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Training and racing

... two races in northern Colorado ...

Sisson Nuclues video frams

I am always looking for partners interested in a year round paddling for fitness and race training. My training waters include local rivers and lakes in northern Colorado near Fort Collins. I have two favorite river courses described below which I use during winter and spring for training for WaterTribe Everglades Challenge and Texas Water Safari.

This year I am running two informal but challenging races: 30 miles South Platte River Marathon and the Poudre River Loop. No entry fees, no awards, just reports with pictures on-line. You are paddling on your own responsibility but my wife Connie will provide some support and help at least for the marathon.

I am available for training runs or shorter races on S. Platte, the Poudre and St Vrain Creek. The Poudre River Loop can be paddled in about 2 hours and makes an excellent afternoon workout when the river is flowing.

Any comments or suggestions are welcome! Please let me know if you are interested in any of these two races. You are also welcome to participate in 2005 Virtual Race.

South Platte River Marathon

distance: 30 miles downriver, time: 4-6 hours

start: St. Vrain Creek at Wildcat about 1 mile above confluence with South Platte River unless I find a convenient launching spot further upstream of St Vrain.

finish: Kuner

time to paddle: usually, November-May or after heavy rains; most of the flow is diverted to irrigation in late spring and summer

suggested race date: Sunday, May 1, 2005

hazards: a narrow span railroad bridge above Evans partially blocked by logs and junk, some portages may be inconvenient

portages: 5 over diversion dams

pictures and video clips

South Platte River Marathon'2005 pictures

St Vrain Creek South Platte River South Platte River

Poudre River Loop

distance: 6.7 miles, time: ~2 hours

start and finish: Arapaho Bend Natural Area, on a small pond about 200 yards south from the trail parking at the end of Horsetooth Road

course description: It starts on small quiet ponds. A short portage will take you to the river where the real fun starts - 2 miles upstream against strong current. Under some condition portaging or walking trough some spots may be necessary or just faster than paddling. You can rest for while in quiet waters behind Environmental Learning Center before entering another twisty and narrow channels below a dam. The length of portage here depends on how close to the dam you are ready to paddle against the current. Halfway! Then a narrow and twisty river but downstream with a one short portage around a logjam and you are entering already familiar river. A few minutes of downriver racing, then jump over a trail to Arapaho Bend ponds and finish.

time to paddle: May-early July and occasionally when water is released from Horsetooth Reservoir as in October 2004

suggested race date:Saturday, May 21, 2005

optimal flow: 250-400cfs at Timnath (when paddling upstream: at low flow some shallow spots may require walking, at high flow some spots with strong current may be too challenging to paddle)

hazards: fallen trees, strong twisty current

portages: 2 x ponds-river, one rapid when going upstream, one dam (longer portage), one logjam

pictures: see the clickable map below and my paddling reports: 05/28/03 | 05/09/04 | 10/15/04

video: Fun for paddling upstream covers about 1.5 miles of the river from the start to the confluence including portage around a rapid under the railroad bridge.

speed logs can give you some idea about paddling up and down the Poudre. The 10/15/04 trip covers almost exactly the Poudre Loop course (paddling was quite intense but with breaks for shooting pictures).

Arapaho Bend Natural Area above Archery Range below railroad bridge below logjam ELC: going downriver below the dam logjam rock dam ELC: going upriver a larger pond passage between ponds strainer above Archery Range rapid under railroad bridge water data
  • 0.00 - start/finish
  • 0.20 - narrow and shallow passage between ponds
  • 0.50 - short portage to the river over a trail
  • 1.08 - railroad bridge: suggested portage on right
  • 2.53 - confluence of two river legs, go right into calm water
  • 3.29 - rock dam, keep left below the dam, portage on left along a trail (the length of portage depends how close to the dam you want to paddle against strong current), paddle downstream into narrow twisty right river leg
  • 3.91 - logjam, portage left, a strainer below
  • 4.11 - confluence
  • 5.57 - railroad bridge
  • 6.15 - portage from the river to a larger pond
  • 6.64 - start/finish

Beaver Pond Laps

Finally, you are welcome to join me in my 5 mile virtual race or you can just come to paddle or race with me almost a year around on Beaver Pond in Arapaho Bend Natural Area. It stays open much longer than bigger reservoirs like Boyd Lake, and sometimes it opens in the middle of winter when weather is warmer. 1 lap = ~1 mile.

gift ideas for paddlers, racers, and photographers ...

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