It was the month before Christmas…. and the MCC-SA holds their Annual Christmas Race from Blanchetown to Swan Reach, a “pleasant” 28km paddle down the river.
Well, it could have been a pleasant paddle, if it was not for the 35deg temperature and the headwind that blew up towards the end!
Even with the high temperature, there were still about a dozen paddlers doing the 28 km long course and another 6 doing the short 10km out and back course from Swan Reach.
Every single entrant had a good day – because everyone was in a different class, which meant everyone came first!
I started out quite well, but after only a couple of km, I literally hit the wall – the heat really affected me badly. It took me the next 3-4 km to cool down and get back into paddling.
It was not until about the 18km mark that I copped the first bit of headwind which slowed me down a bit. I guess it was fortunate that I put on my spray deck, but had it opened because as I was about to round the last bend and head towards the finish, I could see huge waves and whitecaps in the River. I took a moment to pause and pull my spraydeck up!
The last 2km was brutal – being at the end of a 5km long straight section of the river that the wind was blowing down, at over 40km/h, whipping up waves of around 0.5m it was a tough slog to the finish!
I crossed the line 3hrs 31m 41s after starting. breaking my own class record that I established the previous year by over 30 minutes. The GPS showed 28km, and 8km/h as I crossed the line.
Finally, most paddlers decided to stay on and enjoy a meal at the Swan Reach Hotel to round out the day.