The Vancouver Dragon Boat festival has always been one of the teams's favorite race. It's an away race in another country, but not too far since it's just a bit to the north in Canada. The race has always been well-run without much hiccup. We originally did not plan on attending this year, but with enough interest from the team, it wasn't a hard to get a crew together. The Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival is a two day race, taking place from June 18-19, allowing a full weekend of racing and having fun in a different country.
The Duke of Japadog
We cannot mention Vancouver without talking about Japadog. It's one of our favorite places to get a bite to eat while we are up there. If you have never gone before, get to it whenever you get the chance. It's one of the best hotdog you'll ever try. It was first discovered by Michael H, in 2009 when it was just a food cart. It has became insanely popular and grown to have several stores around Canada.
After numerous visits this weekend, Michael H has regained his title of Duke. If you are unfamiliar with the way Yelp's leaderboard works, your rank is determined by the number of visits and the frequency. Over the course of the weekend (Friday to Monday), he has visited Japadogs at least once a day. Combine that with this previous visits in previous years, he has checked into one of the food carts 19 times and at the store 5 times. This was more than enough for him to regain his title as Duke.
"It's fun to regain the title every time I come back. In the 6 years (I've missed one year since 2010) I always try to have a Japadog for every day I'm in Vancouver. Some days I miss it so I eat two the next day to catch up" --Michael H
Richmond Night Market
Another team favorite while in Vancouver is the Richmond night market. We always have a group attending each year and it's not hard to see why. The event has over a hundred food stalls with a variety of selection fit for everyone. Of course, if you know us, we love to eat. Everyone that was there bought a variety from the different vendors and shared so they can have the opportunity to try everything. Some of the food included: boba milk tea, fried squid, kebabs, fish ball, sago, crepes, and many more.
In addition the to food, there are games to keep people entertained. If you've been to an amusement park, you'll know what they are; ring toss, basketball shooting, ladder climb, etc. As much as it is something you see everywhere, it's just as entertaining to participate or watch others do it. However, the main attraction this year that the night market is the Dino Park with its robotic dinosaurs. As exciting as that sounds, the normal festivities were enough to keep everyone occupied and have a great time.
Since it was a last minute decision to race in Vancouver, we were able to gather enough people for one crew and we only registered to race in the mixed divisions. The women and open division weren’t possible because there weren’t enough people and we didn’t have enough time to coordinate with another team to combine crews for it. Everything turned out all good though as this provided a lot of downtime in between each heat. There’s no need to rush to from one heat to the next so everyone got the chance to hang out in the area and bond.
Of course, we weren’t at the race on our own. We had UBC Thunder Dragons host us and we are really grateful for that. They provided up with the race day necessities to help us survive the weekend. The team itself was easy to connect with and very personable. It’s not hard to see why because people in the dragon boat community have similar mindsets. In addition to the race day stuff, they also planned things to do such as dinner and late night activities. We really couldn’t ask for such amazing hosts. Thanks again, UBC Thunder Dragons.
For the races, the weather conditions weren’t the best. It was lightly raining on both days, only to stop after the races were over for the day. It’s something out of our hands and the only thing we can do about it is to adapt. Having the ability to overcome anything that is thrown at you is a trait of an athlete. Also, this isn’t something that’s new to us. We’ve raced in the rain several months back during the CDBA Regatta and on occasion during practice. This hasn’t deterred us from doing our best. Racing through a total of five heats throughout the two days, we took fifth place in the Recreational A Consation division. This is not a bad showing with a total of 88 crews racing in the mixed division.
Competing in races is a part of dragon boat, but more importantly is the experience. Travelling to places with friends, enjoying activities together, meeting people from other teams, and connecting with those people. All this is brought together by dragon boat. Vancouver was an enjoyable experience for the people that went. It is now summer which is prime racing season for us so there will be more chances to enjoy these experiences. Sprints is coming up in a few weeks and then Long Beach in a few more. We look forward to each of these so, LET’S GET RIPPED!