On June 16, 2012 I once again raced on the James River starting from Lynchburg, VA in the Camp Kum-Ba-Yah race which was a fundraiser so that underprivileged youth could attend summer camp in Lynchburg, VA. The race coincided with the annual James River Batteau Festival which sees dozens of batteau boats (think: Lewis and Clark,) head downriver to both honor the accomplishments of early US explorers and recreate the experience of early American commerce on rivers.
The organizers extended the length of the race that year to cover 13.4 miles so it was a challenge on a very hot, sunny day, but it was quite the exhilarating experience to be on the river with hundreds of other paddlers that day, many who supported batteau crew.
I loaded into the Cobra Viper kayak and headed out to compete with the best of the best as it pertains to local paddlers.
The race was neck-and-neck for quite a while between me and Tom E. in his experimental, fiberglass racing boat and he and I exchanged the lead several times before he finally wore me down and created some distance between us.
Once again, I got stuck on rocks in low water several times while Tom in his fiberglass boat seemed to just skim across the river bottom.
At the end of the race, I came across the finish line in second place a few minutes behind Tom at almost exactly 2 hours elapsed time.
It was a good run but once again it opened my eyes to the fact that developing into a good paddler is one thing, but having the right boat is another thing.
This was the first full year I kept a comprehensive paddling log to keep track of my total miles paddled, and prior to this race I had paddled 189 miles in preparation.
I was happy with my accomplishment but still a little unsettled that somebody beat me.