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.
This Sunset Race fell on Corvin’s 11th birthday. What is a dad to do, but take his son out late on a school night to celebrate. I picked up the kids from school and loaded the boat. When Danelle got home, Corvin and I set off. Corvin was pleasantly surprised when we made a stop at the gas station for supplies before paddling. I often stop to get a warm drink as it gets colder or a snack for extra energy.
We got to the ramp and unloaded the supplies getting the boat down by the river. Jo and Joe were both there to paddle with us.
After a great father son paddle, Corvin helped me pack up and we headed home. The plan was to go to Strange Donuts afterwards and pick up a custom apple creation that was only for a few days. I wanted to unload quickly and found that our 3 paddles had not made it into the van. I quickly switched to Danelle’s car without finishing unloading and drove back to the ramp to see if the paddles where still there.
I was able to recover the paddles, but I had left Corvin at home. I figured I would make a quick run to Strange Donuts and then share with Corvin when I got home. Unfortunately the donut line was 45 minutes long before I could get what I came for. When I got home, Corvin was asleep and worried that I was mad at him.
I couldn’t be mad it him, I was just in a rush to attempt to recover the left paddles. It all turned out. In the morning, I was able to give Corvin his donuts and assure him it was all okay. It was a good birthday for him and paddle, but if I had waited 1 more minute, he could have ridden with me for the excitement.
We’re still having the Sunset race. Tonight’s role call: Joe Baisa, Joe Sartori, Jo Newbold, John Jones, and [J]Hogan. (see how the J is silent in Hogan).
Jo Newbold (left) and Joe Sartori
Come paddle with us soon!