The beginning of September saw my next SUP race, this time on a lake in Tamworth. Another place on the map that I hadn’t visited, I set off early in the morning, armed with coffee and a wake up playlist, and arrived in Tamworth on a slightly grey morning.
After registering, there was time for a quick look at the lake and wander round the site before getting the board and kit ready. The site is lovely, there was no boat traffic on this course and no tide to contend with. After squeezing in to the back of the tent for the race briefing (it had started to drizzle by then), I tried to memorise the course which consisted of 5 laps with numerous buoy turns and totaled around 10km.
It was soon time to line up for the start, after debating whether or not it was thermal weather (it wasn’t) and soon the N1sco class had set off. I took my normal position at the back of the pack and headed off up the lake. The first long straight seemed to go for quite a while but soon I’d reached the shorter sections which had a few buoy turns.
There were marshalls out on the course on paddleboards and in safety boats to look after the racers and I think those near the second buoy turn had quite a laugh as I (stupidly) decided to attempt a pivot turn around the buoy. This resulted in me staggering up and down the board before managing to keep my balance and doing a very wide and slow non pivot turn. Note to self- a race is not the best time to attempt a pivot turn if you haven’t practised at all.
Thankful that I had managed to stay on my feet, I ploughed on up the course. By this point the drizzle has turned to horizontal rain which seemed to be sweeping across the course.
Despite this, I really enjoyed the course and found that the laps made the course feel less lonely as I could always see fellow racers. The section heading towards the end of each lap/finish line was fairly brutal as it involved paddling in to a headwind. There were times when it felt I wasn’t moving even though I was paddling constantly.
The five laps went quicker than I thought and the finish line was soon in sight, I’m sure everyone who had to wait in the rain for me to finish was happy!
Although I finished in last place, I took around 28minutes off of my previous 10km race time which was at Battle of the Thames. The weather wasn’t blue skies and sunshine in Tamworth but that didn’t make the race any less enjoyable and I look forward to racing there again soon!
There was time after the race to relax and watch the junior race which was a smaller lapped course. The juniors did brilliantly and there are some definite starts of the future in the Junior class.
Thanks to Central SUP, UK SUP Club, Naish UK and all the marshalls and volunteers who made the race happen. Photo credit to Central SUP and Sarah Louise Smith.