Five digits and two colons. 1 hour, 17 minutes, 53 seconds. This represents the record time in the riverboard class of the Gauley Animal race, set by Gary Pera in 2006. Without a National Championship to contend for this year, I've got my eyes on a different challenge. Racing down the Gauley is one of the hardest challenges I've ever done, as the Animal Race is nine miles of big rapids interspersed with some long pools of flat water. It's about the time when you are breathing steady and getting some lactic acid in your legs and shoulders that you clear another long pool and come into something big.
Thanks to Gary for being another globe-trotting riverboarder and setting the bar high for speed on this stretch of water. Gary has also set a blazing time in the Gore Canyon race in CO that will probably stand for awhile.
This number is going to be in front of me and drive me all summer. 1:17:53 ! Just a number, but a number that I want to beat by earning it. It begins.