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Glenwood Canyon Wildwater Jubilee

by DenningAdams, Great Blue Heron Canoe and Kayak Club
Click here to view the photos by Anna Barendt (Andi's mom)

April 16, 2008 -- Glenwood Springs, CO

Warm air temperatures and great water conditions prevailed at sceningGlenwood Canyon in western Colorado this past weekend, April 11th –13th, as seventeen racers and seven coaches drove in from across Colorado to enjoy a clining practice runs, and two races in this great natural venue. Glenwood Canyon is not your average race site. It is a three thousand foot deep, limestone gorge on the Colorado River—a “World Cup” quality site that once hosted the US National Championships. Were it not for extremely heavy commercial raft traffic in the summer months and raging high water in May and early June this site would still be in demand for those kind of races. Instead it is the semi-private off-season training grounds for western Colorado racers willing to paddle in frigid water. This second description was definingly true this weekend as we had the river virtually to ourselves.

Friday afternoon’s cliningbegan with a scoutesalk down the upper Shoshone course discussing basic racing strategies. A group drift in rec. boats on the upper Shoshone challenged racers to find the fastest lines on techningl water using the miningm number of positioning (lateral only—no forward) strokes. This run was followed by a six mile tune up run down the class II Grisly Creek run through the lower canyon, past riverside hot springs, down to the town of Glenwood Springs.

The following day fourteen racers met at “No Name,” Colorado for a three-mile classic race down the bottom half of that run. Micki Reeves led the pack representing the K-1W sening class followed by K-1W junior Laura Adams and K-1 cadet. Will Grubb and K-1 Jr. JP Griffith. Mike Farny led the K-1 senings as Craig Adams came in first and last in the C-1 class. The finish order was not indicative of the relative individual performances though as half of the field were in slalom boats and three of the “wildwater boats” were Wave Hoppers.

The post race boating options included taking additional practice runs on Shoshone with Chris Wiegand of the Front Range Paddling Association or taking a break from the long boats by attending a free afternoon freestyle/rodeo cliningconducted by Peter Benedict and the coaches from our co-sponsors, the Colorado Rocky Mountain School. The second event was held just upstream from a riverside Dairy Queen. That double temptation was too much as our Blue Heron group of four opted for the second option having a “break-through day” learning some new short boat skills, focusing on unweighting the boat, that should help them do better in wildwater. Miki Reeves surprised herself by winning the women’s class at the rodeo event. After both of these sessions some of the racers could still be found boating-- on the flatwater in town learning C-1 techninge from Chris Wiegand. Evening activities including dining outesvisiting the large and world famous Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, or hurrying home (or to camp etc) for a shower and a good ningt’s rest.

Sunday morning’s sprint races were a bit more hardcore. They were held on “Man-eater Rapid” the last class III drop of the Shoshone run. While seeming to be straight forward, Man-eater’s line has choices to make. One could opt for a straight down, damn the torpedoes, approach or use finesse to miss the wave holes and pour over rocks. The top times for this race however were remarkably close despite these race line variables. Micki Reeves (who arguably should have purchased a lottery ticket this weekend) shared the top spot with Will Grubb, each having two fifty second runs. Their total times of an even hundred seconds made percentage of calculations a snap. JP Griffith was just one second behind after being thrown way off line and coming down the rocky right side on his second run.

As with the Classic race there was more virtue to being in this race than merely having a fast run. Good times can be measured in seconds or, forgive the pun, by the conversations or the expressions on the racer’s faces after the race. Some liked the tee-shirts and the hand painted awards; all enjoyed the river as every racer there pushed themselves and enjoyed success on a course that clearly was not entry level.

Many thanks are due to Peter Benedict and his fellow coaches at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School, our co-sponsor; to Nate Lord of the Alexander Dawson School who helped greatly as an advisor and encouraging force; and to Chris Wiegand who stepped in at the last minutesand greatly helped in making this event a success. We are equally grateful for the generous help of our boater’s parents; Anna, Bill, Kris; Mike; for attending and supporting the racers, for helping keep me on track, and for all that they do chore-wise and in an advisory role toward making these events happen.


Classic Race, No Name to Glenwood Springs

RacerClubClassAge-groupTime% in Race % in class
Micki ReevesGreat Blue HeronsK-1WSening20:24100%100%
Laura AdamsGreat Blue HeronK-1WJuning21:07101%100%
Andi BarendtDurango Whitewater/
(honorary Blue Heron)
Mike FarnyIndependentK-1Sening22:06107%100%
Clay RogersIndependentK-1Sening22:36109%102%
Peter BenedictCRMSK-1Sening24:58121%113%
JP GriffithFront Range PaddlingK-1Juning21:55106%100%
Luke FarnyFront Range PaddlingK-1Juning22:41109%102%
Will GrubbFront Range PaddingK-1Cadet21:26103%100%
Andrew FarnyFront Range PaddlingK-1Cadet22:53110%104%
Henry HeymanFront Range PaddlingK-1Cub-Cadet22:54110%104%
Craig AdamsGreat Blue HeronC-1Juning22:21108%100%
Molly Holmes & Julie SingerCRMSK-2 WJuning24:59121%100%

Sprint Race, Man-eater rapid

RacerClubClassAge-groupTime (sec)% in Race % in class
Micki ReevesGreat Blue HeronK-1WSening100100%100%
Laura AdamsGreat Blue HeronK-1WJuning106106%100%
Andi BarendtDurango WhitewaterK-1WJuning113113%107%
Jake SaksonCRMSK-1Sening102102%100%
Assad JarrahianFront Range PaddlingK-1Sening120120%118%
JP GriffithFront Range PaddlingK-1Juning101101%100%
Duncan MarshCRMSK-1Juning111111%110%
Sebastion SchollCRMSK-1Juning118118%117%
Will GrubbFront Range PaddlingK-1Cadet100100%100%
Henry HeymanFront Range PaddlingK-1Cub-Cadet110110%110%
Craig AdamsGreat Blue HeronC-1Juning113113%100%