US Freestyle Team Trials and the Mount Washington Tuckerman Inferno
by Elaine Campbell
We've had a couple of good weeks on the road. It started off heading to North Conway, NH for the Mount Washington Tuckerman Inferno Pentathlon. The Inferno is a 8.3 mile run, 5 mile kayak, 18 mile bike, 3 mile hike, and skiing down Tuckermans Ravine. That's what it usually is. This year it rained the night before and the river rose pretty high and the organizers decided to cancel the race on the river and make the kayak a flat water race. Another change this year was the ski. The skier's didn't ski the bowl this year because of 60mph winds and the ravine was a sheet of ice, so they skied part of the Sherman trail instead. Mother nature decided to mess up the race this year but it was still really fun even though I had to race flat water.
I was on a Team of 5 women called Team Broads with Kim Seaman our runner, Nicole Vassar our biker, Di Collier our hiker, Ali O'Rourke skied and I was the kayaker. We competed in the all women's category against 5 women teams. We all raced really well and came in 3rd in the all women's category, our time was 3:40:00. I took first place in the kayak race out of all the the women and 10th in men. There were some really fast boats and some really fast paddlers so it wasn't a gimme. In the overall results we came in 22nd out of 53 teams that included coed teams of 5, duo teams and soloists. It's such a great race and I am looking forward to it again next year.
I'm trying to catch my brother Mark and passed all these guys.
Next up was NC for US Freestyle Kayak Team Trials. If you made the US Team you earned a spot to compete at the World Championships in September on the Nantahala River in NC. Team Trials were held on the Nantahala River and was a 3 day event and pretty much rained 2 days straight during the competition and unfortunately I didn't get any photos or videos because of it. I haven't really play boated at all this year. I spent a week in WV and a few days at Eternity hole in March and that was about it. I've been training mostly for Wild Water Racing because I'm on the US Team for Wild Water and competing at the Sprint World Championships in June in Slovenia so my time and energy has been spent getting ready for Wild Water Worlds. I'm stronger than I've ever been and that was a huge help with my freestyle kayaking. I was able to get a couple of days of practice in on the feature working around the International Canoe Federation Judge Training that I was doing. My paddling was going really well with getting consistent mcnasties, air loops, splitwheels, clean cartwheels, and occasional space godzillas.
There was 15 women who competed. Prelims started on Friday and the level rose and the feature became flushy. I was able to make it to semi finals in 7th place and 11 women moved on because Courtney from New Zealand was competing and she made it to semis. Then it started to rain and didn't stop until Monday. The organizers asked the damn operators to drop the level and they did. The feature was just like what everyone practiced in so that was nice. In semis you get two rides best one counts. My first ride wasn't good enough to put me into the finals, I was a little conservative with it. Devon Barker and Jessica Yurtinas had a better score than me and I knew I had to do something if I wanted to make it into finals. I knew I had to beat a 253 to make it into finals and then would have to wait to see what Kat did in her last ride since was the last to go. This ride I went in and started with my mcnasty and it went then after that I did a bunch of other stuff and scored a 290 and then waited to see what Kat was going to score because she could of pushed me out of finals with her last ride. She didn't beat my score so I moved on to finals and in 3rd place. I was pretty happy with that as was Jeff.
We didn't know if we where even going to have finals if the river flooded out but we did in a crazy flushy feature. In Finals you have 3 rides best one counts. In finals was Emily Jackson, Devon Barker, me, Adriene Levknecht, and Haley Mills. The judging was extremely strict so lots of stuff didn't go this weekend but it seemed they were even harder during finals. You would finish a ride in finals and be like sweet then the judges gave you like nothing, damn them! I was sitting in 3rd which is a good place to be when you know what the others scored. Emily is super pregnant but still could throw down and Devon can easily have a great ride where she does all her tricks and puts up a lot of points even on a flushy feature. Adriene and Haley are going to loop and space godzilla there brains out and get huge bonuses which makes them hard to beat. My best score was my second ride which was a 110. Emily and Devon had one ride left to beat my score (110), Haley's (140), and Adriene's (120) but they didn't and the three of us made the US Freestyle Kayak Team. It was a relief to just goof off in my third ride. Anyway, that's pretty much what happened.
This is my second time on the US Freestyle Kayak Team I was on the US Team in 2009 with Adriene in Thun, Switzerland. I also am on the US Squirt Team they needed another women so I said I would do it, thanks to Jeremy Laucks for letting me squeeze into his squirt boat. I actually competed in squirt at the Worlds in Thun because they needed another country to enter so I did it there and used Jeremy's boat. I'm pretty happy to be competing in 2 World Championships this year. I'll still be focusing mostly on Wild Water right now since the Worlds is in June then when I get back I'll do some training in freestyle but I'm not going crazy. The approach I took to the US Team Trials seemed to really work for me. I've competed in 3 US Team Trials and this was the first one where I didn't care one way or the other about making the team and good things came from it.
A big thank you to my number 1 sponsor Jeff Campbell, my family, and friends and to Wave Sport, Shred Ready, Mitchell Paddles, Zoar Outdoor, NRS, Maui Jim Sunglasses, KEEN, and Watermans Sunscreen for your support.
Here's a link to the results http://freestylekayaking2013.com/blog/us-team/
Celebrating making the US Team with Adriene, Haley and me!
Photo by: Shannon Christy
The US Team!
Till next time,