O’Neill Tahoe Cup Donner Lake SUP and Prone Paddle Race

Race Date: 5/24/2014

Start Time: 9:08am gps start time

Distance: 4.41 miles gps corrected

Total Race Time: 48.41

Avg. Speed: 5.4mph

Hydration: Yes

Board: BARK 14ft

Total Competitors: 160

The O’Neill Tahoe Cup Paddle Race at Donner Lake was with out a doubt the biggest turnout yet for this Memorial Day Weekend Paddle Race. A favorable  weather prediction with calm winds and warm temps contributed to a record turnout. As we drove down the Donner Summit and saw a glassy Donner Lake we knew this would be an epic race day. Race registration was smooth and speedy, race organizer Phil Segal from Tahoe Oar and Paddle had the pre-race very well organized. Great announcing teamwork by Chris Hollingsworth and Dreu Murin, they got all of the paddle athletes out to the start line pretty much right on time. OC-1 and Prone Paddlers went off first which with the standup paddlers starting 5 minutes after. Patience is Chris Hollingsworth’s strong point as he herded over 150 SUP’s into onto the start line. Line was crowded and way to small for the quantity of racers hence a yet another bad start line at a Tahoe Cup with many racers over early. Start went off  at 9:08am with most of the race pack on the south side of Donner Lake to China Cove towards the east end of the lake. Drafting trains got organized as we paddled on almost flat water. Yours truly got on Mr.Michael Melville’s tail with Ryan Funke sitting my my tail all the way to the first left hand turn buoy at China Cove. Made the turn and veered a bit right to get away from everyone but Ryan stayed with me, again clam water prevailed. Pace started to quicken and Ryan was still there, he was hammering and I was inspired to go harder. We hit the North side of the lake for left hand turn buoy number 2, mileage was 2.53 and we were about 29 minutes into the race. The race pace was running fast and hard. We were in the home stretch going down the North shore of the Donner Lake towards the finish at West End beach, paddlers from behind me started to breathe down my neck but only two passed. Third left hand turn buoy emerged, I was bleeding from my ears and my legs got shaky, yep my heart rate was 171 and not going down. Made the turn, sprinted for the final right hand turn buoy which would take me to the beach finish. Came onto to the beach finishing with a time of 48.41 which was good enough for 24th overall and 9th in category.

Big shout out to Michael Melville, Fred Andersen, Jen Fuller, Jean Rathle, Grant McFadyen and of course who could forget Ben Sarrazin for being on the podium for this race.  Many thanks to Jay Wild from Paddle Elite Fitness who was second overall and has provided me the best coaching and training programs for the last couple of months.

A big thank you to O’Neill, Phil Segal from Tahoe Paddle and Oar, Chris Hollingsworth, Dreu Murin and the folks from Big Sky Endurance Timing.

Race Results are HERE

Suunto Ambit2 Race Data is HERE

Video from Glen Campbell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzpy1qEClRw 

Tahoe Cup Video

Tahoe Cup Website Recap and Pictures

Commentary and observations on the Tahoe Cup Race @ Donner Lake:

1. Start line was really bad, everyone was over early for the most part. Should have started everyone from beach or have a much longer start line.

2. Drafting rules were non-existent. There are two governing bodies (WPA and SUPAA) that have acceptable rulebooks that include rules on drafting. Pick one and use those rules for the balance of the Tahoe Cup Races.

3. Age Group Categories: Awards are not that important but age categories need to follow most of the other races, 18-55 is too wide an age category. Again the WPA and SUPAA have defined age group categories.