This time last year: Canoe Race

This is always right around the time that Houston starts to cool down. And by “cool down,” I mean there isn’t as much humidity and our high temperatures for the day are only in the 80s. But, if you’ve ever lived through a summer in Houston, you’ll welcome the cool down with open arms. 

This time last year, Aaron’s family asked us to participate in a canoe race. Now, I’ve done some kayaking, but it’s always been recreationally and never an actual race. And at that point, I don’t think I’d ever been in a canoe. But, Aaron assured me that I could do it. 

Aaron’s dad and our brother-in-law were going to be in one canoe, and Aaron and I would be in the other one. The route was just over 13 miles long, and I don’t think I’d ever even paddled that far in a kayak. I should also mention that Aaron and his dad are pretty competitive with one another. 

But, I figured that I could probably give it a try – what was the worst that could happen? Well, it was bad at first. really bad. But, I’ll get to that in a minute. 

Aaron and I woke up super early the morning of the race and drove the hour and a half it took to get to Gonzalez, TX, which was where we were launching. We were there by 7 in the morning. Aaron’s family drove in from Belton, and we got to work unloading the canoes (which my father-in-law brought) and paddles. 

Aaron and I decided we would put him in the front so he could look for obstacles in the river, since it was unfamiliar territory for both of us, which was probably where we went wrong. Also – canoe paddles are way different than kayak paddles. Probably another reason for the rocky start. 

So, everyone lines up at the starting line – and the race starts. Aaron and I start paddling, but we are going in circles. A true disaster. I don’t think I’ve ever used a canoe paddle before, and you and your partner need to really be in sync with which side each of you is paddling on. It was a hot mess at the starting line for everyone to see. Other racers were giving me tips. Aaron and I were getting frustrated with each other, and it was a true disaster. 

We decided to switch places so I was in the front (which is typically how it’s supposed to go), and we started paddling. We were the very. last. ones. to start the race. I was pretty frustrated the first several miles because – well, my pride. But, then we got the hang of it. We made it to the spot on the course right around mile 12 where you have to portage (get out of your canoe, carry it by foot to the next drop in), and Aaron’s dad and our BIL waited there to help us. Once all four of us were back in our canoes on the water, Aaron and I really started to get in sync with our paddling. It was like something clicked (and I was really ready to be out of the hot sun). 

But, we started pulling ahead of my father-in-law and brother-in-law, and as we rounded the corner, my brother-in-law dropped his paddle, so I knew we were going to (at least) beat them. Little did I know, that as we rounded the corner to cross the finish line, they were calling my(!!!) name as a  winner. 

I ended up winning third place in the canoe division out of five canoes. I even have a trophy to show for it. I don’t know why Aaron didn’t receive a trophy – or have his name called – because if I’m being honest, he did most of the heavy lifting. But, it’s become a little joke in our household (that I won of course) and a memory that I treasure every year! There was no race this year, but we now have our own kayak to practice in, and I hope to win a trophy in the kayak division the next time we race!

Happy Wednesday friends!


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