Sunday, July 27, 2008

The LVM Green River GS

When it comes to interesting competitions, LVM's John Grace sure does know how to put on a competition that no one has ever seen before. The LVM Giant Slalom is the most recent of such competitions, and this time I think John has hit it right.

The Green River version of the Giant Slalom involved a down river section beginning at the putin for the Green, and ending at Chief (the drop just above the monkey). After that, it had 2 runs through a 7 gate slalom course set up in the slides after Gorilla, and the race finished just above Rapid Transit. Below, John explains the set up at the confluence of the Big Hungary and Green Rivers.

Since I left my camera at the putin, I didn't get any pictures of the down river section. Thankfully Adam Herzog brought me my camera. So after an hour of looking at the course (note that we were not allowed any practice runs on the course), we started the slalom portion. The slalom began with the slide in after Gorilla, and below is a photo of Nate Elliot just after his start.

Below is a picture Pat after making the first gate, making the move to the second gate in the Scream Machine.

Below, John Grace finishes the moves through Scream Machine and starts in to the Nies' Pieces sequence.

And, the following is Toby MacDermott beginning the Nies' sequence.

Next are a couple of shots from upstream of Adam Herzog and Chris Gragtmans (who eventually won) that show them making the moves into the Nies' sequence.

The crowd watching Adam:

Chris in the middle of the Nies' slides (I know the course isn't very visible here, but I really liked the picture):

Finally, the following photo shows the legend who has been laying down huge results for as long as I can remember, Shane Benedict, entering Nies' Pieces.

The next photo shows the last gate in the middle of Power Slide placed to set the paddler for hitting the hole head on. Caleb Coaplen showed everyone the right way to hit the line.

The race was amazing. Despite my not qualifying for the National Championships (i.e. making the top 20), I had a great time. I guess I could blame my poor performance on a hurt shoulder but no. I simply missed a gate (oh well maybe next year). Anyways, I decided to walk Sunshine and happened to get this picture of my buddy Eric Chance.

I would suggest all of you guys out there who can make it to go to the final in the LVM Giant Slalom series. I'll definitely be out there shooting pictures and running the Green at 200 percent. Until then maybe I'll see you on the water.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mountain Biking at Snowshoe

So, this weekend was a ball, but it was not without injury. I went so Snowshoe to ride the their bikes and the lifts back up the hill for the amazing fun. It's a bit expensive, especially if you get hurt, but entirely worth it. Let's look at the pictures, and I'll let you decide if the riding is worth it.

On my way to Snowshoe I saw this sight, and I thought it extraordinary. Really, how often do you see a limo made out of a Rolls Royce. Here it is, I hope you enjoy the picture.

I made it to Snowshoe after taking this picture and a little more driving. Myself and my two friends Chris Fehn and Mike Pfund had some great riding. All of the great stunts are located on the conventional side of the mountain for skiing. Here is Mike riding a ladder bridge.

After this trail we went after a few larger stunts. Hurting the bike is not an issue with riding these ladder bridges and drops because that is the deal with rental bikes, beat them to death and give them back. So, with that in thought Chris decided to hit this 20 foot gap.

After Chris finished with the super big 20 foot gap on the stunt side of the mountain, he decided to move on to road gaps. This road gap I speak of was near Cupp Run on the other side of the mountain. And of course in the process I decided to get hurt and just take pictures instead of riding. Here is a shot of it with an unknown biker from Alabama smoothing it.

And, here is are the picures of Chris having good lines off the road gap. Here is a wide angle of Chris just after the takeoff for the drop.

And the following, Chris mid air from down the hill.

I was really suprised and excited to watch both Mike and Chris fire up some huge riding.

As for me, I'm out of commission for a little while. But, I can promise some great shots from next week's LVM Giant Slalom. I'll try to cover the event with some killer pictures. So, this time you know what's next for me. But, after that who can tell.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Meadow Run and The Lower Yough

After two trips to the hospital and a good deal of abdominal pain over the last two months, I finally got back in my boat. It's remarkable how taking time off paddling makes you just want to paddle more. Anyways, I went to the Maryland and Pennsylvania to paddle the Upper and Lower Yough. We ended up getting far more rain than anticipated so 2 rivers over 3 days turned in to 4 rivers over 3 days.

We ended up paddling the Top Yough, the Loop 3 times, the Upper Yough, Meadow Run, and finally all of the lower. It was myself and my friends Jon, Michelle, and Catherine, although Michelle and Catherine only paddled the loop and the lower. So now on to pictures. Here is a shot of Jon making sure that he is fully ready to put on to the Upper.

We paddled the Upper at a level of 2.5ft. at the bridge, and it took us just under 2 hours. So, the speed accompanied with the rain, I decided not to shoot on the Upper. Similarly, rain kept me from shooting the Top. But, thanks to Michelle (who happens to be a pro triathlete, check out her website we got some great pictures of Meadow Run which is the creek that comes into the Lower Yough on the river left just after the putin.

Here's Jon having a good line on the first drop named "The Cascades".

The drop continues down, and Michelle got this picture of Catherine taking a picture of Jon.

