Nick Troutman 09/11/2014 | Posted in 2014 Karma Unlimited, 2014 WW Competition, 2015 Zen, Events, Featured Post, Fun Tour, JK Team Posts, Karma Unlimited, Trip Reports, Video, Video, Whitewater
With some of the fastest racers in the world, mixed with some epic carnage and one of the biggest crowds, it is no wonder why this is said to be one of the biggest spectacles in our sport.
Though in the end the race was amazing, it almost never even started. Racers and organizers alike woke up on Saturday morning to see 3-4 inches of thick snow covering everything in sight. In the end the decision was made to continue on with the race, though to postpone the start 1 hour later and to have racers limit to one boat category. This was a tough decision for most, being that the prestigious Ironman (which is racing both long-boat and short-boat categories) had almost 50 people signed up, and now racers were forced to pick only one class.
After a tough decision I chose to to race my new Zen. I ended up deciding on the fact that I knew the Zen would just be more fun to paddle, and being it is a brand new boat (I had only one run down the race course the day before) I just wanted to paddle it some more.
By the time I hiked in and got to the start line, most of the snow was gone, though being the air was still cold the water seemed warmer. The start line up was filled with some of the best kayakers I know: Dane Jackson, Isaac Levinston, Pat Keller, Andrew Holcomb, John Grace, more people then I could possibly name here. I was bib #56, so my start time was an hour after most of the fastest guys and gals out there. When they called my name I was ready, this was the first year of about 5 Green Races, where I felt truly ready to ‘race’ the Green. I have participated in the race several times before, though this fall I have spent a lot of time in my creek boat over the past 8 weeks, and therefore I felt truly able and ready to ‘race’. After getting a handful of practice laps in, and studying race lines from years past I finally had the race course memorized and new all the lines off the back of my hand.
After thanking the volunteers at the start line, I wait for the count down, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO! I started off with some strong paddle strokes and then got into my rhythm. First rapid is Frankenstein, which is a manky low volume rapid with lots of opportunity for mistake and slow times, I focused on smooth lines instead of paddling fast and making mistakes. After good lines at Frankenstein I felt good. I had a couple little bobbles here and there, though in the end the whole run was really coming together for me. The next big sequence was ‘Boof or Consequence’, into ‘Go Left, which was as smooth as I could ask for, keeping my speed up and on line, then was ‘Zwicks’, ‘Chiefs’ and ‘Flying Squirl’ you start to hear and see the massive crowds of people cheering for you, which can be a bit taunting as you come to one of the crux move ‘The Notch’ and ‘Gorilla’. This is where the biggest crowds are being that this is where all the most carnage happens. After nailing a great line through ‘Gorilla’ I tried to finish strong through the slides sections. I was able to keep my speed up through the slides, despite going deep in a couple spots.
I finished the race injury free, with a smile on my face, and feeling like I had one of my best runs I have personally ever had, that to me was more than I could ask for. Big props to Isaac Levinson and Dane Jackson for the first ever tie for 1st at 4:19, though the tie was broken and the 2014 Green Race winner is Isaac Levinson. I was able to take home some glass as well for 1st place in the Short boat category, though I am sure if Dane, Isaac, Pat and Eric had raced short boat it could have been a different story.
Here is a GoPro video of my entire race run: