The Upper Wind River Race is always a great way to kick off the whitewater racing season in the Northwest. This event is hosted by the Oregon Rafting Team and the race begins at the bridge in the town of Stabler, Washington. A mass start always adds some excitement for the kayakers, rafters and catarafters who sprint head-to-head down ~3.5 miles of continuous class III-IV rapids. This year the water was over two feet higher than last year, resulting in some big holes and great carnage. Big thanks to the rescue team for keeping everyone safe out there.
The weekend kicked off with a much needed river clean-up on Friday afternoon. A group of us met at the take-out to pick up all the trash that had been collecting over the winter. Saturday's events included a long boat race, R2 race and a BBQ provided by Next Adventure. The short boats, R6s, and catarafts raced on Sunday.
I paddled the 11'9" Dagger Green Boat in the long boat race. At first I was a little worried that such a big boat might be a handful in such big water, but I was really impressed with the way it handled. It was surprisingly responsive and blasted right through every hole with no problem. This came in handy when things got chaotic at Ram's Horn rapid. We all bombed into the crux of the rapid together, Drew charged through first without even getting his head wet, one of the guys got surfed and swam in an entrance hole, and the rest of us all flipped at the bottom. There was another swim and Susan and I joined the rescue team in picking up the pieces of the yard sale. It was quite the show for the spectators. Luckily, I managed to avoid any carnage for the rest of the run and paddle into a 3rd place finish. Susan Hollingsworth took 2nd place and Drew Eastman took 1st. Greg Mallory won the short boat class as usual, followed by Kim Russell and Ryan Young in a tie for second place.
Clean-up organizer, Drew Eastman
Big thanks to Wind Race Organizer, Tyler McPherson,
for putting on such a great event!!!