INSIDE the 2017 Green Race #5 – The Contenders, Who Will Win the 2017 Green River Race?
Like every year whitewater legend Shane Benedict is covering the Annual Green Race for us at Kayak Session mag. In this article, Shane tells us who can take the trophy this year…
It’s Green Race Friday. The water levels are perfect. The fall colors are in full effect. The racers have done their training and they know the course. With only a few hours before the beginning of the Greatest Show in Sports the stage is set.
This year’s Green Race is one of familiar faces. In the last 4 years there have only been 6 different people medal in the men’s division of the race and only 4 of them do it almost yearly. Eric Deguil, Dane Jackson , Pat Keller, and Isaac Levinson have medaled at least twice in the last 4 years and Deguil and Pat have done it three times. Unfortunately Isaac was injured during training runs this year so that leaves three real favorites.
Eric Deguil – The Frenchman finally took home the stained glass trophy on his own last year after 10 years of trying. The year before he did tie Dane for first but last year was a special one for him. The question is does he still have the hunger to push hard for the win. He has been seen searching out new lines to shave off every tenth of a second he can but will he be able to dig deep and continue to pull hard when the lactic acid builds up in his arms on the final slides on race day.
Dane Jackson – Dane has become a perennial favorite now and two years ago he tied Deguil for the top spot. Dane puts in more time dialing in lines than just about anyone I see on the race course. Two days before the race he did a minimum of 10 walk up laps of Gorilla playing with different paddle strokes and angles. It’s hard to say it but he is a veteran at the ripe old age of 26? If anyone is locked in for this years race and hungry it’s Dane.
Pat Keller – As is customary for Pat he is coming off an injury, but this year he is pretty well healed for the Race and he is a bit angry after last years 1 second loss to Deguil. If it comes down to pure determination I would definitely put Pat up on the podium. If there were one thing that could unravel his race run it might be going so hard that he loses control. Pat just might be the epitome of the phrase, “go fast, takes chances”.
Adriene Levknecht is a sure bet to win the women’s title at this years Green Race. I know some are going to say there are no sure things but not only is she the winningest Green Racer of all time, she is placing in the top 15 overall year after year. So here is to Adriene, the queen of the Green! Racing the clock and seeing how many fellas dreams she can crush.
There are a few folks that have been lurking under the radar but I have been watching. They are known as the dark horses. These are the fastest guys that you may not have know about racing the Green this year who may sneak up the ranks or even podium.
Matt Anger – Matt has been paddling and training hard and is a multi disciplinarian in Freestyle and Racing. There have been murmurs of 4teens or 4twenty training times. There is no doubt that Manger is strong as f#%$. Now can he put together a race run that could put him up in the top ten or better.
Alec Vorhees – Alec has been on my darkhorse list before and with another year of experience and added strength and training I see no reason not to add him to the list again. He is a big ol’ potato fed kid from idaho so if the opening arises I expect big ol’ boy things from this guy. Last time he was here he did finish in the top 10, let’s see what he can do.
Colin Hunt – Colin is as local as local gets.. Though he has spent the last year in the PNW he is a Green local. You will hear the scream of the crowd when Colin cruises the course because he’s been there and done that and this year he is bringing more heat than ever. Training on the bigger water of the Little White and White Salmon may have his strength up a bit this year and there is no doubt he knows the course.
Tommy Hileke – It’s hard to call the winningest guy in Green Race history a dark horse but in the past 10 years Tommy has been doing other things like builiding houses in Colorado and having a pack of kids. This year he seems to be coming with more of a mission so watch out, the old man is back!