Select Page

5th Annual Alseseca Race


Well we just finished the 5th annual Alseseca Kayak race here in the little town of Tlapacoyan, Vera Cruz Mexico. This is either my 8th or 9th trip down here to Mexico, I start to loose count. I have been coming down since 2006 when I was part on the first full descent of the Rio Alseseca, so naturally this place is special to me.



This trip was one of the shortest and quickest trips to Mexico, instead of the usual 3-5 week trip we are only here for a short 10 days. It was a bit of a last minute decision when I decided to come down and talk EJ, Dane and Clay into coming with me.  It started off as an adventure as Clay, Dane and I drove to the Atlanta airport to try and get our new Jackson Kayak Karma creekboats onto the plane. Flying with three creekboats isn’t always an easy feat. Though after about 10 minutes of talking and some payment we had all the boats and paddles on the plane. We then went to our gate and sat and waited, being we were three 2.5 hours early. Long story short, we sat at the gate and missed our flight. So we now had to go back, rebook a flight for the next day and hope our boats and paddles made it onto that flight as well.


Anyways all said and done we made it into Mexico with all our gear. Clay had already organized our rental car and after we picked up EJ we were off and running. Navigating through the biggest city in the world wasted quite so bad when we had an iphone telling us were to go. We arrived at Adventurec at 1:30 in the AM and luckily had no problem getting in and finding our cabin.


Adventurec is like the Hairy Lemon of Mexico. For those who have been to Uganda, know my reference to the hairy lemon, if not imagine a kayak hostel with dinner and breakfast included, easy to find shuttle and people to paddle with, and just an awesome place.


We were up and ready to go the next day, though we still only had three Karmas and four paddlers, which actually worked out fine being we would just take turns running shuttle as we practiced the Roadside section racecourse. For two days before the race we got in 8 laps on the 15 minutes course and helped do a river clean up. We also met up with Rafa the day before the race to get a couple race runs in too.


Race day came and everyone was excited, 42 racers had come from all over Mexico (almost every Mexican kayaker was there), Switzerland, Germany, Costa Rica, Portland, Washington D.C. and a strong contingent up from Quebec, Canada.


The started off with an opening ceremonies at the put-in, where they brought in a local priest to ask for permission to paddle the river. The chief-secretary of tourist for the state of Vera Cruz was there along with several local TV crews.


There we two categories the short race, which is easiest and shorter and ends before the famous “S-Turn” rapid, and the long race with is the entire 15 minute course of the upper Road side section.

The short course racers went first followed by all of the long course races. There was a three-minute spread between racers so it ended up being a pretty long day. I was 5th to go at the start. The timers counted down from 10 in Spanish and then GO!


I was off and paddling pretty hard. I had great lines, and my best entire course run. I felt like I had no mistakes and hit very few rocks, though it was inevitable to some with the super low water. The hardest part for my was trying to pace a 15 minute course, I kept asking myself “am I paddling too hard, will I exhaust myself before the finish, or am I coasting too much and I will lose?” Though at the finish line I felt good, my shoulders were burning and my hands exhausted from holding onto my paddle so tight.


In the end I was super excited about my race, I couldn’t ask for a better run, a cooler course or better weather. Dane was before me and was happy with his run too, Clay came though right after me and also was excited about his run. We all ended up hanging out at the finish and cheering on all the racers as they came though. EJ and Rafa were some of the last paddlers and both came through sprinting and exhausted. They was so much excitement as one after another the racers came though, it was almost like clockwork, every three minutes comes another exhausted paddler sprinting for the finish line.


After the race was over Dane convinced us all to do a ‘switch run’ (backwards run) with him. It was fun to do, and a whole challenge after mastering the lines forwards. I was impressed at how well it all went backwards, though I was terrified for the ‘S-Turn’ rapid, though once at the bottom it wasn’t so bad. I made the entire racecourse without flipping, though I would say my time would have been a lot slower still.


After our switch run we headed down to the center of town for the awards party. Lots of people showed up and they were so much excited and cheering for all the racers. It was awesome to see that the winners were actually a tie between EJ and Dane, both with a 13:21. It is crazy to paddle for over 13 minutes and tie in the same second. Next was me with a 13:32, followed by Clay with a 13:43 and Rafa with a 13:51. EJ and Dane ended up winning a Liquid Logic Remix for first prize, which they then donated to the fasted Mexican (besides Rafa). I can’t remember the last time I had seen SO much enthusiasm at any event, and especially at an awards ceremony. I was excited to look back at my time and think well I was only 0.8 seconds behind every minute. In my books that is pretty close and I and fired up with my finish.


We all then came back to Adventurec for an amazing dinner and a party that lastest to the early morning.


Now we have 5 more days of creeking, time to hit the river!

Nick Troutman

[nggallery id=526 blog=1]