cold stroke classic

This is definitely a race where there were winners, but no losers. Everyone who stepped into the water Saturday at the 8th Annual Cold Stroke Classic deserved applause. Or a straight jacket. And while we’ll have the results at the end, this recap is far more about a race that forged friendships over the last eight years.

I don’t want to shock anyone with a complete opposite of a rant about a race. Be prepared. This was fun—in spite of the horrible weather.

Flexibility to make changes on the fly

Congrats to the race directors who had the flexibility to do what needed to be done. The weather on Friday sucked. Sorry for using such a highly-technical meteorological term.  We had 2+ inches of rain and it seemed to all be coming down on Eastwood road. Coastal urge took those lemons and made lemonade with a side of hoola hoops and hammer hoodies.

hammerhoodie

They moved the party inside a warehouse, including the bouncy castle and the pig-pickin’.  And on race morning, they moved the racers meeting inside the hotel. There have certainly been colder days, but there’s something about that wet cold in just-above-freezing temperatures that chills you to your bones.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Whitted with Justin Schaay in the bouncy castle.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Whitted with Justin Schaay in the bouncy castle.

Stubborn Stubborn Stubborn

One paddler, a stubborn redhead named Heather Frogge refused to give up. She was on a 14 prone in the cold and win and wasn’t getting out. For an hour, race directors were ready to pull her, but she wasn’t budging. Coast guard escorted her and in just under 3 hours, she paddled in and rested in the back of the ambulance, hypothermic, but happy. If anything, this reinforces the personal responsibility aspect of this sport. Heather chose to paddle, chose to persist, and took the consequences. We’re so stoked she was able to honor her Dad in this way. Good job, Heather. I hope your core temp is back up above 90.

heather cold stroke classic

Awards and results

After 8 years, the Cold Stroke Classic succeeds because it’s focused on the community and not the sport. It is one of the few races I’ve attended that recognizes every paddler. The other one, The Catalina Classic, has been active since 1955. Maybe there’s something to doing something difficult and celebrating all the participants. If your race does this, you’re doing something right.

The one thing it does that I’ve never seen before is prizes for everyone. And I’m not talking about a shirt and sticker (even know shirts and stickers are great). I was maybe the 20th person to the table and I picked up a Camelback Tahoe hydration pack. The guy in front of me walked away with a Patagonia jacket. Everyone seemed to have that same, “is this a mistake or do I really get to keep this” look on their faces. Olukais, beanies, scarves. The raffle had an Imagine Inflatable SUP on there. It was amazing. Everyone left feeling like they did something amazing and were recognized for their effort. That’s the secret sauce right there. Sponsor swag is a great perk.

Congratulations Jeremy Whitted and Karen Wilson, winners of the Cold Stroke Classic Elite Race

 cold stroke classic

karen

Overall results

These were supplied by the Cold Stroke Classic. If you have any questions, please contact the race directors directly here.

