Nestled on central Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, there’s an iconic little whitewater run called Daddys Creek and every year a group of dedicated volunteers runs a race thru its spectacular gorge to draw awareness to the runs splendor, do a trash pick up and have a great time. And with lifes distractions pushed to the side for a weekend, I was finally able to participate in the 2019 Daddys Creek Go Fast Day.

After an early start, our crew of good friends rallied down a practice lap before the race. We found pushy rapids, blind horizons and some busy rapids at this 2.2ft on the Antioch Bridge gage. The practice runs gave us just enough info for the basics but left us scratching our heads with regards to race lines or even some basic options.

3-2-1-GO! A month of sea kayaking leading up to my first whitewater race of 2019, did little to prepare me for the 15 minutes ahead. Racing into the first rapid, I was already missing a rudder and 17ft of waterline. My Pyranha 12R had never felt so maneuverable. My race lines were imperfect and there was a lot of improvising going on, but the 12R comfortably glided over just about everything, allowing me to stick to my “helpful” top three rules of creek racing.

1. Upright is faster than upside down.
2. Always point towards the finish line.
3. Paddling towards the finish line is faster.

That was until I entered Rattlesnake rapid. I confidently entered the rapid on the left and suddenly realized I had no idea where I was. I started to commit to a left line until I saw the onshore rescue team starting to point aggressively to the right, raising my suspicions I may not be where I should be. The seed of doubt had been planted! Then I saw several of them urgently grab their throw ropes, underlining that I was NOT where I should have been. Doubt confirmed! I eddied out and paddled a little upstream to get around a rock and sneaked into the right channel, bumbled thru some holes and resumed racing. In hindsight, it was a pretty funny series of events.

The Daddys Creek gorge was as beautiful as promised and the weather the organizers had ordered up was simply incredible for a January day. But all too soon, the finish line came into view for the final push, marking an end to a fantastic little race. A massive thank you to the organizers, volunteers and sponsors for a great event. Look forward to coming back next year.