Wednesday, June 25, 2008

10 Mile 1 Mile & Opening of Frisco Playpark

The opening of the Frisco playpark and the 10 Mile 1 Mile revival proved to be an exceptional event with a great turnout, fun times, and quality media coverage. The water level was really good for the new playhole, and the support of friends was wonderful.

Pre-competition sessions at the new play spot were spiced up with sneak peaks into the organization of the first annual Frisco Rodeo and revival of the 10 Mile 1 Mile. In preparation for the rodeo, I was shown some old newspapers of the 10 Mile 1 Mile and, much to my surprise, saw some old friends! EJ, of course, was on the front page of one of the newspapers, and on the inside was Ali Gober, former coach for the FIBArk Youth Paddling Team, who had set a record time in the race. Jono Stevens, wavesport sales rep, and old man Mark Poindexter, the U.S. Team member for water polo were also in the old newspapers. These friendly faces reminded me of the spirit of the sport. It was the rekindling of kayakers from event to event that brought me to fall in love with the gypsy family I’d originally connected with at FIBArk. The Summit Daily this year mentioned that Frisco kayakers would like to see the event be comparable to the Teva Mountain Games, yet in the newspapers from the original 10 Mile 1 Mile, it was FIBArk they strove to be like.

The event got started as the community gathered, and the ribbon was cut marking the opening of the playpark. Watching from the river, I was ready to take off so I could man my post in time for the race. RSN-X, the local adventure sports network, was across the river filming the opening of the play park. As the ribbon was cut, I took strong strokes into the current and punched the hole, on my way to safety boat downstream for the race. I was thrilled to be in the water as the competitors paddled by… pumping them up by cheering them on! Though earlier this summer, I did have to rescue a swimmer from the play hole on this stretch, the 10 Mile 1 mile was carnage free, even with the head to head struggle for placement, Todd Toledo taking first, Hobie second, and Kyle Hagadorn (fellow SQUAD member) in third, with first in women’s going to Jessica Marson. The experience and expertise of these kayakers, as well as the roll they play within the sport makes them exactly who I would want to see at the top of the standings.

The real fun began on the way back from the Marina where the familiar faces of the competitors came to life, sharing in the adventure and entertainment. I was amped to connect with Kyle Hagadorn, considering options for a SQUAD video, and finally met Todd Toledo, former member of the U.S. Raft Team. This winter when the whistful national champion in me saw an RSN-X rooted show on him, I’d gotten his email address. Dreamily wanting to connect with another accomplished kayaker, I’d been emailing him ever since. It was also good to see the guys I’d gone up to the Pole Pedal Paddle (3P) in Salida, CO with in the shuttle ride back from the Marina. We have such an amazing paddling community, here in Frisco and spanning throughout the state, nation, and world. When Hobie began telling us about the exceptional level of the Eagle right now, I considered how he “took the wheel”, wondering, what would it be like to be on a kayaking road trip with Hobie as navigator? Ahhh, memories of FYPT and HUGE from back in the day…

As soon as we arrived back at the 10 Mile play hole, I got geared up. “Don’t expect anything… I’ve barely competed in 4 years!” I told Hobie. Then, as I walked to the river, one of the Wavesport reps. grabbed me… “Wanna demo the FUSE for a bit?” Steve asked! I was thrilled… paddle in something other than the prototype EZG for once, even if it was a river runner/ play boat? I’d love to!

The warm-up for the rodeo was sweet as suddenly, there were tons of us in the river! We got to see the potential of the hole, hidden by skeptically flushy perspectives. It was GREAT to be in a competition again, as some distant part of me connected with the present, a memory of the past in harmony with the moment we shared. The last 10 Mile 1 Mile had been the same year I went to the World Championships, 5 years ago. To think that the Arkansas River Trust had revived the 3P the same year that the 10 Mile 1 Mile was revived brings back to life a spirit of the outdoor sports community that, like a mystery in a squirt boat, had disappeared for years.

The turnout was great, and coworkers from A-Basin were there to cheer me on, as well as friends from the skate park! Oh, how good it was to feel the support and encouragement of a kayaking competition again, knowing that each competitor was similarly woven into our community in the competition and festivities of the event.

Following the competition, I won my choice of a spray skirt. I got a new Bomber Gear one, with waves all over it… quite a prize after the IR pass me down Mike Harvey had given me had become tattered after years of boating in it.

We received awards at the Frisco Marina where children of all ages danced and socialized, soaking up the vibes of the kayaking community and the evening concert at sunset. I won my division, with Jeremiah, from 10 Mile Creek Kayaks, placing 3rd, with 2nd going out to a guy named Bob, and Pete Gallup of RSN-X won. When in the eddy, right as the competition was starting, Gallup had let two guys enter half price, one who placed 2nd. RSN-X did interviews for a 30 minute ROOTED show they’ll soon be having, and it was wonderful to see old friends and new ones from within the kayaking and Summit County communities. The generosity in prizes as well as the time and energy put into organizing such an incredible event was appreciated by all who joined in, as was the presence of every individual who took part in the first annual Frisco Rodeo and revival of the 10 Mile 1 Mile.





Photos taken by Ken Hardin...

Here's a picture of him making

the best of a kayak in the winter

with some STEAZIE style!

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