After 3 weeks in Europe for slalom racing, and spending about 24 hours at home doing a mad packing of my van, we drove across the country to North Carolina and Tennessee so I could train for Freestyle Nationals at Pigeon Point and compete in a few races at NOC. (Nantahala Outdoor Center) What I wasn’t expecting was to have one of the most perfect days on the water imaginable!
It started with a slalom race at NOC hosted by the Georgia Canoe Association and I competed in both K1 and C1, receiving 2 1st place rubber duckie awards for jr. women’s slalom. I had the second fastest women’s time, just a few tenths of a second behind Zuzana Montagne, and my C1 runs were also awesome, putting me right behind the amazing Colleen Hickey in overall women’s. I met a lot of new junior’s racing who also liked to freestyle, so once the races were over, we all changed into our freestyle gear and boats and hit the hole! It was a lot of fun throwing down with so many talented kids and I was able to get some great rides.
Not long ago, some friends of mine from California moved to Knoxville, TN. Daniel Brasuell and Diane Gaydos are incredible kayakers who run a whitewater guide site called http://awetstate.com. It was originally a guide to California Rivers, but includes a lot of south east and international rivers. Daniel mentioned the Cascades were running and wanted to know if I wanted to paddle with him…..of course I did!
I had been wanting to run it for a while, but slalom always got in the way :p. We met Dan Stewart at the put in for this fun class 4/5 run, looked at the lines and I was stoked- it was boof mania, and I was in heaven! The first two laps went really well, I nailed every line and landed flat on all of my boofs. On my third lap though, I asked to lead! I remembered all of the lines and everything went smoothly. Thanks for the run Daniel and Dan! I ended the day with some delicious gluten free pizza from River's End at NOC and then crashed hard and slept with a big grin- slalom K1 and C1, freestyle and a personal first descent on a new creek, all in one day!
My weekend wasn’t over however, and I had another first on Sunday! I was able to do my first wildwater race in a wildwater boat. I competed in an 8 mile down river race on the Nantahala and it was super fun. I figured out how to turn the wildwater boat, had some fast lines, and kept a steady pace, and ended up with the 4th fastest overall time and fastest Women's time (I'm going to have to get a boat!). After the race, I was able to do some more playboating with friend’s, followed by a ladies C1 slalom session with Colleen Hickey and Sara Rulhen. Huge thanks to Chris Hipgrave for helping me find a wildwater boat, Tierney O’Sullivan for letting me borrow her boat, and Colleen for letting me try her Scream C1 (I'm in love).
Next adventure- Freestyle Nationals at Pigeon Point!