Step aside Vail. A small town nestled in the southern Appalachian Mountains bags bragging rights for this summer’s largest celebration of adventure sports. The Green River Games, a multisport competition, will debut September 7-8, 2013 in Saluda, N.C.
Race organizer John Grace created the Green River Games as an East-coast version of the GoPro Mountain Games. He wants the races to showcase the scenic gorge that’s home to the holy grail of steep creeks: the Narrows section of the Green River.
Races include full-contact and steep-creek kayaking, mountain and road biking, road and trail running, and mellow and extreme stand up paddling.
The Cove Climb 6K kicks off the festivities. The road race starts along the emerald river, the views providing inspiration for the infamous 17 switchbacks of Green River Cove Road. After climbing 1,000 feet, runners will cross the finish line in downtown Saluda, where they can celebrate a grueling run by throwing back local craft beer at the kickoff party.
Proceeds from the 6K will fund field trips for local fifth graders who have never explored the outdoor oasis in their own backyard.
For those who prefer trails to roads, the games feature both a 10K and a half marathon trail run.
Mountain bike racers will be challenged by the Sunshine Enduro, a course consisting of long climbs and technical downhill descents.
The SUP races will draw some of the best in the sport. The first qualifying race will take place on the Class I-II of the Lower Green. The top 20 finishers will be invited to compete in a SUP race on the Upper Green, containing continuous Class II-III to rapids with a few significant drops.
Those who prefer paddling a canoe or kayak can compete in the Upper Green Stage Race, a two-part race consisting of both a timed down river sprint and a slalom course down the Upper Green.
Dubbed the most difficult race in the world, the Silverback Race starts with a mass start to a nine-mile whitewater paddle down the Green River, including the steep and technical Narrows section. Then racers put their legs to the test on a nine-mile mountain bike race over a technical course. After the mountain bike section, racers must tackle a quad-busting nine-mile trail run to finish.