The week between the first and second Saturdays of May, 2012 seemed to drag slowly.
I was hoping for rain all week to increase water levels and raise the river but rain never came.
This was also to be the first year that the local race organizers were running a 6.2-mile downriver race in the morning and then a 7-mile flatwater race in the afternoon so, on paper, it seemed like an outstanding day of paddling and I looked forward to paddling in both races.
I scouted the river level Friday night and it did not look good. The water on the Rivanna was very low.
No rain came overnight so I made a race day decision.
Rather than beat up one of my good kayaks on rocks on low water, I would enter the downriver race with my oldest son in the tandem category with my Keowee II kayak and then compete with my Thunderbolt-X in the afternoon on flatwater.
It was a hard decision because I very much wanted to compete against the best paddlers in the solo division downriver, but I knew with low water I was at a huge disadvantage and also I did not want to beat the living daylights out of one of my good boats pounding and scraping against rocks the whole way down the river.
Josh and I won the downriver race in the morning in the tandem division which brought great satisfaction, but it meant I was going to have to wait yet another year to see how well I stacked up in the solo division versus the best local paddlers.
I did well that afternoon on flat water and took second place in my Thunderbolt-X kayak, 55 seconds behind the winner. The field was extremely competitive and only one minute and thirty three seconds separated the top four paddlers that day.
Overall it was a great day of paddling, but I was disappointed that I was not able to compare myself to the best local paddlers because low water forced me to choose a tandem kayak for the downriver race rather than a solo kayak.
But because of my outcome on flat water I knew I stacked up very well.
Maybe 2013 would be the year for me on my local river.
Downriver Race slideshow
7-mile flatwater race.