Quebec Cup Recap, PART 1: Verdun Makes an Impact at the Quebec Cup!

Quebec Cup: Here we Come!

Verdun wrapped up an impressive dragon boat season with the Quebec Cup, the final competition in the Triple Crown Circuit at the Olympic Basin, in an intense race weekend! (The other two races are the H²0 Open in May and Montreal Challenge in July).

21640864_10155683415436197_8153498901806631819_o.jpg(Photo Credit: Marian Pinsky)

Taking place during the heat wave weekend of September 16-17, Verdun Impact, Women’s, Men’s and Caravela geared themselves up for a grueling set of 500m races, 200m sprints, and a whopping 2km race with those dreaded seven turns!

21558791_10212547859105173_135658205980429763_n(Photo Credit: Mélanie Desjardins)

(If any of you dear readers are wondering how the 2k race works, it is exactly what it sounds like – one 200 metre sprint followed by a tight turn around designated buoys, followed by another sprint, turn, sprint, turn, rinse, wash and repeat- seven times!

Oh – and did I mention you are on the water with around 13-16 other boats, each with their own race plan, coach bellows, boats clashing in the endeavor to overtake one another, split second decisions of how to take advantage of a boat’s wash while shaking off incoming boats off your tail, the splashing and yelling compounding the already distracting distractions on the water?

N.B.: This is different from the usual 2km race format, like at the Montreal Challenge, which are four 500m sprints across the water factoring in three turns)

123(Photo Credit: Marian Pinsky)

Verdun shows Teamwork

The vast majority of Verdun paddlers competed over 10 times, joining multiple teams. Crazily tight overlap in the mixed community schedules for Impact and Caravela resulted in many demonstrating incredible camaraderie and teamwork as paddlers came off the water, got debriefed from their race, and then about-faced for yet another turn on the water for a back-to-back race with a second team!

Pic to add 1(Photo Credit: Randy Pinsky)

(One cheerful warrior teammate, who shall remain unnamed 😉 persisted in his commitment to the teams despite painful tendinitis, resulting in him paddling on his opposite side, returning from each Brute Force, Impact, and Caravela race having accumulated yet another paddling-related injury and visit to the first aid tent – sore wrist, locked hip, chafed rear… That shows true loyalty to take one for the team! Marc, you are our hero!)

345(Photo Credit: Marian Pinsky)

Paddling as the Sun Rises

The weekend started off very early, paddlers sleepily but excitedly greeting the dawn with a spectacular view of the sunrise overlooking the Olympic Basin, the Montreal Biosphere, and the Champion boats, waiting patiently on the water.

IMG_20170916_074831771[1].jpg(Photo Credit: Marian Pinsky)

Trudging over to the Basin, we are in the good company of other paddlers laden down with paddles slung over their shoulders, and sporting a colorful array of impressive jerseys. Cautiously non-committal friendly conversations ensue, as we try and assess which teams hail from. As we part ways to join our respective crewmates, we nod and give a curt, “good race – see you on the water.”

IMG_20170916_091514905_HDR[1].jpg(Photo Credit: Randy Pinsky)

Verdun took up residency in a prime location just alongside the dock and behind the viewing tent, providing some incredible and unobscured views of the dramatic races! (Well, until we were blasted out by an overly keen race marshall, that is…). We took up shop alongside our friends (and sometimes rivals) RBC, coached by none other than the “other” Lax brother, whose paddlers often join forces with Verdun for competitions.

IMG_20170916_091337971_HDR[1].jpg(Photo Credit: Marian Pinsky)

Getting debriefed by Coach Ira, Impact started the race weekend with clear outlines of the objectives we set out to focus on – paddle with Intention, be cohesive as a team, respond to the Coach’s directives, and keep in pace with the pacers.

IMG_20170916_113425990[1].jpg(Photo Credit: Marian Pinsky)

And this streamlined focus on key pointers paid off!

Verdun Makes an Impact at the Quebec Cup!

Coming into the Quebec Cup, Impact was ranked fourth in cumulative points in the Triple Crown, relative to over 51 mixed community teams in our division! This means that points accumulated in the first two competitions (H20 and Montreal Challenge) set the ranking as we entered the Quebec Cup.

With the teams that ranked third and fifth not competing in the Quebec Cup, it was up to us to defend our ranking against the team placing sixth for that coveted third spot…

With Coach Ira E. Lax’s encouraging cheer of “We’re aiming for podium, folks. Let’s do this!” in our heads, Impact, joined by some members of Verdun Force, truly gelled together and shaved off a full five seconds from their 500m race timing in the Montreal Challenge to an impressive final timing of 2minutes 18seconds!

The end result? Verdun left the Quebec Cup with an impressive 479 points, reaching our objective of ranking Third overall in the Triple Crown, relative to over 63 mixed community teams!

21687180_365291403891207_9138656098799998786_o(Photo Credit: HM Photography)

When asked for his overall impressions of the season, Coach Ira reflects, “Impact showed its mettle this season by racing hard in all three Triple Crown events, one of the few Community (Division 3) teams to do so!

The boat was full at practice all season long, and you could feel the positive vibe from the crew. A full boat plus lots of racing equals a faster team.

Heading into Quebec Cup, the crew was optimistic about its outcome, having gelled as a team throughout the season.

I am proud of the team for finishing 3rd in the Triple Crown against so many other crews and I am looking forward to another amazing season!”

It’s also revealing to note that Verdun Impact, having competed in Mixed Finale B for the Montreal Challenge 2km race, competed in the Mixed Finale A division for the same race in the Quebec Cup. Bravo Impact!

 789.pngPaddlers watching the play back of the races – Photo Credit to Marian Pinsky

 “One, two, three – BRUTE FORCE!”

Verdun welcomed three new teams this season – inaugurating Verdun Men (Brute Force), Verdun Women (Spice Force), and integrating the previously independent Caravela team into Verdun’s ranks as an official member of the Verdun Dragon Boat Club.

The Men’s finished fourth in the Open division, demonstrating some impressive timings in the Triple Crown Circuit for a new team!

IMG_20170916_104217549_HDR[1].jpg(Photo Credit: Randy Pinsky)

Timings of 2.16 and 2.17 minutes in the Montreal Challenge were replaced by 2.13 minutes for both 500m races in the Quebec Cup, showing true cohesiveness as a team! Captain Emir Moreno gives a special shout-out to the women who joined on Brute Force races, especially Kim and Sheri who often steered.

21688224_365311823889165_3644224988380573238_o(Photo Credit: HM Photography)

Grit, Guts and Glory: Verdun Women Make Dragon Boat History!

But it was the exciting Women’s 2k that really stopped everyone in their tracks. Find out more in Part 2! An epic adventure!

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