Last year’s 11 city tour went really good for me, I finished 15th and I had my mind set on a top ten finish at this year’s event. I was racing on the 14” by 24 wide Starboard Sprint so I had really good, fast board for this event. And at the start of Day One it looked possible!
I had an amazing start and managed to get off the line at the front along with Clubvass friend Jay Haysey and the top 3 Peter Bartl, Bart de Zwart and Martjin van Deth. Jay and I kept them in site for the first 10km and managed to get a gap with the group behind us. At this point I thought a top ten finish could happen, but then as we hit the 16km my shoulder started playing up due to an ongoing injury, and by 19km I could barely paddle on my right side. This was a huge blow as I still felt like I had loads of energy left in the tank! So unfortunately I was now out of the race as I had to stop at the 26km rest stop.
On Day Two I saw two physio’s and they did a really good job on my shoulder and I felt like I could race again. So once again I got a really good start, and me and Jay were even in 1st and 2nd for about 30 meters until the top 3, Bart, Peter and Martjin came flying past us. I managed to get away from Jay a little and he ended up leading an 8 man draft train. I managed to stay in 4th for about 2.5km and then fell in and ended up at the back of the draft train. The train stayed the same until we got to a big lake just before the rest stop. The train got broken up and I went really wide to try and then head directly downwind to overtake as you can see in the picture.
You can also see the top 3 just in front of us! Unfortunately this didn’t pay off and I fell behind the rest of the guys. But in the afternoon I was able to make up some time and finished in 8th on day two.
Day 3 went pretty similarly only I felt a bit weak in the afternoon and finished in 11th or 12th. That night I didn’t really feel too great and wasn’t able to eat that much. The next morning I felt even worse and could hardly eat anything, but I tried to race anyway. But only 3 km in and I had to stop I felt really ill and weak. I went to the doctor as I thought it might have been something to do with this rash on my forehead that appeared the week before the race, the doctor took a look and it turns out I’d got shingles! Not ideal when trying to complete a 220km race, so that was the event over for me.
But I still had had a great time at the event and met loads of awesome people, the level was really high this year and the competition between the top 15 guys was really intense all week long! Huge respect for everyone who competed this year! And even more respect for the crazy racers that did the 220km non-stop! I can’t even imagine trying to do this race non-stop!
All in all not the best event for me! But I will be back next year. For now I’ve got B.O.P coming up so I need to get myself recovered in time for that!
Thanks to Bray Lake Watersports and Starboard SUP UK for their support.
Also can’t forget my Dad for supporting me all week!
Contributed by: Charlie J