The Busiest Week of my Year!
The tour has been fully underway for almost 2 months now, and it have been packed with paddling, competing, and lots of driving. Though this past week is always the busiest of the year.
It started off with last weekend the CKS PaddleFest. This event has been going on for many years now. It originated with a sale by Colorado Kayak Supply, though in the past several years it has just kept growing and it is a huge kayak festival now with freestyle events, sup events, demos clinics and obviously still the kayak sale.
It is super busy between working the store, demos, and clinics and still finding time to train and compete. Though it is always a great time. The town of Buena Vista is super fun and the new additions to South Main make it even cooler, with biking Frisbee golf and obviously the kayaking park.
The competition started Friday night with the prelims. It was a tricky spot with the low water, though the heat list was stacked with some of kayaking’s best.
Saturday was the Semi Finals and Finals. You needed to have 900 points or more even to make the top 5 for finals. In the final rounds it was myself, Stephen Wright, Dustin Urban, Matthieu Domoulin and Dane Jackson. It was a tough round with Dane pulling it off top honors with a 1200 point ride to finish off the night.
It was a great weekend with lots of people getting into kayaking, hanging with friends, a couple cold beverages (beers), listening to some guitar, and obviously some amazing kayaking.
Sunday morning came quickly. I spent most of the morning selling kayaks up at the shop. I also got to give away a kayak to Loren Benedict, the winner of the Jackson kayak raffle for the Troutman Foundation. Dane, Courtney and I left BV late Sunday night and started our drive to Steamboat springs to catch the Paddling Life event on Monday morning.
Steamboat started off with the freestyle event at the playhole right in town. It was a close finals between myself, Dane and Jordan Poffenburger. Though in the end Dane edged my out for first while I took a close second, and Jordan in third. We went straight to Fish creek for the creek race part of the event in the afternoon. Fish creek was low bet still good to go. With my new secret weapon, the Jackson Kayak Zen, I was able to cruise down the course with ease.
The race results flipped with myself in first and Dane and second just 2 seconds behind me. Both of us where super excited to edge out the Kiwi, Mike Dawson, who is known for his creek racing skills, and one of the Olympians for the 2012 games.
With both Dane and I having a first and second we shared the overall first place finish and each brought home a check for $425 and a Rhino roof top carrier.
We had to leave after awards and head straight to Vail for the next event, the Teva Mountain Games.
The Teva Mountain Games are one of the biggest of the year, with competitions happening all week in all sorts of different sports including, biking, running, kayaking, slack lining, fly fishing, dog jumping, and rock climbing to name a few.
The low snow pack winter definitely hit Vail hard this year with record low river levels. Though the organizers were able to pull it all together and make all the kayaking events happen.
First off was the Homestake Creek Race. This is one of the more prestigious creek races with competitors coming in from across the globe. Though it is always obvious that the Kiwis, Sam Sutton and Mike Dawson, are the ones to beat.
With a couple days of training, and a fast boat (the Zen), I found the course to be super manageable and for the first time ever I felt really comfortable and ready to race. The race it set up that everyone takes 1 one, the top 20 people continue on and take a second run with both runs being added together to crown the winner.
I had an amazing run, crushing the course and having the best race of my life until the final drop, the “Leap of Faith”. I had nailed the line there every time in practice, though coming in a bit more out of breath I didn’t focus enough and pitoned the wall and went deep in the eddy. This cost my three seconds, though to my surprise I was still in 5th after first runs, behind Sam, Mike, Dane and EJ. For my second run I took it a bit easier and made sure to nail my lines, which worked out great I had a flawless run, though being that I didn’t sprint the flat pools my time still wasn’t enough. Mike took 1st with 3:58.06, Dane 2nd with 4:00.82, Sam 3rd with a 4:02.53 and me getting pushed to 4th with a4:03.28.
Next up was the freestyle competition. The water was so low they actually had to put in a whole bunch of boards to restrict the flow enough to make it even deep enough to paddle. It was a tricky comp with the lower levels and hard to not hot the rocks. Props to the guys who were able to figure it out better than me. I ended up in 7th while Stephen Wright took home the top place with a whopping 1190 point ride.
Sunday was the 8-Ball Boater-cross, one of my favorite events ever. For though of you who don’t know what the 8-ball is, it is a full body contact 4 person head to head race, though the catch is there are 12 more people trying to stop you from finishing. If you don’t get the picture, it is a gladiator battle for kayaking. It was tough to make it though all the rounds, dodging kayaks and rafts a like. I ended up in forth for the Men’s finals and won the “Ball Off” with all the Men’s and Women’s Finalists competing together.
The tour continues and so does the excitement. Stay Tuned.