As I eluded to last year, the field of competitors has deepened directly proportional to my waistline and inversely proportional to my time spent in river as Heather and I start a family. We (as in Heather) already discussed where any prize money would be delegated and in contrast to past years where it went to new kayaks, bikes, and travel expenses; this year’s top line items were (in order of payout): 1) new Honda Quadcut lawnmower for the yard 2) new Burley kiddo buggy for little Delany on the way 3) diapers. This speaks loudly to where we are at in life as my 40th birthday is in less than 20 days.
|Kayakers and climbers in training. Go Pro has fun for every age!|
|Prijon Capri vs Taifun back to back.. and our favorite camping spot on club level!|
We parked the Sprinter in our favorite spot on the Vail Village parking structure after trading KEEN hats and a crisp $20 bill with some fellow van dwellers who held our spot with their tents while we did practice runs. We sampled KEEN and NUUN product from the back of the Ultimate Multisport Van as a way to get to know our neighbors and get our leash reactive dog Mazzy used to little kids walking up to “her van”. (photo). Ear plugs are a must on “club level” at Vail Village Parking Garage and after a good nights sleep, we were ready for the hustle and bustle of Go Pro Games.
The crisp Vail breeze brought in the morning for the Bud Light Downriver Sprint with 200 kayak and SUP competitors all vying for the rush of 17 minutes in Gore Creek’s 40 degree F water rumbling down the mountain with it’s own agenda to wreak havoc to forward progress. I brought two kayak options for this race, the Prijon Taifun that found it’s way to a 2nd place finish in 2012 and a Prijon Capri that is 10 lbs lighter but is a bit twitchy and less forgiving in choppy big water or exploding waves but faster in lower volume flows. As always, thanks to the US Prijon distributor www.wildnet.com for allowing me access to the warehouse full of the worlds toughest kayaks every year.
My plan was if flows were over 1000 cfs, I’d take the higher displacement Taifun. Flows were just under 1000 cfs, so I saddled up the Capri and asked her to have the run of her life today. For the kayakers out there, a warm up downstream is ALWAYS better than a warmup paddling upstream so Heather dropped me off well upstream and I pulled into the start eddy with minutes to spare waiting for the laser eye to give racers the green light. A proper warm up is one that you get your heart rate all the way into zone 5 then recover back to zone 3 within minutes before you go back to zone 5. Training intervals in your workouts improves your "kinetic VO2 max" ie your ability to go up and down between zone 3 and zone 5 very quickly and efficiently which is some sports is more important than your V02 max.
My run went much better than last year affectionately labeled "the year of the Titanic" and Heather knew it from the smile on my face and how dry my cockpit was as a clean run means a dry skirt as every wave hit to your waist creates friction. Unofficial race results were posted within the hour showing me in 2nd place behind British 2013 extreme kayaker world champion Joe Morley which was a shoe in for the podium and definitely had the skills to relegate me to the diaper category making my hopes of a spanking new Honda lawn mower just out of reach. After several hours, some confusion arose that 2 seeded racers, Isaac Levinson and Dane Jackson both missed their start times and were given a alternate start which is a whole other topic but after calculating their new start times, US slalom standout Issac Levinson won in 17 min 5 seconds in 1st, Brit Joe Morley took 2nd in 17 min 9 seconds then Dane Jackson and I finished 3rd and 4th just tenths of a second apart while Dane’s father needing no introduction Eric Jackson rounded out the top 5. Issac and Dane also went 1-2 in the Steep Creek race the day before so they can buy any mower they want I say.
|Heather + Photoshop = Anything We Want|
Next Up...www.fibark.net next weekend then finish up the whitewater feature in the back yard. Little D comes on Labor Day.