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NEW WEBSITE

Please Go to our new and IMPROVED website for all updates for 2014 and on!
Thanks for all of your support!

http://www.womensrafting.weebly.com

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2014!

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The new year has begun.   We were so excited to get back together and get the paddles moving again.  We can never offer enough thank yous to those who have supported us so far and to those who continue to support us.  We are super excited to get the R4 season rolling.  This year’s nationals will be held in California on the Cal-Salmon!  Paul Gamache and his team are gearing up for a great event!  http://www.usaraftassociation.com/blog/

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2013

It has been almost two weeks since the world rafting championship in Rotorua, New Zealand. What an unexpected and amazing journey our team has been on! At this point, we are all scattered about New Zealand; finding new rivers, new loves, new adventures. We reunite on occassion and that in and of itself is pretty amazing.  We are so grateful for all the support that we have received on this journey. We were hoping for more, then reality set in.  Then we did better than most people expected.  Here is a summary of our first time attending an international competition.

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We learned a lot….such as incurring  a total of 30 seconds in penalties on the downriver. We didn’t fully understand the rules. Basically we were in battle mode after our head to head.  Oops.

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We made a lot of new friends.

We took on a giant and came out victorious then went on to get the US’s only medal from this competition.

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Third place was a victory for us!

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We are planning for our future and have high hopes to go to Brazil.

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As we finish out this year, though, our most favorite thing and what we are most excited about is the increase in participation of women’s teams at racing events in the US.  To give you an idea:  there were at least 4 women’s teams who competed at the Mother’s Day race in Taos, New Mexico, 3 teams at Animas river Days in.Durango,Colorado, 3 women’s teams at the National race on the Arkansas, and 4 women’s teams competing at the animal race on the Gauley in West Virginia.  To us, this is the biggest victory.  cheers to all the ladies teams out there and we hope to see you and compete with you in California! We want the US to be great at this sport, and one way to do this is to increase competition, understanding here in the states.

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On our way to New Zealand…almost

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What a difference a year makes!

Just over a year and half ago, The Red Lady Raft Team, did something that few -if any-other women’s teams had done in the last 12 years.  In the R4 competition, we won the downriver portion of the US Nationals.  We ended up not winning overall, but for three of the current team, we knew that that was just a beginning.   We knew that r4 wasn’t the final goal, we were trying to gain the longevity of a team that could compete on an international level.  Just over a year ago, we went to the Animal Race at Gauley, with high hopes.  We learned a valuable lesson and not only did we pick apart the footage from the race, apparently so did a few others.  We came back determined to change, determined to do better, determined to create a team that had the ability to compete internationally.

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“The more I talk to athletes, the more convinced I become that the method of training is relatively unimportant. There are many ways to the top, and the training method you choose is just the one that suits you best. No, the important thing is the attitude of the athlete, the desire to get to the top.”
– Herb Elliott

We didn’t even have a full team until February, and at that, one of our team members lived in Wyoming.  It was clear to us that the first thing we needed to do was establish what kind of team we wanted to be and the first step was to create goals for ourselves. The first goal was to establish regular meetings with the team-whoever the team was.  Starting in January, we started making the commitment to drive once a week-often over snowy passes at 3:30 am to get to practices in a body of water.

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“There are only two options regarding commitment: you’re either in or you’re out. There’s no such thing as life in between.” – Unknown

We started feeling really good about ourselves and our commitments, but it didn’t come without stressful moments as we all maintained full time jobs, using up not only that money, but our savings to drive to practices and races.  The big day came in June, when we narrowly won the sprint race.  Next, we did the downriver.  We don’t really know our specialty, but kind of figured it was downriver because so many of the team work or has worked as professional river guides.  But, as we approached the last mile of the downriver, we heard each other encouraging each other (out loud at this point, because we were too tired to keep it in) to keep going because we knew finishing the race was the other team’s specialty.

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In less than two weeks, we are headed to New Zealand for the World Championships.  At the 2012 Gauley race, no one would have believed that we could be here.  At times, we even had our doubts.

“There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players and never win titles. Most of the time, those players aren’t willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The funny thing is, in the end, their unwillingness to sacrifice only makes individual goals more difficult to achieve. One thing I believe to the fullest is that if you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades will take care of themselves. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
-Michael Jordan

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Rumor has it that it takes three times before a team can really do well.  My mom always told me,

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

We’re ready for whatever get’s handed to us.  We’ve done the work. We’ve made the sacrafices.  And just like the book, “The Little Engine that Could”:

“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.”

Jen namaste

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“Where there is a Will, there is a Way”

I have to wait for inspiration to arrive before I can write a blog. I start to get ideas, but sometimes can’t find the link to make it all flow and make sense and have meaning.  I had this idea that I was going to write this fabulous blog about our adventures in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.  As it turned out, that could be stated in a few words and photos: Ricky Bobby, Nobody cares that you’re team USA (after getting kicked out of the campground), MORE RAIN, BIG water, Skunks rummaging through trash in the wee hours of the morning, More Rain, Stairs, Rafts getting stuck in the trunk of a rental car, More rain, Meeting cool folks at Gauleyfest, More rain,  Winning the animal Race, US National Whitewater center in North Carolina, the obstacle course—no the ROPE CLIMB, Did I mention that it rained? What was the best part?  The Lower Gauley at 8000+ cfs, Heaven’s gates, laying the smack down on the ladies..almost!  I had a long, solo car drive to think about all of these things and it all came together in a tragedy that affected a community that supports us and a remembrance in a month that promotes awareness. 

