Opening Day

imageToday is one of the 90 or so days a year that you go outside just bask in the glory that is the Pacific Northwest. It makes my 275 days of whining about the weather seem worthwhile. Go I love Seattle. Is there any more perfect place? Today, I think not.

Yesterday was one of the 275. It drizzled, stayed gray the entire day… And it was opening day of Yacht Season, a day we celebrate maximally in the northwest. According to Boating Life Magazine, Seattle is one of the top ten places in the country for living and boating. The article says, "Geographically, Seattle is flat-out ideal for boating and the outdoor lifestyle. You hear about the gray weather, but those who live here do not let that (whether fact or somewhat exaggerated fact) dampen their zeal."

The opening day celebrations include hundreds (maybe thousands) of boats tying up to a log boom near the entrance to Lake Washington in front of University of Washington’s Husky Stadium. The Husky Crew Team hosts a regatta, where both local and international teams come to compete on the four lane 2000m course through the Mountlake Cut. One of those boats, a mixed eight racing in the 50+ division, was sporting the greatest masters rowing ever: my mom.

I had a typical morning, and was just leaving my house (about 10 miles away from the race) at 10am to see a 10:25 race start. I didn’t realize how late it was until I was 8.5 miles away with 20  minutes before the race, which meant I needed to average 25.5 mph on my fender bearing, squeaky chained rain bike, including obstacles like stop lights, hills, dogs on the bike path, and police barricades (some roads were closed near the race). When I arrived I was panting so hard I could hardly get the words out to ask which heat was coming through, but the man understood and pointed to the "mixed 8 50+" – my mom’s heat! I had about 20 seconds, so I ditched my bike on the deck of the bridge and ran to the side. "Excuse me," I tapped two girls on the shoulder. "Could I lean over the edge for a moment to cheer for my mom?" They smiled, and moved.

"GO MOM!" her boat was about 200m from the bridge, but in 3rd place.

"Maybe you should use her name, they’re all mom’s." The girls were my peanut gallery.

"Huh? Half of them are men!" Nevertheless I followed their advice. "GO RUTH ANN!! PUSH"

image"Actually, technically she’s pulling." Thanks Ladies, my heart rate is about 250 bpm, I just bruised my bike seat area over about 1200 roots that have completely destroyed the pavement on the Burke Gilman Bike path, I’m soaking wet, and can hardly see through my glasses to distinguish which of the four gray-haired ladies is my mother, and I picked two hecklers to stand between. Besides, aren’t they pushing with their legs?

My mom’s boat didn’t do all that well, but just being able to race in opening day is an honor. They also weren’t last, which is always a good thing.

The painting to the left is the Mountlake Cut where the boats were racing, and the Mountlake Bridge, where I was being heckled.

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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  1. You sound like me when I was going to watch the Wellesley Softball championships last weekend… good thing softball games are like 2 hours long, since I had 15 minutes to go 20miles.

    I personally just like the fact that the girls were telling you how to cheer. Were they cheering or just heckling???

  2. I would have read your post earlier but it has just been so warm and sunny that I could barely see my screen on the laptop. Maybe you should come visit? We need someone to water the garden and clean up after two little whippet-like children.

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