It is a 32 mile journey through the beautiful Chattanooga river. This race really tests your physical ability and mental toughness. Even though you are going with the flow of the river you are still doing 32 miles. It is not a race that one just shows up too and expects to do well. There is a whole build up to race day. Countless hours of training, testing nutrition and figuring out the right combinations of gear for the big day. To me this race is more about setting a personal goal than placing on the podium.In the days before the race training with Mila around Biscayne Bay
Arthur Ashe said it best "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can"
A lot can happen in 32 miles so, staying focused and not getting down on yourself is very important. This year we had dream conditions. The day began cool with a light variable wind. The sunrise was unreal filling the sky with amazing shades of red, orange and yellow. We even had a rainbow. The flow was a little light but, it was still moving. What wind we had was at our backs. Even the sky cooperated.
It was overcast through out the race maintaining the conditions nice and cool. I was feeling very anxious at the start not knowing what to expect but, I kept repeating to myself my goal. Which was just to complete Chattajack with no mishaps and with a smile on my face at the finish line. I had my music going and just zoned out and got into a rhythm. I would stop here and there for some nutrition and then would get right back at it. I would pause from time to time to take in the beauty of the gorge and briefly chat to fellow paddlers on the course.
Before I knew it I was coming into the home stretch, I was so happy to finish that my feet cramping didn't feel so bad. All of the hard work finally meant something. I completed Chattajack 2015 without mishaps and a huge smile on my face. Nothing beats meeting your goals. Getting 1st place women's division 14' class was just the icing.
This is a bucket list race that anyone that trains for it would be able to do. The vibe and energy surrounding this event is very hard to find and not one to miss.
My go to board was the Barracuda 14'. I chose this board because it is a flat water specialist. It is the quietest board I have ever ridden. I felt as if I was just gliding down the course with minimal effort allowing me to conserve energy to go the distance.
Photo courtesy of Roseanne Photography
Chattajack is a flatwater Standup Paddle race that takes place yearly in Chattanooga, TN. It starts on the city's riverfront and end ~31miles down river at Hales Bar Marina. For more information please visit www.chattajack.com