Saturday, January 16, 2010

baby's first scrub race

I've probably already told you about it but in case you want some pictures to go along with my vague explanation of iceboating, here you go.

First let me tell you a bit about Geoff Sobering. Without him I would have spent a bunch of money building something that wouldn't have worked. Instead he allowed me to work with him on his back-up iceboat in trade for the use of said boat for the season. Nice guy. Geoff has a supreme understanding of physics, chemistry, woodworking, computers, oh and all things that make iceboats work. He is also humble on the border of self-deprecating. He picked me up this morning and we headed to Green lake Wi, which would eat seattle's greenlake for a snack. As we drive onto the ice, yup, drive, he unbuckles his seat belt and advises me to do the same. You don't wanna be strapped to a sinking car if it breaks through the ice. the doors are kept unlocked and he throws the keys on the dash. if anything happens (ice cracking), I am requested to drive straight to the shore.

We unpack the boats from geoff's wagon and trailer (fig 1 &2). This is when I would like to thank Jeremy Foust, my bother in law who selflessly donated a huge box of new gear ( 8 tops, 2 bottoms and 6 pair of gloves) to Em and I this summer. setting up the boats takes only half an hour. In that time, in 23 degree weather, the human core temp will drop. the down coat protected me well, but boat assembly requires the dexterity that only uncovered hands can provide. About every 2 minutes I would have to stop assembly because my hands had naturally scurried into the warm pockets of my coat.
Figure 3- the boat is complete.
Figure 4, this is the closest I can get to what it looks like as I sail. the boom (big black thing on the left) is usually lower and next to my head and blocks my view, to tack (turn) I have to duck down into the cockpit and let the boom pass over my helmet.

After failing to consistently catch the wind, I got some key pointers from geoff and I started sailing around the course. Other sailors rocket by me, from other directions, from my blind spot which is everywhere. if you're not accelerating, you're probably about to stop, and I'm struggling to keep going, barely aware of my surroundings as they jet at and around me silently. My neck is sore from laying down and holding up my head to look over my freezing toes. I need to take a moment. I pull off the course, put the break on, and look down at the ice. you know on movies when a giant laser gets fired? or when laser guns shoot? I keep hearing sounds like that. It's the ice, expanding, contracting, or cracking somewhere. what is this new world I stand on? (fig 4) somehow a fish has become frozen in this ice that has lured me here and keeps me from freezing to death in the chilly waters bellow. life is too short to not live in the moment for a little bit, the fish reminds me, and this sport requires more concentration than I have, so perfect. I will meditate at 25-45 mph in the freezing beautiful environs of my back yard. Not much has changed, there just aren't any slopes, avalanches, or trees.
I join my first scrub race and finish last, just as I thought. As we get ready to leave I take a shot at our two boats, (fig 6) the 277 is mine.
we're going out tomorrow, I can't wait.

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