Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pinecreek Race Not for the Faint of Heart

Yours truly getting ready to make the move past the hole

Like most of the Arkansas runs I hadn't done many of them since the days of the 11 foot boat so it has been really fun to jump on them again. The last time I ran Pine Creek I was in a Pirouette, I think, and when we walked down and saw the hole the day before the race was to begin I got a hankering for my long boat again. The move was not terrible but a little speed would be a nice thing. We had already heard stories about a few good surfs and swims and the race was narrowed down quite a bit from last year. There was lots of discussion about sore shoulders and weak knees as we got ready for the race. My practice run had not instilled confidence as I had lost track of where I was and pile drove myself right through the middle of the hole. I did manage to get through but I now think it was pure luck.

The race was only 26 racers including a handful of ladies. We first did a time trial run and that went well for me. I ended up 2nd in the time trials and more importantly missed the hole which was really the goal for me. Adriene ended up 2nd in the womens group as well. There were a couple of swims in the time trials. The top 16 went on to 4 paddler heats of boater X. I kind of wished that I had ended up 17th but I wasn't so lucky.

This is how quickly I went from 3rd to almost 1st.

The start was actually really cool. All four paddlers lined up on shore and slid in together. The rapid is actually well bigger than it looks from shore, hmmmm..., go figure isn't it always that way? It was about 100 yards of pretty big waves and then the quick move right to left right above the big big hole. A few people went right but after a couple people got stuffed by the right line almost no one went right. For the most part people played nice in the boater cross but once you got near the hole it was every person for themselves. After the hole it was another 100 yards of fairly big water and then the finish was actually a solid little boof into an eddie where you had to touch shore to finish your time. The boof proved to be a deciding point in the race several times.

Jason Beakes not so lucky on the move past the hole

Any way here are some photos.


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