Below is Reid Summary of the River City Challenge May 5th in Jacksonville, Florida
|Reid Hyle Stellar Sponsored Paddler|
I did the "River City Challenge" in Jacksonville on May 5th. It was the first year for the race. Good event with a fair turnout. Maybe next year the turnout will be bigger. They are really putting a lot of energy into this event with entertainment and such. There should be a promotional video with footage from the race coming out.
The course was on the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville; out against the incoming tide, turn anti-clockwise around Exchange Island, and return with the tide. The organizer expected everyone to hug the south shore on the way out to avoid having to cross the main current which was running at 3-4 mph in the narrow section near the start. But hugging the south bank was not required. The actual course was the fastest out to Exchange Island and back. I opted to ferry across to the north shore immediately after the Main Street Bridge and try to find eddies there and then ferry back across to make the turn around the island since that route was much shorter than one following the south shore.
The main trick was selecting the correct ferry angles, especially the second ferry as the river is almost 1km wide at that point. Even though this was a river course, a ski was a much better option than a K1. It was a lot easier getting the SES in and out of strong turbulent eddies around the docks and moored tug boats along the north shore plus it is all sea wall so the waves were chaotic at times. I did catch some runners from wakes bouncing along the seawall, wakes that would have possibly swamped a k1.
I managed a pace similar to what I might do in a k1 in flatwater. My route was 11.25 km and it took 49:53. I'm really happy with sub-4:30 per km as an average pace on a circuit course, especially considering that it was quite warm and that I crossed the river twice on the up-current leg.