Winning the Reno River Festival
Last week I drove down to Reno Nevada to compete at the famous Reno river festival.
I hesitated between staying in Colorado for the Fibark fest, but made my way to Nevada to see this part of the country, as I've already been to Fibark last year.
The drive was 18 hours long, across Colorado, Wyoming and Nevada. I got to see amazing wide plateaus, a lot of little casino towns and incredible mountains. we spent quite three days on the road as we stopped in any single place to check out what was going on. That's how we like traveling: get lost in random places, discover small places, and where people live.
I loved this part of the US because you see people living in the most remote places ever. You can drive 100 miles with nothing, then see three houses before heading into another 100 miles of desert, dry and hot landscape.
Arrived in Reno i found there an amazing kayaking community and a place where I could live: lot of things going on in town and all kind of outdoor sport possible. I loved it.
The organization hosted us in a hotel Casino, the El Dorado. That was the funniest experience I've ever had to walk into it with my kayak on the shoulder, seat down at a table and start chatting with someone asking why he came gamble and what was exciting in it. "how long have you been sitting here?" "I dunno, about 12 hours I think!".
The post interesting part of it was for sure kayaking. We had a dam release for the competition so we could have enough water. That was good after competing low water Colorado for a month! The hole was deep enough, retentive, and gave you a lot of pop. A lot of entertainment was going on beside kayaking: concerts, dog jumping, mud run… The event was awesome.
After the prelims I was second behind team mate Nick Troutman. I was not happy. I wanted to win this last competition of the tour badly, and I think we all wanted!
Scott Sady, Jason Craig, Adam Chapell were the three other finalists. We had a crazy finale, all pulling out our best to win. I raised the bar pretty high after Adam's 1210 points first ride. I came up with a 1310 point run, and only myself again had been able to do better with a 1366 points ride at my second attempt. There was a lot of people watching us and yelling for the kayakers, which is always better to get fired up.
I was stoked on my win, and I finish this tour of competition with a great feeling of accomplishment. We had so much fun on the water that I can't wait for the next event: the Natural Games, back in France in a week.
We are now taking a week off kayaking, climbing in Bishop, California. We drove thru the amazing Yosemite and hiked there on the way in crazy places.
The flight back is next week, and I'm glad to go back in France after those four month on the road…
Photos by Ben Mesle