Friday was the day of the Kayak Freestyle Qualifiers at the Teva Mountain Games here in Vail, Colorado, the hole was still brutally shallow due to the very very low water levels but with the help of some plywood and lots of tweaking of the feature it was now possible to get some sweet rides as long as you managed to keep off the rocks.
The qualifier cut the field to the top 10, with two 1 minute rides both counting. I forgot to mention in my last blog that for non locals here one of the main challenges of this event is the altitude.
I’d never felt the effects of altitude before coming here but it really does make it hard to breathe. I’d get 3 or 4 moves into a run and be panting hard!
However, even with the challenges of altitude and low water the comp gave some sick rides. I had pretty good rides, missing quite a few moves from flushing a bit to low down when I tapped the rock but got enough stuck in the hole to come in 4th. The only other European in the mens Mat Dumoulin from France had such a sick smooth 1st run then an ok 2nd run to take 3rd with Stephen Wright in top spot followed by Dane in 2nd.
In the Womens Uk’s Claire O’Hara cleaned up with awesome rides with Fonix’s & Mc’Nasties and a bunch of other stuff, very cool to see her doing well over here.
Full Results from all rounds and events can be found: http://www.tevamountaingames.com/summer/athletes/results/teva-mountain-games-results.aspx
Yesterday brought semi finals in the morning and finals in the afternoon. For semis the top 10 would have looked just as legitimate the other way up, a very tough field of paddlers to get in the top 5 of.
For me I had a pretty good 1st ride that would have been enough but I flushed just a bit too far back on a few moves for them to score. I was either smashing the rock or landing too far back in the hole not to flush a bit. Was a bit frustrating for me but theirs always next year. I ended up in joint 8th with fellow euro Mat who also didn’t get that lucky either bit of a weird level that just didn’t seem to work for us.
However it didn’t seem to stop the others throwing some awesome rides. Stephen, Dane & Dustin were all on top form in the hole and in my eyes any one of them could have won, but as the finals came around Stephen was the most consistant at getting a good mix of hard technical moves and big air and even hit a 5 move combo (no easy accomplishment in this hole) to take the Win, 2nd was Dane, 3rd was Dustin.
In the Womens Claire had a sick 1st ride scoring 610 (beating mine and Mat’s score in Semis!) and took the win straight away, 2nd was Haley Mills and 3rd Courtney Kerin from NZ.
Today is the 8 Ball Kayak Race where we race 4 at a time over a short distance with other paddlers paddling at you in body armour trying to stop/ destroy you, qualifiers just been and I made the cut Finals later.
It’s a good time here and nice to get into competing for this season/ mee up with friends i haven’t seen for a while. Bit frustrated to not show my best but some good fire to get me training harder as we have European Champs in Lienz, Austria in just a few weeks.
I fly home tomorrow and drive straight out to Lienz so really looking forward to getting to work on my paddling there.
anyhow, till next time,
(Photos Courtesy of Steve Gould/ Chewy)