Helping with the Hasler race was good fun, especially as Rachel came along for a wobbly bike ride as well. The background to all of this is my daughter, Hannah, being a kayaker and we like to support her club – Leighton Buzzard Canoe Club.
So my job was to be a marshal once again. This can be a combination of feeling bored, useful and rushed off my feet, all within the space of a few minutes! We were tasked with marshalling at bridge 119 on the Grand Union Canal where the race turns to head back towards the start, meaning there was a round trip of just over six miles.
Our ride there on the tow path ought to have been straight forward but for Rachel this was a bit of an adventure. She was on her Trek hybrid and with it’s big tyres proved ideal for the terrain. Furthermore, as I explained to Rachel, it was down hill, simply of having to pass one lock. We got there and I set up the sign and made sure the turn buoy was thrown into the canal at the right spot.
We also had our picnic (yay!) and there was never a dull moment with plenty of boats chugging up the canal. One narrow boat realised we were marshalling the race and the woman skipper gave me a dose of colourful language as they complained about “all the kayakers trying to over take and get in the way”.
I tried to reason with her suggesting that we should all peacefully share the water together. She was having none of it. Luckily she was chugging at a fair speed and I was soon out of her range (I certainly wasn’t going to run after her!).
Next came the kayakers who were all doing their turns before speeding back towards the start. Our task was to make a note of the race numbers and make sure everyone was accounted for, plus being on hand if there were any incidents, accidents and so on.
The only “incident” was Rachel discovering she had a flat tyre as we were about to start back. Luckily Brandon was there from the club (he came to keep us company) and was able to give her a lift back. Naturally Rachel was delighted but pretended to be so disappointed!
For me cycling back on my own was such a pleasure, enjoying the scenery and looking forward to some scruffy home made cakes at the clubhouse.
Finally, here’s a shot of Hannah with Charlie, her K2 kayaking partner. They won!