By Joel Truitt
The Texas Water Safari (TWS) Jr is one of those races that gets many Texas paddlers excited. The race itself consists of three dams, a legendary rapid, and some of the most technical river stretches in Texas. More than what the river has to offer, a racer can also get to experience some great competition, beautiful sights, and one of the most supportive race communities around.
The 2016 TWS Jr was a special race in that Houston, Austin, and Martindale had a friendly rivalry. The aluminum class is the spec boat that was selected to foster the competition. With a little bit of work on social media, the three cities were able to get 32 aluminum boats on the water.
Race day was pretty typical with the normal hussel and bussel. I got to say hi to old friends and run around getting my gear together. I missed the pre-race meeting because I was talking, but I got the boat loaded with gear, paddles and life jackets.
The record number of aluminum boats and the other classes that participated this year packed the starting line. My race partner, Eric Whicker, and I took one look at the hoard of boats and decided it would be better to be at the front of the starting pack. We got our position and I looked around to see who was around us. To our left was our biggest competition, Kyle Mynar and Andrew Condie. They were wearing a spray skirt that signaled they were going to run the first dam, Rio Vista. This was bad news for Eric and I because we hadn't trained on the river this year and we were going to be slower on the portages. I knew we would have our work cutout for us.