Pittsburgh Paddle Sports Championships
6 mile Canoe, Kayak, and Paddle Board Race
Men’s Touring Composite Class
Finish Time: 59:26
Finish Place: 15th Overall
Division Place: 5th Place
Race Review By Scott Orlando
The Pittsburgh Paddle Sports Championships was a new event this year added to the weekend long celebration of the Three Rivers known as the Pittsburgh Regatta River Festival. The Pittsburgh Regatta is one of the largest in the country with a weekend full of river and land events drawing hundreds of thousands of people all centered around Point Park and the Three Rivers area. For a new race I must say it was very well organized by the fine people at Performance Kayak and the American Heart Association. The race course consisted of 2 loops around the Three Rivers area. The course was challenging with up river and down river sections but might just be the best river course I have ever raced. Feeding off of the energy of the spectators at Point Park was a real pick up after a tough up river stretch. We even paddled directly past a decommissioned submarine! What I liked about the course besides the scenic views everywhere was that you could see the entire course and field of racers. Often on river races all the participants spread out early and you spend a lot of time alone on the river. This course was wide open making you feel like you were part of something great and not out there alone. The entire race course was closed to power boat traffic and patrolled by the coast guard and police keeping the waters smooth and all of us out there very safe. I raced my Stellar S16 Multisport touring kayak. Racers came from all over PA, OH, VI, and NC many of which used the race as a tune up for next weekend’s National Championships. I finished 15th overall beating several longer faster surf skis. Any time you can beat the surf skis in a shorter touring kayak is a good day. I finished 5th in the composite touring kayak division. 3 of the top finishers in the division did have surf skis so I am left a little confused on the classes and boat definitions. I can only conclude that they either combined composite boats into one division or the specific surf skis used did somehow classify as touring kayaks. Either way I am not complaining as this race probably rates in my top 3 all time kayaking experiences. The huge extra bonus for me is that I actually won the raffle of a brand new Stellar S16 Sport Fiberglass Kayak! Thank you to Performance Kayak, Stellar Kayaks, and the American Cancer Society for donating the kayak and all of their time and effort putting on this amazing event!
Ohio State Time Trial Championships
West Salem, OH
40K Bike Time Trial
Finish Time: 57:20
Finish Place: First Place
Race Recap By Matt Addessi
The race organizers did a great job with this race. While it was not closed to traffic (I was passed by a total of 3 cars)they did have 3 or 4 motorcycles out patrolling the course, police at the intersections giving the riders the right of way, and the pavement was super smooth. The worst thing I encountered were the horse road apples!! Really happy with my pacing! I even split the front and back for the win by 41 seconds. I dug really deep as this was my A race. Since December of last year I have been focusing on this! Really happy to have made and accomplished the goal and now I get wear the State TT Champion jersey! Also awesome that Boom Nutrition was a sponsor! Good day to go fast on a bike!
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Ohio Canoe And Kayak State Championships
5 Mile Kayak Race
Fairport Harbor, Ohio
Racing Class: Rec / Touring Long Boat
Finish Time: 58:01
Finish Place: First Place
Race Review by Scott Orlando
The Ohio State Championships bring out some very fast competition for canoes and kayaks alike. Paddle board divisions have also been added to the race. There are two races offered at the State Championships which are a long race of 10 miles and a short race of 5 miles. The short race is often more popular. There are always several racers that opt to compete in both races. Boats race in classes based on size, construction material, and design to keep things fair. This year I chose to race my Stellar S16 Multisport in the Rec / Touring Long Boat Class. The race is an up river – down river out and back course on the Grand River in Fairport Harbor. Race conditions were much better than last year with a light breeze and just a little chop in the water. I competed in a class against a strong paddler that I race often but have never beaten in any kayak race or adventure triathlon. As the race started we settled in quickly. My start was a little slow as my GPS watch didn’t start so I stopped paddling to reset it. I paddled hard to catch up to the pack and made up for my lost time. I realized this race class would come down to myself or the guy who always beats me. I got right behind him in a drafting position and stayed on his stern for the first few miles. After about 2 miles he leaned back and told me that he went out too fast and to pass him. I made my move and got in front of him. I pushed hard to gain some separation as I knew he would work hard to stay with me. Several times he has come from behind me close to the end of a race to beat me so I knew I couldn’t let up. There was a heavy current at the turnaround buoy and several boats actually cut the turn too tight and got hung up on it or missed it completely. I had an excellent turn and was glad to have the current now working with me instead of against me. I caught the faster water and increased my paddle tempo. Not knowing how far ahead I was I kept working pushing harder with every paddle stroke until I crossed the finish. I had finally beaten him and won my division at the State Championships. I won by less then 2 minutes. It was an amazing race.
