The first Saturday in May came and I was once again back racing a kayak on the Tye River in Nelson County, VA for the Nelson Downriver Race.
This was the first year I began logging all my paddling miles into a spreadsheet and prior to May 5, 2012, I had paddled only 12 workout paddles for ~96 miles. Not much in terms of preparation, but I had spent some time in both the Thunderbolt-X and the Cobra Viper with the wing paddle.
The water was fairly low that day and the Viper scraped many rocks and seemed to stick to each and every one of them. I had what I thought was a good run, but the water was very low so I knew I was at a huge disadvantage because my boat was plastic and heavy while others had fiberglass boats that would skid off rocks easier and float higher in the water because they were lighter.
I placed a respectable second place overall amongst solo paddlers but I was more than 6 minutes behind the first place paddler.
I did, however, get one of the coolest photos from the adventure when I got slightly hung in Rockpile Rapids and reached out to push off against a rock in the middle of the rapid. The picture shows how I maintained my balance over the center of the boat even though it felt like I was going to get knocked sideways.
Rockpile Rapids, Nelson Downriver Race 2012
The “Rockpile Moment” can be seen at 6:30 of this video
Next Saturday would be mine, though, I thought. My local Rivanna River race would be mine because I just had a great warmup race and I would practice hard throughout the week to make sure I was ready.