Just getting there was a feat! We were traveling with 2 boards and connecting in Boston, then Raleigh (our only options to get our boards on flights that could handle the oversized bags) hop in a rental car and drive 2.5 hours to Wrightsville Beach which included a hwy stop to re-secure boards in wintry temps especially for us island people, then to be greeted in Wilmington by a wet behind the ears State trooper for speeding. Speed limit had just gone from 65mph to 45 and I was just slowing it down, but not quickly enough and had to throw on the "officer pleasssse i've never got a ticket before" with Nicholas Leason sitting in the passenger seat rocking out with his beanie and resin stained jeans trying not to laugh at my pathetic attempt to not get a ticket. The saving grace was the confusing Puerto Rican drivers license which made this officer look like a deer in headlights.. thankfully he waived us off with a “think you can slow it down Ma’am?” I replied, “Oh yes Sir, thank you Sir.”
After 12hrs of travel we checked into the Blockade Runner after midnight to wake up Saturday morning to 25-gusts to 40 mph winds. Thankfully it wasn't freezing like previous years, but it was WINDY. They switched the 7.3 mile course around such that we had a KILLER 1mile downwinder but the rest of the 2 miles was upwind and at times we were not making any headway. I concentrated more on not falling in or getting blown off the board in the 50-degree waters rather than “racing”. Even with the mild temps, I could not feel my feet for the last half of the race, on top of paddling with full effort to just keep the board moving at times! The last half mile we had to cross the bay to the finish line in 30mph side wind chop which took every ounce of my strength and it felt more like I was paddling in “survival mode” rather than just finishing this extremely challenging race. With over 90 competitors out on the water testing their skills we saw a lot of boards flying away, folks kneeling and holding on to docks or resting on a bank, it was really wild out there and everyone that finished this race should be very proud of themselves!
After stowing the boards and just about to hit the hot tub it was announced the sprints were actually going to happen. How can you say no to another race after traveling an entire day to get here! We sprinted out about 100 ft to a buoy and back with a lot of bloopers and laughs. Two heats for the men and 1 for the ladies, although it was not a great turnout for this series it sure was entertaining to watch and participate!
We continued the NC adventure with fun, friends, awards, killer new North Face Jacket, sunglasses and a couple of checks! Nick and i were crowned King and Queen of the Cold stroke classic with the sprint wins and Nick also took 2nd overall and 2nd in the elite 14’ class and myself 1st in the woman’s 12’6. Was hoping to break the course record, but ended up just tying my time from last year which is quite impressive considering the wind and the fact that just finishing was something to be proud of! It was a blast showing off our mhl boards and seeing and hearing all of the positive feedback on all the ones that have been sent to NC. Following the awards and free beer we closed the weekend with some bull riding practice downtown and live music. This spring is the Carolina Cup Classic and to go with it a bull riding competition for the aspiring post race night owls. Get your tickets early for this one! We hit the road Sunday morning at O dark 30 back to Raleigh to catch our flights home. Great adventure and already planning the next Team MHL get away!