Next I was up so here is a shot of me on the Cascades.

As you may be able to see Jon was paddling a Dagger Outburst (broken to boot, but the duct tape weld seems to be holding). With the broken outburst, he decided not to paddle the final slide which turned out to be tricker than I thought. But, luckily it worked out fine. So here I am.

Just behind me a spectator decided to swim the slide with no lifejacket or helmet.

Now this is fairly standard at 1/10th the flow, but this guy decided to give it a try. I wasn't too happy about it because if he had hit his head, then we would have been doing CPR, and that's always a drag.

We finished the weekend paddling the Lower, and here is Jon making the ferry at Cucumber. I like the picture simply for the explosiveness of the water.

As for me, it seems that I'm back even though the muscle work from paddling landed me in the hospital just 3 weeks ago. So, hopefully we'll see more good pictures.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Harbison Head Cam

This week, along with being hurt, I've been preparing for having to teach Business Calculus during the first summer session down here in Columbia. So, I decided to sneak out for a quick mountain bike ride at my local area, Harbison State Forrest, and I decided to attempt some head cam style pictures. So, I strapped on my camera with the super wide angle lens and went out to try for some fun pictures. I like this one of my bike.

Having to use my right hand to operate the camera led to some fun but not crazy pictures. I find it super hard to ride off big drops with just one hand on the bars (which would probably land me back in the hospital). So, I decided to just ride fast on easier trails and try to get some interesting pictures out of it. I like this one because you can see my shadow still in the frame but everything else is moving.

Trying to make a burm ride smooth with just one hand led to some interesting balancing techniques. In other words, I'm lucky to not be still in the dirt after trying to take this picture. But, the rotation in the shot is great.

Right after the burm was this silly bridge, but it gave great opportunity for a fun contrasty picture with more than just trees and plants flying by, so I took it.

After the ride I sat down for a break and got this shot of me with my bike and car before heading back for home.

So, hopefully it will rain again in the southeast so we can see some more kayaking pictures. But, until then, riding is fun and hopefully no longer painful. I hope the pictures are as fun to look at as they were to take.

Next weekend is when the doctors tell me that I'm allowed back in contact sports. So, that means back out running the interesting lines on the Green, and hopefully with rain, all of the other runs in the southeast. But, until then if you need me I'll be teaching freshman calculus (however ridiculous that may seem).

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Red River Gorge, and Oyster Shell Triathalon

My mother's birthday was May 20th. So, I decided to go home and see some friends that I haven't seen in some time as well as do some fun activities. I began my journey to Richmond, VA by flying to Lexington, KY to see an old friend and go rock climbing at the Red River Gorge. My good friend Ned Trice is seen here (explaining his lack of enthusiasm for the the gross camping at Miguel's Pizza).

Ned took me to the Military Wall at the Red, a major destination due to the large amount of aesthetically pleasing climbs in such a small area. Here's Ned warming up on a 5.9.

The climbing was great, but my injury is still in play so I had to take it fairly easy. Still, it was a great day.

We then drove to Richmond, where I had a birthday party with my mom. After seeing my family, I proceeded to Deltaville, VA (on the Chesapeake bay) for a makeshift triathlon that Ned and my good friend Parker Garrett put together, the soon to be Annual Oyster Shell Triathlon.

My stomach wasn't feeling that great so they put me in a canoe to run safety instead of running the race. So I decided to take some photographs and utilize my injured state. We had 11 competitors in all (I told you it was makeshift), but despite the low numbers everyone had a great time.

The race began in the water near the dock at Ned and Parker's bay houses, so people decided to jump off the dock into the water. Here is Ned's mom, Betsy Trice, preparing for the start.

After the start was a swim across a channel to another body of land. Chris Fehn leads the pack swimming to the mark.

After the swim was a bike leg, and here is Betsy getting her riding legs under her after the swim.

Now, the race wasn't all that competitive, but there were some out there to win. And, here is Chris Fehn, still winning.

Parker Garrett was not far behind, and here he is trying to catch Chris. Parker is smiling because he knows how much faster he is than Chris at running.

After the ride there was a little run through the shallows. Chris did not quite make the picture being so far in the lead, but here are second through fifth trying to catch up. In order they are Ned Trice, Parker Garrett, Winston Trice (Ned's dad), and Jennie Belt.

Finally after making their way back across the channel there was more running, and the finish was back a Ned and Parker's bay houses. Here is Kai Gould finishing the run and gladly.

Everyone finished in under an hour, which left me fairly tired after trying to keep up in the safety canoe taking pictures.

First place went to Betsy Trice who actually finished last. But, there was a last minute decision by the judging staff that disqualified everyone else for simply going to fast. So because of her great hospitality, Besty won. Finally, I decided to try my hand at taking some flower pictures because it was such good light and there were so many beautiful flowers around. Here is a shot of some flower that I have no name for (don't blame me, I'm not a horticulturalist).

