Thursday, November 12, 2009

One Fine Charge

One must be balanced and poised on the edge to be ready for the battle that takes place in so many deep, dark, and scary places. The path is traveled by a few chosen brethren, who feel compelled to ride the blood of the earth that has been so rampant upon us so recently. Many warriors are now willing and able to take heed and Charge the turbulent and often trying waters of, not only, our greatest earthly treasures, but also the roads that men have paved. 

Curt "Bag" is back on Sunshine Left

Luckily, when one generates positive energy for the whole, and not just oneself, everyone benefits from the effort. In recent case, the Green Race has spawned a new breed of lifestyle, competition, and community that embraces everyone's ability to enjoy an amazing natural resource. The Green River near Asheville, NC has a unique structure which generates renewable energy, while also providing recreation for kayakers, tubers, anglers, pon-tooners, and carnage seekers. 

Tim Bell guiding the last few racers into battle.

This years Green Race was my first year to compete. I haven't paddled the Green River near as much as I would like to, and I have a great respect for the locals who live and train around the Knarrows. With that said, I went into the race with the mindset that I was out to have fun and post my time. My first day in a long boat on the Green was in my Corsica, which my Dad, being an OC-1er, bought to try and teach me how to kayak in a Dancer XS. Being 9 years old at the time and my Dad, having only canoeing experience, proved to be a rough learning curve, but I prevailed and found the old long-boat to be quite exciting on the Green. Thankfully, Woody offered Toby's old Liquid Logic Remix 100% to me, and I graciously accepted. 

The Stingers. Photo stolen from Shanes blog.

Long-boats are really fun on the Green, and any river you feel comfortable with for that matter. Especially new-school long-boats that are actually designed to run big burly drops and stay upright and fast. Anyways, after a few killer practice sessions, and a few outrageous party nights driving down the switchbacks in the WreckCenter, I was ready to Charge the legendary Green Race! Despite registering extremely late, hurting by back with a bowling ball, and leaving some safety gear at Whale Tale; I had a great run and think that next time I should actually try to paddle hard instead of just styling my lines and avoiding throw ropes. 

All I heard was Charge coming through the Notch. Photo courtesy of Chris Bell

The party was... well... if you were there... then you were there... and if you weren't... then you should be there next year. I found my safety gear the following day, and drove over to Joe Barkley's crib to discuss the fluid dynamics of veggie oil. We awoke the following morning to find the Cascades flowing at a most optimum flow. I decided to test the Hungee out on the some different water, and found myself at the take-out alot faster and gripped than I thought I would be. Lets just say I took the Grande on the next run. 

Photo by Arlyn Agababian

The 82' Benz Veggie wagon is a tank. No seriously, on my return through the Ocoee gorge, I came screeching to a halt when a BEAR came Charging across 64 dripping wet with whitewater. Luckily for Yogee, I have 4 wheel disc brakes, and only clipped him/her in the rump, wounding Chattanooga's most prized natural resource... no, we don't actually kill bears. However, be it omen, irony, or randomness, the skies once again dropped the blessed liquid that would bring Bear Creek up to, according to Bryce, an optimal level of 19 inches. 

Javid Grubbs looking small below Stairway to Heaven.

The sun shone forth and we embarked on the arduous 20 minute drive, 15 minute shuttle, and 50 yard hike to finally arrive clothed in armor and ready to do battle with our favorite nemesis. The Chattanooga Chargers aren't too keen on scouting, portaging, or going slow; so, we decided to Charge portage free. I was able to jump out of my oh so roomy Grande and film some of the boys firing off some of the flatwater. I would like to dedicate this here movie picture to our fallen comrade who pioneered and cleverly named the rapids of the Bear... Ron Stewart. Here are a few pics with names of rapids and chargers. There is a video too, but its speaks for itself. Charge peace.

Ryan Allen on Surrealistic Pillow

Scenic view of Cosmic Trigger below Stairway.

Bryce Evans in Revelations

Jason Rodwell heading into Armageddon. 

Javid and Paul Hubbard rallying some typical boogie. 

Taylor Martin amongst a big bad boogie hole. 

Bear Master Bryce finishing up Omega.

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