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2013 Glacier Breaker
A Tale of Something Old, Something New and Something Blue

March 17, 2013

By John Pinyerd (Friend of Wildwater)

The 2013 Glacier Breaker (Feb 23 – 24) was a really neat race and a tale of "something old, something new, and something blue". Before I get into that, I should mention what a great job the NOC/NRC does in running all of their Slalom and Wildwater races. They are truly the premier outfitter and racing organizations in the SE, and of course, Chris Hipgrave always does an outstanding job with running Wildwater races.

What was "Old"? Well that's easy. That would be Bern and me. I was delighted to have been able to attend what probably amounts to my 25th G.B. and I am guessing Bern has another dozen on me. The other constant was that the "annual beer cup" competition between Bern and me is alive and well.

The bulk of my training this winter has been for general fitness with some distance paddling on flatwater and easy whitewater. My lack of any speed work training on whitewater really came to light in the sprint, which in years past would have been a strong point for me. But this year, during the sprint, I did not dare even go anaerobic, but instead hit my comfort zone in whitewater and stayed there. As a result, Bern dusted me in the sprint, along with most of the kayaks (as they should).

The "Classic" distance race was another story. The aerobic base I have built up with something like 40-50,000 miles of paddling over my lifetime is still alive and well. I was able to push the tippy Bala C-1 along at a solid aerobic pace with the strategy of picking it up in the flats and minimizing my errors in the whitewater. As a result, I finished just 5.1% back off the lead kayak and 5th boat overall. My time was 20 seconds faster than last year even with the finish line being moved to below the new World Championship Rodeo Rapid. But these are also Bern's strengths too, and he finished 2nd overall in the Classic, and just 1.6% back. It's amazing just how fast he is, and I gladly turned the "beer cup" over to him until our next race.

What was "New"? With Chris Hipgrave sitting on the sidelines with the flu, Terry Smith in shoulder rehab, and the absence of former team members like JP Bevilaqua, Tierney O'Sullivan, and Haley Popp, there was a brand new group of winners in the both the Men's and the Women's kayak classes.

In Men's Kayak, former Wildwater Team Member, Jack Krupnick, was the winner both days (in both the Classic and the Sprint). Rick Thomson, who has blazing fast sprint speeds, is really starting to master his new Millennium and finished 2nd in the Sprint, and 3rd in the Classic, for a combined total of 2nd overall. Stephen Smith was 3rd overall.

Selena Popp, a junior, dominated the women's kayaks, but in true NOC fashion, we broke her out into a separate category like we did for me in C-1 and Tom Popp in OC-1. This paved the way for Francheska Barreto, who had very solid runs both days, to be the overall senior K-1W winner. Up and comer Sara Smith was the fastest in the classic and finished second overall in the category.

Another new item this weekend is that it was great to see Warren Wilson College bring about a dozen folks to the race! Last but not least in what's new is that there was a confirmed "Rob Murphy" sighting this weekend (and he raced well in his debut back into the sport).

What was "Blue"? The Nanty is never warm, and if you have ever "swam" it in the winter you know the "Glacier Breaker" name fit's it well. As it turns out, the Warren Wilson team had a couple swims and kept on going. Gee, you have to respect them for that… blue body parts and all. ?

For complete results see:

Photos by Rick Thompson

John Pinyerd

More pictures will be added when I receive them)