Sunday, November 06, 2005
Congratulations Tommy! 5 Time Green Race Winner!
Tommy Hileke did it again! Thats 5 time champion in 10 years. That is an amazing accomplishment. This year was even more spectacular than before. There were more competitors than ever. Just over 70 people showed up to huck their meat.
There were more spectators than ever before. We all agreed that there were probably 500 people all scattered and packed in at different places along the river. Of course most of them were at Gorilla, but I swear there were 50 or so up at Go Left.
The most amazing thing of all is that even with the water being a normal 100% release he broke the record for fastet trip down the gorge. Now the real challenge is coming for Tommy, Fatherhood. I think he and Polly will be awesome parents.
The put in is one of the craziest scenes of the whole thing. There are big trucks everywhere and paddlers from all over packing into the little parking area. There are lots of people with way too much adrenaline going, and lots of nerves up there. Every few minutes you here a yell, thats someone trying to scream off their nerves. Everybody is telling war stories and the new racers are just quiet and scared. Its a great scene.
This is a cool tradition of the Green Race. All the racers stand up their boats and get a photo. I think its a unique shot with all the different boats and people getting ready to run it. As a racer you are trying to stay loose but you are thinking about your lines hard and two of them stand out more than any other. Go Left is in the back of everyones minds at the Put In. There have been several swims there and it is arguably the hardest drop to run super smoothly. Then of course there is Gorilla. That one is always on your mind.
Coming into Gorilla during the Green Race is like nothing in kayaking that I have ever done. You have been paddling for nearly 4 minutes flat out when you get there, your arms are jello and its pretty much the crux of the race. The saying goes that you win the race on the first part of the course and lose it on the second part. The other thing that is different than your normal run down the Green is the 500 people that are standing on the rocks 10 feet from you yelling and screaming and only your friends want you to have a good run. Everyone else would love to see a good crash.
This year for the most part I didn't see the people along the side I was able to focus on my lines. Its hard to keep the yells from seeping into you. It is so cool though. Once you have finished racing you run upstream to check on racers coming downstream and you are overwhelmed by how many people are hanging out watching. There are people everywhere and you didn't really notice when you came through.
The party after the race came off great. There were proabably 250 people there. We served 150 people BBQ after the race, and then the crowd showed up for music, videos, awards, air quitar contest, bonfire jumping and other late night shenanigans. The cops even came by a couple times and were completely relaxed about the party.
Liquidlogic, Redbull, and Astral pitched in to throw the party. But the big hand goes out to Jason Hale, Dixie Marie, Christie D., Molly, Jessie, Eli, Al G. and others for making the event happen, and of course Todd Graffe for the amazing stained glass award that goes every year to the winner. Tommy has alot of glass in his house now.
As the night finished lots of folks camped out in our lawn or just hung out by the fire. I got home around 2:30 in the morning and when I came back all the trash had been gathered so all I had to do was sort out the glass and cans and go to the recycling center, and the dump.
It was awesome to come to the yard all picked up. Thanks so much for doing that. Makes us want to throw more parties.