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USA Wildwater Racers make mark at 2012 Teva Mtn. Games

by Michael Hyde

June 4, 2012 -- Vail, CO

Who says you can't have a race on morning dew? Well, actually there was a little more water than that (barely). The 2012 Teva Mountain Games Downriver Sprint went on as usual. Although a misnomer when using the term Sprint, as it is a 4 mile race which really makes it more of a Classic in USA Wildwater terms. It proved equally as challenging for all racers. The trick was finding the lines in such low water and sticking them every time. The race started in East Vail in about 6 inches of water at the put-in start. We had morning sunshine and cool crisp air that warmed quickly. The Men's Open class was going to be hotly contested and everyone knew it. Even renowned paddler Eric 'EJ' Jackson, made the decision to actually paddle after years of signing up and never racing it.

Three USA Wildwater racers (possibly more - and forgive me if I do not know who you are) were on hand to partake; Jeremy Rogers, J.P. Griffith, and Cadet Henry Hyde. After getting the UMC racers and women down river, next came the Men's Open class. Henry Hyde got the lead-off spot after a 10 minute break between classes and paddling a slightly "old-school" Dagger Blast, he was gone like a rocket. A little later in the order came; J.P. and then Jeremy Rogers.

Now while Jeremy almost won the entire darned thing, there was a Kiwi boater named Mike Dawson who took top honors with a time of: 22:52.31 Jeremy placed 2nd, posting a time of: 22:57.19 - 4.88 off of the leader. J.P. Griffith came in 9th with a time of: 23:56.28 - 1:03.97 off the leader. Henry Hyde came in 13th at: 24:38.46 - 1:46.15 off of the leader.

Now while they were not in DR race boats (which is not allowed), these times are impressive for paddling heavy plastic boats so quickly over such a distance. I also see this looking over the shoulder by Jeremy looking at J.P. and J.P. at Henry. Everyone is getting stronger and faster, especially the kids!