I came up Friday to test run the river. There was much debate over if the river was running high or low. I found it to be just right! My west side boat exceed, with a whole cut out of the right butt check pad to prevent dead leg, cut through the rapids beautifully.. I even, not quite on purpose, performed quite a boof on a spillover rock with all of my boats 19 feet getting somewhat air born .
Saturday morning was bustling with energy. Crystal and I left the condo by 6:00 to get all the gear set up. We squeezed the kayak between a little evergreen and another kayak at the put in, laying out my paddle, skirt, helmet, a jacket, and some booties. Over to the take out we set up the bike and left a bin with packets of gu, my cleats, a towel, and gloves. Finally we headed to the start to begin the run. It was 27degres. Brrrr.
I ran next to Joe most of the race. Joe was pushing the pace early. Knowing I had a long race ahead, I tried to relax and have some small talk with my Irish friend. Joe, breathing heavy, was not so amused, and politely told me that he doesn’t talk while racing. Later, over a beer, I know that what he meant to say was “shut the hell up John, I’m running”!!!
I pulled away in the kayak leg. This is where having the right boat can pay off big time dividends in the race. My West Side Exceed is perfect for these conditions. Straight forward whitewater with lots of flatwater sections in-between. Good secondary stability, closed cockpit, and super long. This boat takes skill to keep up, but if you can handle it, its one of the fastest in these conditions. Over 20 people dumped in the river that day, but I stayed up with one of the fastest times.
I have three words to explain the cycling; cold, wet, and cramped. I couldn’t quite get my legs at full speed, as my left hamstring kept on pulling. Yet that didn’t matter as I got to about mile 14, and I saw my wife in the car sitting in the middle of the road. Next to her, a large, beautiful, brown moose!
|My apparent natural expression as i noticed the size of the Moose|
I couldn’t decide if I should ride between the car and the moose to get a closer look or around to the other side of the car. My decision was made as I got closer to the animal and she looked up and we exchanged glances. Her eye seemed as big as my hand. She was large and there was no barrier between us. I was going around the car!
|On the way up to Pinkham Notch|
As i pulled into the hike transition, my heart dropped...there was no one there. Where was Crystal??? Than from the corner of my eye, i see her running toward me with my all my ski gear. I do have the best support crew.