This is definitely a race where there were winners, but no losers. Everyone who stepped into the water Saturday at the 8th Annual Cold Stroke Classic deserved applause. Or a straight jacket. And while we’ll have the results at the end, this recap is far more about a race that forged friendships over the last eight years.
I don’t want to shock anyone with a complete opposite of a rant about a race. Be prepared. This was fun—in spite of the horrible weather.
Flexibility to make changes on the fly
Congrats to the race directors who had the flexibility to do what needed to be done. The weather on Friday sucked. Sorry for using such a highly-technical meteorological term. We had 2+ inches of rain and it seemed to all be coming down on Eastwood road. Coastal urge took those lemons and made lemonade with a side of hoola hoops and hammer hoodies.
They moved the party inside a warehouse, including the bouncy castle and the pig-pickin’. And on race morning, they moved the racers meeting inside the hotel. There have certainly been colder days, but there’s something about that wet cold in just-above-freezing temperatures that chills you to your bones.
Stubborn Stubborn Stubborn
One paddler, a stubborn redhead named Heather Frogge refused to give up. She was on a 14 prone in the cold and win and wasn’t getting out. For an hour, race directors were ready to pull her, but she wasn’t budging. Coast guard escorted her and in just under 3 hours, she paddled in and rested in the back of the ambulance, hypothermic, but happy. If anything, this reinforces the personal responsibility aspect of this sport. Heather chose to paddle, chose to persist, and took the consequences. We’re so stoked she was able to honor her Dad in this way. Good job, Heather. I hope your core temp is back up above 90.
Awards and results
After 8 years, the Cold Stroke Classic succeeds because it’s focused on the community and not the sport. It is one of the few races I’ve attended that recognizes every paddler. The other one, The Catalina Classic, has been active since 1955. Maybe there’s something to doing something difficult and celebrating all the participants. If your race does this, you’re doing something right.
The one thing it does that I’ve never seen before is prizes for everyone. And I’m not talking about a shirt and sticker (even know shirts and stickers are great). I was maybe the 20th person to the table and I picked up a Camelback Tahoe hydration pack. The guy in front of me walked away with a Patagonia jacket. Everyone seemed to have that same, “is this a mistake or do I really get to keep this” look on their faces. Olukais, beanies, scarves. The raffle had an Imagine Inflatable SUP on there. It was amazing. Everyone left feeling like they did something amazing and were recognized for their effort. That’s the secret sauce right there. Sponsor swag is a great perk.
Congratulations Jeremy Whitted and Karen Wilson, winners of the Cold Stroke Classic Elite Race
These were supplied by the Cold Stroke Classic. If you have any questions, please contact the race directors directly here.
|Karen Wilson||Elite – 7 Miles||12’6 Women||Female||1:53:13.1|
|Miriam Sutton||Elite – 7 Miles||12’6 Women||Female||1:56:28.2|
|Heather Brewer||Elite – 7 Miles||12’6 Women||Female||2:18:26.0|
|Phyllis Sanders||Elite – 7 Miles||12’6 Women||Female||2:37:58.3|
|Grace Metzgar||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Women||Female||2:21:24.4|
|Heather Frogge||Elite – 7 Miles||Prone Women||Female||2:56:27.0|
|Jeremy Whitted||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:23:53.6|
|Wes Stolp||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:25:31.2|
|Justin Schaay||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:27:18.9|
|Runslo Walksalot||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:27:11.6|
|Harrison Deisroth||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:31:33.7|
|Terry Smith||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:34:38.4|
|Barrett Phifer||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:40:22.5|
|Corey Curtis||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:40:30.5|
|Jamie Penland||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:42:34.0|
|Mark Sumner||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:42:45.8|
|Christooher Murphy||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:44:47.7|
|David Young||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:46:19.4|
|Chris Martin||Elite – 7 Miles||14′ Men||Male||2:00:00.3|
|Ben Roth||Elite – 7 Miles||Prone Men||Male||1:25:52.6|
|Brad Howard||Elite – 7 Miles||Prone Men||Male||1:30:43.2|
|Chad (Night Train) Nicoll||Elite – 7 Miles||Prone Men||Male||1:45:45.1|
|Erik Bigsby||Elite – 7 Miles||Run What You Brung (All)||Male||1:13:43.1|
|Chris Sowden||Elite – 7 Miles||Run What You Brung (All)||Male||1:20:21.6|
