The day after we got to Seattle, we heard it was time for the 2nd annual Robe Canyon Downriver Race. So, we promptly headed out to Robe Saturday to get in a practice run and try to remember just where the hell we were going, and then entered the race on Sunday. Racers must go in teams of 2. Since the river is so difficult, race organizer Todd G. feels it’s safer to go in two’s. That way when the inevitable carnage happens (I mean, how can it now when you have 32 paddling Class V as fast as they can, totally tired and whupped) your teammate is there to help you out. It was an amazing showing–16 teams in all–despite high water and plenty of mystery about whether or not we could have the race. Above, the competitors are nervously awaiting the start of the race.
Racers hiking down the road to the put in trail. I’ve never seen to many boaters turn out for a Class V run when the high temperature for the day was somewhere around 50 degrees! The Robe Race really is a cool event drawing people who love to paddle just simply for sake of paddling. All you can win in this race is a robe or gnome, so people definitely aren’t out for the fame or money. (photo by Ethan Smith)
So, despite the fact that Don and I pretty much had the couple’s category sewed up (we were the only couple to enter), we still wanted to make a strong showing and try for the Robes. We had a really awesome start, and had fast and relatively smooth lines in most of the big rapids. We were feeling great until…I went and blew it in some little rapid that doesn’t even have a name:(
I swam and crushed our hopes of taking home the winners’ robes…
And then we thought we might have a shot of the DFL (dead f-ing last) prize of the Gnome (only the biggest winners and the biggest losers get a prize in this here race), but we got scooped on that too when this guy and his partner decided to free themselves from their kayaks and just do the back stroke across the finish line–Damn it! (photo by Ethan Smith)
Here’s Hilary N. in Last Sunshine. Hilary is one of Small World’s guides. You gotta give it up for the bad ass SWA ladies–Darcy and Hilary were the only 2 women out on Robe that day.
From left to right it’s AJ, Brian (2010’s winners), and Darcy. Brian enjoys a little shot of Tequila after the race. After sprinting down Class V for 30-40 minutes, it only takes 1 shot to make things look like this!
Unfortunately for Chris and Don, their damn partners went and swam, but here’s Brock, lucky enough to get his photo taken with DFL winners Chris and Ryan–everyone was super stoked at the end of the day. Everyone was safe, but 1/3 of the teams had swimmers, so it certainly was an eventful race!
Thanks Todd for organizing–you did a great job.
We can’t wait for next year! I’m gonna stay in my boat and give Brian and AJ a run for their money!