Andrew Holcombe, Robin Betz win 12th Annual Green River Race


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The 12th Annual Green River Narrows Race near Asheville, North Carolina was as successful – and as gnarly – as any of its predecessors apart from one thing: most of the existing course records were destroyed by this year’s group of talented paddlers.

“It was a great event,” says Lunch Video Magazine’s John Grace, who finished eighth in the long boat division. “We had more racers than ever (145) and nobody got hurt.”

Andrew Holcombe’s run to first place at four minutes 27 seconds was the first record-breaking finish. Robin Betz’ win in the women’s at five minutes 23 was the second. The top three men and top three women all set course records in the long boat category.

Dagger’s “Green Boat” and the Remix from Liquidlogic, longer kayaks with modern lines designed specifically for racing, definitely helped race times this year. “It’s much more than length,” says Dagger’s Holcombe. “Designers have taken input from athletes and created more rocker and better decklines making them fast and mobile. How the boat sheds water is almost more important than anything else. There’s a really fine line between good speed and being able to run Class V safely. You couldn’t go down the Green in a sprint boat.”

Holcombe also says that athletes are training specifically for racing. “Creek racing is becoming a viable discipline,” he says. “Paddlers are training more, eating differently and their overall levels of fitness are better.”

Case in point: Washington D.C. paddler and former flatwater sprint national champion Geoff Calhoun took third behind Pat Keller with minimal practice. Calhoun is also a wildwater national champ.

Duke Power was another hero of the 2007 event. Race organizers including Jason Hale were able to negotiate more water for the race. “We got an inch or two more and that made the race a whole lot safer,” Grace says.

This year’s Green Race was unprecedented in the Internet hype that surrounded it. Boatertalk’s forum was dominated by Green conversations while mention of the event even seeped onto western sites like Mountainbuzz and other regional boards. The excitement surrounding the event begs the question, “Can a competitive creeking tour be far behind?”

It’s been suggested in the past that locales with races like Washington’s White Salmon, Idaho’s North Fork Payette, California’s Burnt Ranch Gorge, Colorado’s Oh Be Joyful and Clear Creek of the Arkansas and Maryland’s Potomac be combined into a creeking tour with the Green serving as an end-of-the-season national championship in the fall. The race concept is much more spectator-friendly than freestyle and with all the momentum, the time seems right.

“The racing series is tough,” says Grace. “There’s lots of liability, injuries, safety, problems with flows and organization is a nightmare. And who is going to care in the long run?”

Grace and other North Carolina locals feel the Green is an American original that should remain as it is. “We have thought about it for years,” he says. “The Green Race is a lifestyle event. Yes it’s a race that holds soooo much passion but it is more about everyone getting out there and giving it a go. The success of the race is largely due to the fact it’s not polluted by sponsorship. There’s no catering to boat limit, no catering to anyone really. If you had a true “Championship” on the Green you would lose all the stuff the Green Race offers.”

– Joe Carberry

For more photos, Click Here

Check out LVM TV’s post race report here


Long Boat

1 . Andrew Holcombe 4:27
2. Pat Keller 4:28
3. Geoff Calhoun 4:31
4. Chris Gragtmans 4:34
4. Toby MacDermott 4:34
6. Tommy Hilleke 4:37
7. Bo Wallace 4:41
8. John Grace 4:44
8. Jules Campbell 4:44
10. Adam Herzog 4:48
10. Billy Murphy 4:48
12. Nathan Silsbee 4:55
13. Chris Harjes 4:55
12. Shane Benedict 4:55
15. Jason Hale 4:57
15. Fergus Coffey 4:57

1. Robin Betz 5:23
2. Lizzy English 5:25
3. Adriene Levknecht 5:44
4. Shannon Carrol 6:28
5. Katie Hilleke 18:57

Short Boat

1. Pat Keller 4:40
2. Andrew Holcombe 4:52
3. Geoff Calhoun 4:56
4. Jared Seiler 4:59
4. Drew Duval 4:59
6. Jakobus Stenglein 5:01
7. Clay Wright 5:05
7. Chan Jones 5:05
9. Nick Urquhart 5:07
9. Fabian Doerfler 5:07
11. Bryan Kirk 5:08
11. David Fusilli 5:08
13. Billy Jones 5:10
13. Brian Knight 5:10
15. Brian Douglas 5:11

1. Adriene Levknecht 5:50
2. Shannon Carrol 5:50
3. Robin Betz 5:58
4. Lizzy English 6:09
5. Katie Hilleke 6:29

For full results click here.

Staff Post
Staff Post
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.


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