Silver Medal @ 3rd Banff Dragon Boat Races

Silver medal @ 3rd Annual Banff Dragon Boat Races, Aug 14/15, 2010.  Banff is named after Banffshire in Scotland, so I wore my new Macleod tartan.

It's been a busy week…..

Thursday I attended my Uncle Victor's funeral
Then… my girlfriend Deb and I drove to Vernon to stay at her parent's home in Vernon, enroute to attend the 3rd annual Banff Dragon Boat Festival.

On Friday morning, we went for a short kayak/canoe paddle, as 4 of our dragon boat team members had joined us at Kalamalka Lake.  We paddled just around Rattlensnake Point, for a good stretch of our paddling muscles.  Then after lunch we headed on the road to Banff.  It was longer than we expected.  I made the mistake of googling for road distance and calculated travel times – that did not take into account winding roads nor road construction.

When we reached Revelstoke, we all agreed not to take the scenic circle route of going to Radium Hot Springs, but instead to proceed straight to Banff.  Along the way, we had a brief stop in Golden BC, and a short visit to Lake Louise.

Upon arrival to Banff, we checked into our motel where the team was staying then headed to the Banff Brewing Company for a bite to eat and some socializing time with team members.

Saturday morning, we climbed on board the buses that took us to Lake Minewaka, where the 3rd annual Banff Dragon Boat Festival was being held.  Our first 200m race was a doozy.  The Dynasty style dragon boats are tippy enough with a round hull as opposed to the traditional double hull dragon boats – but we really did not need the Lane 4 boat Bear Scare going off course and forcing Lane 3 into our lane, and continuing to cut across the lanes until they finished off course, as lane 1 collided into us too.  A time penalty was accessed to Bear Scare team.  We finished off our Saturday racing with a 500m that saw us place 2nd.

Saturday night we went to a social at The Paddock bar, organized for all the dragon boat teams.  Then we went to the Legendary Wild Bill's restaurant where many of our team member's orders got terribly mixed up.  Steaks ordered as rare came out as well-done, and the prime rib that my girlfriend ordered came out as rare.  We did send it back to be returned as well-done minus the vegetables.  We can't recommend the service, but the restaurant was very interesting with cowboy decor, and a fun dance floor that saw a few of our team members joining in for some line dancing.  We did not stay for the KISS tribute band.

On Sunday, we came second in our semi-final heat that placed us into the C Final.  Then we relaxed and took lots of photos at the gorgeous Lake Minewaka site.  I was interviewed for a Banff Tourism video, as the film crew Matt and Jeff asked me questions about why I was in Banff, and what I enjoyed about my visit.  I enthusiastically told them I was in Banff for the dragon boat races, and the water was soooo much cleaner than in Vancouver, and it was great to see all the abundance of wildlife in Banff.

I also told them that I was wearing my kilt, because: 1) Banff was named after Banffshire in Scotland as the town's founders were from Scotland; and 2) the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team celebrates BC's founding pioneering cultures of Scottish and Chinese.

We raced in the C Final Division on Sunday afternoon.  It was a very tight race.  We were behind on the starts but caught up to the leading teams at the half-way mark.  We closely raced to the finish line against our ealier nemesis Bear Scare and an Edmonton team named Rice is Right.  We appeared to pull ahead and challenge Bear Scare for the finish.  All our paddlers dug in deep and reached out for front water, as our drummer Keng called for Power Series.  We called an early finish, and our team paddled harder, knowing we had good cardio training as our team core had been paddling since March – long before Calgary teams could get on the water before the ice melted on the Bow River.  Lanes 1, 2, and 3 all crossed the finish line, practically together.  Further behind in Lane 4, was the Red-Eyed Dragons, which were led by our team captain's cousin. (Talk about family rivalries!)


Spirit of Vancouver GHFC dragon boat team with a strong core of Gung Haggis paddlers, Gung Haggis alumni paddlers, 2 brand new first timers, + Richard's cousin from Calgary.

1/10th of a second was all that separated us between 2nd and 1st place.  Rice is Right came 3rd. We came in second place , as Bear Scare came 1/10th of a second faster than us.

Oh well…. medals for us!!!  We were happy!

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