The Vermont Paddlers Club

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NH Race 2010

Monday Apr 19, 2010
Kayak: 23 Racers
Organizer: VPC and UVM Kayak Club
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: low boatable
Gauge (cfs): 400
Author: Dave Packie

New Haven Race recap...


Finals: 1st Place - Scott Gilbert (King of the Ledges)

2nd Place - Will

3rd Place - Colby

4th Place - Dan Burke

Fastest Qualifiers:

1) Simone Orlandi 8:10

2) Damon Bungard 8:30

3) Hugh Pritchard 8:33

4) Scott Gibert 8:53

Long Boat Champion- Hugh Pritchard

Golden Goldfish (best/worst swim) - Sherm

Iron Man (Long Boat/Short Boat 5 race laps) - Ben Schott

Day Tripper(Longest Drive): Doug P.


Level proved tricky to predict again this year, and after much planning, we found ourselves on the fence Thursday night about what to do. Thanks to a nice little shot of rain overnight Thursday, and to spite temps dropping to single digits Friday night we found the river to be absolutely bare bones minimum boatable and a chilling 14 degrees Saturday morning at 7:15. We called our first audible and moved the start for all the races to down below the boulder-garden put-on rapid. I got registration set up while the Club Kids dressed out the course with safety and timing appartus. We quickly registered 20 boaters, most of the mugs I recognized, but some out of townwers were present. A kelty rep showed up from NH and got some tents out, had other various gear to be used for us to create the illusion of organization and professionalism. By about 9:30 folks were feeling the rays of the sun as it crawled over Mt. Abe and boats were lifted to shoulders, helmets were slapped down one last time, and the brace of early spring water on bare skin was felt. The field heated up slowly. The predominant conversation on the walk back up after the first lap was how much gloves sucked and how glad most folks were that they didn't swim or capsize, but some did. In fact I didn't hear many folks really bragging about their first lap at all. Lots of people "got hung up" and in truth, there was alot of terra firma involved in even the cleanest lines that morning, but collective virtue was working for us, and so was solar gain. Fortunately the sun came thru enough to hold the ledges and even bumped them back up almost 100 cfs for the afternoon head to head action. Fastest qualifing times were put down by experienced ledges paddlers....and Hugh who? The guy that never paddled the ledges before? In the piroette? Interesting.

edit: [ Click here for link... ]

Hugh was chatting with me about race lines on one of his walks back of only 2 long boaters unfortunately, but we really wanted to have a long boat final. The only other long boater there was Ben, and he was competing in both classes. Way to go Ben. We were stoked when Ben said he was into a long boat head to head final. It was nice to get Hugh a final heat and some head to head action. Hugh won the long boat final by a big margin and looking back at the raw footage, was one of the smoothest boaters on the course that day period. Congrats Hugh, I hope Ryan got you the Sleeping Bag, that at almost 9 feet long, is still shorter then your Piroette.

Hugh was wise to study the race lines because lots of boaters were figuring these low water lines and smoothing the course out on their second qualifiers. With the start being where it was, the Ledges were pretty much the make or break rapid from what I saw. The Second lap finished, lunch consumed (hope there was enough) ready for the head to head. We would move the start down stream a bit more. Originally we anticipated the first few hundred feet of river would space out the racers before Secret Compartment, but with the start where it was, we were nervous they would still be bunched at the major constriction there. We moved the start line to just below S.C. meaning that after a couple small drops and some quick water, the ledges were the first rapid the racers hit, and it was still close there for almost every Final. Which, IMO was an awesome thing. There are pretty much 3 ways to run every section of that rapid so as the preferred lines inevitably got taken by the leader, the following boaters would peel off to alternate lines, that weren't their regular line. I felt like right all the way was the best line, but it was obvious that if you flubbed it, you would get passed, maybe even by a couple folks...

Scott Gilbert. Perfect example. In his first final goes from third to first at the ledges by running center left, wins and advances to the final where he makes the final pass again at that rapid when Colby momentarily broached after getting the hole shot, and goes on to win. The same Scott Gilbert whose name could often be heard in the parking lot of the church spoken in low tones. The time he put on the ledges alone, at 3000, in an Ace, got his ass kicked and swam for his life, only to find his boat, days later, so broken someone just threw it in the dump. Scott Gilbert who "Discovered" the sieve 2 springs ago and decided to try and fill it with his CFS. Actually fit perfect. Scott Gilbert. King of Lincoln in 2010. Nice Gilbert!

Below the ledges the order rarely changed. At these levels a couple optional lines were not available and it was hard to pick up time. The buoy you had to touch to finish was in the pool, 40 yards from toaster so if you flipped on the waterfall you could get passed in the flat water sprint to the buoy. Scott did go a bit deep there in the race, but stayed cool, and paddled strong to the finish.

As I mentioned before, Ben was the only guy to race long and short boat. Makes for a busy day Ben...propers to you for manning up.

Damon Bungard/Jackson Kayaks and Dan Burke/Kelty showed up. Damon had some great ideas on next year's race and they were both in it to win it from the start. Dan was the ONLY C-1...and made it look really fun BTW. Pale Morning Media of Waitsfield was awesome. They got us some really nice Sierra Design and Kelty camping gear and dry bags, various soft goods etc. Doug Piatte (butchered your name Doug, sorry) drove out from Boston for the race, then he was on his way home to southern NE. 8 hours of driving for our little race. He got himself a tent from Sierra Design for his troubles; next year he can get a campsite up at Maple Hill and make a weekend out of it. My Bro Ken carved the trophies again this year( A relief of a boater hucking toaster for first place...and a fat gold fish gulping for air like a carp....that baby went to the one and only Sherm, who in 2 laps managed to swim out of toaster, get pinned in the sieve in playpen (nice self rescue) then swim All American 2 laps. Hands down winner, best swim(s) 2010. Although there were know who you are.....who decided attempting to swim on the mostly-ankle-deep-water would be fun...we have some of you on tape...IR you gonna....which brings me to Immersion research. Simone got a nice shortie for fastest qualifying lap...they hooked us up with some board shorts and poggies too...Clay I hope you got your stuff...and the Bristol Bakery showed up and hung out all day despite not making any money because they "thought the idea of a kayak race was cool". Thanks, make sure you frequent that awesome little bakery right up in Bristol when you go to the ledges..

Thanks to everyone who came out. Turned into a gorgeous day....folks were having fun...and there were some good races. Props to all you who competed. Until next year..

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