Dragon boat racers hit the Willamette as temperatures soar - KPTV - FOX 12

Dragon boat racers hit the Willamette as temperatures soar

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The sun was out early in Portland Monday, and people were out and about soaking up the warm weather, including some dragon boat racers.

The Golden Dragons have been practicing in the rain, wind and sleet getting ready for the big race, one of the Portland Rose Festival's most popular traditions.

Monday morning, the team finally got some sun as they practiced paddling and starting.

The Golden Dragons will race coming up in a few weeks in the 55-plus category, and 63 teams in all will take to the Willamette River for the races this year.

The Taiwan-style dragon boats hold 20 paddlers, one tiller, one caller and a flag catcher. The local teams practice for ten weeks before the big day, so even during the all the rain Portland had this spring, they came out three days a week to prepare for their race.

Team members told FOX 12 they don't always mind practicing in the rain, but when they get the sunshine like they had Monday, they are certainly reminded why they love the sport and their city.

"It's nice not to have rain gear on to go out," team member Carol Stowell said.

"My first day it was pouring rain. I'm going, ‘Do I want to do this, or not?’” teammate Kathy Scott added, before saying that those rainy days were some of the most fun she had training for the races.

While the racers said practice makes perfect, they also added that nothing compares to race day. The teams paddle 500 meters, and races usually take just about three minutes.

They also said adrenaline kicks in so they can push their bodies to the limit. Just for the race, one of the teammates up front also beats a drum, helping to keep the paddlers' rhythm and adding to the excitement of the contest.

The Golden Dragon team said they are feeling prepared and tough, hope to not only win their age group but beat some of the younger teams, too.

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