From The Vail Daily (John LaConte) via The Summit Daily:
Dane Jackson has been called the world’s best kayaker and, on Thursday, he bested boaters from all over the globe to prove the title true.
Jackson was the only American man in the top five at the Steep Creek Championship, a timed race down Homestake Creek that doubles as the kick off to the GoPro Mountain Games every year.
International competitors outnumbered Americans in the women’s event, with only four female competitors completing both of their preliminary round runs through the tight section of class-5 whitewater.
Adriene Levknecht, of Greenville, South Carolina, was the fastest woman on the day.
Colorado was well represented in the competition, with Glenwood Springs paddlers Kenny and Dally Kellogg, Peter Farmelo of Silverthorne and Alex Tansey of Kremmling holding it down as the most local kayakers in the 37-person field.
Tansey said if they had any “home water” advantage, it was the fact that they were already acclimated to the elevation and the cold water.
“Some of these folks aren’t used to true snowmelt water,” Tansey said. “As cold as cold can get.”
Traveling to Colorado for the first time from Costa Rica, Arnaldo Cespedes said the water nearly paralyzed him at first.
“Even though I was wearing a wet suit, I thought that I was going to get frozen,” he said.
Cespedes said as a result, he didn’t perform as well as he was expecting…
Paddlers from Chile, Argentina, Canada, France and Norway also competed.
Second-place Gerd Serrasoles, a native of Catalonia, now calls the Columbia River Gorge home in White Salmon, Washington…
The Ultimate Mountain Challenge tests competitors across six events of their choosing, with at least one biking and paddling event mandatory. It wraps up on Sunday with the Pepi’s Face Off, also mandatory, which sets a clock to 30 minutes and pits runners against each other in a challenge to see who can complete the most laps up the steep, 40% grade ski run at the base of Gondola One in Vail.