So, as Warren Miller (ski film maker) says, "Don't wait until next year to go out and have some fun because you'll just be one year older when you do. Who knows where I will be next, but maybe I'll see you there.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Great Falls on the Potomac

So I'm trying my best to keep up weekly updates with interesting photos. I'm fairly sure that I can't keep this pace up without having thousands of spectacular photos already taken, but I'm going to try. This week we venture to Great Falls on the Potomac River to see some past phtots that I've taken (mainly because I'm out for a little while from a bike crash). So, on to the pictures.

If it's high water and the middle of the winter, you might be looking down the center lines.

This sight is almost completely terrifying because unless there is another person in a boat just behind you, you are entirely on your own. Personally, I don't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's always nice to have friends near by if you happen to crash.

On the occaision that you do have friends with you and you are careful, your crew could end up happy at the bottom.

Now, let's look at some specific rapids. We've now seen the center lines from both the top and the bottom. Here is Dave Moffatt in the middle on Grace Under Pressure having as good a line as I've seen.

Further down the center lines you encounter the streamers, and here is Van Nall taking care of business in a Dancer at the streamers.

When it comes to the other lines, there are several other options. There's the fish ladders, which I conveniently have no pictures of. There is the Maryland side, the first drop of which is called Pummel. Jason Beaks, the fastest paddler I know makes Pummel look good during last years Great Falls Race. Do note that the Great Falls Race a part of the Potomac Fest, is one of the most fun events that I attend each year. Anyways, here is Jason.

The last option assuming that you are padding at normal flows (there are a few other options for lines a super high water, but don't start looking for them until you've run the normal lines a few times) is the Virginia Side. The last drop on the Virgina Side is called the Spout. Van Nall, me, and Michael Stratton decided that it might be a good idea to run this drop far above regular runnable levels. Well, we had some crashes, but we had enough friends around to make sure all was safe. Anyways, here is Van running the Spout at higher water than you might want to try running it.

Finally I'll end with a shot of me at super high water (about 4.5 for all those out there that might care). I'm running a drop left of the Maryland side, and it's shallow at the bottom (I found out the hard way). Here I am anyway, I think I look stylish. But, then again who am I to say how I look on the water. All I can do is hope that I look good, which I've heard happens occaisionally (I do crash too, don't worry).

I guess that's all for now. Hopefully I'll heal up soon so I can get back out there on the water, and take some more good pictures.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Crashing Sucks

Hey everyone. So we all know that sometimes you crash, and I found my self in the ICU down here in South Carolina on Wednesday night. I seems that I found the skinny end of the handlebars on my mountain bike with my stomach and ended up losing a sizable amount of blood into my abdominal cavity. I guess it goes to show that it's the little things that get you.

Things stabilized quickly and I'm recovering fine with no surgery. Here's a picture of me in the ICU,

Good spirits, laughing that I ended up this way. You will have to pardon the photo quality. It was taken with an iPhone. I didn't think it very smart to bring my camera along.

So it seems that I'm out for a month. But, hopefully I can hike into some runs and put up some more good pictures. But, we'll just have to see. Clearly we never know what is next. So, I hope all of you out there are doing well, and hopefully I'll see you out there soon.

At home and doing much better,

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Chattooga

So, before I begin with this post, I feel it necessary to explain my motives with my blog. I really just want to take as good pictures as possible while living my normal (if normal suffices here) life and describe those to you. Note that I'm not trying to be some superman in a kayak, just someone who can kayak well and takes pictures that are fun to look at. So, here is a good day on the Chattooga that I had with some friends.

I went to the Chattooga with some of my friends from USC (where I'm currently a graduate student studying math . I know, a bit of an ugh for most people, but it's what I do well other than kayaking). So, here is our day.

I went with Brandon, Bo, Don, Kelly, Kevin, and Matt, and here are some pictures I took. Here is Brandon after a spectactular run of Corkscrew getting out of his boat.

It was a good day because Brandon managed to plug every drop and still was fine. Next are three more photos of Corkscrew, the first is Don making the rapid look much smother than it actually is, which is the same with Kevin in the second photo, and Bo, well Bo seems to be a camera hog. But, I will let you decide for your self.

Don, having a great line through the Corkscrew.

And, Kevin making sure that hand paddles work just as well as regular paddles.

Finally, here is Bo with a little too much attention, but with such a good line who can argue. Next, I got out of my boat to scout Jawbone, with Kelly who was running the river for the first time, and I happened to take this picture of Matt.

Here's Matt, making it look like there's a 15 foot drop on the Chattooga. Perfect form, and good lines. Finally we arrived at Soc-Em-Dog, where I was excited to get this great Black and White photo of Bo with a line that ended him upright and in the eddy at the bottom.

I was also excited to get this shot of Kelly, who I was scouting with all day and hardly had time to photograph. But, here she is making it through Soc-Em-Dog, and making it look good.

Finally, when we got to the take-out (and on such a good day), I though that I would take a picture of the scenery (with the widest-angle lens that I have available), and here is what I got.

So, who knows where I will end up next, maybe mountain biking, and probably padding (hopefully we'll see a post on the Middle Kings by the end of the summer, but no promices). I hope everyone out there is having as much fun on the water as I am. See you out there hopefully.