Holy cow, what a great Sunset Race!
Role Call: in order of finish
Joey Hager => skinny wooden kayak 1st place
Joe Sartori => kayak
Hogan/JoJo => 17′ Grumman
Danielle Sartori => skinny kayak
Charles/Paul => 17′ Osagian
It was a great number of boats and we had ourselves an aluminum shootout! Grumman vs Osagian. I think the boats were equally matched, mine just had more experienced paddlers who knew the river. Nevertheless, they gave us a scare at the end and we had to pour on the power to maintain our place!
I have to say that after paddling fancy boats for a while now, its nice to go back to the pureness of an aluminum boat with no rudder. I had to focus on my paddling skills more to keep the boat going in the direction we wanted!
We had a new participant for the Sunset Race this month, Kelly Kasten. She is a local SUP paddler, but we were happy to have her join us! Also along was Joe Sartori and JoJo. This month was more of a casual paddle than a race, and a good time!
The 76th Sunset race started with me arriving early and going for a 2 mile unicycle ride down the paved path. I turned around when the path went under the waters of the flooded Meramec river.
Shortly after my ride, Joe Sartori showed up to paddle with me. He brought out his whitewater boat that can handle just about anything.
Once out in the current, the river was quite peaceful and easy to paddle upstream in. We went up a bit past Simpson lake before turning around and coming back. Here are a few snaps of the flooded river.
Jo has been telling me about the whitewater championships for a few years now. She said that I would get a kick out of seeing the boats run down the St. Francis river. Its held there every year in the early spring. This year, I decided that nothing would cause me to miss it. So Corvin and I hopped in the van for the 2 hour drive to the start of the race. The race started around 10am and I needed to be back in St. Louis and downtown at 1pm. From the parking lot, it was a 1 mile walk to the viewing area for the race. Corvin and I settled down to enjoy our 45 minutes worth of viewing!
OK, so settled in meant that Corvin was climbing up and down the rocks while I watched the paddling. I had a vested interest in the 3 Sartori paddlers and Jo Newbold.
Lucky for me, the 4 of them all made their runs in the 45 minutes we were there before we had to high tail it home.
Jo Newbold getting ready for a drop
Joe Sartori taking a different line
Danielle Sartori with a clean line
And Deborah Sartori cheering on her family!
And don’t forget all the safety boats out there to protect the paddlers!
Dan Prater as a safety boat
It was a very cool event that I would like to see more of next year!
This paddle represents 6 years of us going out monthly and doing the Sunset Race. Winter paddles are cold, so we all had our foul weather gear on and were ready for anything. After a nice and cold paddle, I decided that I should test my equipment to ensure it will protect me. So I pointed the van down towards the river and made sure it was warmed up for maximum heat.
With as much light as I could provide, Jo and I went into the river to test out our dry suits. Her suit worked flawlessly, mine, almost… I didn’t have one of the zippers all the way tight and water got in. It was a mistake I was glad to experience once we were done paddling! Always a great night with good friends.