My first ever “boat wreck” went something like this. The water was at a higher level this year. Yep! Even though I was under the impression that LAST year was the big water year. So when I learned that the water was higher I tensed up as if I was riding a road bike across a sheet of ice. But then I was assured that since there was more volume then things would go smoother. I agree that this time there were no rocks and stuff sticking out to navigate. But to me it was not smooth. It was really powerful and for some reason I don’t remember the earth disappearing. Some swells were so big the shores were invisable and it felt like I was filming another eppisode of Worlds Deadliest Catch.
But even before all that. Before we set sail in the Blackfoot. Things were going very well in the Grizzlyman Adventure Race for 2012. Dave was a tad disappointed that this year the race was not a 24 hour race as promised. But for me I was a little nervous. Last year I trained a little for the foot portions but this year I had 2 runs under my belt. So I bucked it up and stood on the starting line ready to defend with my team mate. Our plan … totally out of the norm … as you will. We thought … why not go for a check point … on foot … in the pitch darkness … why not.
The shot gun went off and within 30 minutes we stood in front of out first check point dripping with swamp water. Unlike last year we started popping off the orange contraptions right away and that continued throughout the entire first half of the day. At one point I remarked that this year was more like a adventure tour. Ride a little. Go for a walk and then ride some more. So easy going … and FUN.
As we hoisted the water craft to the edge of the silvery death ribbon I panicked. I forgot! I hate water. I mean really don’t like it at all. As we approached the first set of rapids Dave noticed I was sitting ridged with a death grip on the paddle. He suggest that I just relax because this would be real easy. And at first it was. The river was so high and fast we zipped down the course without even paddling. It seemed as though everyone was right and we wouldn’t encounter any bronco waves. I looked ahead and to my horror saw the landscape drop away to a roaring mountain range of rapids.
The things were huge and we busted through like football players practicing blocking drills. I though to myself how close we were to just falling off the floating banana. But surpassingly enough we made all of them without incident. We had one more bend in the river before the pull-out beach. We relaxed a tad and just then something just grabbed the tail of our craft and dumped us into the drink.
The first thought was to freaking scream bloody murder but some Blackfoot water slapped me in the face. The current grabbed my helmet and tried to rip my head off. Now the gloves were off so I fought back. I retained the paddle and never let go of the boat. I quickly surfaced and collected my wits. Stupid river. I was not scared at all but a little irritated. We slipped back into the craft and finished the run.
And that was my first ever boat wreck. Not very exciting and it only served to wash the stink off of us. We pulled the million pound craft to the transition area and set back out on our bikes.
The rest of the race was not so organized. I have to say it felt to me like we ran out of planned points and we now had to just throw darts at the map to see where we were going next. I honestly didn’t think we would get to some of the checkpoints on the Eastern side of the Course. But we did. Knocked off three of them in fact. A new record. And we discovered some new bike trails in the process. Now … next year … 24 hours … right? I figure we could of hit at least 5 more points with a little more route planning in the waning three hours. But we got the win.