Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Row Row Row Your Boat

This post is a little late but I have to tell you about some of my weekend.

Saturday morning Chuck and I got up bright and early at 5:30am after celebrating a friend's birthday until around 11:30pm the night before and going to sleep around 12:30am.

That morning we had our first dragon boat race. It seemed like a good idea three months ago! And it was going to be downtown Houston. I have a great idea: let's ride the Metrorail downtown! That way we don't have to worry about parking! Brilliant.

So we're happily (one of us was not happy about it) riding the rail when the speaker says we have reached the end of the line and have to get off. Only it's not the end of the line!! They're doing work on the rail and we'll have to switch to a shuttle bus. We're riding on the bus now and eventually we're the only two people on it then it stops. The driver says, "Where are you trying to get to?" We tell him and he says we have to get off and walk the rest of the way.

I'm pretty sure this will be the last time that Mr. Happy Texan rides public transportation. He already didn't like the idea of riding the rail in but this was the final straw.

We finally meet up with our team for the first time. Fortunately there were a couple of people we knew.

The teams are set up under a bridge at a place in downtown Houston called Allan's Landing. It's where the Allan brother's landed on Buffalo Bayou and founded Houston.

Our banner for the Clear Lake Dragon Rights. Because dragons have rights too?
 You can see some of the other teams set up under the bridge. This is around 7:30am. The races don't start until 9am.
 The bayou is calm and the boats are ready.

We're tired and a little apprehensive. At least we get tee shirts! And photo bomb biker in the back. Thanks dude. Hey wait...that's a nice bike! yes...I'm easily distracted. Back to the race.
 This team has a rule that all members have to dress like pirates. Love it. And all of the teams do exercises and do drills before the races actually begin. There are 33 teams racing today.
 This year's focus is on Korea. There were performers putting on shows that were really cool.
 It's eyes blinked! There were too kids inside the costume.
 The first races are under way! It's so exciting!
 There is a drummer that keeps the beat up front and we paddle hard for about a minute and a half. Longest minute ever! Here's a little video of a race.
More performers. These drummers were amazing. They kept perfect time. I could have watched them for hours.
 We get called for our first race. Eek! Go time!! We march in front of the spectators to our boat. I sit in the rear with a partner. Chuck sits in the middle (the engine room). We line up with 2 other boats and there is a complete hush. Silence. We're all waited. Hearts are pounding in anticipation. Paddles up. Then the horn sounds and it's head down and rowing with all we've got! I can no longer hear the other boats' drummers. We must be in last place. I look up and we've crossed the finish line. WE WON!! No way!! People are cheering for us. We're so happy.

You work so hard for that short time and there's such an adrenaline rush that your hands and knees are shaking a little when you finally stop. We get out of the boat and do a little victory chant. People high five us. Our team name is called over the loud speakers. It's a great moment.

Our next race isn't until 1:30 so we have a little time to kill. Oh look! Food trucks!! And with a name like Happy Endings this is the truck for me.
 I really can't remember everything that came on this hot dog. Beef wiener, bacon, kimchee, cream cheese, rooster sauce, green onions, mayo and other stuff on an Hawaiian roll. Heaven! Especially after working up an appetite rowing.
 The second race comes around. We really give it our all but it was so close that no one was sure who the winner was at first. We lost by .6 of a second! So close!!!!!
 We're in sixth place. Not bad considering we're competing against some professional teams and this is our first time to row together as a team.

There's more waiting so we go back to living our temporary homeless lives under the bridge.

In Soviet Russia, you conform to mattress.
 Nothing to see here. Just chilling with the team under a bridge.
  It's 2:30. Go time for our next round. We're up against a professional team that just got back from Thailand last week and the team from Rice University.

We're tired but we really pushed hard. And we were soundly spanked. BUT it was one of our better times. We lost but we were the underdogs. To have made it this far was quite an honor and an accomplishment. Overall I think we came in fifth. We hugged and high fived.

Then we went to the Beer Garden to celebrate as a team. Cheers! Job well done.
Red solo cup. I fill you up.....sing with me.

We also got a cool event shirt to take home. LOVE this shirt.

The event brochure has a little write up about each team. Apparently our team unity come from a love of beer and good times. Really? Could I have asked for a better team?! I love these guys. :) 

So how did we get back to the park n ride with the whole bus/metrorail issue? I'm glad you asked! A friend offered to give us a ride. VERY happy to get a quick ride back. Lesson learned.

Once home we jumped in the shower.....back up.....we each got a shower individually....then headed over to the hotel that Kent Altena and his wife Laura were staying at before their Low Carb Cruise from Galveston. They wanted a bit of a Texas experience and we were more than happy to oblige with a trip to T-Bone Tom's in Kemah. We sat in the outdoor area and listened to a band.
 It was great to meet Kent and Laura. They're such a neat couple. Too bad they live soooo far away.
That night soreness started to set in. Still, we slept HARD after a long and fun day. All that in one day.

It was certainly a day to remember. I had a wonderful time and can't wait to paddle again with my team.


  1. One of the best times I've had in a while. Can't wait for the races this fall.

    1. I know! It was a blast. And quite the adrenaline rush.

  2. Your team did GREAT!!! Looks like a fun group to hang with - considering your love of canoeing, this seems like a natural thing for you. So you'll be racing again? Awesome!

    P.S. I can only imagine Chuck's dismay at the metro/bus mess...hey, you tried, right?

  3. Woohooooo! Looks like a really fun time! Congratulations to you and Chuck on getting it done again!

  4. Hi Kelly. WOW...your team did wonderfully!!!! YAY!!!!! Hope you have a great weekend.

  5. Now that I have Internet access again, I just wanted to say again how much we enjoyed our time with you guys. It really was a blast, and the restaurant was really good. We would never have had as good a send off for the cruise without it. Much appreciated, and I share the sentiment about living soooo far away after driving the 16 hours home yesterday.

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