Ominous clouds. Thunder. Light rain. Gusty winds. I was so not looking forward to racing yester-morning.
Woke up all sleepy-eyed at 6am, had a brisk hot shower and we sat through a short and quiet brekkie of cocoa pops, milk and a mandatory long black. Quickly put together a salad of tuna, corn, tomato, rice & vinegrette and packed a box of museli as well as a white chocolate + matcha cake (gateau aux chocolat blanc et matcha) I whipped up the night before for the team. I've grown to love matcha (japanese green tea) in my desserts and have been wanting to try my hand at making one. Have to admit I was agonizing between my tried-and-tested gingerbread and the matcha cake for some time. Well, when you're cooking for others, you want to make something that'll cause them to be so estatic on the first bite that their eyes will roll back, right? Or well, something along that line. But what the heck, I decided to head for uncharted waters. You see, i kinda figured:
(1) the team will be too hungry after the race to give a damn;
(2) everyone will be too polite to complain; and
(3) if it REALLY turns out bad, Truffe will just have to finish it! LOL
It did turn out pretty yummy, although I had to do some improvisation on the spot. I thought the recipe called for too much flour and too little matcha, so I left out a portion of the flour and tripled the amount of matcha. It was a good call considering the cake edges ended up rather crunchy. Was also rather disappointed that the white chocolate and matcha flavours did not stand out as much as I would have liked it to. It was tasty nonetheless and everyone agreed, or maybe Points (1) and (2) probably held true. ;D
As usual, our pickup was late.lol. While waiting, I couldnt help but pick up my camera to take a few shots. I just love how the rain makes everything look so fresh. And check out these babies - the grapes are growing again. Geez, how fast one year passes...
By the time we got to Penrith, the sky had cleared up to a cheery light blue and the sun was out in full gear, dieu merci. Yeah, the weather in Sydney is even more fickle than moi! LOL. Warmed up, marshalled and off we went. The winds remained strong though - we had quite a bit of difficulty aligning the boats in the first race. As a result of the wind conditions, the entire competition was running some 3 hours behind schedule (or perhaps it was poor organization?). Our team didn't win overall, but I reckon we did well on our last lap of the day. And that's considering half of the team's comprised of newbies, we took part in the mixed races 2 paddlers less due to a shortage in numbers and lastly, a 500m sprint is really quite a tough race, even for someone who's been paddling a year like me (okay prob still not long enough, but well, long enough by my standards.). This might come across as a tad sour-grapish to some, but frankly I dont give a rat's ass. Winning is nice, but it isn't everything. That's what I love about this team - they dont let the competition get to their heads and they're there cos they really enjoy the sport for what it is. It makes me wonder how many people really look at dragon boating as a recreational sport like we do.
All I can say is, what a great start to the race season and I'm looking forward to many more :)
Note: dragonboating pics taken courtesy of Serence..thanx babe!