Sunday, 28 June 2009

Conwy Ascent - 27th June 2009

This event is a tour and race that uses the incoming tide to go "upstream" on the river Conwy. The race starts at the car park on the "beacons" and goes 15km upstream to finish at the bridge at Dolgarrog. I entered the single kayak race and this included racing K1s, sea kayaks, white water racers and a surf ski.

The le mans start makes it a bit of a scramble to get going, and then you are straight into a busy fast flowing channel. So you are dodging bouys and moored boats while contending with the wash from boats motoring in the channel. This makes for quite bumpy conditions better suited the sea kayaks and WWR boats rather than the K1s. I was 4th going under the bridge leaving the main marine/port area - by this time Ian Tordoff had already established a big lead that he was not going to lose.

The river then flattens out with only small boils and eddies to keep an eye out for plus the occassional wash from a jet ski or waterskier. The fastest flow is not always obvious and it didn't pay to cut corners.

Once under the bridge at Tal-y-cafn the river changes character again, narrower with reed beds on the banks and a couple of islands before the finish. I took the RH channel at the islands and this seemed the best choice.

In the end I finished 4th. (Time of 1:06:41 see full results) Depending on definition of sea kayak, I was first in that class. Ian Tordoff was paddling a "sea vanquish" but this is practically a racing K1 with a couple of deck lines... but then again my Epic is generally faster than the more traditional sea kayaks.

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