Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gore race 2009: 2nd and 4th!

Mist rising off the river just below putin, at dawn on race day

This weekend, Natalie and I headed up to the 2009 Gore Canyon race. I had just finished the three day drive back from the Slave, but somehow I ended up driving late into the night to get us there. We woke up early in hopes of getting a practice run in before the noon start of the race, since neither of us had run Gore since last year. However, the putin was deserted, and while we were hanging out making breakfast, a ranger showed up and politely informed us that there was no parking at putin until after the race was over. We packed up and headed to the takeout, which was a complete zoo. It was probably a good thing that we went to takeout, since we got to attend the racers' meeting and, you know, register and stuff. Of course, there was a lot of sitting around waiting for shuttles and such, but by about 12:00 we were back at the putin again, ready to paddle a few miles of flatwater and then RACE.

The race went well for both of us. The level was somewhere near 1400, which is perfect medium flow for Gore. This made the flatwater sections not too intense, and smoothed out all the rapids. I almost had a little mishap when I came close to blowing the left/left line at Gore rapid (drifted to the right, and hit the big hole in the center), but my line through toilet bowl helped make up some of that time. Natalie had a sweet boof on the Gore sneak, and flipped in Tunnel, but still had a fast line through there. The deciding point in her run was probably when she got to Scissors and didn't know the line (she'd only run Gore 2 or 3 times before racing, and all more than a year ago). She boofed far right into an eddy, and had to fight her way out, which might have been the difference between second and first.

We both paddled Fluid Solos. I was in the Large, and Natalie in the Medium. I was surprised when I measured my Solo and found that it was one of the shortest boats in the creekboat class. That must be why it's so manoeuvrable. However, it still has a pretty fast hull, as the results show.

Anyway, here's how we did:
Leif: 4th in the 8'-10' class (creekboat class) (out of 19 finishers + 5 dnf's), 8th overall (of 40 finishers + 6 dnf's), with a time of 22:54. I was 9 seconds behind Christian Cook, who took third.

Natalie: 2nd in women's class (of 2), 18th overall (of 40 + 6 dnf), with a time of 24:53. Her time would have put her in 11th in the men's creekboat class (of 19 + 5). She was only 7 seconds behind the first place woman (Maria Kallman). The two women were very closely matched, taking 17 and 18 overall, so it wasn't a case of "even last is only second," it was "second happens to be last place," if that makes any sense. Pretty good for not running it in a year, and only running it about 3 or 4 times total. Natalie said she was seriously pissed at all the women who showed up and paddled down to watch, but didn't race! I won't name names...

Since we obviously couldn't take any photos while racing, we staged a dramatic re-enactment of the race on sunday. Here are the photos that we took on that day.

An unidentified friend (wouldn't want him to get fired) "calling in some field work" just before putting in.

Dramatic re-enactment of Leif's line through Gore, with the part of Leif played by Natalie Kramer.

Dramatic re-enactment of Natalie's line through Gore, with Natalie played by Leif Anderson, and Natalie's line played by the Professor

Eric Bissel re-enacting his own line, with the part of his creekboat played by his playboat.

Some random dude working the slower line through tunnel.

Leif's line through tunnel.

Natalie's line through tunnel, except without all the flipping.

Here are the results.

There's a video of the race that features me punching right into the center of Ginger, but making it through, Natalie styling the sneak, and a whole bunch of other people.

And apparently there was even an article in the Denver Post, although I didn't see any references to my name, so it's probably boring.

Next year, we plan to do even better.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Massive Rollercoaster Dump

Rollercoaster is a pretty nice, friendly wave in the Cassette rapids here on the Slave river. It's got some size to it, so large moves are not impossible, but it isn't too violent or trashy. The eddy is a little boring, due to the large distance that you have to paddle, but hey, at least you don't have to hike. We were lucky enough to get quite a few days there this year, as the levels changed around.

Well, I'm not writing a guidebook here. I'll just let the photos speak for themselves. Begin photo dump!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Still here - Sweetspot photos

Yes, I am still here. While I've been up here on the Slave, Natalie has been running all over the place, kicking ass at races, and posting libellous blog articles about me. But I'm not taking it sitting down. I've had a few adventures of my own. So many, in fact, that I haven't even had time to brag about them. Times have been crazy indeed. Since it's dark outside, it must be near midnight (since I'm in the Northwest Territories), so I'll just throw up a bunch of photos. Pow, enjoy.

Maybe later I'll throw together some rollercoaster photos. If I feel like it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Gnarrows Race 2009!!!

I womped on good number of guy paddlers this last weekend at the Gnarrows Race on the Cache La Poudre to come in 4th out of 18 paddlers. For a complete pre-race to post race shit talk fest visit

The gnarrows race is hands down the best and most fun boater X ever. This low key event is attended by locals and is not an official event. There are no entry fees, no bibs, just plain old fun. The preliminaries are usually held in heats of four or five and the racers paddle from upper narrows all the way down through lower narrows, it is exhausting! The top two paddlers advance. Kevin, whom I call fancy no pants due to the fact that he was wearing a leopard print thong for the event, almost caught up to me on the last drop of narrows, but I eeked through to semi-finals. Semi finals and finals are held just on lower narrows. The key to winning these heats is to jockey for a good starting position. I had crappy starting position for both the semi-finals and the finals. However, I was able to snag second place during semi finals due to Casper Mike's flip to swim, which threw todd offline and allowed me to paddle through. Unfortunately during finals as I was about to snag third place in front of Kyle McCutchen, Marty got stuck in front of me and threw me into some slow water above the last drop. Marty and Kyle snagged second and third respectively. Congrats to Christian for an uncontested awesome champion finish. And great job to Nathan who took fifth after debating whether or not he wanted to race.

Below is a slide show of pictures from the day which my mother took, thanks mom!

The race was awesome and the after party was a new experience for me as we boiled and ate crawfish, and sucked their heads. And of course, I made the party complete by setting off some awesome grease bombs from some fat that I had been saving up for a year. We also broke out the maple whiskey which was a nice touch to the end of an incredible day.

I also had to include a slide show of the crawfish feed. I forgot to get the camera out for the grease bombs so there are no really cool explosion photos, oops.