Spring is when life re-emerges from the cold, dark ground in a bright, colorful declaration of life and hope. Every spring we wait faithfully for the re-emergence of wildflowers and wildlife, mushrooms and migratory birds. And like the emergence of mushrooms or spring flowers, the Goshen Race is something that cannot be predicted or scheduled. The Goshen Race just … “occurs.” When certain flows occur on a certain day of the week, at a certain time of the year...the Race is on. This is not an organized event. This is not an official gathering. This is a spontaneous mass-occurrence of colorful kayakers and canoeists suddenly emerging from hibernation and rejoicing in the coming of springtime!
The unpredictable nature of a whitewater race on a natural flow river, like the Maury River, can be a challenge. We are all busy folks and even this time of year other endeavors call out for attention: the remains of the ski season, flows on other rivers and creeks, and the usual weddings/birthdays/chores... It is the CORE paddler who can drop everything and drive an hour or more to the river on a cold morning with short notice. And it is the CORE paddlers who make this race what it is: Local paddlers sharing their local river with all-comers, and celebrating the river community and the coming of spring. This year was no exception. A heavy, wet snowfall blanketed much of south-west Virginia while much of the state didn’t even get rain. So it was a bit of a surprise when flows bumped-up on Saturday and opened the “race window” for the next day. We expected a small crowd due to the short-notice and cold temperatures, but – to our surprise – two dozen paddlers lined up at the top of Goshen Pass to give it a go. Spectators staked out the choice photo locations high up on the sides of the river. A drone hummed quietly over Corner Rapid.
Like a field of new wildflowers – or a flock of migrating songbirds in colorful spring plumage – the mass-start of so many canoeists and kayakers is a striking sight to behold. From the flurry of wind-milling paddles, Charlottesville’s Tate Huffman emerged from the pack right away and kept that lead for over two miles; taking the golden paddle 1st place trophy for a second year in a row. Young Isaac Hull, from Richmond, took home the “Not Gordon” 2nd place trophy, and Cody Adams, from West Virginia was just 16 seconds behind, for 3rd place. Samantha Belcher, of WVa, represented the Women’s Class for a respectable 8th overall finish. Cameron Hall took first among the “short boats” in a Pyranha Machno, with Andrew Koehn and Robb Faulkner not far behind for 2nd and 3rd, in another Machno and an Antix.
The Maury River in particular, and Virginia in general, have a strong tradition of open canoeing. The Goshen Race has had good participation from the single-blade crowd since the beginning. Indeed, canoeist Phillip “Flip” Merica – a longtime Goshen regular – is the only person to have paddled in every Goshen Race since the first one in 2007! This year Travis Overstreet showed up to take 1st in the OC-1 class, with Lee Williams and “Flip” taking 2nd and 3rd.
The cold morning turned into a bright, warm, bluebird day with no wind. Flows were good and it is safe to say, “A good time was had by all.” The 11th annual Goshen Race was a surprise – just like the first trout lily blooms popping up out of the snow. And it was a surprise success!
Thank you to Appomattox River Company and Pyranha Kayaks for their ongoing support of the best kayak/canoe event in Virginia! And thank you to Josh Tracy, Yarra Acker, and David Bruce for their assistance with Goshen Race 2018!
|11th Annual 3/25/2018 820 cfs||~Time||Boat|
|1||Tate Huffman||13:22||Perception Wavehopper||1st Overall/Long|
|2||Isaac Hull||13:46||Dagger Green Boat||2nd|
|3||Cody Adams||14:02||LL Stinger||3rd|
|4||Ciaran Brown||14:10||Dagger Green Boat|
|5||Seth Lively||14:17||Dagger Green Boat|
|6||Cameron Hall||14:43||Pyranha Machno||1st, Short Boat|
|7||Nick D'Addario||14:51||Dagger Freefall LT|
|8||Samantha Belcher||15:06||Dagger Green Boat||1st, Women's Class|
|9||Andrew Koehn||15:46||Jackson Antix M||2nd, Short Boat|
|10||Robb Faulkner||15:59||Pyranha Machno||3rd, Short Boat|
|11||Steve Kvech||16:07||Dagger Green Boat|
|12||Mike Kalanick||16:16||LL Flying Squirrel 95|
|13||Erik Bailey||16:18||Pyranha Burn III|
|14||Will Hagy||16:25||Fluid Bazooka|
|15||Travis Overstreet||16:30||Silverbirch Rebel OC-1||1st, OC-1|
|16||John Moran||17:07||New Wave Cruise Control|
|17||Dallas Curry||17:08||Waka Gangster|
|18||Stephen Wiegandt||17:36||Dagger Mamba|
|19||Sam Carter||17:42||Pyranha Loki|
|20||Ian Fuze||18:02||LL Remix|
|21||Lee Williams||18:09||Dagger Prophet OC-1||2nd, OC-1|
|22||Phillip "Flip" Merica||18:24||Pyranha Prelude OC-1||3rd, OC-1|
|23||Chris Moczydlowski||19:01||Wavesport Diesel 60|
|24||Jeff VanderKooy||22:16||Pyranha Burn M|
|Thanks to: Josh Tracy, David Bruce||and||Yanna Acker - Thanks for timing us!|
Who will take the trophy next year? Will someone unseat repeat champion Tate?