Yes, you read it correctly...dragons. In New York City!
Last weekend I competed with my team, The Stingrays, in the 19th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Flushing, Queens.
Dragon Boat racing is an ancient Chinese tradition that dates back 2,000 thousand years. There are about 12-18 people rowing in one boat. Our races were 250 meters or 500 meters. We finished in approximately 1minute 11sec and 2minutes 29sec, respectively. Talk about explosive power! It looks like it would be all about upper body strength, but really the power comes from your legs and obliques.
According to Dragon Boat Festival Chairman Henry Wan, "A very well-known scholar and high court officer named Qu Yuan was very fed up with the new king's failed policies. So he drowned himself in the river in order to protest the failed policies. Since he was so well liked all the villagers raced out to try to save him. They couldn't save him but every year they reenact it and that became dragon boat racing."
Watch a news clip on NY1 and look for the Stingrays in blue life jackets ;)
Stingrays showing muscles after our warm-up of 100 jumping jacks and squat thrust push ups. Hardcore!
See more pics of the boats and festival here.