Burning River 100 Mile Run Race
Willoughby, Ohio – Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Masters Of Disasters 8 Person Coed Ed 100 Mile Run Relay Team
Finish Time: 20:05:59
Finish Place: 20th Place Team
Run Of The Ox 5K
Finish Time: 22:04
Overall Finish: 13th Place
Division Place: 2nd Place
Fairport Harbor Lighthouse Triathlon and Paddle Triathlon
Finish Time: DNF
Race review by Scott Orlando
The Fairport Harbor Lighthouse Triathlon is one of my favorite races of the year. Typically I finish in the top 5-6 racers overall and 1-3 in my age division so I was really looking forward to competing for a top spot. The race conditions were poor with 15 mph winds, steady rain, and temps in the low 60’s. The water conditions in Lake Erie were very bad for kayaks and swimmers alike. Just prior to the race water conditions looked fair but quickly got worse in the minutes leading up to the start. I made the decision to use my 19 foot surf ski which is very fast but also a lot more unstable than a standard kayak. Ultimately this decision cost me the race. A few other top races chose to go with slower, shorter, more stable, kayaks. I felt confident in my paddling skills that I could handle the surf ski in the waves. What I failed to consider was launching the long surf ski in the increasingly high and strong surf. This was a skill I have not practiced and did not know I would need. A lot of racers struggled to launch their boats but no one as much as I did because of the length of the boat. Once I finally controlled the boat enough to mount it I paddled out near the first buoy beyond the strong surf before pulling my feet in and dropping the rudder. When I attempted to drop the rudder I quickly realized that the strong surf had pulled the rudder completely off of my boat. It was basically dragging in the water like a small anchor. I tried my best to paddle but I was basically dead in the water. The side swells quickly grew to 3-5 feet. The safety officials made the correct decision and removed me from the water. My race was over before it even started. I made a huge strategic error and it cost me the race. The officials allowed me to complete the bike and run courses which I did but I was a DNF. My first of my racing career. The bike course proved to be just as dangerous for several riders that crashed in the rain. I had no problems on the flat course. Knowing I was out of the race I just tried to enjoy the bike and run legs. It was a humbling experience to say the least but I learned a valuable lesson not to put speed over safety. I will be back next year and will be sure to not make the same mistake I did this year.
Warrior Dash Obstacle Race
North Lawrence, OH
No finish time or rankings provided.
Jim Klett Memorial 10K
Munroe Falls, OH
Finish Time: 55:37
Overall Place: 57th
Division Place: 2nd Place
Race Recap By Gretchen Snyder.
The hilly course ran through woods, over bridges, gravel and grass. Age group
prizes were a watermelon for first place, a half dozen ears of corn from Szalay’s for
second place, and a cantaloupe for third place.
Ritchie’s Sporting Good’s was a major sponsor as well.
For this being a free race, the race was put together and planned really well. The course was well marked through the trails and woods. My only suggestion would be to add a water stop earlier in the race at mile 2 or 3.
Mayor Alai’s 5K
Broadview Heights, OH
Finish Time: 22:28
Overall Place: 31st
Division Place: 1st Place