After a few hours’ sleep and armed with my newly delivered Pyranha 3rd Gen Burn with thanks to Mercedes Benz Vans UK for the help, we set off early from Kendal to head over to North Wales for the Festival of Llangollen’s first Extreme Slalom event, hopefully of many to come, on Town Falls section of the River Dee.
The event is in its early stages of establishment but brought spectators in the masses to the town. It was great to see all the cafes over following with happy customers.
The event itself is based on slalom where a competitor has to negotiate a course while managing the rapids. Slalom gates are replaced by Touch pads that competitors must touch by hand as the pass and unlike slalom competitor’s race head to head and the winner of each heat moves to the next round until there becomes a Final. There were five touch pads and each competitor must complete a freestyle move in a freestyle zone to avoid disqualification.
The pressure was on with a lot of the competitors expecting to see me take the win. It was announced that there would be a team category where teams of 4 will have their results accumulated to form a team result. It was quite inspiring when a number of the competitors were battling to be on my team.
Each of the first round heats are organized such that competitors race against opponents most similar in ability and I was up against an up and coming Junior with great speed. It was a good battle but I made it to the finish line first moving on to the next round. In the Quarter Finals I raced against a young extreme Kayaking opponent who decided to jump the gun a few seconds early and skip the freestyle move meaning he would be disqualified.
I caught him up but with him having the inside line he managed to block me from hitting the finish touch pad which is allowed. With the event being in its early stages and largely staffed voluntarily there were no judges officiating the event and competitors were left to be honest and stick to the rules and so that left me being eliminated in that round putting me in 5th place overall. The organizers did note this and as there were no officials were judging throughout the event they couldn’t just make a decision just for the one heat and awarded me with a prize for sportsmanship. In the team event we came out on top so AdventureX (team 2) remain the team to beat.
It was such a fun event and it was great to see so many people racing and I look forward to racing again next season. Hopefully there will be some judging to keep things regulated for the new season and for the party to be just as good.