October 13, 2007
Can training really be fun? When 15 of the most talented whitewater paddlers in the region gather up to test their endurance and strength all in the name of bragging rights, you bet it can.
The first ever Green Season Attainment Race (GSAt) was held on October 12 at the Ledges Whitewater Park in Asheville, NC. The classes of racers were: Short Boat Green Racers, Long Boat Women, Short Boat Average Joes, and Long Boat Green Racers. The river was running at a robust 400 cfs due to the lingering drought conditions. The lack of water planted seeds of doubt in the minds of many paddlers, but everyone was pleased to find clean lines through all of the rapids. The format of the race involved a sprint from the starting line out into the main current where paddlers raced about 200 yards downstream to a turn-around, after which they attained back up the rapids about 2/3 of the way back to the start line to a finish rock located mid-river.
In the short boat Green Racer class, 6 boaters (the most of any class) choked up the channelized French Broad River as they squoze their way through the tight turn-around at the bottom of the main rapids. Matias Nuandntilde;ez established his lead early on in the downriver portion of the race and never looked back as he bagged the short boat championship and received an Aquabound 4-piece breakdown paddle courtesy of Diamond Brand. The womenandrsquo;s race provided some great excitement for all, as evidenced by the constant whoops of encouragement coming from the 20+ spectators on the bank. Robin Betz held the lead until reaching the andquot;Sewage Holeandquot; where she was spun out by Adrienne Levknecht, who bagged the title and a schweet new throw rope. Stephanie Metzger won the womenandrsquo;s andquot;Honest Effortandquot; award for digging it out all the way to the finish line. Diamond Brand employee Stuart Schwab edged his co-worker to take the Average Joe title and earn a copy of the Green Race Movie, while Seth Connelly took home some elbow guards for winning the menandrsquo;s effort award. The first 20 feet off the starting line provided the most action during the Green Racer Long Boat championship, where Caleb Coaplen got to feel both sides of the spin-out experience after nosing Chris Gragtmanandrsquo;s boat into an eddy, then feeling the karmic wrath of Daniel Windhamandrsquo;s Tornado. When the splashes subsided, Gragtmans took home the long boat title, with Keith Sprinkle in second and Coaplen in third. Sprinkle and Robin Betz both received a pair of Mion shoes courtesy of Effort.tv for their second place adventures. Check out some great pictures taken by Lee Pirtle at http://www.lepirtle.com/kayak20071012/
For those who havenandrsquo;t experienced head-to-head whitewater racing (or timed attainments for that matter), it really opens your eyes to how leisurely most whitewater experiences are, yet how taxing the sport can be if you treat it that way. You can get whatever you want out of this sport, and with so many different way to use a boat in the river, I canandrsquo;t imagine ever getting bored with it. Thanks to Chris Gallaway, Daniel Windham, Pat Keller, and Spencer Cooke for helping organize and run the event, and to Diamond Brand Outdoors for donating prizes for the racers.
Read the original post:
Drought Racing At Its Finest