Saturday, October 08, 2011

10/08/2011 - Phatwater #10 Challenge

Event: Kayak Mississippi's 42 Mile Phatwater Challenge
Claiborne County Port Facility, northwest of Port Gibson, MS
Destination: Downtown Natchez, MS Boat Ramp
Race Distance: 42 miles (downstream).
Pedal time: 5 hrs, 7 minutes. (average speed of about 8.2 mph)
Weather: Sunny. Waves less than 1 foot. Winds minimal at start and then picking up to about 15 mph with occasional stronger gusts out of the southeast and then south. Downstream current varying 1-5 mph. Temp about 65-75 degrees. Great weather but breezy headwinds slowed down race speeds.
GPS Track: To view or download the GPS track of this trip, Click Here.
Phatwater Race results: Click Here.

Header Image is a photo of participants gathering near the start of the race.

The day before the race involved registration and shuttling the kayak to the launch site. 

There was enough time to get in a nature walk.

Day of the race involved an early morning bus ride to the launch site. I parked along the river in Natchez, MS and watched the moon set under the US 84 bridge that crosses the Mississippi River.

Phatwater participants chat and prepare their canoes and kayaks for the race. There were about 140 racers.

Maggie and Rich pose for a photo before the race. The launch site which can be seen in the background was busy with activity.

A tandem surf ski duo warms up. The same duo that won.

There were 3 SUPs in the race. (Stand Up Paddlers). I had no idea stand up boards could go so fast.

Fifteen seconds into the race, my pedal drive cable broke. about bad timing. (Cuss, Cuss, Cuss). It took 1-2 minutes to swap out drive units (I have to carry a spare pedal drive unit because Hobie pedal drive units are prone to breaking). While doing that, everyone passed me so there I starting near last place. (Cuss, Cuss, Cuss). That started me off in a bad mood.

The only photo I took during the race is near the finish line in Natchez. The Natchez boat ramp is barely visible to the right of the boat which is hard to see. For the first 4 hours of the race, I was on track to finish under 5 hours which is something that no pedal boat has ever done. Winds kicked up the last hour and current slowed down. I could not maintain a fast enough speed to finish under 5 hours. Drat! Well, I tried.

Phatwater Challenges sometimes involve a little pain. This is the hands of one of the tandem paddlers who took first place. Note the blisters. Yeow!

After the race, food and partying took place at the Under-The-Hill Saloon in Natchez, MS. Racers can be seen still heading toward the finish line. The kayaks lining the grass are of those who already finished.

Representing the Mobile Bay Canoe and Kayak Club were Rich (left), Maggie (middle) and Rob (right). We were all pleasantly exhausted and feeling a little pain. This was the first time I've done the Phatwater Challenge. It was a well organized event. Thanks Keith!

Yeaaa! Maggie takes home a win and holds her trophy in the left hand.

I also won and took home a nice handcrafted trophy. This is the first time I ever received money for winning a kayak race division. The wooden "X" on the trophy represents the number 10 as this was the 10th annual Phatwater Challenge.

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