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.

Results:

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

5 Comments:

  • At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Marek said…

    It sounds like it was fun!

    I crossed the Mississippi in Vicksburg a few weeks ago:
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  • At 1:47 PM, Blogger bonnie said…

    Aw, my first boat was a Seda Glider. Ended up having to sell it 'cause of shortage of storage. Boy do I miss having a fast boat for long paddles. Romany is a darned fine boat in many ways but not the fastest in the world.

     
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