wildwildwes

Toxaway Put-in Slide PFD

wildwildwes wrote 743 days ago:


I started out my 2016 New Year of kayaking down the Toxaway put-in slide on Saturday!  It was an absolutely incredible feeling sliding into one of the most monstrous single features I’ve ever paddled down. Then we headed to North Fork French Broad for two fun laps at 4″.  An awesome time with Brian Vermillion and Ben Warf!!

Check out Brian’s video from our Toxaway Adventure:

YouTube Preview Image

My photo essay for our Toxaway Put-in Slide PFD:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153851653008205.1073741889.552848204&type=1&l=b8ab82ebf9



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Linville Gorge PFD

wildwildwes wrote 755 days ago:


Photo by Nikki Malatin

Linville Gorge has been a huge paddling goal of mine for many years.  When I first started paddling over 15 years ago I had dreams to be able to complete this run one day…  That day finally came this past November and all the pieces of the puzzle came together for a perfect crew, guide, weather, and flow!  I’ll let the photos and videos do most of the talking:

Videos by Mark Kieran:

Linville Gorge, Part 1 – Piney to Babel

http://www.vimeo.com/150252902

Linville Gorge, Part 2 – Babel to Double Undercut and then Mark had to hike out from there.

http://www.vimeo.com/150256181

My Photo Essay:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153753665993205.1073741888.552848204&type=1&l=2d4a283d61

Photo by Nikki Malatin

 



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2015 Tsali Adventure Triathlon Report

wildwildwes wrote 774 days ago:


The Tsali Adventure Triathlon is a multi-sport race that is hosted in the Tsali Recreation Area near Bryson City, NC.  The race starts with a 3 mile paddle on Fontana Lake that begins at the Tsali Boat Ramp and then circumnavigates Bear Island and back to the Tsali Boat Ramp.  The next stage of the race is a 5 mile run on the Tsali Right Loop First Alternate single track trail.  The last stage of the race is a 13 mile mountain bike course on Tsali’s Mouse Branch and Thompson single track trails.  The race supports MedicForce.

This year the race was postponed in early October due to the hurricane that passed through the area the weekend the event was scheduled.  Race organizers rescheduled the race for Saturday, November 14, 2015.  The day turned out to be a nice mild, sunny day for the race!

My wife, Jennifer, and I decided to give this race a try for our first ever team triathlon together.  I did the paddle & bike stages and Jen did the running stage of the race. 

The race start was an exciting one for sure with the LeMons style 100 yard dash run down the boat ramp to our boats to launch for the paddle stage!  The race start was divided into two groups.  The individual triathletes started first and the teams started in the second heat.  The legendary Chris Hipgrave (Fellow BRO Teammate) was there racing with another team and we always share a good comradery with each other.  So naturally I had to give him a little smack talk when he started whining about the LeMons start format.  I threw down the gauntlet to say I would roast him in the dash to our boats; which I did with brilliant success [Because I knew I could not touch him on his EPIC surf ski boat with me in my Jackson Kayak Karma Unlimited when we got on the water].  I was the first person to get in my boat and start paddling.  Got to celebrate the small victories!

Once we were on the water racing Hipgrave smoked us all, as expected, before we even made it to the first buoy.  The 3 mile paddle went very well for me considering all the other much faster composite and longer boats I was racing against in this flat water race.  I kept a good pace and felt strong throughout the paddle around the island and back.  Once I hit land back at the boat ramp I had to run back up the hill to the transition zone to go through the finish gate to tag Jen to start the run stage.

Once I made the tag Jen was off to run her five miles and I was sucking wind from the run uphill.  I caught my breath and said a quick prayer for Jen to have a safe race run.  As Jen was running the Right Loop race course I headed to the car to load my boat and change from my paddling gear to my biking gear.  Jen said the run was one of the tougher trail runs she has done due to the heavy leaf cover and not being sure about footing on the uneven terrain.

I sat upon my Cannondale F-29 poised ready to start the bike stage when Jen came running down the hill to make the tag in the transition zone.  She came through the finish gate looking weary from the long run, but greeted me with some encouraging words to finish well.  Then I was off heading up the road to start Mouse Branch Loop with some cheers from fellow racers hanging out in the transition zone.

The bike race course was originally scheduled to be on the 12 mile Left Loop of the Tsali trails on the October date.  I trained on Left Loop on the Sunday of the NOC Guest Appreciation Festival in September while I was in the area and I was feeling good about the course.  However due to the race reschedule in November the bike race course had to be switched to the Mouse Branch and Thompson loops.  I had not ridden the Mouse Branch loop in years and I had never ridden the Thompson loop.  I was a little nervous going into this race course blind and having to ride the trails in heavy leaf cover made it rather slippery.

I turned onto the Mouse Branch loop to ride in the opposite direction of the typical suggested travel route as directed by race officials.  It turns out that riding Mouse Branch backwards is the hardest route you can ride at the Tsali trails!  This Mouse Branch route was not the typical Tsali flow I am use to on the Right and Left loops.  There seemed to be a lot of short steep climbs with not much relief in the downhill sections.  I was worn out by the time I finished Mouse Branch loop and I still had to ride Thompson loop!

I made the turn onto Thompson loop feeling drained and had to reassure myself I could get this done.  Thankfully Thompson was much flowier in the typical suggested travel route.  I had to stop and take a few short breaks during this loop after being gassed from the Mouse Branch loop.  The long climb up an old forest road toward the end was brutally tough in my worn down condition.  I made it to the top of that final climb to be rewarded with a long downhill single track trail back to the parking lot and to the finish line.    

