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The Whitewater Ultra

first_imgJim Snyder paddles the longest undammed stretch of whitewater in the East.Jim Snyder’s at home in Albright, W.Va., waiting for the next big storm.Snyder has notched first descents on many steep creeks before most of today’s boaters were out of diapers. But he’s best known for an annual two-day, 140-mile paddle of the Cheat River, from its Shavers Fork headwaters down to Cheat Lake.Snyder knows the Cheat River better than anybody, and he knows that it is an anomaly in the Eastern U.S. For starters, it flows north. There is only one dam on the Cheat, and it is a short 3.5 miles upstream of the river’s confluence with the Monongahela River, bound for Pittsburgh. No other big Appalachian river can make this claim. Its normal flows are between 1000 to 5000 cubic feet per second (that’s similar to the famous stretch of Tennessee’s Ocoee and larger than Pennsylvania’s Youghiogheny at Ohiopyle). The watershed drains over 10 percent of the entire state.The class IV Cheat Canyon became one of the most popular commercial rafting destinations in the country in the 1980s, and the awareness created by the rafting industry helped keep it fairly clean. It prevailed as the premier destination for rafting for many years, until road access made travel to the New and Gauley Rivers to the south more reasonable. In the mid-90s, mine blowouts increased pollution to levels that killed most or all organisms in stretches of the river, and recreational use of the river hit dramatic lows. Local advocacy group Friends of the Cheat formed in 1995 as a response to the blowouts and began to use resources in legislation and science to turn things around. Because of restoration efforts, the water quality has improved substantially over the past two decades.Above the canyon, the forks of the Cheat reach into the highest elevations of West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest and drain an enormous watershed that creeps to the sub-continental divide. They represent over 200 more miles of stream and have reputations of their own among boaters, fishermen, and swimmers. Flowing through largely wooded mountains and through a few small towns, it is the Shavers Fork that stretches the longest. It begins high up inside Snowshoe Mountain Resort.Snyder was one of the first raft guides on the Cheat Canyon. In those days, Snyder pioneered the obscure sport of squirt kayaking in the 1980s.  Squirt boating is intentionally paddling a barely buoyant kayak into downward pushing cross-currents found in whitewater for underwater “mystery moves,” sometimes lasting longer than 30 seconds. Squirt boaters around the globe know Jim’s name as the godfather of the sport.Snyder prefers to do his 140-mile trip solo. He paddles from 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. both days. He eats constantly, taking short snack breaks. His strategy—just keep paddling, not too hard—has worked well thus far; he’s completed 9 of the 10 trips that he started. The not-too-hard part is important. The one trip he didn’t fully complete, Jim paddled too fast and got ahead of the increasing water level. Before long he had paddled from a full streambed into a dry one, and didn’t have the time to sit for a half day to wait for the water to catch up.Jim looks for the perfect conditions to “ride the bubble” as it flows north through the better part of five West Virginia counties. Even perfect conditions can’t guarantee the trip will go smoothly. On the Shavers Fork, Jim once found himself entangled in grape vines that had come down with a fallen tree. He had to release from his heavy gear-stuffed kayak, which he then couldn’t wrangle until he got to calm water. The boat was too heavy to turn over to drain, so he emptied the entire boat with a sponge.Other than the three months when he was a cashier at the Pentagon, every job he’s ever held had something to do with whitewater. He makes his living designing whitewater kayaks and paddling gear specifically crafted for squirt boating. His wooden paddles, hand-made to order in Albright, W.Va., are used on rivers all over the world by kayakers, canoeists, stand up paddleboarders, and rafters. His business, Rivrstyx, has a long waiting list, though nobody complains when he tells customers that it may take as long as two months to get their paddle. They’re worth the wait.Snyder’s whitewater ultra begins with a 15-foot waterfall plunge, followed by several miles of technical boulder-strewn class IV rapids stacked one after another. Out of the steeps, the Shavers Fork mellows out to a class II run with little flatwater. Then, in Parsons, W.Va., the Black Fork merges from the east, creating the main stem of the Cheat. Miles-long flat pools push the mental and physical limits of boaters as the odometer creeps into the triple digits. The low angle of the early evening sun blinds, but Jim’s plan – just keep paddling, not too hard – prevails.After over 100 miles of river, Jim Snyder’s long trip picks up one last characteristic of West Virginia whitewater: big water. First comes the Narrows, a well-known section of picturesque Class III whitewater with pushier features, including a rapid known as Calamity. Then, Jim Snyder’s long trip down the Cheat enters the Canyon.“The Canyon’s the best part every year, because it always goes perfectly,” Jim tells me while recounting a decade of long trips. Cheat Canyon simultaneously marks the last and the most challenging rapids of the trip, through famous rapids like Big Nasty and Coliseum. Because the Canyon begins in his backyard, he drops off his camping gear at home to reduce weight and yard sale potential in the Canyon.At the top of the canyon, the river is 100 yards wide, but ultimately it squeezes through channels only 10 feet across. After a few more miles of big Cheat whitewater, the river mellows and deepens to form Cheat Lake.Why paddle the longest stretch of undammed river east of the Mississippi in two days? “It’s sounds tough, but really it’s a lot of easy miles,” Snyder says. “I just like to paddle a lot.”That’s an understatement. •last_img read more

