Crowning the King – 2017

There can only be one…King of the James

Sunday October 22nd marked the third, somewhat annual, King of the James.  What would normally have been empty leaf covered parking lot at Reedy Creek was bustling with excitement.  The king was coming.


Getting ready for the 3rd King of the James. Photo by Rich Young


A foggy pink and orange sunrise gave way to blue skies and spectacular fall weather. Some last minute registrations and shuffling some gear was all that needed to be sorted out.  The time had come,  King of the James was finally in session.


Last minute preparations. Photo by Rich Young


The trail run through Forest Hill went quick.  This 3.5 mile run opened eyes and broke the spirits of  many first time racers. The fast ones set out on a blistering pace, while others dialed it back to let their lungs settle in for the miles that lay ahead. The twisting, rooty single track was challenging  but enjoyable in the crisp morning. A quick splash into Reedy Creek, as it passed through the tunnels under Riverside drive,  marked the end of the first segment.


The racers are off. Photo by Rich Young


Racers rounding the corner into the transition area were greeted with high fives and cheering. It was time to trade running shoes for knobby tires. Mountain bikes screamed out of the parking lot and made their way onto the Buttermilk Trial. Solo racers realized pretty quickly that the running portion of the race had taken more energy than they anticipated. Still, the excitement ran high and everyone give it their all as they road, pushed and tumbled their way around the James River Park trail system.


Enjoying the Buttermilk trial. Photo by James Vonesh


The Buttermilk and North Bank Trails are deceiving. They offer very technical challenges that are extremely exhausting, especially after completing the running leg of King of the James. Once racers make it back to Reedy Creek for the final transition, it was game on for the whitewater paddle on the lower James.


Racers hitting the water at Reedy Creek. Photo by Rich Young


Beaten down legs were crammed into tiny boats and racers pushed off the shore. With unusually low river levels, lines were tight on the downtown section of the James. Racers had to pick their way though the rocky whitewater as it trickled toward the 14th street take out.


Going big on the low water. Photo by Dave Parrish


In the end, there can only be one, King of the James.  Michael Wilson hit the steps at 14th street with a time of 01:28:20. The Queen of the James, Penelope Davenport made it to the finish shortly after at with a time of 1:45:50.  ‘The Eddy Runners‘  managed to pull off the best overall team relay time of 01:17:20.



The King and Queen. Photo By Rich Young


Thanks to everybody who came out and supported the King of the James! Proceeds from this event raised over $10,000 for the James River Park. That something ever a king can be proud of.

It’s good to be the King!


2617 Michael Wilson 01:28.2
2621 Riley Gorman 01:29.5
2604 Adam Tremper 01:30.1
2622 Karl Schmidt 01:31.4
2610 Michael Stratton 01:33.2
2628 Andrew Lex 01:35.2
2611 Jesse Spangler 01:37.1
2607 Dave Fary 01:37.4
2619 Josh Elder 01:38.4
2614 bryce roberts 01:40.2
2605 Kevin Tobin 01:40.3
2616 Karl Gordon 01:40.4
2612 Harrison Whitten 01:41.4
2618 Thomas Franco 01:42.6
2633 Jon Lugbill 01:43.1
2627 Ned Trice 01:46.4
2632 Jerry DeSanto 01:48.1
2631 Sam Albert 01:49.3
2625 jim Juritsch 01:53.5
2601 Matt Perry 01:56.3
2629 Gregory Boudreau 02:00.2
2608 Jason Judy 02:00.4
2602 Brandon Dysart 02:02.6
2609 Jack Martin 02:03.3
2620 Philip Dawson 02:14.2
2600 Matt Rosenberg 02:29.2
2623 Wayne Jones 02:50.2
2624 Cameron Barber-Jones 02:50.5


1704 Penelope Davenport 01:45.5
1701 Margo Peretz 01:55.5
1705 Katie Lemmert 01:58.2
1700 Jennifer Skrzypek 02:05.3
1706 Shawna Shade 02:13.4
1707 Shelley McLaughlin 02:14.2
1702 Ellie Morris 02:25.3


819 Captain Crunk 01:17.2
800 Eddy Runners 01:17.2
807 Ralphs Army 01:18.0
820 1/3 legal 01:24.3
808 Aquadump 01:26.4
815 Power Strangers 01:27.0
811 Trail Blazers 01:35.1
806 Slow Mosey 01:36.1
818 HoneycuttWolfSwager 01:36.4
823 Log Jam 01:38.1
822 Worst Pace Scenario 01:39.3
814 Not Getting Behind Is The New Getting Ahead 01:40.1
810 Team Dream 01:41.2
801 Team Versace 01:41.6
817 Flippin Frick 01:42.1
809 Tres Adventureros 01:44.2
803 Purple Cobras 01:50.2
804 The Cheeseburger Randies 01:57.1
812 UVA Ladies 01:59.2
821 Baggatt/Browne 02:04.4
816 Plan B 02:07.5
805 River Studies and Leadership 02:12.3
813 Blue Sky Fund 02:21.5

Be good.

