Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Green River Narrows Race

Skip the bullshit and watch the video?

This was my first year in the Green Race, so I was pretty nervous. I really wanted to get a fast time and beat my friends, and I kept visualizing the lines over and over again before I ever got in my boat... It was pretty chilly out, so about 20 of us waited at the put-in parking lot so we could stay in the sun and play some hacky-sack. This was probably one of the more intense aspects of the race, knowing there were 500 people waiting downriver to scream and yell at you as you run the biggies. (Photo: Doug Silsbee).

My friend Saunders Southecorvo and I headed down to Bride after about an hour and a half, and timed it pretty well so both of us only had to wait for 20 minutes or so at Bride. (Saunders was to start 2 places behind me). Then it was on... (Photo: Casey Jones). I had great lines through Frankenstein and all the boogie above Boof or Consequences. Boof went well, and I made sure I was far right at the bottom so I wouldn't waste anytime above Go Left. I hit the race line at Go Left going up over the rocks in the entrance and charging over the log without losing any time. I hit the rock in the middle and braced off it with my hand, but lost no speed coming through. I could hear people yelling my name and I resisted the urge to look up.

This next move was my biggest mistake during the race. Immediately after Go Left I automatically went for the boof on the right which is a good second or two slower then the middle. This is the line I always take when not racing, so by instinct I went for that side. Luckily I didn't really stall after the boof and probably only lost one second here. I kept sprinting and nailed the race line at Zwick's and Chief's. HOLY $%#! That is a lot of people! I rounded the corner after chiefs and glanced up at the enormous crowd that lined the left bank at Gorilla. As I came into view I could hear everyone start yelling. DAMN this is awesome! I stuck pencil sharpener and made sure I was in position for the notch. My notch line went well and before I knew it I was flying off the pad. One of the important things here is to remember NOT to boof. It's much easier to stay in control and avoid a spin at speed trap if you just hold a stroke and fade off the pad. (Photo: Doug Silsbee).

I felt myself start to flip right when I landed and I managed to hold a brace so I would stay upright. WHAM I hit speed trap and it overwhelmed my brace flipping me right. I knew I wasn't in the eddy though as I rolled up and I didn't really lose much speed from the flip. At this point I was really drained and I was more concentrating on sticking the slides clean then trying to paddle real hard.

I had pretty clean lines through Scream machine and Nies' pieces. (See video). Powerslide was done in a flash, and I approached the last slide, Rapid Transit. This went smoothly, and I came out pointed directly at the finish rock. One last weak sprint with the remainder of my energy and the race was over. That was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

I went back up to Gorilla to watch the rest of the racers. Coop bombing scream machine.
For everyone that wants to know where to sit next year: BETWEEN PENCIL SHARPENER AND THE NOTCH... (If you like carnage). I watched probably 8 people flip on the first part of pencil sharpener, then run the second part upside down. They would roll up exhausted and out of it from the PS crash... then there's the notch. It was really cool seeing people's faces at this point in the race. Some looked completely drained and out of it, floating into the notch. Others looked so determined and their faces were painted in a grimace as they put every ounce of strength into getting some speed for the notch. Someone off the lip, with Grace filming on the left. (Photo: Doug Silsbee).

After the Time Trials, Jason rounded up a few last minute head to head races... I wasn't going to do it, but after I saw the crazy expression on Jason's face as he gestured for me to get my ass down there on the rock, I changed my mind. We all lined up and Speed Trap was trying desperately to pull one of us in. Someone was holding my stern, thank god, and I didn't get washed in before I put my skirt on.

GO! GO! GO! I started paddling my ass off, and was side by side with Chan, Johnny Kentucky and Billy as we started crashing down the first slide. Cooper was just behind us threatening to spear someone. A sixth racer was stuck in the eddy behind Cooper. (Watch the video, Cooper does this amazing "thread the needle" between Johnny and Billy). I was the furthest right which was a big advantage on the first slide and the 3 of them all crashed into the hole together. I passed them and hit the gas. (Photo Joshua Coxe). Then Cooper came out of nowhere and started riding my stern. Where the hell did he come from? I thought he was going to pass me for sure in the landing, but somehow I came ontop and beat him to powerslide. After powerslide it was just a short stretch of flatwater until the end.

The party afterwards was a great time, and everyone got to see the results. Here is someone jumping over the fire. (Photo: Caroline Moon).

Pat won with a time of 4:36 in his new "Dagger Tank". Pat also won the shortboat class with a record time of 4:54. I personally got a time of 5:11, placing me in fifth in the shortboat class. I was really happy with this result as I hadn't trained much and this was my first year racing. I hope to see you all out there next year!

Good lines out there,
Nathan S


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