Surinamese Drifters expected to thrill crowds on April 2

first_imgGUYANESE will be treated to their first bit of professional Drifting exhibition during the first National Race of Champions on April 2 at the South Dakota Circuit.Two cars out of Suriname, A Honda S2000 and a Toyota Verossa, both sponsored by KGM Security Services will thrill the fans with a drifting exhibition between races during the circuitArgill Wreed’s Toyota Verossarace day, an official close to the racing club has confirmed.“The two guys will arrive here at the weekend and go up to the track to see the layout. One is no stranger to Guyana. He is a former champion here and is known as Oliver from Suriname,” GMR&SC committee member Paul Jiwanram said.He continued, “What we want to do is to bring something different to racing this season and our aim is to keep the hype all through race day come April 2. What we’ve noted in the past is that during races, the crowd hype tends to die down and we want to change that.”The two drifters, Oliver Tjin Liep Shie who will pilot the Honda and Argill Wreed who will be at the helm of the Verossa ,have both indicated their readiness for the event, adding that they are excited to participate in the event.The event’s sponsors include Ansa McAl, through the STAG Beer brand, ExxonMobil, Fly Jamaica, Seaboard Marine, Tony’s Auto Spares, Japarts, Choke Gas Station, CARICOM Auto Sales, E Networks, S. Jagmohan Hardware Supplies, Truck Masters and Jialing.last_img read more

No. 6 Syracuse’s defense stifles No. 14 Johns Hopkins, 8-7, in low-scoring affair

