I'm just checking in from Canada, where levels are sick and the weather is beautiful.
I went down to the Black River in Watertown, NY this past weekend for a super fun day of racing and hanging out! The Black was the site for the first of the Whitewater King of New York race series, and I wanted to jump in and fire down some of those rapids with the local boys.
Matt Young from Lake Placid, NY hooked it up and let me paddle his Green Boat for this one. Thanks bud! I got a quick practice run in to learn some of the lines on that river, and then we all got set up to race. It was a mass start event, facing upstream above Hole Brothers, and then going all the way to the Brownsville Bridge, well below the last rapid. The name of the game for the local favorites was definitely sea kayaks or Speeders due to the long flatwater stretches of the river.
The circus moving downstream!
Credit: Caroline Emmanuel
I got a good hole shot and jumped out to 2nd place early, but the ultra long boats glided past me through the flatwater above the dam. I re-passed a couple of them in the canyon section, and came upon a sick scene at the Poop Chute rapid... there were a ton of spectators on shore firing off ridiculous quantities of fireworks as the racers came through!
I was hoping that I could hang on to the respectable 3rd place position, but Justin McGiver snuck up on me in his sea kayak on the final 1/2 mile flatwater slog, and we were battling side-by-side with 100 feet left to the finish line after a 30 minute race. I went into a sprint and my vision blurred as I committed everything I had to keeping that podium spot, but his boat sliced past mine just in time for the finish line… ah well! 4th place it is, and I'll come back next year with an Alchemy sea kayak!
The top 3 were:
1) Justin Beckwith
2) Matt Young
3) Justin McGiver
Afterwards there was a pretty hilarious float-e-o competition and a themed afterparty.
These boys are elite athletes.
Credits: Kenny Unser
Thanks to Hudson River Rafting Company for the shuttles, and Kenny Unser for organizing a sick event! The remaining Whitewater King of New York races on the Raquette, Beaver and Moose should be awesome, and definitely check out the Black River Festival if you are ever in the area in the future.