The Circle R

This morning we paddled with two arrivals from the East Coast, Chris Norbury and Kurt, a 6′ 5″ junior who has just started to paddle wildwater.  People from Atlanta, West Virginia, and from all over Colorado rolled in as the day went on.  I saw Nate Lord, my high school canoeing coach, for the first time in years, and he seems to be paddling well.  And, there were a lot of juniors that I didn’t know, which was a good sign.  John Pinyerd, who is probably my closest competition, arrived and did a couple of runs on the river.  It’ll be interesting to see how our speed compares on Thursday, and if my extra days at altitude have made a difference.

One of the best part of traveling to paddle is that you meet locals.  When you paddle, you tend to spend a lot of time on the river, in your hotel, and at the grocery store.  You get to know the people who live and work at the hotels and the shops around town, because you see them often, and they are always interested in what we are doing.  The owners of our hotel, Pam and Lee, have been a real pleasure to get to know.  They let us throw boats around and hang wet gear on their fence, and are very accomodating to us.  When we mentioned that we wanted steak for dinner tonight, Lee told us to go to Scanga Meats, a local butcher just outside of town. 

I’ve seen the sign at the turn on all of my trips to Salida, and we bought some excellent steaks there.  We bought a little extra for Lee and Pam, stopped at Safeway for potatoes, and came back to the Circle R.  Lee took over- heading to the store to buy us good beer (as he disapproved of what we had purchased at Safeway), cooking the potatoes, and firing up the grill for the steaks.  Then, he pulled us into his private area and we ate.  Hearing people’s stories is always fascinating, and Lee’s tales about growing up in Pueblo were enjoyable.  It’s been one of the best nights here.

Tomorrow, we will paddle the sprint course again, and then rest for Thursday,, when the real racing begins.

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