Overall this race was a tough one for sure with trail conditions being leaf covered for the run and bike stages, but Jen and I gave it our best and we were happy to finish our first team triathlon together!

Here were our split times for each leg of the race:
3 mile paddle – 38:47
5 mile run – 59:54
13 mile mountain bike – 2:04:32

For a total time of 3:43:13 which placed us in 7th of the mixed team division and 12th overall in the team results.

Full race results can be found at:

http://tsalitriathlon.com/results/

For more photos check out my photos essay at:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153727802353205.1073741887.552848204&type=1&l=f18ad0a988



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After Work Watauga Longboat Fun!

wildwildwes wrote 839 days ago:


There is no better way to end a Monday than firing down Watauga Gorge at 490 CFS (11″ on bridge gauge) on an after work run with sunny 70 degree skies!

Take a ride down the best class IV run on the planet with Jamison Evans and I in our Jackson Kayak Karma Unlimited long boats in this video filmed using the JK Levator mount (http://store.jacksonkayak.com/levator/) and GoPro camera.

http://www.vimeo.com/141586729

We were out there for Ocoee Race training ONLY… No fun was had at all! ;-)



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Taylor River Canyon, CO Video

wildwildwes wrote 883 days ago:


Check out Brian Vermillion‘s video of our run on the Taylor River Canyon near Almont, CO.  This was our last day in CO before we headed back home. The Taylor was a great way to end an awesome trip with a 30 year record high flow over +3,500 CFS in the 5 mile section we ran on the upper run!  Good times, good times!!  :-)

YouTube Preview Image



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Upper East, CO Video

wildwildwes wrote 918 days ago:


Check out Brian Vermillion‘s video of our run on Upper East in Crested Butte, CO.  This 1 mile stretch of river was stacked with some several fun slides.  You know its going to be a good time when you get to run a rapid called “Midget Wrestler” (0:42-0:57 in video).  Good times, good times!  :-)

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Summer After Work Run Winning!

wildwildwes wrote 922 days ago:


On Tuesday Josh Register, Matt Dalton and I caught Laurel Fork in the evening at a good medium level. We put on between 12-13″ @ 6:15 PM and took off between 9-10″ 8:00 PM.

Kind of a chunky hole level in the main gorge, but by the time we made the portage around the falls the paddle out was not very padded with the dropping level.

No major new wood to cause any portages, but we did employee the normal duck, dodge, pull your buddy off a log and/or boof techniques to avoid several pieces of wood that is typical on this run.

I <3 Laurel Fork!  Best micro creeking class V in Carter County for sure and even better in July! :-)

 

On Wednesday I had a wonderful after work run on Watauga with J Spencer Cooke, Edgar Peck, Greg Timm, Dennis Ashford, Ben Armbrust & Dennis Gilfillan.

Gauge was reading only 160ish, but we had a nice 200-225 CFS level from all the feeder creeks pumping.

Got to lead Ben down his first huck of Stateline Falls and he styled it! No better way to enter TN for sure from NC!

Spencer even showed me a new rock spin I had no idea was there. It is now one of my favorite rock spin moves on the Watauga! Good times, good times! :-)

Props also to Edgar for finding and towing out a kayak that was pinned in a sieve below Vernon’s Folly from a high water swim on Tuesday.

I <3 <3 <3 Watauga!  Boofing in July is the best! :-)

 



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Royal Gorge of the Ark, CO Video

wildwildwes wrote 932 days ago:


Check out Brian Vermillion‘s video of our welcome to CO run for our trip!  Royal Gorge was huge off the hook fun at the 5,300 cfs level we caught!  We met up with a great group of local boaters to check out this high water run and good times were had for sure!!

YouTube Preview Image

 



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Daisy Creek, CO Video‏

wildwildwes wrote 937 days ago:


Check out Brian Vermillion‘s video with the link below of our first lap on Daisy Creek with Tommy Clapp. This 1 mile creek was stacked with some super fun slides and Big Wood Falls was the climax of the run for us. We took out before Rip Your Head Off Falls due to the lower flow. Good times! :-)

YouTube Preview Image



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Nolichucky Beer League

wildwildwes wrote 984 days ago:


Curtis England from the NOC Nolichucky Outpost has organized a new weekly event called the Nolichucky Beer League!  The event gets its roots from the Beer League started over on the French Broad Ledges in Asheville.  The NBL occurs every Thursdays at 6:00 P.M when river levels are between 500-2500 CFS.  Anyone is welcome to come out with their long boats to do attainments from the NOC to Twin Eddies.  The goal is to get the kayaking community fired up about some upstream paddling on this great section of river.  Paddlers are also encouraged to bring their beverage of choice for afterwards for some fun fellowship.

I joined the NBL for the first time this week and I had a great time with many friends!  We attained up to Twin Eddies in less than 45 minutes, so then we decided to portage around Twin Eddies and continue on up the river for some more attaining work! The elevator move above Twin Eddies is stout for sure!!

When we got back to the NOC the Jackson Action Wagon‘s Orion Cooler was there to greet us with some tasty ice cold beverages.  Chocolate milk is quickly becoming the favorite drink of the NBL! :-)

Come on out and join the Nolichucky Beer League on Thursday evenings for some attainment fun and training!  If you don’t have a long boat give the JAW a shout and I can hook you up for the evening.  The NBL hopes to see you on the Noli!



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