Its the most wonderful time of the year, friends coming in to Western North Carolina solely to huck themselves, as fast as they can, off of some of the biggest rapids in the southeast. This year we got not only one Olympian but two (!!!) to join in on the festivities of the Green Race. Mike Dawson, who made it into semi-finals in London this year and Vavra who won the silver medal, they are both "really good kayakers" :-) and Dawson was coming back to win the Green Race, again.
|Heading to the middle of Go-Left|
This year was different for me because I am working full time as a Paramedic for Greenville County EMS so my training time was pretty limited. I thought for sure that I would be fine for the race.... I got really tired though.....
|Another angle of Go-Left|
We also got a surprise 12 inches on the gauge when we had, for the two weeks prior to the race, about 7 inches on the gauge. This added to the anticipation of the race and scared all of us even more! I just wanted to to fast and clean. All the way up to Go- Left I had been super clean and I was really happy with how I was feeling..... I let my guard down.
Zwicks Backender taught me some humility this year. I came into the top hole slow and super far left... I flipped left and rolled up in the eddy on the left side of the river. I had to go wide at the bottom horseshoe hole so I headed all the way to the wall on the left side. I styled the last drop but I came out so fast that I petoned the massive bottom rock going straight ahead (really fast). I violently flipped to the right and floated under water for a second to try and get my bearings. I rolled and told myself to "clean it up".... using different words.
|Coming into the Notch, trying to get as much air as I could.|
After Zwicks.... Gorilla is always there. I knew I had to get some good deep breaths to be sure that I didn't mess it up. I came into the notch and took the biggest breath I could, soared around the corner, and came smoothly off the pad.
|Off the pad, note the people lining the side of the river.|
Landing in the veil I knew speed trap was coming up quickly and I tried to keep it as straight as I could. I could hear the crowd yelling at me, I thought "oh the stadium of the Green Race". I would never wish to be anywhere else.
Down into the slides I went and I was plum tuckered out by this time.
|Entering Jason Hales downfall.... Scream Machine.|
Just a side note, I am not a betting woman, but every year Jason Hale thinks he is going to beat me in this race. For the last two years he has come close but gotten no cigar. This year, after a couple of glasses of classy wine, Jason caught me in a good mood. The bet was, if I beat him by over 6 seconds he owes me 100$, if I beat him by less than 6 seconds, I owe him 100$. For the record.... I beat Jason by 28 minutes. I will say no more.
So after my "misfortunes" at Zwicks I was pretty tired and I was bummed that I got my hair wet. But, alas, I flipped one more time at the bottom of Power Slide only to roll up and breath heavily all the way to the bottom of the course. Thank God I made it one more year safely. Only, I had to go do it all again in my short boat.
|Stoked to have another Green Race done!!|
My short boat went well.... I broke my record that I set three years ago so I was pretty happy about that. As for the long boat run.... even with flipping three times and taking some "alternative" lines I only missed my best time by one second, leaving me at a 4:58.
I was victorious again but Katrina (my Canadian sister who is 6 feet tall and blonde) was only 8 seconds behind me. Gotta step it up for next year.... I've finally got some girls out there breathing down my neck for the gold in this awesome race. Stay tuned for some more photos and if I ever figure out how to do it, some video too. Thanks for the support from everyone, especially both of my parents who drive down to support me from Michigan every year.
Liquid Logic kayaks, Kokatat, Werner Paddles, and Shred Ready, I could never do any of this without your help and support.