|photo by John Burgess, Press Democrat|
East Bay sup / CCK sup / BPC / TBD sup did awesome at the Russian River Race this weekend in Healdsburg. Organizers put on the Drought Edition this year due to low water on the river. The 15-mile course was cancelled, but the 5-mile was still on with almost 200 paddlers. Leading up to May 3rd, water levels slowly rose and presented a very runnable river leaving just a few areas of shallow water to portage or scrape over.
Last year I paddled the 15-mile course on a standup board and finished third. But, my board did not fair well, coming home with a damaged fin and two holes. No problem, all was repaired. This year, however, knowing water levels could be even lower, I opted to race in a solo canoe. Turns out I was the only person to enter solo canoe so I was added to the Men's Single Kayak division. I felt slightly disadvantaged, but didn't care too much as this race is more about the fun than the competition. Of course, I can get a little competitive on the water, so I went hard anyways.
I got a good start and hit the narrow river in fourth. I quickly moved into third and drafted one and two for a couple minutes. These guys were going hard, but weren't fast enough, so I moved over and went for the pass on both of them. As I passed right, three others moved up the left, also passing. As we all moved back in line, I ended up back in fourth position, but with three fast paddlers in front of me. They all slowly dropped me, but I caught ground in a few areas where I made better reads on the channels and found more fast water. Nearing the end, I reeled third in to just a few boat lengths. I could see the finish and increased my pace to put the pressure onto him. Well, it worked because he crossed a slight eddyline and began to turn, against his will. That was my chance and as he started to spin he noticed me about to overtake him and panicked. That little panic was enough of a chance for me to pass him in the last 200 feet.
So, 55 minutes 06 seconds later, I crossed the finish line third in a field of 23 kayakers with the 6th fastest time overall. You know what they say about canoeists? Half the paddle, twice the paddler!
In the end, our crew walked away excited with armloads of swag. Nice job crew!
- 1st - Laury Croter, 1:05:30
- 2nd - Lucija Hadziselimovic, 1:12:52
- 1st - John Walsh, 52:50
- 3rd - Mitch Silverstein, 58:14
Men's Single Kayak
- 3rd - Matt Palmariello, 55:06