Job Well Done! Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta 2015

UPDATE:   The First Annual Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta included 49 boats, a total of 57 participants., and the invaluable assistance of 35 volunteers from the community.

Click here are the Final Race Results:  Final Results Composite

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Minutes ago I watched the Kentucky Derby as I sat on the couch babying my sore muscles. The winner was American Pharoah; Firing Line was second. My experience today gave me a new perspective to this race as I was in a similar one at today’s first annual Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta held in Claiborne County, TN.

IMG_6793The event started at The Well Being Conference Center and ended 12 miles downstream at Riverside Rentals (423-626-9761). 12 miles of remote water. No bridges, no roads, few houses.

There were numerous race categories : by age, by gender, and even type of watercraft (doubles) . As in any new event, it takes a while to build up a following. As little as a few days ago, the event’s Facebook page reported low numbers of attendees that had signed up. Luckily, when we got to the race we learned that one of the race categories had 16 participants that signed up at the last minute (hint, it was the young men’s category).

When we arrived for the event, what I first noticed were some very high-tech kayaks — sleek, aerodynamic, yes, even space-age. There were some serious kayakers in attendance. I asked one gentleman where he came from and he said Chattanooga, TN. He learned of the event from another club in his area. I told him I remembered seeing his post on the event’s Facebook page saying he’d be down early to scope out the water.

As I was standing around, I overheard two separate individuals, from the extreme kayaking group, say that they were very impressed with the organization of the event. They couldn’t believe it was the first time that this event had been put on because of how well it was run. And they went on to say that this event was destined to be something big. They told Don to expect huge numbers next year as they were going to get the word out. They were so impressed with the beautiful Powell River, its cleanliness, its beauty, and its Class 1 water as it offered a different kayaking experience from many of the other rivers they normally kayak on — very tight turns, fast water, to name a few.

The 55 and older men’s race started first. Watch my video on this (below). Jim was in this category. I asked him how soon did he lose track of the leaders and he said within 30 seconds! They were there for some serious racing.

I was in the 55 and over women’s category. There were six of us. I was there with two other friends, Penny and Emily and we agreed to actually race, as opposed to leisurely go down the river.

When the race started, Penny immediately took the lead and did not let it go. I could see her round the bends ahead of me for the first few miles, but after mile marker 4 or 5, I could no longer see her. She was amazing. I paddled continuously for the entire 12 miles, with only short 30-second pauses to stretch my arms and take a drink of water. It was grueling. She definitely deserved the win. Penny took first place ($150) and I took second place ($50).

Our friends (the Fretwells and Smythes) in the double kayak/canoes also won, but I don’t have the details as they started after we did and had not come in from the river before we left.

All I can say is “Job Well Done!” Everything went off without a hitch, thanks to the many volunteers.

Along with Jim and myself, the other friends that participated in the actual race were Penny and Pat Westrick, Emily and Rich Lemming, Becky and Bob Fretwell, and Wendy and Tim Smythe.  Tamara Bernadot (who teaches Yoga) and Darren Farquar (Right By Nature Farm) were at the finish line recording finish times and helping to take out boats.

Enjoy the photos. Life is an Adventure!
Starting Line | Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta Staging Area Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta  Mary & Jim Johnson | Rich & Emily Lemming | Penny and Pat Westrick at Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta Demo Kayaks at Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta IMG_6798 Steps to the Powell River at the Starting Line Starting Line Putting In at the Starting Line Volunteers at Finish Line Take Out Area at Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta IMG_6813 Facilities at Riverside Rentals - Finish Line of Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta Hot food at the finish line! Facilities at Riverside Rentals - Finish Line of Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta Facilities at Riverside Rentals - Finish Line of Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta Facilities at Riverside Rentals - Finish Line of Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta IMG_6823 Relaxing after Race | Powell River Kayak & Canoe Regatta IMG_6822