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Glenwood Wildwater Jubilee Recap

by Denny Adams

April 24, 2011 -- Glenwood Springs, CO

The rosy afterglow from a great three days of boating is glaringly bright this morning. Our past weekend's Glenwood Wildwater Jubilee came closer to meeting it's envisioned educational, recreational, and passion development mission than any in this event's seven (eight ?) plus years of existence. We had flatwater drills and stroke instruction, dry land clinics, some boat switching and experimenting, and many hours of on the course practice runs aimed at finding fastest lines and putting together strategies. At night there were social gatherings and film breakdown sessions. And oh yea, there was some pretty fair races going on. Fun, challenging, and as well, intense and hard fought racing taking place on a big kid's river in a world class setting. Races where the Jr. Team was determined by a couple of seconds and races where new paddlers discovered why wild rivers have as much and far more to offer in terms of paddling and racing enjoyment as the experience of being on manmade courses. Our growing adult class is becoming surprisingly competitive. The biggest joy for me lay in the spirit of the event, in the attitudes demonstrated by our racers and parents and our many volunteers that came together to make this weekend work.

Altogether we had over 40 boaters on the river this weekend, over twenty seven that were in wildwater boats with most of the remainder being in old school recreational boats that were similarly long and sleek by modern standards. Two schools from the Colorado High School Cup Race Program; the Alexander Dawson School and the Colorado Rocky Mountain School provided the majority of the racers. We also had racers from clubs in Durango, from the Ouray/Ridgeway area, and from a new and young club over the mountains in Lyons, Co. The event was sponsored by the Great Blue Heron Canoe and Kayak Club - this area's USACK Wildwater Club. Most essential were the volunteers: seven timers, starters, judges/ general course officials; and three racers who gave their evening time on Saturday and their drive home time after the awards ceremony on Sunday, in order to stay and process the results. What was particularly critical was our five-person on the water safety crew. These were mostly coaches and a few ever-reliable parents who have steadfastly and quietly performed this chore at our races for over a decade now.

Great thanks go out to National Team Member and Wildwater Committee Member Jeremy Rogers for putting on the best clinic I have seen offered in my nine years of being associated with whitewater racing. Jeremy has taken on a positive and pro-active leadership role in junior development in this region as is demonstrated by his giving local flatwater training and ergometer clinics in his home and in loaning boats out for young racers and their coaches to race in. Several of our top junior finishers have Jeremy to thank for their improved performances. Testimony to Jeremy's impact was evident that afternoon in the way the kids tackled their afternoon training runs for the sprint course. That evening we had tired kids who had been racing, doing practice runs, doing advanced level river runs, and taking coaching and attending clinics for the better part of two days; on their own breaking down that day's race footage -- discussing with vigor things like technique and lines rather than kicking back and enjoying their evening in a more normal teen manner.

Our event would not have been nearly as much fun had it not been for the support and help of parents. Several parents made this weekend a family weekend by provided housing for the junior racers, bringing in food, filming the action and cheering the racers as they went by. Our adults: coaches, parents, officials, and adult racers at this event were role models who through their own energy and positive attitude made this an even more special weekend for the younger racers. It is very gratifying to have so many positive people of all ages, a growing number each year, coming out and enjoying our once very humble Jubilee.

Denny Adams