Teva Games Downriver was a nail bitterWritten by Jeremy Rodgers Created Date: Saturday, 02 June 2012 00:00
So many of you remember the the coup d' etat of Teva Games 2011 and thought the story couldn't get better. Well, for the most part you were right but it was all smiles on race day after a last minute rule change that became known as the "Jeremy Rodgers rule" that kayaks cannot be customized in any way and must be a mass produced production kayak. Rather than debate the minutia meaning or origins of this rule, I called up my go to guys, Landis Arnold and Trung at the North American Prijon distributorship in Boulder, CO and told them to troll the warehouse relics for anything under 13 feet, plastic, no rocker, and light as possible. They scored a gem in the rough with a 1986 Prijon Taifun (pronounced Typhoon) at 12 foot 9 inches, 10 lbs lighter than a Dagger Green with less rocker. Rocker, my friends, is the upsweep of the front and rear of the kayak which allows it to turn or not turn easily and when it comes to downriver racing rocker is not your friend as we've only got one place to go and it's not left or right:) The only kicker of the deal was I had to wear the original 1986 rainbow striped skirt (see closeups below) to make the package complete!
After chumming it up on pre race practice runs with Ultimate Mountain Challenge favorites Travis Macy, Josiah Midaugh, and Sari Anderson, we ironed out all the nanosecond saver moves on the downriver race course from East Vail into Mountain Village. With record flows last year producing my winning time of 17:30 seconds, we weren't so lucky in 2012 with record low snowpack producing a technical paddlers dream race....the lower the water the harder it is to read the fastest lines. In high water years any line with a kayak right side up is a good line and the field gets compressed into closer times. In short...keep in the middle, paddle like hell, fastest time wins. In sparkling contrast, low water years spread out the field as you just have to weave magic to avoid running aground or wave friction.
So the story played out that New Zealand Olympic slalom paddler Mike Dawson, who finished second to my Wavechopper last year by same margin, edged my time of 22:57 by 3 seconds in a Liquidlogic Remix Stinger and US whitewater freestyle and slalom icon Eric Jackson finished in 3rd by the same margin. It seems it's not about the boat but the rule change will live on:)
For more info, photos, and other blogs from Jeremy, visit his blog.