CanMas 2014 SUMMARY by Gaven Needham
The morning of the 2014 Canmas greeted the Richmond Hill masters athletes with a balmy 2 degrees (with a forecast max of 9), torrential rain and howling winds. Contingencies were put in place by the officials to ensure the racing was manageable such as while you needed to start in your assigned lane it didn't matter which lane you finished in such was the force of the winds blowing across the course. Not to be perturbed the 8 race hardened RHCC athletes got on with the job in delivering one of the highlights to the
already stellar year the Richmond Hill canoe club had in 2014.
To kick things off, the men's 55-64 k4 of Charlie, Borrisse, Andrei B and myself timed the rolling start well, managed to hold on to our paddles at the 200 mark as the gust funneled across the course to win the k4 from point Claire and Wascana.
Vlad P racing down a few years made the most of the sideways start in the 35-39 men's c1 to win by just under 2 seconds and then backed this up with another win in the 40-44 men's c1 also.
Fresh from a week of racing the likes of Vankoeverden and Dejong at the open championships, new member and ex junior Hungarian team member Miki Horvath dominated the men's 45-49 k1 to win by over 18 seconds while Andre Z, (The Animal) got some hardware with a solid 3rd place. The Animal backed this up racing down a division to pull a 3rd in the men's 40-44 k1 going 6 seconds faster after getting accustomed to the conditions in the first race.
The Andrei B and Z combination then paired in the 50-54 k2 to finish 2nd by less than a second behind the Wascana boat with Miki and myself pairing in the 35-39 k2 to finish second behind the team from Mississauga.
Being short a lady member for the mixed k4, some solid behind the scenes trading reminiscent of the movie "Draft Day" from Charlie enabled the team of Miki, Rachel Needham and myself to ring in a loaner paddler from Balmy Beach to help power the 35-44 mixed k4 to a 3 second victory over pointe
Claire and Ottawa.
In the 60-64 men's k1 we were represented with Borrise taking the win and Charlie getting in the points with a 6th place.
Andrei B represented us in the men's 50-54 k1 to finish 3rd.
Old lady Needham had been training and racing well coming into this event
and dominated the novice women's k1 to win by 18 seconds from her nearest
rival to cap a successful first season of racing.
In what was the hottest field of the day in the men's 35-39 k1, Miki finished 2nd behind Chris Warne from Mississauga while I battled a terrible lane draw for 3rd place. (That's my story anyway) The Animal did well in his 4th race for the day to finish 5th.
In my 30 odd years of competing across a variety of sports around the world the conditions for this event were the worst I had ever participated in,with the safety of officials and competitors a real issue the officials
elected to stop the program after lunch, a move that was welcomed by all competitors given the deteriorating conditions, and especially by Miki as he tried to warm up between races with the heater on full blast in the truck.
During the afternoon word got out that the RHCC was in the mix on the burgee and it would be in our best interest to ensure we had a entry in the Ross Dunn costume tribute that was now going to be held at the Canmas dinner that evening (instead of a 200m canoe race during the lunch break as it is
normally) Charlie and Miki swung into action and made a stellar effort to get the team some green t shirts that had "Riders nation paddles on Wascana) written in a marker on the front. Being Australian I still have no idea what a riders nation is.... Nevertheless our effort went totally unrewarded from the officials and we
finished 4th from 4 in the Ross Dunn tribute.
The Canmas dinner held at the Regina performing arts facility was a significant improvement on the prior years event in Montreal. (Cold beer and edible food as a start) As the evenings formalities went on it came time to announce the burgee platings in reverse order. Knowing that our efforts in the costume challenge were totally unrewarded we held low expectations as they announced the burgee results.
Powerhouse clubs like Mississauga placed 5th, Balmy Beach 9th, Cheema 13th, but they hadn't mentioned RHCC as they came to the top 3, maybe an oversight, had they had forgotten us? The results went on, 3rd place Burloak, 2nd place Rideau, surely they've made a mistake - but then they
announced 1st place - Richmond Hill, 14 points ahead of Rideau!
Disbelief from everyone, however on reflection not entirely unexpected when you dissect our results. While only a small team of 8, of the 14 events we entered we placed in the top 3 in every event except the costume salute!
So now RHCC sits immortalized on the Canmas burgee trophy for 2014, plans are already underway to defend our title next year in Ottawa, the war canoe events being one where we as a club need to ensure we get numbers participating. (Read - parents we need you in the war canoe!)
Thanks to Helen for volunteering her time to yell at the masters every Wednesday night, Miki for driving the boats over and ferrying Helen around during the week, Donna for keeping us masters organized throughout the season and for all of the RHCC members for your support.