Salmon La Sac

It’s 20 minutes before the sprint race is scheduled to start.  I’m perched on a log in the middle of the Cle Elum River, a saw in my hand.  Mike Baker is below with a throw bag in case…  My forearms burn as I saw madly at a smaller tree in the log jam.  I can’t tell which way the log is going to jump when I cut it free, so I’m tensed and ready to fling myself as far downstream as I can if it whips up into me.  Luckily, the jam is pretty new and the trees aren’t slick yet, so the footing is good.  It takes about 10 minutes, but the log comes free, opening the channel a little further.  I crawl back to the island, get in my boat, and ferry to the bank.  There’s nothing like a short, intense, burst of full body exercise just before a race.

The sprint was small- just 4 competitors, but it was a great course.  In two minutes, we had to paddle flats, boils, waves, eddies… I had solid runs, within a second of eachother, and finished in 1st by 9 seconds overall.  Boo Turner was second, Jennie Goldberg third, and Rich Roehner/Mike Baker (C-2) in fourth.  They should have done a bit better, but decided to do an upstream gate in one of the boily eddies on the course.

The classic was a great 20 minute course with lots of wave trains on corners- not technically difficult, but hard to keep a fast line.  I had a decent race, but faded a bit at the end- I didn’t have much left for the final sprint.  I won again, by about 45 seconds over Boo Turner.  Rich and Mike were just over a minute behind me, and Jennie was fourth.

That night we stayed at the race site for the Clive Lister Memorial Toast, the awards ceremony, and the music after.  Mike played his mandolin, and other racers played guitar, fiddle, and whistle.  It was the perfect ending to the day.  We slept hard, and got up early to drive home.  Wendy, my wife, had a ceremony today as part of her graduation from nursing school, and I thought I should be there.  She’s worked hard over the last two years, and has done very well, so she deserves a bit of recognition.

This race was a great tune up for Nationals in two weeks.  I needed a little more whitewater to be ready, and I needed to paddle really hard on whitewater.  It was fun, and traveling with Rich and Mike will be great.  We leave on Thursday evening, and will be in Salida in a week.  We are both going pretty well right now (we both have set PRs in the last week for 1K).  We’ll be hard to beat in Colorado.

Thanks to KEEN for the shoes that helped me stay on the log, and to Clif for the bars that kept me going through the day.

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