Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Weekend Update

This past weekend was a busy one for me. Lots of time spent behind the wheel driving up to Seattle and back to Hood River for some important goings on.

The first ever Robe Canyon Race, organized by The Range Life was held on Saturday. The RCR really intrigued me because of its unusual format: Teams of two, time trial with a mandatory portage with expected times over 30 minutes. It was a far cry from the Canyon Creek Race with winning times under 6 minutes. So I drove up to Seattle Friday night to my food friend Kyle's house. I was preceded there by Hood River local, Kris L, Jason S and Jesse. We had planned separately to head up the race and see what was up. None of us has done the run before but were hoping to find others who, like us, had no teammate but unlike us, knew the lines. Unfortunately, by the time we woke up, got some food in our guts, and rolled, convoy style to meet Melina and Hometeam, Ammen and his wife and Brett, it put us a little behind schedule to connect with anyone to race with. Instead Jason, Jesse and I got involved with the safety crew. At least this way we get to run the river and see the local boaters kick some ass.

Put in at Robe.

Kyle, Brett and Kris all hiked in at various places to help out with safety, finish timing and to just plain spectate.

The level for the race was a bit lower than desired: about 4.9” but there was still plenty of water for a race and the advantage was definitely with those who knew the low water lines.

We were following Chris J down to Face Plant to get set above Catcher's Mitt so I have lots of photos of folks in those two drops. I guess that what happens when you set up in only on place but I was happy to help out.

Setting Safety at Faceplant

The winning team: Ben and Rob

After the race we headed over to a grab some beer and pizza from a local place and learned the results.
Check in with TRL for full results
Have a look here for my full set of photos from the day.

That night, I went to bed early and let the rest of the folks head out without me to have some fun. I had other plans for the morning. Though Todd G and Johnny U had expressed interest in my early morning run down the the Little White to catch up with Devin for his first time down. Somehow they never did call. Though I am interested to here how their run down Ernie's went!

Once I got back into the Gorge and to the take for the LW, people just started showing up. Who knew the Midget had such a fan club! Ryan, Austin, Geoff, Keel, Jarred, Lana and I were all in for this 13yr olds first trip down the Little White.

Pre-Trip outfitting adjustments

It turned into a fantastic day: Sunny, warm, about 3.1 on the stick at the top. I'm sure you can expect a full TR from Devin and his Dad coming soon but as far as I am concerned he styled everything he ran ,which was everything except Spirit, and I was just there with the camera. Not everyone was quite as lucky however: Jarred missed his boof at Spirit, and got a pretty good beat down in the curtain and then later in Chaos.

Some of my favorite shots from the day:

Austin at Boulder Sluice

Devin in Island

Geoff in between at S-Turn

Ryan at Stove Pipe

Jarred on his way to some unfortunate events.

Geoff going after Jarred's boat in Chaos

There are more great shots here so be sure to check them out!

After watching the rescue efforts, Devin Lana and I all portaged Spirit. The other three Little White All-Stars had great lines and were even joined by Ben and Jesse C who were in town for the Hood River premier of Hotel Charley 3.



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NorthWest Creeking Comp

The Peanut gallery at the the starting line

This past Saturday marked the first NW Creeking Competition in its new incarnation. Past years have seen low turnouts and lower water levels for the Canyon Creek Extreme Race but the combination of new ‘management’ and a significantly earlier race date was a grand success.

Joe Stumpfel, I and 80 some-odd of our closest paddling friends, came out in force on April 12th 2008. As some of you may have heard from me before, Canyon Creek levels are measured against the ‘unit’ (he). Its runnable very low and very high but flows within 4 or 5 inches of the unit are pretty standard happy flows. Past years flows have been more like 12 inches under. This year lots of racers we caught by surprise with the higher flows and found themselves rodeo-ing when they should be racing.

Luke S, the guy who made it all happen

You may also notice the Ol’ Joseph was in a K1 instead of a C1… I don’t get it either.

I volunteered as a starter right between Prelude and Thrasher. Prelude is one of the sticker spots on the river and I and the other starters watched or rescued 10 or so swimmers all while watching from above as another smaller handful of paddles swam out of the first drop as well! I heard personally from about 5 people who swam on their morning practice runs!

Richard hitting the boof at Thrasher

Well we couldn’t have asked for a better day and the even turn out exceeded anyone’s expectations. A big thanks to Luke Spencer of Next Adventure for making the whole thing come alive, to Shannon Crosswhite for doing a great job as volunteer coordinator and to all the racers, volunteers and spectators who came out to hang and made the day what it was.

Results are posted at Paddler Magazine

Don’t read to much into my place! 1: it was my first race and I didn’t want to blow my wad 2: since I was a starter, I ended up coming down after the R2s which was well after they were expecting any kayakers SO, I think my time was a little bit made up. No worries though, it was just a good day on the river with friends, in the sun, with great water. Pretty ok in my book! I’ll take the whole thing next year.

Riot C1-er Joe Stumpel, cross training.
Check out some more photos here

Hope to see ya’ll on the river soon.


Photo by michaellongphoto.com