May 5, 2005 -- Cheat River, Albright, WV
On Friday, May 6th, paddlers from all over the east coast will converge on Albright,
West Virginia for one of the most incredible events of the year. The Cheat Canyon is
an 11 mile stretch of class 3-5 whitewater. The cheat is one of the more challenging
wildwater races in the country, and the one with the biggest participation. However,
the event is best known as being one of the few large races still using a mass start.
When 100 kayaks fire off full speed at the same time – anything can happen. People take
strokes off each others chests, trying to claw their way to the front of the pack. There
have been broken noses and swimmers at the start line. Its quite impressive to watch,
and absolutely nuts to be a part of. The fun factor is a 10, this race attracts boaters
from all over the spectrum, year after year, racers and recreational whitewater paddlers
all come by the dozens just for the race. The river can be raced blind, because of the
number of racers all packed together, but miss a critical line at high water and say
good bye to your boat!
This event is as much a party as it is a race; West Virginia Brewing Co. supplies
several kegs of beer for racers at the finish line, and at the post race awards party.
There is a free shuttle courtesy of glen miller, and thousands of dollars worth of
prizes for top finishers in all classes, and a random drawing. Your entry fee also
gets you a tee shirt and free admittance to the cheat festival the following day.
I’ll be there to defend my title, and I hope to see lots of wildwater boats and