Sugar Land – site of USA Canoe/Kayak Marathon Team Trials
It’s time to get outside and see what is happening in our exciting and fun community …like the USA Canoe/Kayak Marathon Team Trials over this past weekend at Brooks Lake behind the Hyatt Place over at the Fluor Daniel Building area. It’s the first time that it’s been held in Texas, and Linda Kahue with the host hotel could not have been more accommodating to those associated with the event. About 30 canoe and kayak competitors, mostly kayak, came from a field all over the U.S., according to Brad Pennington, principal organizer of the local event along with Sugar Land’s Kim Icenhower. Those in the marathon race did anywhere from five to seven laps around the U-shaped lake, which is about one and a half miles long before it connects to Oyster Creek. Sugar Lakes resident Magan Mollaei, who was jogging on a trail around the lake spotted the picturesque sleek, lightweight kayaks on the water along with the excitement when everything was about to begin mid-morning on Saturday, May 18th. So, she decided to stay and even got to meet Boris Markin, the event winner in the senior men’s division affiliated with the Rockaway Olympic Center in New York, and a 2001 bronze medalist for Ukraine in the 200 meter world championships. Markin now gets to represent the U.S. in the ICF Marathon World Championships in Denmark in September.
Know anything about kayak races? They’re high speed races for competitive classes, seniors, juniors under 23, men’s masters, and others, involving laps on a course with portages. These are ingress and egress 150 meter sections identified with flags along the banks requiring competitors to come out of the water and carry their vessels over land, sprint to the “in” spot and go back into the water. This portage at Brooks Lake, although it had very little elevation change, was just a tad closer that what the standard has been, possibly posing a challenge. The portage factors into the race time and it’s where most of the spectators gather to get a real close up look at each of the competitors…and being so physically close makes you feel you’re one of them. Pennington, who was also in the race with the senior class, broke the rudder off his kayak at the portage, so there went his time!
There were cheers for Rusty Herbert from Missouri City and his sister Karen Herbert. Both did a splendid job on their kayaks. There were also times when competitors fell into the water and got back into their kayaks.
So why do you think these water vessel aficionados do this? One of them said “it’s relaxing and a good escape sport!” The feedback about the lake course in Sugar Land…they really liked it.
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