|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.