinic so he took over. As I was leaving the tent the lady asked 1 or mile or 3? He replied 3. I want to do 1.           

He looked at me, I looked at the registration lady 1 is for kids right? “Kind of” she replied and again he said three. I grabbed my board and headed onto the water to meet my friend Evey who was already listening to Rob talk about paddle stroke. I asked her if she wanted to draft and she said “Sure-I’ve never had anyone to draft before and I haven’t much in the last month.” I was stoked because I haven’t been paddling much this last month either and previously the only people that have drafted me before have been guys so I was looking forward to working with someone that I could draft too!               

The clinic finished with 30 minutes till race time.

I went back to the car to get my CamelBak. I have learned not to race without it. Regardless of the distance I like having the hose in my mouth and even if I don’t actually drink any water I like knowing it’s there.  I put on more sunscreen, a hat, and grabbed the numbers to ask Dan which one was mine since they didn’t have our names on them. He handed me 373 to put on.  I heard them announcing the racers’ meeting and ran over but by the time I got there I had missed enough to be confused so I double checked with Danny Smith who was organizing it and he confirmed that the course was:

Right, left, Right, Right around the Buoys- 3 laps.  

 

I confirmed with Dan to make sure he got it and we headed out to line up.  The lineup took a few minutes trying to figure out which of the kids ahead of the buoys were in the 1 mile starting after us and which were in the 3 mile and just needed to back up in line.

 

With a little bit of current I’d drifted to the right side of the buoy and had to get back on the other side. I ended up between 2 little girls and a few down from Dan on one side and Evey on the other.  

 

Starts give me enough anxiety to begin with and now I had to worry about not running into kids!

 

And We're Off!

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 , 2, 1 GO!

 

The girls’ boards colliding-

Paddles being dropped-

and Dan stopping to pick up the girls paddle and give it back to her before paddling by.

At this point I paddle to catch up with Evey who said something about not a great start! Ha I was almost out of breath just catching up to her! “Do you know if both those ladies are on 12’6”?” I asked her. No response. I asked again. I thought “Great! Just when I start getting better about talking to people before races my friend doesn’t talk during them!” So we paddled side by side to the first buoy and then I pulled in front to figure out what the women ahead of me were on. I passed them and was catching up to the women on the 14’ when I looked ahead to see Dan and the men in the lead paddling straight for the 3rd Buoy! The confused rest of them were paddling towards the 2nd buoy.  

I could hear the announcer saying something and the guys in the wrong direction were paddling hard to get back towards the 2nd buoy.  

Brad Wark was on the course, directly in front of us paddling diagonally telling people where to go when I heard the women in front of me say “Can you move? I can’t steer!”  “Holy shit!!!”

I thought we were both going to hit him but he moved out of the way and she and I proceeded to paddle to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Buoy. I was just behind her and then at every turn I would come out ahead for a few seconds before she would glide right by me. On the 5th turn she went wide allowing me enough room to take the inside and get out. I paddled hard for buoys 6, 7, and 8, keeping my water right in my mouth my so I could have something to think about other than the spasms that had started in my back.  

Each time passing dock I heard my name, and then heard Lindy’s!  It’s so nice when you’re in pushing thru pain and exhaustion and ready to just finish and call it a 2 mile day and then, you hear your name and it’s like a kick in the butt to go!

By this point I had decided I was for sure not racing the 7 mile the next day and was now thinking about more important things like the fact that I need to put my hair in a pony tail next time because I was overheating with it on my back or that I was relieved that my bikini bottoms hadn’t ridden up my butt because this is the first time I’ve ever had a pair of bikini bottoms I’d ever considered trusting to race in so my little conversation with myself stopped as I approached the 9th buoy and a guy said to me

“Does it all of a sudden feel like we are paddling uphill?”  “Yes, and I take comfort in knowing the hospital is right there!”   

I was exhausted and suddenly just realized that while having a conversation with myself I hadn’t been paddling very hard. Right behind me now was not only Lyndi on the 14’ but also a women on 12’6. I heard the announcer say it was a going to be a battle to the finish, and then that Dan had crossed first.  “Oh I wish I was finished.”

I was stuck paddling on my left because of the pain in my back was radiating all the way up to my neck.  I was sucking on the water straw just to not think about the pain and I approached the 11th Buoy with Lyndi right there with me.  

“Stop with the water before you choke,” I thought to myself as I was guzzling it.  

I looked back again and then looked ahead where I saw my friends from the Banana River Resort on the dock yelling my name. I crossed the line and I heard a familiar voice say “Urban Ocean’s Harmony Dawn!”

Dan was on the mic and it was time for me to lay down. Lyndi came in seconds behind me as I rolled over on my board to wave at her. She pushed me hard and I had it not been for her trouble with the turns I would have been following her in because she was strong.   

I paddled over to the floating dock where I rolled myself on to it and as I was just about to use what little energy I could muster to pick up my board the guy at the dock said he had it just take my paddle.  So thankful for this guy as I hoisted myself up on the concrete with my paddle and grabbed the board from him to go leave it on the grass while I finally caught my breath, I was handed my participant’s medal and grabbed a slice of pizza and wandered off to talk to people.  

Dan was now off the mic and over at the tent that they were getting ready to do awards when one of the registration girls called me over.  What’s your number? 373. “That’s it their numbers are switched “ she said to Danny as he looked at me and me at Dan

“Really?!” Danny said it was ok he should had to change it in the system. I laughed. It’s not the first time I’ve had issues with my number & the timing! It didn’t take long for Danny to get us straightened out and do awards.

We packed up and headed home to relax on the beach!