I’ve been out of the scene for a few months enjoying my winter in VT. We’ve had lots of snow this winter and it’s been pretty cold. I spent most of my time working at Timber Creek Cross Country and doing a lot of classic and skate skiing. It was finally time to get out of VT and start paddling. I headed to WV for a week bringing snow and cold temps with me. I got some great days in on low water New River Dries and the Gorge section. It was a great week getting myself comfortable in my boat again. Then I headed over to Eternity Hole in NC and put in a few days there. It’s a great little play spot where every hole trick goes really nice and it was still cold.
Next up on my little paddling trip alone with no Jeff, Brook and Laya was a WildWater competition on the Nantahala in NC for the Bank of America US Open and yes, still cold. I never got a break from cold weather on this trip! The Sprint race was being held on Saturday and the Classic race on Sunday. My buddy Mark and his wife Alicia drove from MA a few days before the race. We both finally got back in our wildwater boats after the long New England winter. I felt like I was starting all over again in my wildwater boat and using that damn wing paddle makes everything that much harder. I was able to get it sorted out again but still not super comfortable. Thanks to Alicia for being our awesome shuttle bunny!
We heard about another winter storm that was brewing on Sunday night, that was in our direct path to drive home after the Classic race. We asked the extremely nice Chris Hipgrave who was organizing the WildWater races if we could do the Sprint and Classic on Saturday so we wouldn’t miss the Classic race or get stuck in a storm. He said yes, so we had a big day on Saturday with two races.
The Sprint race started at Pattons Run on the Nantahala. I was feeling a bit tippy that morning in my boat which is never a good feeling to have in a wildwater boat but I was able to keep it upright and clean with a second place finish. Selena Popp came in first with a 1:28.60 and I was right behind her with a 1:28.63. The Classic race that Mark and I did went well I did it in 15:56 and we did it on the Nantahala. I guess on Sunday the damn wouldn’t open so they moved the Classic race to a different river so not really sure how my results faired to the other results but I’m pleased with my time for my first Classic race of the season.
I’m back home in VT and so happy to be back with the family. I have a crazy busy schedule this year and am looking forward to it especially since Jeff, Brook, and Laya will be coming with me for most of it.
Here’s some photos from the wildwater race and a video from my 2 weeks away.
Mark Wendowlowski and I representing New England well!
Photos by: Alicia Clark Wendowlowski
Photo: Jeff Campbell
Till Next time,