Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Race

Photo: Bryon Dorr

After weeks of anticipation the day finally arrived. The Great Falls Race, the most prestigious and exciting event of the Potomac Whitewater Festival. I had decided earlier this summer that I would participate in the race. I didn't have high aspirations of serious competition. Just wanted to be part of this glorious event.

We'd been running the Virginia lines for a few weeks and I was really hoping that that is where the race would be held, as I was quite comfortable there and knew the run well. To my dismay, the week before the even the level dropped down to where it would most certainly be held on the Maryland lines. This only gave me 5 days of practice and after swimming out of Horseshoe I was pretty nervous. But thankfully the level continued to drop and was at a very manageable 2.75 ft the day of the race. I was determined to do well. My goal wasn't go to fast but to just have good clean lines.

Arriving at 7 am at Great Falls park I was nervous but excited. I couldn't believe the number of boaters arriving (especially this early!). This was my first Potomac Fest and I'd never seen that many people and boats there before. It was a great sight. After the pre-race briefing and safety meeting we headed down, scraping over the dam which had reached its boniest level that summer (a good sign for me, Horseshoe would be good and forgiving!). I had decided not to do any practice runs that morning. I wanted to just conserve energy for my actual race run.

I watched for a good while as other competitors did practice runs and was just absolutely in awe of the scene. The weather was gorgeous and the crowded rocks full of boaters looked amazing. I sat above Pummel watching and realized I'd never spent nearly that much time just looking before. It was an amazing feeling.

After a while I became anxious and got in line to do my run. I had mostly clean lines (got a little spun around at the bottom of Z-turn, but otherwise ran everything well) and was very happy to reach the finish line successfully. I paddled steadily, slowing down before Horseshoe some to blink the water out of my contacts. I wasn't ready to really race this time around but next year I hope to get more training time in and really give it my all (level permitting of course). You can check out this year's results here.

After my run I had a great time watching the rest of the runs (with the pressure off my run over I was much more relaxed!). Really such a fantastic time. It was also great to see so many people come in from out of town to enjoy our wonderful river. I also enjoyed watching the freestyle, and wave surfing competitions as well as the boatercross. I even got an award for my participation as the ONLY woman competing in the Falls Race this year: A snazzy pair of Tom Veratti's Noze Bling (pink of course!). Way cool! It was wonderful being part of an event with all of the areas best paddlers (and many non-locals as well). What a great weekend!! Congratulations to the winers and everyone who raced today!!

Dropping into Z-turn, Photo: Thilo Rusche

At the start

At the top of Pummel

Pummel, Photo: Thilo Rusche

Heading toward Horseshoe, Photo: Thilo Rusche

Horseshoe, Photo: Jim/Monique Hubshman

Ryan, Scott, Maggie

Ryan, Maggie, Bobby, Joe at the start

Heading toward Horseshoe, Photo: Jim/Monique Hubshman

Pummel, Photo: Bryon Dorr

Check out all the great photos from the weekend:

Miscellaneous Photos including mine

Photos by Rick McNamara

Photos by Peter Guion

Photos by Thilo Rusche

Photos by Jim and Monique Hubshman

More Photos links posted on the PoFest site

and check out the Gazette article

and for additional entertainment check out the Team Riot video from Potomac Fest

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