WWGP stage 4: Futaleufu Boatercross

My best finish for the event was one of the heats of the Boatercross and my overall favorite race was the Futaleufu Marathon. After finishing up in the Pucon area with the Rio Nevados Sprint (Also see posts about the Gol Gol Enduro and the Puesco Boulder Dash), the Grand Prix switched locations and spent a few days transporting to the Futaleufu, in the Patagonia region of Southern Chile. This was a minor logistic feat (thanks Emily!). We spent many hours in the car on bumpy roads and chilling out on a few ferries. Leif spent his time on the ferry taking nice photos.

Leif was happy he was not in the Party Bus and he had a shoulder to lie on.

John Hyland checks out the ferry.  Notice the guy in the sleeping bag.

That guy is Kyle Hull catching some zzzs

Rush finds some time to work on his Raps and Dane gets into crafts with the gals.  It was cold, I don't know how he hung out in that sweater vest.
Jakub hacks.
Emily, Pat and Matty B making it happen.
As you can see from these photos, after the beautiful one day of sunshine for the Rio Nevados race, the weather again turned south. For the entire time we were at the Futa, it rained incessantly. During our time at the Futa we stayed at the Bio Bio rafting camp which had hot showers and a wood fired hot tub (although we didn't get this working until the last couple of nights), which helped to alleviate the cold. At this point we had been boating almost every single day for the last week and a half or so mostly in the rain. I noticed that everyone was starting to look a little haggard and by the time that these races finished almost everyone on the tour was sick. I ended up getting a cough that I just got rid of three weeks later! However, the river was incredible, which lifted everyone's spirits. The water rose to above the rafting cutoff, which made for some incredible fun, big and splashy whitewater.

  The Boatercross
The official Video: WWGP Stage 3: Big Water Boatercross

 The Boatercross was held on the Mas o Menos Rapid. This is essentially a huge rapid with some big big waves. We all started with our tails into a big eddy and had to paddle hard to get to the main current. Once in the main current you went through a smaller lead in with a choice to go left or right of a big crashing hole wave. The left line was very narrow. Then you entered the meat of the rapid with big crashing waves all around that tossed you every which way. I liked to try to run it on the left. The run was basically won at the start and lost in the crashing waves.

 The format was like a tournament. The men raced in heats of four with the top finisher moving on. A couple of wild card spots were given to the top times of the racers that didn't make it. For the women, we had a qualifying heat which eliminated one person. Then we had two heats of three, with the top two finishers moving on. The last heat determined your finish. After being a bit down on myself after the sprints I made a big effort to shift my mental focus and come out strong in this race. And I did! My best finish of the entire event was coming in 1st place out of all 7 women in the qualifying heat. I knew that most the women were taking the right line at the start, so I took the riskier left line and nailed it. This allowed me to get away from the pack where I wouldn't get messed up by them. I think (I might have messed up a little the internal finishers) the finish from that heat was 1. Me, 2. Martina, 3. Nicol? Lou Urwin? 4. Noria 5. Lou Urwin? Nicole? 6. Katrina 7. Louise Jull. For my second heat I raced with Noria and Katrina. During my second heat I got a slow start and messed up that same left line that served me so well in prelims. The final results for that race ended up being: 1.Katrina 2. Martina 3. Noria 4. Lou Urwin 5. Nicole 6. Me 7. Louise Jull. As you can see by comparing the prelim heat to the final finishing, this race was a big wildcard as to who would win. Anything can happen during a boatercross. Katrina jumped from 6 to first and I fell from 1st to 6th! This was also true for the men. Isaac, coming into this event in first, got into semi finals as a wildcard spot and ended up losing a few places in the overall standings. Of particular note was fellow team Fluid paddler Adrian Kiernan's performance during this race. He killed it. During the last heat he was in first place, beating Dane until the very very last wave when he got passed by Dane and marginally (almost a tie) by DeGuill.

Louise Jull getting an unfortunate, but awesome, surf at the lead in to the meat. Photo by Eric Boomer.
Me, coming in first for that prelim heat!  Photo by Eric Parker.

In a rare bit of sunshine, Adrian totally stoked on his Boater Cross races. Photo by Leif.

Check back in a few days to read about the final race: the marathon. And in case you missed them, here are the links to my previous posts in this series:
Back from the Grand Prix
Stage 1: Gol Gol
Stage 2: Puesco Stage 3: Nevados


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