April 30,2009 -- Glenwood Springs, CO
The sudden surge in river flows and mixed springtime weather conditions were not a big deal to the 15 racers that showed to our Western Junior Wildwater Team Trials that were held this past weekend--April 25th and 26th at Glenwood Canyon in western Colorado. Sure it was high water and yes holes and wave holes had appeared suddenly where there were none a few days before. Class II water suddenly had wave trains of four foot waves and the current was averaging over 8 miles an hour. The conditions beat what happened the week before at our training camp where the flows were ideal but the roads leading to the race site from the east, where most of the racers lived, were closed with 2-3 feet of snow. Spring racing in the Rockies is a joy. Outsiders notice the altitude which is higher than what they have close to home. We are more focused on finally getting to race after waiting for months at a time while back east our racing friends are enjoying their races. If the conditions are not great that's fine as long as the storms let us get there -- and back home as well.
Saturday's Classic race was held on the Grisly Creek section with as many safety boats as we could put on the water in place as possible. We had a bike rider mom with a walky-talky patrolling the bike path next to the river serving as a link between the start and finish judges and the safety boat placements. We had cars patrolling up and down the adjacent freeway looking for high speed garage sales. To our group's credit they were not needed as our racers who did find themselves wet learned the art of fast water self rescue that weekend. Winning the top spots in their classes and securing team berths were Griff Griffith (K-1M Jr), Laura Adams (K-1W Jr), Tyler Hinton (C-1M Jr), and the C-2M Jr of Charlie Kieft and Patrick Gauder.
On Sunday our much anticipated big water sprint race was spoiled by a snowstorm. While the canyon was gorgeous with its upper half being covered with snow those needing to drive back east that afternoon were only thinking about the prior weekend's mountain road closures and the boat trailers they would be pulling in nasty conditions up higher. We opted to forgo the wave blasting for a sprint run that had only four foot rollers and a few holes to miss. Securing the remaining junior team openings were Will Grub and JP Griffith in K-1M Jr (which had an extra opening), Haley Popp in K-1W Jr, and Craig Adams in C-1M Jr. Earning first alternate spots were Jack Teagarden (K-1M Jr) and Cassidy Sainsbury (K-1W Jr). Back-up alternates were Tim Schermerhorn (K-1M Jr) and Samatha Cole-Johnson (K-1W Jr).
The Junior US Team is now set. In K-1M we have returning team member Peter Lutter, Griff Griffith, Will Grub and JP Griffith with Jack Teagarden as our alternate. In K-1W we have returning team member Laura Adams, Sierra O'Brien, MacKenzie Hatcher and Haley Popp with Cassidy Sainsbury as our alternate. In C-1m we have Tyler Hinton and Craig Adams. We also have several team members to choose from to form a C-1 team for the team races. Rounding out the team we have our C-2 team of Charlie Kieft and Patrick Gauder.
Many thanks are owed to the coaches and parents who were so flexible and supportive of the races need for safety and support this weekend. A great event was held that will be remembered by all there.
Front: Craig Adams, Laura Adams, Patrick Gauder, Charlie Kieft
Standing: Will Grub, Griff Griffith, JP Griffith, Haley Popp, Cassidy Sainsbury, Tyler Hinton, Samantha Cole-Johnson, Jack Teagarden