The annual Watauga race was approaching quickly and our team, Team Tiger Blood was formed. Ty Caldwell, Tyler Mayo, James Lowry, Matt Redmond, Clay Lucas, Mark Taylor, Ryan DeKay, and I had joined forces to be the almighty cause of chaos and destruction.
Imagine lining up against the riverbank with 50 of your closest friends. Make sure the slowest people are downstream and the fastest upstream. Now place a bridge that is only two feet above the river level a little too close for comfort. Nascar fans use the term, "the Big One" for the amazing wreck that takes half of the cars out of the field. The Big One was about to happen on the Watauga.
GO!!!! The pack took off and as the slower paddlers were getting to the bridge the faster paddlers had approached full speed, the "big one" occurred directly under the bridge. There were screams and paddles clacking off each other, the bridge, and faces. As the posse reemerged from beneath the bridge the order of the pack was significantly altered. A couple more minutes into the race and the collisions and "rubbing is racing" attitude was in full effect. Ten minutes into the race and the lactic acid was coursing through our veins, the pack had become a single file train through the rapids.
The Watauga River is one of the best down river race venues I have ever attended, there is a myriad of good lines through every rapid, and this allows for constant jockeying of position. Thirty minutes in and we were approaching the finish line, State Line Falls. The top competitors were still fighting it out while entering the final rapid.
Team Tiger Blood won the race, by having more fun and creating more chaos then any one thought possible. Chris Gragtmans personal blamed me for his loss, lol. Eric Chance the local wonder, did have the fastest time... but who cares. The Watauga race is an amazing grass roots event that put a gigantic smile on my face.