OK, now I just sound like someone on Fox Sports net, but the name of the race just lends itself to it.
Race day started early. Mad-City was putting the docks and ski jump in that morning and my whole team was at the work day. Things went relatively well and we finished up about 1030/1100 or so.
I had to get a little bit of head start knowing I had to both get an early lunch and get the boat loaded up and ready to go. I’m on the road at 1145 heading to Beaver Dam, boat in tow. Arrive at the bar for registration and get the paperwork out of the way and then make my way to the landing with Russ to get the boat in the water and make our way back to the bar, attend the pre-race meeting and then head out in the water as we get the boats lined up.
Once the boats are relatively lined up, I jump into the water and wait for all the lines to go tight and the horn to sound. Never have I felt so much pressure to make a deep water start. Water conditions weren’t ideal, it was windy and my boat’s bubbles are horrible. Last thing I want to do is miss my deep at the beginning of the race.
The wait finally ends, the boat takes off and I make the deep. Had a decent run through the water, but fall along time before I wanted to. First thing I do, turn and look and see a couple other boats already heading back to pick up their fallen footers. I wasn’t the first fall of the race.
Next up was Sandy, then Bugs, Beau and finally John. The water continued to beat up on us. Finally, Sandy manged to get her low rough water stance down and manages to get us to some ever so slightly calmer water. John has a a good run but when he stands up from the his fall, the water is at his knees. He swims out to the boat and deeper water. We continue.
Finally we see a boat in the distance with a flag. The turn around boat. There is the light at the end of the tunnel we’ve been waiting for. We finally get there and find out it isn’t the turn around boat… it was just there to help us find our way to the turn around boat. We keep going, watching the the UW Ski Team’s boat that is still behind us in the distance. Everybody else was way in front of us. We continue, taking header after header. I know I came up several times seeing stars.
Finally we see the boat that we’ve been waiting to see. It has a flag in it. It is the Bell’s Barefoot Nautique. It is the turn around boat. We managed to beat the UW Ski Team there, but that is it. An hour has elapsed as we made our way the 11 miles. We talking for a few minutes, we decide to call it. I was kinda of yea, it would nice to finish but man do I hurt. Beau wanted to continue, John wanted to stop. I think Sandy would have kept going, but Bugs was ready to call it a day as well. My mind was saying yes, but my body remembered all of the deep water starts so far and the beating it had taken bouncing on the waves. I was ready to call it.
We ask Dave Bell in the turn around boat for some beer but surprisingly he doesn’t have any in the boat. We have to go back to the Bell house for beer, half way down the lake. We throw Bugs some skis and he starts skiing back as Beau looks dejected in the back of the boat and I’m just exhausted. On the way to the Bell’s we find some calm water and decide to make the most of it. I jump and take a footing run. Nice water. After a good run, my right foot catches and I almost manage to recover before my left foot finally slips below the surface causing me to face plant once again.
We get to the Bell’s, grab another rope, a set of skis and some beer. Then John and Bugs ski the rest of the way to the finish line. Race “completed” we put the boat away and head to the bar.
After a couple hours of R&R we decided to get the vehicles parked up at the Bell’s house, our ending destination that night. We turn their drive way into a parking lot… boats, trucks, cars completely filling it. Sandy shows up with a couple cases of Coor’s Light. We load up her boat and head north, away from the bars we are headed to make a detour at another bar and a little lake cruising. We eat and refuel a little, getting called asking where are we constantly, and finally make our way to the bar hosting the post race party.
We walk in the door and T-Bell is doing karaoke and Sandy instantly joins her sister on stage as Bugs buys us some Jaeger Bombs. The drinking starts full force now. What ever we had done before was just a warm up. Beau, Bugs & John step up to the stage and pretty much get booed back off of it for the performance of Crash Test Dummies song Mmm, Mmm, Mmm…
A couple shots later (some sort of really good tequila with Sandy and the 3 Wise Men with Bugs) I do Pearl Jam’s Smile (still a little peaved that they didn’t have Black Betty for karaoke.)
Later on I do a little Neil Diamond and then at the end of the night manage to talk the DJ into just playing Black Betty for me to sing along too.
The DJ does the last song and we decide to head out for a cold ride in the boat back to the house. We make it back in one piece, nearly frozen. 30 minutes later with probably 20 seasoned water skiers working on it, we manage to get the boat most of the way onto the lift and almost all the way into the boat house. It was an exercise in futility as we all had our own ideas on what to do and nobody was listening to each other. Luckily no one fell and got hurt.
Once in the house, it is nearing 3am and I’m exhausted. I find a recliner and a blanket and crash only to be woken up just a few hours later by dogs jumping on me. I manage to get sleep on and off until 9am when Bugs and Beau get up to leave. That’s when I start to move, drinking water and taking decongestant to try and clear my seriously stuffed up nose.
All in all, it was a very fun 22 miles of boozing up and down the lake.
These pictures and more can be found in the web album below.
|2007.05.12 – Best Dam Barefoot Race|