The Cowy Ascent is a tough race for kayaks, canoes and paddle boards using the incoming tide to race up the River Conwy. Team Bowfell Models was there with our own sponsored "athlete".
He told me to use the word athlete but he also said he wanted a beer waiting for him at the finish line. So I will let you decide if that is the actions of an athlete.
Lets get back to the start and give you the full race day. Team Bowfell arrive in Conwy.
To some it may look like a Toyota with a roof rack, but we like to think of it as our specialised race support vehicle. Eat your heart out Team Red Bull Racing.
Then we unloaded the race board and equipment and got our racer setup in our own pit area. We didn't just dump his stuff on a patch of grass we found near the car.
I decided to give our racer some time to prepare himself mentally.
Look at how focused he is, almost zen as he plans his race strategy. Although he could also be thinking "have I got my smokes? and I hope they remember my beer at the end". Again "athlete" he said.
Right lets check out the start while our "athlete" centres himself.
The literal calm before the storm. Nice and smooth and no head winds. It did not stay like that.
The race start is near now as we check out the Paddle Board starting grid
The race is timed for when the tide comes in so they can use it to race up stream. You have a Le Mans style running start to your boards and then into the water.
Although the stones do make it more of a Le Mans style brisk walk start.
Look at them go!
Now it may look calm but trust me this is a tough race. I know from personal experience in a kayak that the water can get very rough as they go further out.
You have the tide coming in and meeting the river current coming out. This makes for some very choppy conditions with waves coming at you from different directions.
This is where we leave our racer and jump in the Bowfell-mobile. He's on his own until the halfway point.
There's our guy heading under the bridge. He did not need us at the only point we could get him out before the finish.
I know I could have used a pic that shows our guy clearer but I just really liked that cloud above the bridge.
At this point I have to add, any paddler that made it this far is a legend. The wind was brutal and stopped a few of the paddle boarders. Our guy was still going, probably motivated by his cold beer. Remember people he's an "athlete".
To the Bowfell-Mobile!
Next stop the finish line.
Team Bowfell is on the final straight and our racer is hunting down a kayak to make up one more position. But will he catch them?
The wind has calmed down and now he wants that extra place. He is really powering through.
He is neck and neck with the kayak and looking for that little extra for a final sprint finish.
He over takes with a few yards to spare.
Look at him go! I know it's a different race class but he still took them on the finishing straight. I think he earned his beer.
Our racer earned this after fighting a ridiculously strong head wind and then pulling out a sprint finish at the end.
All the paddlers that finished this years Conwy Ascent are legends. The wind was brutal out there.
Even if you didn't finish the race, everyone at Bowfell Models salutes you for attempting it. Conwy Ascent 2023 was a beast.
Now after a hard day of supporting our racer and driving our special race support vehicle I think I have earned something.
Does this make me an athlete now?
Maybe we will enter a kayak along with the paddle board next year. Get a whole race team going.