Why the Time Trial Event Does Matter (Inside the North Fork Championship with Capo Rettig #3)
Inside the North Fork:
Why the Time Trial Event Does Matter
By Capo Rettig
This year’s North Fork Race will get officially underway Thursday morning (today…), with the Expert Division kicking things off and getting the NFC dance going. Round IV.
And yes, this race does matter.
A time trial event covering almost a mile of class IV – V whitewater, the Expert Division of the NFC is far from a “fun float” for neoprene clad weekend warriors. No, let’s be clear, there still is some shit in this section.
The event is important because this is the moment that gets everything started, the point in which all momentum is built. It is important because it gives EVERYONE a chance to find their part of the NFC. That is why this event is so special. Everyone has a place.
And for many athletes…. tomorrow IS the big day. That is…. If they want to race again.
The top five times will get an automatic Wild Card bid into the Giant Slalom (Elite Division) race on Saturday, a brilliant way to silence those critics that say the voting system for the Elite Division is not fair. For those type of folks, this Thursday’s event is the NFC’s way of saying…. Ok then bud, prove it.
No Wild Card winner has ever won the Giant Slalom event, giving this year’s 5 Wild Card holders a Cinderella chance of turning many heads in the whitewater world.
It is worth noting that the skill set between the Time Trial and the Slalom event varies significantly, perhaps part of why past winners of the Time Trial have always failed to win the Giant Slalom.
The Time Trial will be a grind, testing athletes on cardiovascular strength, sustained and consistent technical skills, and the ability at being able to not just read whitewater, but reading the “flow” of the river, picking those fast down-stream lines. The Slalom on the other hand is about power mixed with extreme precision. It is about not just reading whitewater, but feeling the pulse of the rapid. It requires not just being fast, but being smooth. It also requires a little help from the river itself.
It will all start to feel real tomorrow. Around 100 racers will gather on the North Fork of the Payette for the opening of NFC 2015. The community will start to re-form, friends will be re-united, jittery nerves will begin to relax, those not with us will be remembered, the Young Guns will be nursing Wednesday night hangovers, and the whole extended whitewater family will look upon the Idaho sunlight pouring onto the green hills that fade into the light-brown whitewater of Idaho… and we will all be reminded why this sport is so special.
Tomorrow, the wait is over.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more updates and full results to find out who the 5 Wild Card Holders will be for the Giant Slalom on Saturday.
For those in the Boise area, make sure to check out the Melt Awards, which will take place at 6:00. Pre-Buy Tickets! http://northforkchampionship.com/schedule/?filter=melt-awards