First Annual Raquette Race

The rest of the Dartmouth crew had headed straight home from the Beaver on Sunday, but I spent another night at Taylorville and then headed up to the Raquette the next morning. Ran into Justin Crannell and the steezy dudes from WV (see Moshier falls picture in previous post) at the putin and decided to paddle a lap with them before the rumored race at 1pm. They wanted to scout Colton, so I headed on down and got out on the rock in the middle at the bottom to take some pictures. I’d wanted to shoot from this angle for a while now and just hadn’t gotten around to it — it worked really well. My lens got covered in spray pretty quickly, but I like the shots I have from the bottom of the slide of people flying off a little kicker into the pillow.

Jake Risch styling at the bottom of Colton Falls.

I walked up the rock a little bit to get a few more shots that turned out pretty well.

Justin Crannell on Colton.

We got back up to the putin after our lap right around 1pm and I went running down to the river hoping to catch the race. They hadn’t started yet, and had me do a pre-race interview. The format was pretty much the only thing you could do on Stone Valley — timed top-to-bottom laps. A mass start wouldn’t really work. We ended up with 11 racers all going at 2 minute intervals. Mike Kobzik went first, but a whistle was blown and the race was stopped about ten seconds in — apparently there was a rope stuck in Colton somewhere. Twenty minutes of standing around in the cold later we actually started.

C1 Steeze.

I wasn’t really sure how fast I would paddle going in. I started off paddling pretty hard, but slowed down a bit coming into Colton. The rapids on the Raquette aren’t really ones you want to be out of breath for. I ran the horseshoe boof directly with a pretty shitty but acceptable line, raced past the eddy onto the slide, had a fine line down the slide, hit the pillow at the bottom…and flipped. First time I’ve ever flipped on the Raquette except for the two times I’ve been surfed in the Tubs. Immediately, a rock punched me in the face, leaving me pretty sure I was pouring blood and missing teeth, but I rolled up, looked at the safety guy and asked if I was bleeding. He said no so I kept going. I went pretty slowly for the rest of the run while I was feeling around my mouth with my tongue to see where my teeth were and ended up not doing very well. My time was 7:49. I probably lost 30 seconds trying to get to the eddy at the bottom of Particle Accelerator because I washed up on that silly rock below the drop and the finish bag was out of reach.

Someone upright and not being hit in the face with rocks in the runout of Colton.

Shockingly, I still have all my teeth and am only missing a chunk out of one of them…hopefully I won’t have to lose the tooth, we’ll see what the dentist says tomorrow. Thanks to Mike Mckay and whoever else was involved for putting on the race, and congratulations Clay Wright for winning a can of steel reserve. Team America had a strong showing, sweeping the top four places — suck on that, Canada. Hopefully this race keeps happening, if I’m in New England next Labor Day I’ll definitely be racing.

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