Paddling the Rivanna River when it is high

Last Saturday I paddled on our local Rivanna River at the highest level I’ve ever paddled it.  The Palmyra gauge was somewhere between 3800 and 4000cfs when 3 paddling friends and I launched at 10am from just below the South Rivanna Reservoir.

I knew for sure the river had crested overnight and was dropping, so I felt confident at this level.

The rapids under the railroad trestle became standing waves that were Class II+ – Class III.  I was paddling my Nelo 510 surfski in the most challenging conditions yet and I stayed upright the whole time.  The bucket filled with water at least 3 times, though, and I learned to open the drain before entering a set of large rapids.

One of our members capsized in the largest of the rapids and her boat had very little buoyancy since there was no foam or flotation in it anywhere.  This could have been a very serious situation but we rescued her and her boat, though getting it out of the water to drain it was a challenge with so much water in it.

We arrived at Riverview Park and then I paddled back upstream to Darden Towe Park where FLOW: The Arts of the Rivanna River Renaissance Festival was taking place.  There were artists set up along the walkway along the river and there was a boat decorating contest.

It was most enjoyable and I think my favorite were the Earlysville Bluegrass Boys, 3 brothers who are very talented musicians.  I wish I could have stayed and listened to them for hours.

I then paddled back down to Riverview Park with a few other paddlers with decorated boats and then joined the after-party at Rivanna River Company.

I came away concluding the Nelo 510 is probably the most versatile boat I’ve ever owned.

And this celebration of our local river is a wonderful event I hope continues.  It sure came a long way since last year.

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Exercise for the day

After tweaking my right knee a little bit last week in the gym doing barbell squats, I decided to get back on the bike after work today for leg day for 14 relatively easy miles.

That completes a good fitness day: bench press and neutral grip lat pull downs at lunch time and a good bike ride on a relatively cool evening after work.

8-9-16ride

I would be remiss if I did not congratulate Casey Eichfeld on his finals C1 run today at the Rio Olympics.  He had a very impressive run, but unfortunately came up a little short of a medal in a field of paddlers who were absolutely off-the-hook good at dancing on the water.

Great job, Casey!  We’re unbelievably proud of you!!

Last Saturday

As feared, the water levels were very high last Saturday on the Tye River, forcing the race organizers to postpone or cancel the Nelson Downriver Race.

It was a disappointment.

But I used the morning to take advantage of the high, local water on the Rivanna River and took my whitewater play boat down river and tested out a new helmet cam.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be racing in a kayak on the same section of river.

See you there.

Whitewater kayaking

Somewhere around 2010 I also decided to expand my horizons and take up whitewater kayaking.  A little bit late in life, maybe, but I always wanted to do whitewater in a kayak because when I was younger and did Class III-IV whitewater in a raft I thought the kayak guys were having more fun.

So I picked up a used playboat, a Necky Jive, on ebay and took rolling classes at the University of Virginia to learn how to roll.

Here I was a couple months later when I went back to the pool to practice my new skills.