The cool winds are blowing, the smell of wood smoke wafts through the air, and my eyes feast upon a brilliant display of colors: a rainbow of kayaks cruising up the Ledges of the French Broad.
I love Fall for many reasons, one of the chief ones being the excitement it brings to the paddling world. Each time I go to the Ledges for an evening workout I find more and more paddlers out there putting in their due diligence in anticipation of November 1st.
For me, the season started with giddy anticipation as I began working my body back into shape for the Green Race. My initial excitement was soon complemented by a healthy dose of nerves as I began to recall just how difficult this Race is. My first day out on the Green in a long boat almost felt like learning to paddle again–I had forgotten just how exhausting and mentally demanding a sprint through the Monster Mile is.But between my swings from exhilarating confidence to anxious butterflies, I find that the one constant is the feeling of community and camaraderie that the Green Race engenders. Training at the Ledges is an opportunity to push each other hard and set up exertion challenges as a group; race runs on the Green bring woops of encouragement as you leave the starting line or drop into a big rapid with on-looking kayakers. As I see it, everyone is pushing themselves to reach their potential, and everyone is rooting for each other to do well. Perhaps that’s a bit naive: I’m sure there’s the random paddler out there wishing doom and injury on his competition, but I haven’t met him yet.
Whatever your level of excitement for the Race, and however much time you invest towards getting ready for it, I think we can all agree that the Green Race is an awesome event for this region and that it has a rich heritage. In anticipation of this year’s Race, I’m posting some deleted interviews from The Green Race Movie that reveal a bit more about the competition. If you’ve already watched all of The Green Race Movie extras, then this won’t be new to you, but if you haven’t, check out The Green Race Movie (DVD) extras for an interesting discussion of Green Race history, race boat design, the atmosphere in the gorge on Race day, and more. Big thanks to Leland Davis, Andria Baldovin, Pat Keller and Tommy Hilleke who provide the commentary here.
In the meantime, enjoy these images from a recent day of attaining at the Ledges. Good lines, and a good Race to all who participate this year!