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It took Heather a couple of tries, but she did it! That kind of determination is a rare gem!

 

In case you hadn’t heard, Buena Vista, Colorado suffered a heartbreaking loss.  5 people were killed while enjoying an incredibly popular hike just outside of town near the Chalk Cliffs.  The rock slide spanned an area that was so wide that the family could not escape.  On our run yesterday, we talked about about how a couple of the girls on the team knew the family. We talked about “BV strong”, we talked about how the family was able to be together doing something they loved.  We talked about how the father, Dwayne Johnson, flung himself on his daughter, Gracie, saving her life.  A true hero. 

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You can go here to make a donation to the family: http://www.johnsonfamilyfund.com/

I started thinking about the heroes in our lives, the people that not only inspire us through their own actions, but inspire through their encouragement.  My mother passed away 9 years ago in September from Breast Cancer.  It was a shock to our family.  One thing I know is that in her passing, I realized the importance of following your dreams, trying your best, doing what you love- because you truly never know when your life will end.  My mother is a true inspiration to me.  She always said, “where there is a will, there is a way”.  And that’s how I’ve viewed so many things in my life.  Whatever your passion, it’s so important to go after it.  With my mom’s influence and words in my life, I would not have pursued a raft racing team, nor would I have met such amazing women who I can call my friends and my teammates.   It is with great pride that we get to call ourselves Team USA.

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Whenever I see the rays of sun through clouds, a beautiful rainbow, or an eagle flying over the river, I feel like my mom is with me, supporting me, encouraging me. To me, when a beautiful soul passes on, their energy becomes manifested in all the beautiful things the earth has to offer.   http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/Image

 

In the last month, we’ve been so thankful to our sponsors: MTI Adventurewear, WRSI, Mealanzana, Drift, Girl4sport and Sportube for their support with our team uniforms. We are so thankful for Denny at Rocky Mountain Adventures for supplying us a raft to practice with.  We appreciate all of our friends and family who have supported our crazy, little known sport of Raft Racing and recognizing that this is a passion we have together.  We couldn’t go without you. 

Cariann from Paddle Yoga posted this the other day on Facebook:

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We hope to be a positive influence in so many people’s lives- as my mom was in mine, as the Johnson family is in BV.

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pas·sion

noun \ˈpa-shən\

: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something

 

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Growing pains!

The Red Ladies have been going through some growing pains in the last couple months.  Becoming the USA women’s team has been another challenge.  We grew fond of our connection to the Red Lady name and of course identify ourselves as being from Colorado (although, we are from the east, the west and the midwest!), so figuring out how to be the Red Ladies AND how to be the USA women’s teams has presented not only some internal misgivings, we’re learning what we want to do AS representatives of the United States and HOW to get it done.  One of our challenges if figuring out which logo we want to use!

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To celebrate Chris Baer’s http://www.whereisbaer.com/ birthday in July, we competed in the super fun, no rules pine creek and numbers race.  We did pretty well, finished first and then attended the Prom at AVA.

In August, we all decided to buckle down with our individual workouts. Some of us using p90x, some of us getting the gym, and of course just running in the mountains.  Not such a bad view–Image

We kicked off our Red Lady Footprints program on August 19 at the Breckenridge Recreation Center.  We hope to find one great cause that we are passionate about every month to contribute our time to. It seemed fitting since we all came together for the purpose of paddling that we do a clinic for kids to learn about racing.  We looked at our journey to help design a clinic that would keep the little munchkins engaged.  The kids were ages 5-12.  They all learned a bit about setting goals, environmental stewardship, the benefits of yoga and of course paddling- safety, teamwork, and racing!  The Breck Rec center was so helpful and let us do our thing!  So thanks to everyone involved on both sides.Image

Our fundraising picked up some momentum at the end of July and in the middle of August with a couple of fundraisers.  Many many thanks to the Whitewater Bar and Grill and the Asian Palate for hosting team USA and for the many many supporters who came out.  Not only did we have a great time, there were some great prizes we were able to auction and raffle off donated by local  Canon City, Salida, and Buena Vista businesses. We’re still working on getting those plane tickets, all help is most welcome.

If you’ve not donated yet, please check out our go fund me site:

http://www.gofundme.com/red-lady-raft-racing

OR you can go to the USRA site and donate there!  If you want to be sure that your donation goes to us, you can indicate it on there. HOWEVER, the Men’s USA team is also raising funds and any and all help is greatly appreciated!

https://npo.justgive.org/nonprofits/donate.jsp?ein=27-1347837

Look for us at Gauleyfest! The Ladies will be Road Tripping out East in September.Look for us and Cariann Brown of Paddle yoga, we’ll have a booth at the festival AND of course we plan to race the Animal Race on the Upper.  We plan to go to Charolette Whitewater Center to do some slalom training and visit Tana’s home river, the Youghiogheny

http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Wiki/aw:events_gauley