King of the James 2014
There can only be one…King of the James
It was 37 degrees at 6am on November 8 when I pulled into the Reedy Creek parking. Upon arriving at the James River Park System, I knew the silence was soon to dissipate as competitors arrived for the inaugural King of the James. After initial preparations for the race were culminating, people started filtering in with boats, bikes, shoes and smiles. Joey Parent & I were excited to see the delight on everyone’s face despite the near freezing temperatures.
King of the James was designed by Joey and myself as a day to enjoy three sports that are unique to Richmond despite being far away from the mountains: Trail Running, Mountain Biking, and Whitewater Kayaking. They can all be done in the heart of the city in one of our favorite places, the James River Park System. Reedy Creek is both a trail head as well as a boat ramp with access to the best part of both the trails and river. King of the James was to be based out of this staging area due to it’s luxuriously rugged resources. The Trail Run was about 3.2 miles in length, the Mountain Bike about 9 miles, and the whitewater section on the James River covers 2.5 miles. Some last minute changes were made during the week leading up to the race to accommodate the best routes for the unusually low water levels on the river.
The buzz was in the air. Who? How? Where? We all wanted the true answer, “who will be King?”
After a little paperwork and a quick trip talk, it was time: King of the James was finally in session. The trail run through Forest Hill went quick. This 3.2 mile run would open eyes and break hearts while individuals realized how their lungs would handle the miles that lay ahead on bike and water.
Careful foot placement in Forest Hill (photo Hunter Davis)
While making the transition from feet to wheels, a few participants were abruptly stopped by a train at the Reedy Creek event staging area. The tracks quickly cleared and the mountain bike leg went on relatively smooth. There were accounts of going ‘over the handle bars’ as well as legendary speed set by Charley, the biker of the winning team. The Buttermilk and North Bank Trails are deceiving to look at on a map due to their short lengths; however, they offer very technical challenges that are extremely exhausting, especially after completing the running leg of King of the James thru Forest Hill Park.
Technical riding on the North Bank Trail (photo Hunter Davis)
The final leg of King of the James is paddle the James and there is nothing like cramming a pair of beaten down running and bike legs into a tiny boat to finish off the race. With unusually low river levels, lines were tight on the downtown section of the James.
Long boats are the key to speed on the class III King of the James (photo Keith Vincent)
After it all, there can only be one. The 2014 King of the James is proud to announce the first ever ‘King of the James’ – Mr. Adam Tremper. Adam crushed the competition with a time of 1:24:48. Just behind Adam was our first ever Queen of the James – Jennie Belt at 1:45:53. ‘The Ringers‘ brought home the Court with the best overall relay time at 1:22:52. That’s fast!
Adam Tremper the King
Thanks to everybody who came out and supported the 2014 King of the James! It’s good to be the King! Here are the final results
2014 King of the James – Adam Tremper (photo Rich Young)