Passion, Compassion, and Lessons Learned at Norcal-ar Pacheco

Norcal-AR #1 demonstrated why adventure racing is one of the few sports that has heart. The day started as all AR events start. People getting ready, some socializing with old friends, and then the start. Everyone started on the bike section first with the leading competitors reaching the water in 2 hours. A strong wind was blowing to our back and you could see white caps on the reservoir. Not a good sign. You usual want the wind to your back when you are returning from the kayak. Fifteen minutes into the paddle, we started heading North and saw most of the lead teams on a beach. I was certain this was not the checkpoint. As we came closer, it was clear that the lead teams had stopped racing. They were rescuing and caring for other athletes that had fallen into the water. EVERYONE that was able, helped. I was never more proud of my friends, competitors and sport. And…, once the water was cleared, teams returned to racing.

Of course, this article is about learning. Here are some things to keep in mind for kayaking

  1. Kayaking is not just a physical activity. It requires skill and safety. You may not be able to control a wave flipping your boat, but you certainly must know what to do when that happens. And you need to do it quickly.
  2. Know your ability. If the conditions are beyond your ability. Abort the kayak before getting into the water. If you don’t know your ability or don’t understand the conditions of the water, abort before starting.
  3. Get skilled at kayaking. Contact your local kayak groups ( Ex. Aquan or Kayak Lake Mead) for instructions.
  4. If you are attempting to rescue someone, make sure you don’t become another victim. If you don’t have the skill to rescue, monitor the situation and go for help. It is a painful thought to paddle away from someone, but having one more person in the water does not really help a situation.