Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Super ACTION Filler Post - CKS Paddlefest Men's C1 Rodeo Competition, 5/27 afternoon

Nah, nah, nah, just kidding - I'm still working like crazy wrapping up the September/early October reporting but this isn't a filler post in the same way as Sunday's was, where I thought "Hey, haven't posted for a few days, wonder if any of the pictures I took during the Saturday morning drive would be worth sharing?"

Colorado being SO scenic, it turned out they were. But that brings us up to something I've been looking forward to posting about since we got back - the CKS Paddlefest! I had so much fun taking pictures; in fact I took so many pictures I wasn't sure how I was going to break 'em down into posts, but I think I'll just do 'em in order, by event. To begin with, click here for a Flickr album with 24 action-packed photos from the Men's C-1 Semifinal. And yes, everything going on over there is completely intentional. 
The riverside viewing area probably got jammed for the finals at the end of the day, but with this being the semi-finals it wasn't too crazy yet and I eventually found myself a seat right next to the wave where they were doing their stuff! Enjoy!

This is a big Memorial Day paddling festival held every year in Buena Vista; the main producer is Colorado Kayak Supply, and the event features 3 days of all sorts of competitions, exhibitions, races, classes (mostly run by the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center, about which I shall rave more at a later date, they were awesome!), and more.

I found out about it through a very neat Facebook paddling group, the Church of the Double Bladed Paddle, which is a huge (23K members and growing) group, with members all over the world. The group is about sharing the fun of paddling and the love paddlers all have for our sport; it's very attentively managed, with a few simple rules being strictly enforced -- like no safety lectures; if somebody asks for advice it's always fine to give but no unsolicited lectures and especially no name-calling. The moderators are all experienced paddlers and will take down anything that's seriously dicey, and beyond that we all just agree to be a little tolerant of others. Every now and then something will start go off the rails, but the administrators are generally able to shut things down before they get too much like the argument that inspired the name of this blog.

Makes for a very nice and friendly online community, and it's a FANTASTIC resource if you're going someplace new - there are members all over the world and pretty much anywhere you're going, somebody's going to have good advice about paddling there. I'd asked about recommendations for the Denver area a couple of months before our trip, and one of the members, Mark W., a very nice guy who lived* in Colorado and loved doing whitewater, clued me in about the festival. TQ and I had originally planned to fly home on Friday the 26th, but fortunately we hadn't bought our plane tickets yet so it was no trouble to extend our stay by a couple of days.

The plan was to watch the rodeo competitions on Saturday, take a class ourselves on Sunday, and then drive back to a hotel near the airport on Sunday evening, catching a flight home early on Monday. That worked out perfectly.

We got to the rodeo competition during the pro semi-finals and watched the men's C-1 and junior women's K-1. TQ and I have whiled away a good many hours watching whitewater videos on youtube (I think we would do more of it if there was any closer to NYC, he loves it and my few attempts have been great, although I'm always terrified until I'm actually in the boat and having fun), and it was really neat to actually see it being done live and in person!


*Sadly, Mark W. passed away in a rafting accident a little later in the summer -- in a post about another paddler's passing, he talked about having had a mild heart attack a while ago, knowing that he might still be at risk, but choosing to accept that risk and continue paddling because paddling brought him so much joy. I was so glad I had at least been able to thank him, share a few shots from the paddlefest, and let him know what a wonderful time we had before he passed away. Miss him very much even though I only knew him through the group -- he didn't post that much but the occasional things he chose to share tended to be quite beautiful and you could just sense a very kind and thoughtful person was on the other end of the keyboard.