first_img Published on March 18, 2017 at 8:47 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+ BALTIMORE — Syracuse didn’t need its defense in the overtime period, but that unit was the only reason the Orange made it there.Before junior transfer midfielder Brendan Bomberry scored the overtime game-winner on Syracuse’s first possession, No. 6 SU (5-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) limited one of the NCAA’s most balanced offenses in No. 14 Johns Hopkins (4-3) to nearly half of its season average total goals.  The 8-7 chippy Orange win in extra time over its historic rivals at Homewood Field on Saturday afternoon represented Syracuse’s 45th consecutive victory when holding opponents to fewer than 10 goals. Neither coach, JHU’s Dave Pietramala or SU’s John Desko, expected such a low-scoring contest between teams that combine to average 25 goals per game.“Both defenses played pretty well,” Desko said. “Evan (Molloy) made some big saves for us.”Syracuse’s redshirt senior goalie saved seven of the 14 shots the Blue Jays threw on net, including five in the second quarter alone to spur 26:35 stretch between the first and third quarters when SU scored four unanswered goals.Two acrobatic saves by Molloy in the midst of the stretch, with SU down two players due to penalty, kept the momentum in Orange favor. Syracuse carried a 3-2 advantage into halftime and thoroughly stifled an offense accustomed to pouring in 12 goals per game. JHU scored four of its seven goals man-up or in transition.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Absolutely I’m disappointed in our output offensively,” Pietramala said. “We’ve got to find different ways to generate goals. … I don’t think many of (Molloy’s) saves were … I don’t think he had to make many. But five or six of them were pretty darn good ones.”The Orange’s defensive line, once rendered a liability by injuries and inexperience in high-flying shootouts, showed its maturation Saturday by playing a major role in keeping the Orange afloat late.With 1:34 left in the game and JHU leading 7-6, do-it-all midfielder Joel Tinney slashed toward the net to double the Orange deficit and seal a Blue Jay victory. Redshirt freshman Andrew Helmer, who essentially rotates at longstick midfielder with redshirt sophomore Austin Fusco, knew he was beat and used Tinney’s momentum against him. Helmer shoved Tinney in the back. The junior stumbled. As the ball rolled from Tinney’s stick into the back of the net, the referees waved off the goal because Tinney’s trip landed him inside the crease for a violation.The defensive play, made in desperation or deftness, likely saved Syracuse.All season, the Orange has hoped its defense can string floss together long enough for superior firepower to simply bludgeon opponents with more shots. Saturday, a stalwart defense afforded SU’s offense, not displaying its 13 goals per game average either, just enough time to break through. SU’s 32 shots was one above its season low.Sixty seconds after Tinney’s waved-off dagger, senior Nick Mariano ended SU’s ensuing possession with an overtime-forcing goal.Syracuse had prepared for Tinney, the engineer of JHU’s infamous hidden-ball trick goals and a constant threat because of his quickness. Fusco shadowed him and shut off his left hand, trying to take away any advantage the junior could create. That strategy reflected SU’s similar approach with stars junior Shack Stanwick (3.17 points per game) and senior John Crawley (2.33 points per game). The Orange limited the pair to a combined one point, a Stanwick assist.Fully aware of the threat Stanwick posed as a feeder, Syracuse assigned converted-LSM Scott Firman to him. The senior stayed in the Blue Jay’s hands, refusing to yield space and Stanwick helplessly watched from his maestro position behind the net as the JHU offense came up empty possession after possession.“We communicated really well,” Molloy said. “They didn’t have any goals in the 6-on-6 set. Some (goals on) broken plays and transitions, but we did our assignments.”Forty minutes before the game, the necessity of physicality in a contest that exhibited perhaps anything but finesse was foreshadowed when Johns Hopkins and Syracuse broke from their normal pregame warmups to have a shoving match at midfield. Half of either team, about 40 players in total, jawed and bodied each other as flags flew. No one remembered starting a game with players in the penalty box before.“That’s just Syracuse-Hopkins for you,” Molloy said later.When Bomberry put home the game-winner in overtime, players again sprinted from the sidelines. Molloy and the defensive line were among the first to reach Bomberry and form another heaving mass. This time, though, the jerseys were the same color, and they danced on Johns Hopkins’ side of the field. Commentslast_img read more

Guyana’s 1st comprehensive foot care service launched

first_imgIn efforts to share her expertise and sensitise the public on the importance of foot care, a Trinidad-based Guyanese on Sunday launched the country’s first exclusive podology service.The Rovon Home Health Care Inc is the brainchild of Podologist Yvonne Braithwaite-Superville, who original hails from Mahaicony.Persons at the launching of Guyana’s first podology service being treatedPodology focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle and lower extremities. Being a trained nurse, certified master pedicurist, and the holder of a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Podology, Braithwaite-Superville can administer patients with comprehensive foot care. She offers similar services in the twin-island republic, and has decided to expand service to her homeland.Speaking at the launch of her initiative, Braithwaite-Superville noted that the foot is always a neglected part of the body, and she is expecting to change this with the services offered by her company.Sharing on her reason for expanding in Guyana, Braithwaite-Superville said, “Due to my deep ancestral background, it is only fitting for me to return to Guyana to share my expertise and to educate the people on good and safe foot care, especially diabetics.”She also emphasized: “There are too many unnecessary amputations”, in relation to the foot woes of diabetic patients.The Rovon Home Health Care Inc will provide medical overseas consultation, nurse escorts, podology and emergency medical treatment. Specifically, the company is offering treatment services for: diabetic foot care, ingrown nails, corns, heel fissures, onychomycosis, athlete’s foot, verruca and callus. The service will also seek to lessen the number of diabetic patients who amputate their feet.In attendance at the launching ceremony were Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes and her husband, Attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes.During brief remarks, Hughes recalled his first encounter with Ms. Braithwaite-Superville some eight months ago, and how he urged her to set up a service in Guyana, having experienced her foot care services.“I think it’s always great when we actually have some of our own come back to Guyana, invest and contribute. I think it’s something that has to be commended,” he concluded.Attendees of the ceremony were treated to foot massages which would be offered by the Rovon entity. Braithwaite-Superville hopes to branch out into other Caribbean countries in the future; she is also aiming to open a podology clinic in Grove Plantation Mahaicony as a means of giving back to her community.The Rovon Home Health Care Inc will operate out of the St Joseph Mercy Hospital on Parade Street, Kingston, and can be contacted on (592) 601-9353 or [email protected]last_img read more