Kayak Canoe Alabama

Saturday, April 22, 2006

BluzCruz in Vicksburg, MS

Saturday, April 22, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The weather this morning turned out to be cool and partly cloudy, providing ideal race conditions for a fast trip down the Mississippi River to Vicksburg. Yesterday, on the trip over from Mobile, we drove through a nasty thunderstorm with roughly 40 mph winds for a short time. We hoped the front would clear out by morning and we were not disappointed.

We got up at 6:00 AM to make the 35 minute trip over to Tallulah, LA and north to the put-in by a grain dock on the west side of the river. About 35 boats of various types and sizes carried a like variety of paddlers down the Mississippi on a 22 mile journey to the mouth of the Yazoo River and upriver to the finish. The scenery was a beautiful spring green with corn and other southern crops starting to come up in the rich, black riverbottom soil. We passed several large tugs pushing long triple wide barges fully loaded and riding low in the water.

The race started late at 8:35 AM, with the serious boats up front, including two Thunderbolts, four Seda Gliders, two Epics and two QCC 700's taking the lead. The water level was down about 13' from a year ago, so the fastest current was probably about 4 mph, down from 5 mph at last year's race. This meant it was even more important to find the right line and stick with it to get the fast water.

I felt good from the start and decided, if I could, to hang with Keith, in another Glider, for 3/4 of the race. I knew he was probably the most knowledgeable at reading the Mississippi, so I figured we would not make many mistakes, stay close to the frontrunners and give us a chance at the end. The strategy worked well, as Wim, the frontrunner in a Thunderbolt, put some distance between himself and the next four of us. Keith and I were actually about 100 meters behind another Glider and an Epic, paddling together in 2nd and 3rd.

Once we all got to the grain depot on the right at about five miles above Vicksburg, I decided to split away from Keith and try to chase down the two guys out in front of me. Actually, they did me a favor by hanging along the west bank a little too long, while I moved over to the middle of the river into faster water. Once they figured out I was rapidly gaining on them, they cut sharply over and ended up right in front of me. So, in about 2 miles, I was able to close a 100 meter gap and pull right in behind them.

As we made the turn up the Yazoo and into the current, the other two boats were side by side, which gave me the chance to tuck my nose right in between them and ride their double wake for maybe a half mile. It made all the difference, as I was really able to cut down my breathing and heart rates, paddling with less effort in the "sweet spot". When we got to within 100 meters of the finish line, I pulled around to the right and we all sprinted in side by side, vying for overall spots two through four. I was able to overtake the Epic, but not the other Glider. It was still very satisfying to finish this race only a second behind Richard, who had beaten me soundly in the last two Phatwater races. It was equally exciting to finish ahead of another Glider, an Epic and a Thunderbolt as well as both QCC700's, all of which I would consider faster boats than mine.

The group in front all finished in around 2:15 with the remainder of the competitors finishing in 2:20 - 3:30. I was able to talk a nice contingent of other Mobile paddlers to come over for the race and all performed magnificently, taking away a good percent of the hardware given out later during the awards ceremony. Roland, Juli and the tandem of Dick and Marilyn all took first place awards in their boat categories. We all hung out in Vicksburg for the rest of the day with a nice street fair, Riverfest taking place over the weekend as well.


1 - 2:14:47 Wim Nouen 21' race - Thunderbolt
2 - 2:17:36 Richard Savoie 19' fast tour - Seda Glider
3 - 2:17:39 Brint Adams 19' fast tour - Seda Glider
4 - 2:18:03 Phil Capel 18' fast tour - Epic Endurance
5 - 2:22:40 Keith Benoist 19' fast tour - Seda Glider
6 - 2:24:58 Andrew Balogh 21' race - Thunderbolt
7 - 2:26:57 Christoper Murphree 18' fast tour - composite
8 - 2:27:13 Don Chesler 19' fast tour - Extreme
9 - 2:27:16 Doug Cousineau - C1 fast - outrigger
10 - 2:28:07 Greg Jacob - 18' fast tour - Epic Endurance
11 - 2:31:30 John McDaniel - 18' fast tour - kevlar
12 - 2:33:22 Roland Bodt - 17' tour2 plastic
13 - 2:34:07 Dave Genzler - 17' tour2 plastic
14 - 2:41:53 Sam McLemore, Mel McFatter - C2 fast tour - kevlar canoe
15 - 2:42:12 Clyde Atkinson 18' fast tour - composite
16 - 2:42:34 Melissa Morrison 19' fast tourF - Seda Glider
17 - 2:42:45 Roger Dunaway 19' tour2 - wood
18 - 2:45:05 Bryan Stephens 18' tour2 - plastic
19 - 2:46:35 Dick Becker, Marilyn Craig 16' touring mix - plastic
20 - 2:48:02 Chuyler Freeman 15' tour1 - plastic
21 - 2:51:08 Alan Katzenmeyer 15' tour1 - plastic
22 - 2:58:10 Wayne Pratt 14' tour1 - plastic
23 - 2:58:11 Heather Zack 17' tour2F - plastic
24 - 2:59:02 Juli Day 14' tour1F - trylon
25 - 3:00:10 John Gorman 12' tour1 - plastic

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Apalachee River to Tensaw River 2006 XXIX

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This was my last paddle training day before the BluzCruz race on April 22nd. First, we are off to Knoxville for the weekend and then I travel to Orlando next week, before returning in time to make the drive over to Vicksburg, MS for the race. The weather was pretty good at 6:00 PM, 72 degrees, partly cloudy, south wind at 10 knots with a falling tide.

