Every year on the first Saturday in November people flock to the Green River in Saluda, NC to witness one of the greatest spectacles of whitewater paddling, The Green Race. The Green Race consists of 15 named rapids, starting just above Frankenstein and finishing at the bottom of Rapid Transit. Paddlers come from all over for their chance to race in front of hundreds of people.
This year’s race brought an added surprise to racers and spectators alike when they woke up Saturday morning to find snow! Yes that’s right, white, fluffy, and perfect for making snowballs, a solid 3 inches of snow. Some people were turned away by the drastic change in weather, not ready to bear the cold, but for those of us brave enough to paddle or hike in, got to watch an amazing event.
The crowds cheered for racers through the entire course but most spectators accumulate at the 18 foot drop know as Gorilla. Just listening to the crowd you know if the line is good or bad. Good lines: hoots and hollers the entire way down. Bad lines: oohs with a pause and then hoots and hollers louder than the good lines. Everyone has their favorite racer, but the support is felt for all participants.
This year there were 7 women who competed alongside 158 male racers, 6 female kayakers and for the first time ever a female OC-1 competitor Sabrina Barm. Placing 18th overall and winning the women class with a time of 4:44 was Adriene Levkencht. Adriene’s line through The Notch into Gorilla was done with so much grace and precision, it’s was like watching a water ballet…a really bad ass water ballet.
I remember watching my first green race and thinking, ‘no way would I ever do that’ and the year after that thinking, ‘I can see the lines but it so big and intimidating, no way.’ This year as I watched my buddies run good and bad lines, I’ve found myself thinking ‘maybe next year I’ll race too.’ It’s so motivating and inspiring to watch other women get after it; nothing makes me want to boat more than watching and knowing that the support is there.
Congrats to all the racers of 2014. I can’t wait for November 7th, 2015 so we can do it all over again!
Photos by: Amanda Sue Gladys
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