Nicky on the podiumAfter a long stretch at idle, without a road trip or a mid-Atlantic region SUP race to burn off some pent-up energy, our ace paddler Nicole Stimpson decided to head north to Vermont for the 12th Annual Stand Up for the Lake at the Burlington Surf Club. Despite all the challenges involved, she ended up on the podium!

Although she had originally planned a solo trip, the expedition morphed into a fun family foray when she included her sons and her mother, who also were much in need of a change of scenery. Nicky made sure to research and abide by Vermont's COVID guidelines. With negative test results in hand, masks in place, and social distancing measures integrated into their plans, they packed up the CLC Teardrop Camper, a Kaholo 14 Hybrid, Wood Duck 12 Hybrid, and Nicky's race board and headed for the shores of Lake Champlain.

Race Day was August 1; host Burlington Surf Club offered a three-mile Recreational Race and a six-mile Elite Race. Nicky, obviously, took part in the latter.

Although she was hoping for a win (she's always hoping for -- and working for -- the win), Nicky recognized that the pre-trip preparations had made for a stressful week, so her primary goal was to have fun and do her best. And her best turned out to be pretty good!

"After the start," she said, "I approached the first buoy where two paddlers had fallen. Instead of safely going outside to round the turn, I chose to take the more risky route and go between the fallen paddlers and the buoy. This put me in good position among the field of 28 men and women." 

Nicky finished first among the women paddlers -- that's her on the podium with the other masked competitors, sharing a knuckle bump -- and seventh overall, with a time of 1:07:56.

The rest of the trip was spent at Grand Isle State Park, where the boys skipped stones on Lake Champlain and Nicky gave her mom a paddleboard lesson on the Kaholo 14. Morning coffee and pancakes -- and dinners each night -- came from the galley of the Teardrop.

Congratulations, Nicky. Glad you and the fam had fun!