I forgot my Forerunner GPS tonight, so it was strictly a mental thing to push as hard as possible for the whole six mile distance. There were a couple of cormorants out fishing, but most of the shorebirds had flown further north into the delta to their evening roosts. A few kids came out on the walkway off of Bluegill's back deck to wave as I paddled by. Then it was off to the open Chacaloochee Bay by myself.

This will be one of the last times I paddle along this course, now that we are moving to Orlando, and I will miss it. I pushed myself as hard as I could and am pretty sure I broke just under the 1:00:00 mark. So, now it will be some cross-training for a week leading into the BluzCruz.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Apalachee River to Tensaw River 2006 XXVIII

Tuesday, April 11, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Wow, another beautiful spring day on Mobile Bay! I was anxious to get out on the bay again under better conditions, to verify if I am still on track after a week away from paddling. I went out at 6:00 PM, under sunny skies, 75 degrees with a southerly 10 knot breeze. The water level was up fairly full and falling, so my first leg east was fast. When I arrived at Riverdocs, there was guy sitting in the back of his pickup truck, pickin' his guitar, inspired while looking north out over Chacaloochee Bay.

With a later CDT start, the restaurants were full and Bluegill's had a live band rockin' out on the deck. I tucked in along the south shore, right below the restaurants, to paddle the calmest water, reaching the Apalachee turn in 6:47. The return west was slow with mile splits of 10:42 and 10:43, before the tide directional change gave me a push in the third mile with a 8:56 split to the Tensaw River.

The return started very slowly with a 11:00 into the current, until after the tide change, when I paddled a 9:06 and finished in 59:04 at 6.1 mph. An hour later and the guitar picker was still busy plucking away, while the shore birds started to head north to their roosts.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bay Minette Creek - 10 mi.

Sunday, April 9, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This morning was still very windy out on the bay, so I went for Bay Minette to concentrate more on form and not fight the chop. It cooled off nicely to where at 8:30 AM it was 54 degrees, sunny with a north wind, which did not affect me except for miles six and seven. The water level was pretty low and rising. Once I got started, it was obvious the mountain laurel were peaking. Within the first mile, the shorelines were ablaze with pink and white blossoms.

The morning was so beautiful, there were probably a dozen fishermen out working their favorite hidden spots. I breezed by quietly through the tight s-turns in the first mile and as the creek widened and straightened out in miles four and five, the breeze at my back was a thankful push. On the way downstream, my mile splits were 9:24, 9:24, 9:14, 9:48 and 9:43.

The return was into the wind in miles six and seven with splits of 10:27, 10:35, 10:00, 9:34 and 10:12 for total ten mile time of 1:38:25. This was a true time, with no watch stops for water breaks. After the weeklong break from paddling, I was glad to see I had not lost any speed or endurance yet, heading into the upcoming race.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Apalachee River to Tensaw River 2006 XXVII

Saturday, April 8, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

I was off the water for almost a week, while working in Orlando, so I was ready to do some paddling anywhere. After working at home all day today, I finally got out to the bay by 6:00 PM, where it was partly cloudy, still 78 degrees with a stiff 20 knot northerly wind. The water level was high and the tide starting to fall, so when I finally got away from the choppy launch area, I tucked in along the north shoreline of Pass Picada to try and escape the wind. The restaurants were full, but no shorebirds were venturing out in the brisk wind.

I was able to paddle in fairly protected water, reaching the Apalachee in 7:04 and back past Riverdocs in 15:30. Once I got out into the open bay, the chop really rocked me around as I hit mile splits of 10:42, 11:03 and 10:29. The return wasn't much better, as I just got soaked on the other side. I tried to work with the chop, but in a number of places, it was coming together from two directions, making it difficult to ride. My splits on the way back were 9:55 and 9:50 with a total time of 1:01:04. Rough conditions were much better than not paddling, as I was glad to get back home.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Apalachee River to Tensaw River 2006 XXVI

Sunday, April 2, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

I was surprised this morning, coming off of the hill out of Spanish Fort to see a fogbank hanging over the bay. At 9:15 AM, the visibility was starting to clear, but still only about a half mile. The temperature was a mild 72 degrees, calm wind with a rising tide. After a hard workout yesterday, I wanted to back off just a little as I started out.

The current was running pretty fast, so my speed down Pass Picada was fast, reaching the Apalachee turn in only 9:02. On the way back past the parking lot, my time was still a fairly slow 15:35. Interestingly, on the way west on Pass Picada, an 8 foot gator was slowly crossing from north to south off in front of me. By the time I reached him, I was on a collision course and he wasn't going to submerge. So, I changed course towards his rear and barely missed running over his tail. He must have just come out of his winters sleep and wasn't thinking very clearly, as he finally decided to submerge long after I had passed him.

My splits on the way west were 8:22, 9:09 and 10:37. The sun still had not broken through the foggy cloud cover which suited me just fine. On the return I hit 9:11, 10:28 and finished with a 59:15 at 6.1 mph, which was surprising fast, since I tried to reduce the workout effort to about 85%.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Riverdocs to Spanish River

Saturday, April 1, 2006 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The conditions were pretty good for a longer workout on the bay as I arrived at Riverdocs at 6:30 AM. It was cloudy and 72 degrees with a 5 knot southerly breeze, a medium water level and a rising tide. To simulate closer to race conditions, I did not take any stopped watch water breaks. I decided to take water twice, at 3.33 and 6.66 miles and quickly did so without stopping my watch.

My mile splits over to the Tensaw River were 9:08 and 10:08, before turning up into Delvan Bay to Spanish River. My splits upriver were 9:52, 9:56 and 9:32. On the return, I tried to push it hard into the breeze and rising current, hitting 10:23, 10:14, 9:50, 9:36 and 9:57 for a total 10 mile time of 1:38:36 at 6.1 mph.