by Scott Sady
The Reno Flow has hit the road again for the freestyle kayaking tour. My first stop was the legendary Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado. This was my first time at the games and what a blast! The kayaking competition venue is on a tiny, ice-cold creek running right through the heart of the village. Spectators surround you 360 degrees and they draw more people than even the Reno River Festival, which is one of the better attended whitewater events around. Of course at Teva, kayaking isn’t the only game in town. There was the world cup finals for bouldering, (and fly fishing for that matter, but that was just plain strange to watch,) as well as championships for the dock-dogs. You know, those dogs that fly off the end of a pier and launch themselves 20+ feet out over the water trying to catch their favorite squeaky toy. That was pretty cool to watch. Lots of good music and good friends as well as a gnarly creek race, stand-up paddle-board race and downriver racing. Oh, and I almost forgot, some wicked slope-style mountain biking including a dude that pulled a double back-flip on his bike. Of course they did have to take him to the hospital with a concussion…..
The freestyle kayaking feature was difficult to say the least. On the tiny creek, the water changed dramatically from heat to heat and even ride to ride. Stephen Wright was leading by a long shot going into the semi-finals, and I was holding down 13 place, just making the cut. My semi-final ride was not so good, but then the same can be said for a lot of paddlers, with the end result that I stayed 13 out of 34 and Stephen surprisingly didn’t make the final 5. On the women’s side, Ruth laid down some great rides, but Emily Jackson was simply on fire and took her 7th straight Teva win, with Ruth coming in second. The competitors included a lot of European national champions over here to train for worlds, which is only a week away, so it was a really solid field of boaters. However, most of the big guns are heading to Germany in the next few days, so I am looking to score a paycheck here in the next few events. Off to Buena Vista to practice on the Arkansas River for a few days, then up to Lyons for the Lyon’s Outdoor games next week. I’ll keep you posted.