There can only be one…King of the James
Sunday October 22nd marked the third, somewhat annual, King of the James. What would normally have been empty leaf covered parking lot at Reedy Creek was bustling with excitement. The king was coming.
A foggy pink and orange sunrise gave way to blue skies and spectacular fall weather. Some last minute registrations and shuffling some gear was all that needed to be sorted out. The time had come, King of the James was finally in session.
Last minute preparations. Photo by Rich Young
The trail run through Forest Hill went quick. This 3.5 mile run opened eyes and broke the spirits of many first time racers. The fast ones set out on a blistering pace, while others dialed it back to let their lungs settle in for the miles that lay ahead. The twisting, rooty single track was challenging but enjoyable in the crisp morning. A quick splash into Reedy Creek, as it passed through the tunnels under Riverside drive, marked the end of the first segment.
The racers are off. Photo by Rich Young
Racers rounding the corner into the transition area were greeted with high fives and cheering. It was time to trade running shoes for knobby tires. Mountain bikes screamed out of the parking lot and made their way onto the Buttermilk Trial. Solo racers realized pretty quickly that the running portion of the race had taken more energy than they anticipated. Still, the excitement ran high and everyone give it their all as they road, pushed and tumbled their way around the James River Park trail system.
Enjoying the Buttermilk trial. Photo by James Vonesh
The Buttermilk and North Bank Trails are deceiving. They offer very technical challenges that are extremely exhausting, especially after completing the running leg of King of the James. Once racers make it back to Reedy Creek for the final transition, it was game on for the whitewater paddle on the lower James.
Racers hitting the water at Reedy Creek. Photo by Rich Young
Beaten down legs were crammed into tiny boats and racers pushed off the shore. With unusually low river levels, lines were tight on the downtown section of the James. Racers had to pick their way though the rocky whitewater as it trickled toward the 14th street take out.
Going big on the low water. Photo by Dave Parrish
In the end, there can only be one, King of the James. Michael Wilson hit the steps at 14th street with a time of 01:28:20. The Queen of the James, Penelope Davenport made it to the finish shortly after at with a time of 1:45:50. ‘The Eddy Runners‘ managed to pull off the best overall team relay time of 01:17:20.
The King and Queen. Photo By Rich Young
Thanks to everybody who came out and supported the King of the James! Proceeds from this event raised over $10,000 for the James River Park. That something ever a king can be proud of.
It’s good to be the King!
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