First I have to say thank you to the Upper Chattahoochee RiverKeeper Organization for a great event this year.  A big thanks is also due to the GCA for thier support.

Last night my daughter had a devil of a time going to bed because she was so excited to get out on the Hooch to race!  She is under 15 so we bagged the solo kayaks and prepared to go Tandem Kayak.  Went to outside world and rented the old dynamic duo and got it outfitted and we were set for the race.
This morning the car was packed and ready to go.  Georgia (my wife) was our shuttle and sherpa of sorts.  There was a great spirt in the crowd as everyone got ready to go down the river.  I was surprised how smoothly everything ran.  The crowd was made up of serious racers, people out to have a good time and those in costumes ready to give it a run.  My favorite was the “Giligans Island Crew” and I believe they won.  Saw many of the Atlanta Canoe Club folks out lending a hand as well as on the river and saw alot of GCA folks here and there.

Rick Thompson led the pack in the Open division digging in and finishing at the top – that guy can paddle.  We saw Kelly Harbac at the finish and I believe she also finished at the top of her group.  Lamar and crew were timing and looking out for the racers at the start.  Apparently one of the GCAers had concerns when he saw Olivia in the front of the kayak with a skirt and chased down my wife to make sure Olivia knew how to do a wet exit – Georgia thanked him for asking and told him she is an old pro at the kayaking gig.  Thank you GCA for looking out for those sorts of things.
Once we got our kayak on the river I quickly learned that Olivia was in this thing to win and she was not slowing down – she is so much cooler and determined then I ever was at age 8!  I was amazed as we had only kayaked Tandem once before but we clicked and we paddled smoothly together and she did not mind at the occasional bark from dad in the back.  She did not stop and matched me stroke for stroke!  Sprints of digging in and then back to a smooth pace was how we tackled the river.  Friendly competition with a couple in a Sea Kayak persisted at the end but they laughed when they beat us to the Beer Barge!
We had a blast and were glad to see everyone out there today.
After getting off the river we joked with some folks about how tired we were.  Quickly Olivia and I found our way to the goodies and then onto the Oasis of water bouncing out of the ground and falling from the sky.  We goofed off with all the other kids in the Roswell Park Spray works – it was great and we cooled down quickly.  I did see some concerned looks on parents faces wondering why a strangely dressed guy was hanging out in the Spray Works.  From there we went to the Awards ceremony.
GCA had a good showing with many of the top places being won by GCA members.  Now back to Olivia and her determination – we won the father daughter division and turned in the best time for the parent & child division.  To put it politely after today’s results she is hooked and is ready to Race again!  I do not want to sound like I am bragging but I could not be more proud of her she really makes me smile.
Thank you everyone we had a great time.
Todd McGinnis
June 2011