Name Distance Category Gender Time
Karen Wilson Elite – 7 Miles 12’6 Women Female 1:53:13.1
Miriam Sutton Elite – 7 Miles 12’6 Women Female 1:56:28.2
Heather Brewer Elite – 7 Miles 12’6 Women Female 2:18:26.0
Phyllis Sanders Elite – 7 Miles 12’6 Women Female 2:37:58.3
Grace Metzgar Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Women Female 2:21:24.4
Heather Frogge Elite – 7 Miles Prone Women Female 2:56:27.0
Jeremy Whitted Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:23:53.6
Wes Stolp Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:25:31.2
Justin Schaay Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:27:18.9
Runslo Walksalot Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:27:11.6
Harrison Deisroth Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:31:33.7
Terry Smith Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:34:38.4
Barrett Phifer Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:40:22.5
Corey Curtis Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:40:30.5
Jamie Penland Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:42:34.0
Mark Sumner Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:42:45.8
Christooher Murphy Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:44:47.7
David Young Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:46:19.4
Chris Martin Elite – 7 Miles 14′ Men Male 2:00:00.3
Ben Roth Elite – 7 Miles Prone Men Male 1:25:52.6
Brad Howard Elite – 7 Miles Prone Men Male 1:30:43.2
Chad  (Night Train) Nicoll Elite – 7 Miles Prone Men Male 1:45:45.1
Erik Bigsby Elite – 7 Miles Run What You Brung (All) Male 1:13:43.1
Chris Sowden Elite – 7 Miles Run What You Brung (All) Male 1:20:21.6
Robert Deisroth Elite – 7 Miles Run What You Brung (All) Male 1:21:23.4
John Beausang Elite – 7 Miles Run What You Brung (All) Male 1:23:49.6
Martha Criscuolo Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Women Female 58:32.5
Jenna Bunting Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Women Female 1:07:13.3
Jenn Covington Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Women Female 1:14:05.1
Barbara Brown Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Women Female 1:19:54.8
Sandy Mitofsky Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Women Female 1:22:12.3
Sarah Westbrook Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Women Female 1:23:15.4
Erin O’brien Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Women Female 1:39:53.0
Barbara Link Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Women Female 1:46:49.5
Susan Ballenger Recreational – 3.5 Miles 14′ Women Female 1:19:11.8
Sarah Spiegler Recreational – 3.5 Miles 14′ Women Female 1:39:02.7
Kristen L. Sheldon Recreational – 3.5 Miles Prone Women Female 1:04:48.7
Amanda Reinhardt Recreational – 3.5 Miles Surf Style Women Female 1:34:06.9
David Mello Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Men Male 1:05:59.9
Douglas S. Gurley Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Men Male 1:13:31.3
Gordon Pennebaker Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Men Male 1:15:48.0
Larry Cleveland Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Men Male 1:20:35.9
Jay Stephens Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Men Male 1:25:14.6
Terry Lane Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Men Male 1:35:37.9
Kent Carnes Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Men Male 1:42:56.7
Mike Fox Recreational – 3.5 Miles 12’6 Men Male 1:45:21.2
Bryan Worth Recreational – 3.5 Miles 14′ Men Male 59:37.2
Roman Kraus Recreational – 3.5 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:02:44.3
Eric Moe Recreational – 3.5 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:13:36.7
Ron Watkins Recreational – 3.5 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:14:31.7
Brian Lee Recreational – 3.5 Miles 14′ Men Male 1:27:07.4
William Pope Recreational – 3.5 Miles Prone Men Male 51:36.5
Andrew Herzog Recreational – 3.5 Miles Prone Men Male 59:43.9
Edrick Crane Recreational – 3.5 Miles Run What You Brung (All) Male 49:06.6
Stephen Staub Recreational – 3.5 Miles Surf Style Men Male 1:17:25.8
Mark Ryan Recreational – 3.5 Miles Surf Style Men Male 1:26:15.8
Chris Jurczynski Recreational – 3.5 Miles Surf Style Men Male 1:27:58.2
Michael Denoyer Recreational – 3.5 Miles Surf Style Men Male 1:43:56.0
Ken Bull Recreational – 3.5 Miles Surf Style Men Male 2:01:36.8

Why didn’t they postpone it?

Because you don’t postpone unless conditions at the race site are globally and profoundly unsafe. We hope everyone realizes there was zero possibility of it being postponed unless the weather in this immediate area was un-paddle-able, which it wasn’t. We know it sucks, but so much goes into creating, managing and executing a race, that it’s not as simple as saying, “Let’s all do this in a week.”

Advertisements, safety, food, posters, more food, tables, hotel banquet rooms, permits, police, shirts, bouncy castles, Coast Guard, press releases, volunteers, you name it. Not only that, everyone who made reservations and rented houses would have to re-do that a week later. It’s not as easy as changing a meetup.

As much we all would have loved to have seen our entire paddle family, it wasn’t possible. You have every right to be bummed, but this is one of those times when you have to shrug and say, “bummer.” That said, all of you who couldn’t get to Wrightsville Beach because of the weather, you were ALL missed. And if we can’t make a race in the future due to weather, please go because you can.

Thank you

Thank you to Jeoffrey and Catherine and the whole Nathan Family for making this a family event. Your racer meeting talk about why you do this race each year struck a chord that seems to be less common these days. Thank you to the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, another family business, for their unwavering support of the sport and community. Thanks Katie Elzer-Peters for another amazing job of race directing. Everything was rock solid and buttoned up and in a nice way. Well done (anchor)

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