By Marissa Tiel
The race was for second place.
After more than 44 hours on the river, the remaining spots in the Yukon River Quest top three would be decided by a sprint.
“You start with a sprint; 444 miles; and you finish with a sprint,” said tandem kayak team 2 Numbnuts’ Shaun Thrower, who along with teammate Steve King, edged ahead of tandem canoe team Gorge Downwind Champs’ Carter Johnson and Dave Jensen to secure second place in 44 hours, 38 minutes and 51 seconds.
The canoe crossed the line five seconds later.
When they’d started out in Coffee Creek about 12 hours earlier, Jensen and Johnson weren’t even sure they’d be able to catch the K-2 team, who were Yukon River Quest champions in 2014.
“We were pretty ecstatic when we saw them,” said Jensen. “Then after we saw them it took another hour and a half to catch them.”
They first spotted the K-2 after the White River joins the Yukon River.
“It changes a lot,” said Jensen of the river. “The water changes from pretty clear to pretty silty and it gets to be super wide with channels all over the place.”
The section of river they were entering, which 2 Numbnuts calls, the Braids, has many channels.