|Robert Deisroth||Elite – 7 Miles||Run What You Brung (All)||Male||1:21:23.4|
|John Beausang||Elite – 7 Miles||Run What You Brung (All)||Male||1:23:49.6|
|Martha Criscuolo||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Women||Female||58:32.5|
|Jenna Bunting||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Women||Female||1:07:13.3|
|Jenn Covington||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Women||Female||1:14:05.1|
|Barbara Brown||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Women||Female||1:19:54.8|
|Sandy Mitofsky||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Women||Female||1:22:12.3|
|Sarah Westbrook||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Women||Female||1:23:15.4|
|Erin O’brien||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Women||Female||1:39:53.0|
|Barbara Link||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Women||Female||1:46:49.5|
|Susan Ballenger||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||14′ Women||Female||1:19:11.8|
|Sarah Spiegler||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||14′ Women||Female||1:39:02.7|
|Kristen L. Sheldon||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||Prone Women||Female||1:04:48.7|
|Amanda Reinhardt||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||Surf Style Women||Female||1:34:06.9|
|David Mello||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Men||Male||1:05:59.9|
|Douglas S. Gurley||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Men||Male||1:13:31.3|
|Gordon Pennebaker||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Men||Male||1:15:48.0|
|Larry Cleveland||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Men||Male||1:20:35.9|
|Jay Stephens||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Men||Male||1:25:14.6|
|Terry Lane||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Men||Male||1:35:37.9|
|Kent Carnes||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Men||Male||1:42:56.7|
|Mike Fox||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||12’6 Men||Male||1:45:21.2|
|Bryan Worth||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||14′ Men||Male||59:37.2|
|Roman Kraus||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:02:44.3|
|Eric Moe||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:13:36.7|
|Ron Watkins||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:14:31.7|
|Brian Lee||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||14′ Men||Male||1:27:07.4|
|William Pope||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||Prone Men||Male||51:36.5|
|Andrew Herzog||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||Prone Men||Male||59:43.9|
|Edrick Crane||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||Run What You Brung (All)||Male||49:06.6|
|Stephen Staub||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||Surf Style Men||Male||1:17:25.8|
|Mark Ryan||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||Surf Style Men||Male||1:26:15.8|
|Chris Jurczynski||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||Surf Style Men||Male||1:27:58.2|
|Michael Denoyer||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||Surf Style Men||Male||1:43:56.0|
|Ken Bull||Recreational – 3.5 Miles||Surf Style Men||Male||2:01:36.8|
Why didn’t they postpone it?
Because you don’t postpone unless conditions at the race site are globally and profoundly unsafe. We hope everyone realizes there was zero possibility of it being postponed unless the weather in this immediate area was un-paddle-able, which it wasn’t. We know it sucks, but so much goes into creating, managing and executing a race, that it’s not as simple as saying, “Let’s all do this in a week.”
Advertisements, safety, food, posters, more food, tables, hotel banquet rooms, permits, police, shirts, bouncy castles, Coast Guard, press releases, volunteers, you name it. Not only that, everyone who made reservations and rented houses would have to re-do that a week later. It’s not as easy as changing a meetup.
As much we all would have loved to have seen our entire paddle family, it wasn’t possible. You have every right to be bummed, but this is one of those times when you have to shrug and say, “bummer.” That said, all of you who couldn’t get to Wrightsville Beach because of the weather, you were ALL missed. And if we can’t make a race in the future due to weather, please go because you can.
Thank you to Jeoffrey and Catherine and the whole Nathan Family for making this a family event. Your racer meeting talk about why you do this race each year struck a chord that seems to be less common these days. Thank you to the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, another family business, for their unwavering support of the sport and community. Thanks Katie Elzer-Peters for another amazing job of race directing. Everything was rock solid and buttoned up and in a nice way. Well done (anchor)