August 14th - Nantahala River - Southeasterns
Race Results: http://www.usawildwater.com/news/2010/100816_Southeasterns.html
The Southeasterns were an absolute blast. We had something like 85 participants that started in 4 waves with the composite Wildwater boats all starting in the last wave. Between squeezing through the raft traffic and passing about 75 other competitors, it was a really exciting race in terms of staying focused and jumping on secondary lines on the fly.
All and all it was probably my best race this year. Why? It's the first race (or hard workout for that matter) this year where my shoulder did not hurt and I felt fully up to the task. Apparently going at a distance pace is just what the doctor ordered and this showed up in the results too. I know the Lord has blessed me by allowing me to continue to participate in the sport I love, and it's great to feel like I got to go full speed.
In spite of the raft and boat dodging and relatively low water, I turned out a relatively fast time of 53:38 and was only 13% behind Chris Hipgrave in the winning K-1(versus a hull speed handicap of 15%). I was the first canoe of any kind by a mile and won my dozenth Charlie Patton award. It was a nice feeling to finish as the 4th boat overall and most importantly, I beat Bern Collins (who I was right behind and passed when he guessed wrong on which way to go around raft traffic) to win the "Beer Cup" award. I was also thrilled to see Colton Popp finish just 3 minutes behind me to take 2nd in the canoes.
It was great to see so many folks there. Congrats to the NOC and the GCA for putting this togehter and to everyone who participated.