July 10th found the Cayuga Outrigger Canoe Club participating in the Finger Lakes International Dragon Boat Festival in beautiful Ithaca, New York. We had fifteen club members in attendance and a cowgirl from Montana as our drummer as we set out to compete in a boat few of us had paddled in the past. We competed in the Community Division against five teams including Tompkins County, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Glimmerglass Dragons from Hartwick, NY.
Our race day started with a 250 meter time trial that we won with seconds to spare. This was followed up by a second heat which we again finished out in front of the pack but were penalized for finishing in another lane.
As we waited for our final race some of the men from COCC were racing with the Ithaca Gorges Men sponsored by the Ithaca Dragon Boat Club. Although we struggled to come together as a team in the early rounds we were in contention for a medal as the last race was held. Some disqualifications in the final race had the men seemingly in position for at least a bronze medal but some questionable officiating found us in a 2 team race for third. Although the Gorges Men gave it their all, the race was decided by less than a boat length which sent us home with a fourth place finish.
Finally the BIG RACE! COCC was set at the starting line with lane buoys shifting and our steersman nervous to stay in our lane. As we were given the start call we paddled as hard as possible and quickly surged into the lead. As we crossed the finish line we were happy to see that not only had we finished in first place but we had also stayed in our lane. The gold medal was ours!
Mahalo to all of the Cayuga Outrigger members who paddled on Saturday and a extra special mahalo to our captain Paul C., “C is for Cookie” for putting it together and remaining such a positive force on a very long day.
See more photos here!