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November 4, 2005

The Jackson family, along with Clay and Stephen left
for NOC’s GAF (guest appreciation festival) on Friday, a week ago.
We hung out in front of the store and helped their customers get themselves
all set up in new and demo Jackson Kayak boats. We also did a Super Hero/Hero
run down the Nanty on Saturday and then a play session on Sunday. Sunday
night we all drove to Asheville. I was quite nervous since I planned on
running the Green with my kids. I had only run the Green two times in
my life. Once in a Crossfire back in 1990, during a super high water run
with Bryan Homberg and Eric Giddens on a cold rainy winter day. We were
on a creeking mission and hit Overflow, the Bear, Soddy, and more during
that trip. My second run was in 1998 with David Macintosh and Leland Davis
on a 200% day. My third run would be with Dane and Emily on Monday morning.

Clay knows the Green like the back of his hand and
was our leader. We took our time and scouted everything, looking at all
of our options on each rapid. Dane and Emily both paddled the Hero, while
Clay, Stephen, and I paddled the Super Hero. My stomach felt more nervous
than usual and even when I was running the rapids. It was quite weird.
Emily and Dane were doing fine.

We paddled together on Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday
afternoon Clay, Stephen, and I did a faster run (cruiser without catching
any eddies was the goal) but Stephen had a bobble on Frankenstein, and
Johnny who joined in swam at Go Left. This changed the dynamic for me
a little and I slowed down, staying with Johnny until after Swicks where
we bombed through Gorilla to the finish.

Wednesday the river didn’t run. We headed for
the Cheoa for our first time down that run. We all took playboats and
had a great time running a new river! Thanks American Whitewater for opening
up yet another great run!

Thursday the Green didn’t run again. I must admit
that I am no where near ready to race. Yes, I can get to the starting
line and make it to the finish, with a good shot of no major crashes.
However, I still haven’t memorized the fast lines and have no idea
how to pace it yet.

It is Friday morning. The Green is running. I will
go do one run this morning, where I hope to lead Clay down so I can see
my own lines, if he doesn’t mind. Then Kristine will pick us up
and we will B-line to Atlanta where I am doing a Key note speech for an
American Whitewater Fundraiser. We will then drive back to Asheville,
probably getting in at about 2am or so, and then wake for the race on
Saturday morning.

This is my first Green Race. While I never get into
a starting line thinking I can’t win a race, I certainly know that
I should destroy my own time with a little proper training. I am also
racing in the “short boat” class (8’6” or shorter).
The open class is made up of mostly Prijon Tornados. I spent 15 years
racing long boats and am enjoying the creekboat length. At Great Falls,
we cleaned the long boats out of the running, with all top three racers
finishing in the short boats, cool. The locals who paddle this river everyday
(live in Asheville) all have so many runs in their Tornados that they
will likely make them go downriver fast!

🙂 EJ