Racing in Texas

Alzar School | 18.02.08

Kristin and I made a quick stop in Austin, Texas on our way back from Chile. Kristin had decided to compete in a slalom kayaking race here on the San Marcos River… her first race ever. It was fun to make the stop here in Texas, because my older brother Ryan and his wife Heather live in Austin. Also, my older sister Mandy, her husband Jorge and their kids live in San Antonio. San Marcos is directly half-way between both families, so we were able to see everyone.

We first visited the San Marcos River in November when we took Ryan and Heather kayaking for their first time there. Returning for the race, we were impressed with the Rio Vista Whitewater Park, and how much fun it was to have a slalom race there. The water, even in February, was 72 degrees. On the day of the race, it was 76 degrees outside, and Sunday.

There was a good turnout for the race. Kristin’s category, K-1W, included a former British National Team paddler, one former member of the U.S. junior national team, and Michelle Kvanli, a longtime slalom and marathon racer. Former Olympic Gold Medalist Joe Jacobi was on site and helped work with Kristin in the training days leading up to the race.

Ultimately, Kristin had two very successful race runs. She had no problem getting all the gates, and had only three touches her first run, and two on her second. These solid runs ended up putting her in third place overall, which qualifies her to compete in the U.S. National Team Trials in Charlotte in April this year. This is very exciting, because it means she can focus on training and learning as she goes onto her other planned races this spring, and have fun at Team Trials.

We both enjoy the benefits that slalom kayak racing provides… it is probably the best way for a paddler to develop her/his technical river running skills, and it lets paddlers challenge themselves on whitewater without adding additional danger. We feel that Alzar School students should have a basic involvement with racing, as it can help them learn how to compete well, teach them sportsmanship, and introduce them to many different parts of the world. We are helping host a simple race this summer, open to all the camps of Western North Carolina.

Look forward to hearing more about Kristin’s racing progress this spring!