UPDATE: The race is over. Huge congrats to the 2016 Lost Mills CHAMPINS: Michael Booth and Sonni Honscheid. Check out the complete Lost Mills 2016 results to see who else was in form this weekend.
We’re just hours away from one of the biggest showdowns of the season: The Lost Mills race in Bavaria, Germany, aka Week 4 of the 2016 EuroTour presented by Starboard.
The Lost Mills, now in its 5th season, has grown to become one of the main events of the European Summer of SUP, and this weekend’s race is set to be the biggest and most competitive edition yet. In fact, this will probably be the single most competitive race outside of the U.S. all year.
With two dozen international stars, countless European contenders and over 170 total paddlers on the start line, the Lost Mills is going to be one mighty big battle this year.
To give you a bit of a window into this classic race, we’re going to have our Starboard LIVE Stream of the entire race up and running over on our Facebook page from 2pm local time Saturday, so that you can follow the action as it happens.
The Lost Mills is a 4-star race this year, meaning it’ll count for at least 40% on the Race Index and therefore have a big impact on the SUP Racer World Rankings.
(Though from my preliminary calculations, it looks like the men’s race will easily exceed its minimum and score somewhere around 46%, which would potentially make the Lost Mills the #4 ‘most competitive’ event in the world behind the Pacific Paddle Games, Carolina and the Gorge. Yep, it’s a mighty solid field here this week.)
The top 50 ranked paddlers on the line tomorrow will be: Connor Baxter, Titouan Puyo, Mo Freitas, Trevor Tunnington, Arthur Arutkin, Jake Jensen, Georges Cronsteadt, Vinnicius Martins, Leonard Nika, Beau O’Brian, Michael Booth, Kenny Kaneko, Paolo Marconi, Martin Letourneur, Daniel Hasulyo, Bruno Hasulyo, Steeve Teihotaata, Noa Hopper, Rete Ebb and Davide Ionico.
They’ll be joined by another 150 odd paddlers, including a dozen odd ultra dark horses from Europe that will be genuine contenders for a top 10 finish. The level of talent in Europe these days is amazing, so I’d actually be surprised if we don’t see one of the unknown guys “stand up” and claim one of the top 10 spots.
But still, even with all the new talent coming through in Euro land, I expect the battle for the win to be between the likes of Connor, Boothy, Jake, Arthur, Trevor, Georges, Mo, the Hasulyos and a few more of the guys I mentioned above (though keep an eye on Titouan Puyo — he’s been battling illness all week and probably won’t be at 100%).
The women’s race is lighter on depth but still rather difficult to win, because the three dozen women in the elite division will have to overcome hot favourite and world number three Sonni Honscheid. The German will almost certainly have company from world number four Fiona Wylde, while the likes of April Zilg, Lexi Alston, Kim Barnes, Manca Notar (possibly not racing due to illness), Seychelle Hattingh, Susak Molinero and a few new European names to watch will be looking to score a spot on the podium or perhaps cause an upset.
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Looking back at the start of the 2015 Lost Mills race (footage: Stephan Gölnitz)
I have a feeling this 18km looong distance race is going to be run at a very high pace, particularly the opening kilometre, which is basically an all out sprint from the wide open start line (it’s a water start) all the way down to the first buoy turn. Expect plenty of jockeying, pushing and shoving as the top guys battle for position in the inevitable draft trains.
A good start will be particularly important considering both the length and the number of buoy turns. With ~22 turns in the approximately two hour race (that’s a big number for a distance race), there will plenty of opportunities to break away from the field, and also a lot of potential for weak links to fade in the second half of the race and cause all the guys behind them to fall off the train.
I’ve run through the list of contenders and picked out 27 guys that could easily finish top 10. It’s rather difficult to fit 27 into 10, which means it’s going be an intense battle on the opening lap as the contenders fight for position. The course is three laps of a 6km loop around a lake that sits out here in the middle of the beautiful Bavarian countryside, aka the middle of nowhere (despite the remoteness, it’s actually a very nice part of the world).
The distance race is scheduled to begin at 2pm Saturday local time, which is 5am Saturday morning in California, 8am in Florida, and 10pm on the East Coast of Australia (Google “What’s the time in Germany right now?” to calibrate with your own part of the world).
That means our Starboard Live Stream will begin around 1:50pm local time. NOTE: The stream will be running through Facebook (not here on supracer.com), so head on over to the ‘SUP Racer’ Facebook page as soon as the clock below hits zero to watch the “Battle of Bavaria” LIVE.
While you’re waiting, check out results/video from the Lost Mills warm-up race, the “Fastest Paddler On Earth” time trial, where Connor Baxter and Seychelle Hattingh reigned supreme.