LB2CAT 2009 National PWC Offshore Championships

Mike Arnold-2009 LB2CATMilitary National Champion
AWA H2O Responder Member
58 miles of open ocean racing....July 12th, 2009

Name: Mike Arnold
Age: 45

Race Boat: 2008 Sea Doo RXT 215 #71
Boat Name: 1 Degree North

Class: Military

Time for the race: 81 Min 51 Sec
Placing for the Race 1st Military Class 20th overall

Why did you choose the class you raced in and what does it mean to you?
I ran the Military Class because I am a Retired U.S. Marine with 20 years of service to Country and Corps. As I stated at the awards ceremony this award represents all of those who are out standing the guard or who can no longer be with us. Also thanks to Russell Libby who made me push at the end he is a great completer and friend.

Your position as best you could determine on the start?
At the Start of the Race I knew what to expect. When the white flag went up I started moving forward getting on line. I was thinking about the race meeting and the 60 second rule I began to count 59, 58 57 and so on. When I saw the Green Flag go up I pinned my throttle. I was off and running for maybe the first three or four hundred yards. I was toward the front then the big boys came flying by. Then the washing machine set in -not good for the RXT.

What did you do the day before, any preparation?
I got up early waxed the ski and got everything packed and ready. Enjoyed the drive up to long Beach did the Tech inspection with Mr. Steve Freibe. I was a little nervous meeting him for the 1st time. He was very nice and friendly he is a true legend of the PWC Racing World.

What were you thinking of the night before?
I stayed at a very nice Hotel in down town Long Beach and just kept thinking someone is going to steal or mess with my ski. So I did not sleep well at all. I made several walks out to check on it during the night.

Why did you choose the boat you raced?
I bought my RXT because a friend of mine said Sea Doo was the best jet ski on the market.. Maybe so for flat water but not open ocean racing.

What time did you wake up?
Well the night before my good friend Mark Gerner called me and said lets do a 05:15 wake up call for each other. Knowing Mark a brother Marine Officer I thought I would be fun to give him a good old Marine Drill Instructor wake call at 05:14 AM the kind he used to get at (OCS) Officer Candidate School. Ask me how I know? Needless to say it must have got him up and running as he finished 2nd overall good job Mark.

2 Hours out of the race, what were you doing?
I told Shawn Alladio don't worry I will bring you Star bucks in the Morning so at 6AM I was waiting for Star Bucks to Open.

1 Hour out of the race what were you doing?
Things were falling in to place. My leg work was done. Just waiting for the word to launch.

What was your first thought when you picked your position in the lineup for the start?
Well I knew i wanted to be near the Wall for Queens Gate so I was maybe from right to left 10 th or 12th.

As the start went off, and you passed the Queens Gate (harbor mouth) What was going through your mind?
The Big Boys were flying by I was pinned on the throttle wide open. The ocean was flat good for the RXT. But I was just falling back.

How was the first 10 miles of the race for you?
Two weeks prior I hurt my right wrist I had a heavy duty brace on and was having some grip problems. Other than That I was good .

When you came to the turnaround boat, how were you feeling?
Maybe a mile out the water turned flat I was running pinned once again at the turn boat. Having no problems.

Half Way back did you hit a psychological or physical wall?
My wrist was hurting pretty bad by now and I knew I was loosing ground .

Any mechanical failures?

Mike Arnold and Russel Libby

Did you have any 'Battles' during the race with other competitors you especially enjoyed?
At the turn I was maybe a quarter mile ahead of Russell Libby my competition for the military class. Maybe just over half way back I saw him pass me almost 800 yards off to my right. I could tell by his riding style it was Russell. I was hurting and he was running strong. so I started moving right toward him on a nice approach angle. When I reached his wake, land was coming into view and my GPS was on track. So it was maybe at this point still 600 yds back with maybe three to four miles to go to Queens Gate. I got in behind him and let him break track for me. I said I need to catch him now or I may not have enough time left in the end . I reach up full handed and pinned the throttle to hold on. Now riding right behind Russell maybe 45 yards I could see him trying to look back for me but I don't think he could see me. Suddenly a flat spot of water ahead. I broke left to the inside and went WOT as a Super tanker was entering the Queens Gate from my right. I just held it WOT all the way to the finish line. Good race Russell you made it a fun finish.

1st and formost thank you to Shawn Allaido and K38 who has helped me train since January. Shawn you inspire me. Mark Gerner and his team you guys rock. Mark has taught me so much about rough water. Liquid Militia, Kyla thank you for all you hard work to make my ski look so cool with all the stickers and #71.

What advice would you give to recruit other racers to this event?
This is a fun event if you like ocean the and can hang it all out for an hour ocean offshore racing it is for you.

So many people say Yeah I'd like to do that and never do, don't be afraid to try offshore endurance racing it's a kick in the pants.