Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Laurel Creek Slides

Upstream of the Watauga Gorge put-in lies a tributary by the name of Laurel Creek. From 321 you can look up and see the last drop on the creek, Trashcan Falls. What you don't see is a section of the creek further up the road about a mile or two long that has some of the best slides in the High Country. The week after the Green Race we got a bunch of rain that spiked the Watauga up to around 2000 cfs. With only a three hour break from class I rallied with Alex Hyman and Kyle Irby to go get on something quick.

The Laurel Creek slides were the answer to our quick fix. I had run them once before with Chris Gragtmans at low water, and was itching to get back at a better flow. We got there to find that we were on the tail end of the bubble, but still put-on to run some fast slides that were incredibly fun.

The first slide above the bridge provided a great warm-up for the action below.

Kyle gettin' his slide on. Kyle is a member of the Watauga Rescue Squad, but I think he joined just so he could get the pager. I don't blame him, it's pretty cool and they talk in codes and stuff to sound professional. In all honesty I think it's really cool he's doing it, and I feel safer out on the water paddling with him. Congrats man!

This is about the point in the run where things start to drop out from under you...

Here I am trying to stay on the game at the end of the steepest section. Out of view is the top half of this slide, the full drop is about twice as much as you can see. By this point you're really screaming!!

Alex is not part of no stinkin' rescue squad, he just likes to give 'er. And who can balme a brotha when you got some sweet bedrock to go slip sliding on!!!

Keep 'yer bow up, son.

Thanks to Kyle and Alex for helping take some pics on this fine fall outing.

The next morning I met up with JC Superhuman Adam Herzog at 6:30am at the Linville. As we ran through Drunk Tank it occurred to me that most people were just getting around to munching a bowl of cereal for breakfast. I like cereal, but I also like class V. That day at about 5pm I hiked out of the gorge for the second time, becoming the 7th person to ever run the Linville Gorge (Babel Tower to Conley Cove) twice in one day. Thanks to Adam for helping me out and being patient throughout the day, it was one of the coolest days I've ever had kayaking.

Peace, I'm out like No Doubt,


-Stay tuned to the Team Riot Blog for an Elk River Update...


Monday, November 06, 2006

Green River Locals Day 2006

Otherwise known as the Green Race. It's the best day of the year. This year was again amazing, the crowds were out in record numbers, the racers entered in record numbers, and some record times went down on the results!!!

I headed down from Boone Thursday evening to pick up some fresh Riot boats from Chris Gragglefunk's house. Met up with some dudes, Mark and Kelsey, who flew in from B.C. for the race. You know it's good when folks are coming that far just to race. My race took an unexpected turn that night at the Culcuta after the LVM Premiere, I was bet on by Mefford Williams for $21. He then realized that I was not paddling a long boat, and demanded that I did. Wilson then made the situation better (...or worse) by saying he had a Perception Pirouette that I could use. And this is how I ended up paddling in the Ironman.

The Ironman is racing the Green in both Short Boat and Long Boat Classes. Notice the guy being rescued below Pencil Sharpener/ above the Notch.

Here's Chris Gragtmans on his way to 4th place overall.(Photo by Jenni Miehle) Chris also competed in the Ironman. Congrats to the rest of Team Riot who competed. Dave Finny held his own, while Nasty Nate and Chris G tied for fifth in the short boat class, making the Magnum the holder of half the top six spots!!!

The Magnum also took top two in the head-to-head, with Nathan sneaking ahead of me with some quick lines.

I paddled the Pirouette on Friday, felt surprisingly good for being my first time in a long boat on the Green. Race day was a different story, I got thrown around, and struggled to keep the massive thing on line. I spun out super bad on the race line at Zwicks, and was beat coming into Gorilla.

Here's a nice shot that Leland took on Scream Machine.

All in all I guess for my third time ever in a long boat it turned out OK. I finished with a time of 5:21. On the way back up Clay Wright gave me some great tips he'd noticed about where racers were losing time below Gorilla, my parents were there to provide support, food and water. Thanks to both Clay and my folks, both efforts helped me recover.

I hiked back up to above Frankenstien, emptied my boat and was ready to go at it again. This time, I was calmer and more focused on smoothing my lines instead of going fast through the rapids. I also had a brand new Riot Magnum under my bottom which made going over and off rocks feel like butter. I had the run of my life and posted a 5:09 placing me in 4th place in the Short boat class!!!

Here's Jonathan Shanin who squeezed into 3rd two seconds ahead of me in short boat.(Photo by Jenni Miehle)

This year's race was very special to me because one of my best friends, Will White, raced for his first time. Willy and I basically learned how to kayak together, and he put alot of effort into dialing in race lines this year during training. Congrats on your first race Willy!!!

Willy hucking the G Munk.(Photo by Jenni Miehle)

Thanks to everyone who came out and showed their support. The crowd was bigger than ever, and the feeling you get when you charge over Speed Trap and 500 people roar over the river is unreal.(Photo by Jenni Miehle)

Congrats to Keith Sprinkle who defened his title in the hands paddler division while he was sick, and still won. Keith probably got the biggest roar from the crowd when he was announced the winner Saturday night.(Photo by Jenni Miehle)

Scott McCluskey and I built slalom gates this summer at the whitewater park, and he gets mad props for cleaning up the C-1 class with a time of 5:06, that's sik!!! Andria Baldwin has made a name for herself as a local chick who's running some shit, and now she has a Green win to back up all her sweet pics in THE local guide book, NC Creeks and Rivers.

And of course, A big Congrats to the man who made the biggest splash at the 2006 Green Race even before he got there, Pat Keller. The wonderboy put down a winning 4:36 in a boat he designed, then hiked back up and set a course short boat record at 4:54. Pat you are the MAN!!!!(Photo by Jenni Miehle)

The Hommies...Rob, Willy, Jah Will, me and Rich. Thanks to Rich for paddling the Magnum out for me!

Will Mac getting inside racer's heads above the Notch.(Photo by Jenni Miehle)

See everyone again, November 3rd, 2007!


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Riot Kayaks

I am very proud to announce that I have completed a sponsorship deal with Riot Kayaks. I'd like to shout a huge Thank You to Spencer Cooke for having confidence in me and hooking a brother up with some sweet boats. Also thanks to Chris Gragtmans for all of his help and support over the past few years, I would never have reached this dream of mine if it wasn't for you dogg!! I just got back from Asheville where I picked up these fine water craft...

This guy here went for it's virgin river run in the Green Race on Saturday, and put up a time of 5:09! I'm really proud of her for laying it all out on the line for me in our first dance together. Check back in a couple days for complete race coverage!!!

Spencer had been letting me borrow his Magnum for the past couple months while my boats were being ordered. My favorite thing about these things is the bow. The bow seems to like to stay on top of the surface and jump over everything, which I by the way, am down with!

The Astro 58 is Riot's new playboat for the larger of the rippers out there, it is based on the popular Astro 54. I am really fired up about getting to try this machine out, it looks super sweet. There's enough volume to get the pop that you want, but there's also enough slice to make some PB & Js.

Do the Hokie Pokie and you turn yourself around, that's what it's all about.

Keep an eye on the Team Riot Blog for the latest news and happenings on the team...

Peace out, brotha!