It was a cold, rainy, windy day with little bits of snow and sleet thrown in every so often over the course of the day.
Three years ago when I first ran this race in my Thunderbolt-X kayak, it was the first time I had paddled that boat on any moving water and there were a few sets of rapids that made me take caution, but they weren’t that big a deal.
Had I known the exact conditions on the river this day in advance, I would have chosen a slightly more stable boat. The water level was some 4 feet higher than 3 years ago and the dynamic of those rapids changed.
That said, I was at a disadvantage through the rapids during the first half of the race (due to my own skill level in my own boat) but then had an advantage on the flatwater during the second half of the race.
I could tell my training through the winter paid dividends, however, and heard several other paddlers say they just didn’t have enough training time in their surfskis yet this Spring. (I think everyone should have a sensible, winter training boat to stay in top paddling condition year-round.)
Overall, I am satisfied with my performance. Now I know to train with this boat in rougher conditions, but I came away knowing I developed as a paddler, learned some lessons and actually performed fairly well, finishing somewhere near the top of the pack.
I’m OK with that.
Until next time, Love this sport, Take what it has to give you and Pay it forward.