Wednesday, August 17, 2011

NOC Canoe Club Challenge – Round 3 – August 13th

Round III of the NOC Canoe Club Challenge was even more fun because it included the classic South Eastern US Whitewater Championships Downriver Race. I am blessed to be able to get to race yet another time. This year I was really lucky as Lynn had surgery two days before, but was very much in favor of me going to the race. I felt doubly lucky to get to stick around for the slalom in the afternoon.

On a personal level, the top to bottom downriver race was a little crazy since I was in a composite race boat and given my concerns about my shoulder. There

multiple groups of rafts ahead of us and passing them was challenging at times. It seemed like every time I would start picking it up I would have to back off and take an alternative line through the raft minefields.

Kurt, Tierney, and Haley all had very solid times and given the lack of competition, I easily won my umpteenth Charlie Patton Award for being the fastest canoe of any kind down the river. Ultimately my time was ok (given the longer course this year) and I felt like I beat everyone that I should have and lost to everyone that should have beat me (except for perhaps Bern). Most importantly, I
beat Bearn Collins, who got pushed off line by a raft and flipped. I’ll take it. I won a beer off it and have taken the lead in the beer cup award.

Here’s the link to the article:

Racing at the club/regional level has the tendency to make a good racer feel like
Superman, and good equipment helps. Allen and Gabby were nice enough to offer me a choice of boats and I felt like Gabby’s Outrage was
a good choice for me. I really love that boat as it’s narrow enough for me to race it like a C-1 and it handles quite well. Ultimately I ended up with first in OC-1.

In the slalom C-1 event, I paddled my Cascade, which is a nice “creek boat” but

feels like a pig to me. Since I had to get back home to Lynn, I did two quick C-1 runs and headed back to ATL. I was a little surprised to hear that I won given the fact that there was were some pretty solid racers there, including a former member of the Yugoslavian Junior Slalom Team who happened to be racing a Bat Max. It looks lime my strategy to just run as wide open as I could though the course paid off.

Ultimately GCA won the Slalom and the Canoe Club Challenge and the Atlanta Whitewater Club won the downriver event. In my mind, this was more like a tie, with the real winners being everyone who participated and the NOC for coming up with such a cool event.