On May 15, the 2010 Eddy Flower Vertical Challenge began. For 32 days, 50 teams from the East and the West will compete to descend as many vertical feet as possible on whitewater rivers, all while raising money for young cancer patients. This is the fourth year in a row that Eddy Flower has teamed up with First Descents—an organization that provides kayak instruction and adventure for young adults who have recently been diagnosed with cancer—to put on the competition.
Myself and fellow NOC staffer Drew Austell are competing in the open division and hope to lead in both "vertical feet" and "donations" through the end of the competition. Our team (The Off the Cowch Team) jumped to an early lead in both categories and has managed to maintain that lead half-way through the competition. With the final days of the competition upon us, we will have to keep a watchful eye on the teams behind us.
Curt Joyce, Drew Austell, and Jeff Clewell, of The Off the Cowch Team, head downstream alongside fellow competitor Susan Hollingsworth, of the Femme 45 team. Photo by Melissa Wilder
Last year's competition came down to the final days, with three teams all vying for the top spot. This year promises to be just as competitive. You can check out the progress of The Off the Cowch Team at the Standings page.
The Miracle Mile stretch on Oregon's Willamette River has numerous lines and countless boofs like the one seen here. Photo by: Curt Joyce
Jeff winds up on a boof stroke to clear one of the many hydraulics in the Miracle Mile. Photo by: Curt Joyce
For more on First Descents, their history, mission, and testimonials click here. If you feel inspired, feel free to make a secure, tax deductible donation to First Descents by clicking here (you can make a donation on Jeff or Drew's behalf or donate independently).