The Iceman has been a mainstay event in the Southeast for the past decade. It is an evil and grueling day dreamed up by the sick minds of the “Saluda Boyz” (with a z). The day starts off with an 8’6” and under plastic boat slalom race through the class 3 Millrace rapid. For this race, I chose to go with the Dagger Axiom 8.5, a very fun river runner design. It was my first time paddling this boat, and I was having a blast, carving in and out of eddies, and practicing some slalom-style pivot turns. I was actually having way too much fun, in fact, and hogged Tony Turner’s demo all day… you da man Tony! Either way, the Millrace Massacre, as that race is called, was a hit and we reconvened in the parking lot after all 53 racers had gone.
Next up was a tube race. They never used to do this when I was younger and I attended the race, but apparently as of late the top 10 finishers in the Massacre race the rapid in tubes. It was absolutely ridiculous, and I was actually pretty concerned for my safety while portaging my trusty tube up to the top. Andy Grizzell, the organizer, floated into the river and yelled “GO!” before many of us were ready so it was a scramble for sure.
Snowy giving it everything he's got!
Andy Grizzell the tube masta.
The final race of the day was the events’ namesake… the Iceman Race. Although the whitewater is not too difficult and comprises a small portion of the whole race, this is one of the more brutal events that I’ve done in my kayak. It involves a long sprint through flatwater, down a rapid, around a bridge piling, attaining back up the current, and then running with your kayak back to the top of the rapid, and finally swimming to a beach at the bottom of the rapid. Oh, AND you need to give the finish line referees your poker chip before you are officially done. Important detail that I neglected to think through as much as the rest of my strategy!
After a pretty hilarious start involving me, Spencer Cooke, and Chris Gallaway being RUN OVER by the pack as we tried to make it to the starting line, the fun really began. Corey Volt, Snowy Robertson, Chris Erdahl and myself, all of us in Dagger Alchemies, took turns trading off the lead, and had a pretty epic battle. I can honestly say that running up that trail brought me the closest that I have come to tossing my cookies in quite a while! In the end, Snowy and I found ourselves swimming frantically to the beach in the freezing water, and he magically pulled out his winning poker chip as I stood dumbfounded searching for mine in my pockets! It’s cool though, because Snowy, the Iceman, can “be my wingman any time.”
Getting run over by Adriene before I could spin myself around!
On track and trying to catch everyone.
Snowy and me battling it out on the run.
It was a super fun mid-winter race, and I would encourage anyone who is new to racing to attend. Look forward to seeing you out there next year!