I didn't race in the California 100 this year. Not for lack of desire, but rather because I took on the role of Race Director for Rivers for Change, the hosting non-profit group founded by Danielle Katz and John Dye. Although I didn't paddle the 100 mile stretch with 100+ others, I certainly had a weary weekend of my own with late nights, early mornings, highs, lows and everything in between. I met a bunch of new paddlers, strengthened some friendships and got reminded how cool the paddling community can be.
For those not familiar with the California 100, the concept is simple. Test your skill, stamina, physical and mental limits on the Sacramento River for one-hundred river miles of paddling in one continuous race. It takes 10-20 hours and you stop at 3 checkpoints along the way. As simple as the Cal 100 is, it's far from easy.
To start, racers are dealing with class II whitewater along the course. The sections are short and staggered, but skill plays into these sections immensely. If you have it, you'll succeed. If you don't, you'll either get lucky or you'll get worked. But, no worries, because it's all downhill and eventually you'll float into calmer water. Get through the rapids and tackle the straights. Water reading is still essential since staying in the fast water flow is critical for a good time. Feed and hydrate yourself or else. Condition yourself ahead of time - aka, train for this race. Carry the required equipment. Be prepared to take care of yourself on the river - broken fin, holed board, separated from your board, lost?
It's an epic undertaking and over 130 people accepted the challenge. That's a 30% growth from 2013 and the SUP category was up over 200% this year.
Check out some of the pics and set your sights for this challenge next year!
|safety briefing. Photo by Lisa Thomas.|
|I didn't get to race with the BPC, but cheering them on was good enough.|
|I think Janet smiled the entire way. Photo by Lisa Thomas.|
|With Danielle Katz. Photo by Lisa Thomas.|
|So proud of this one. Fellow Focus SUP Hawaii ambassador Adrianna Baca completing the 33-mile leg of the race.|
Photo by Lisa Thomas.
|Sean Morley won the kayak class and was going strong. Photo by Lisa Thomas.|
|Tom Biglione - the only solo canoeist in the race. Photo by Lisa Thomas.|
|Brian Thomas - only prone paddleboarder brave enough. Photo by Lisa Thomas.|