-The King


A King Without a Crown…

Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1975 Battle Flags

Here is where in the King would like to take the opportunity to help answer questions pertaining to the event….

First, all of you peasants, serfs and farmers need to register before I raise the tax collections (entry fee). Prices are going up to $45 Friday at mid night . Unless you want to pay the extra shillings day of the race, you better get on it.

The King despises few things more than an over-the-bars crash, a trashing in a big hole, or scuzy warm beer. There isn’t much I can do to prevent you from the first two, but I can help you with the latter. There is going to be  pre-race registration and packet pickup hosted at the King’s favorite beer hall, Vasen Brewery on:

         Friday October 20th, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
         Saturday, October 21st 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

Vasen Brewery is located at 3331 W Moore St, Richmond, VA 23230. Racers can pre-register, pick up  their ‘King of the James’ t-shirt and get a race number. And if you were so inclined, you could also stay for a bit and drink a beer… Or several…

Speaking of t-shirts, they are being printed as we speak. Shirts are included in the race registration, but if you want another, its gunna run $10 bones. They look awesome and all of your friends will be jealous. I only had 400 printed, so get’em while the gettin’s good….

Race Day – Sunday, October 22nd.

Plan on being at Reedy Creek at 7am if you need to register. Participants will have time to register between 7:00-8amThere is not much time to register morning of, so please register in advance!  Everyone needs to stage their own gear at Reedy Creek Meadow before the event starts. The event staging area is in the grassy field, across from the train tracks near the parking lot. Here, participants can unload the gear they need to complete the event.  We will have somebody on site throughout the ‘King of the James’ to watch gear; however, the king is not responsible for your individual gear.  Locks for gear are recommended.  Please take into consideration the time necessary to unload all belongings  at Reedy Creek in order to register for event.

Unload at Reedy only – No Parking. There will be volunteers to direct traffic for loading and unloading  gear. Please unload as quickly as possible and park up in the neighborhood (Forest Hill Park?). Please be mindful of the neighborhood accompanying the park.  Do not park in driveways, change clothes in the open, and please keep your voices low.  Be respectful. There is limited parking, so the King asks that you please carpool with your teammates if possible. After parking, you can ride you bike or run back to Reedy Creek. Its a warm up. It’ll be good for you…

The Course

***This is an open race course. The are dog, squirrels, trains and other park uses on the course. If they slow you down, its all part of the event. Don’t be a jerk. ***

Mass start. 

No waves or heats. Every man, woman and team for themselves.

Trail Run – Forest Hill Loop – Counter Clockwise

Run through the tunnels under Riverside Drive. Make a loop around the park counter clockwise. Return back to Reedy Creek the same way you came, through the tunnels.

Mountain Bike – Buttermilk & North Bank – Clockwise

Ride the JRPS Loop clockwise. Buttermilk west to the Nickle Bridge. North Bank trail to the Lee Bridge (not across Belle Isle), get back on the trail at the end of the bridge and ride it back into Reedy Creek.

Whitewater Kayak – Falls of the James River – Straight Down the Middle

Paddle from Reedy Creek to 14th street. You must run 1st Break, Approach, Corner, Hollywood, Fish Ladders, and Pipeline. Due to this years low water, we will not be running X’s or 2nd break. 


Peak Experiences, RVA Paddlesports, and the VCU OAP are graciously volunteering to hall racers back to Reedy Creek  from the 14th Street take out after the finish. There is no need to set shuttle before the race. They will be taking racers and their boats up 12 at a time. You will not need to wait to get on the bus like in years past. It should be pretty quick.

Lastly, ‘King of the James’ is an individual, multi-sport event.  You must be able to complete the course by possessing the skills of an EXPERIENCED trail runner, EXPERIENCED mountain biker, and EXPERIENCED whitewater kayaker.  This is an extremely difficult course, with many hazards, and requires stamina as well as in-depth knowledge of all three sports.  The course is subject to a variety of changing variables associated with being held in an ever changing outdoor environment.  Please take this into consideration.  If there is any question on your part, about completing any of the disciplines, please do not attempt ‘King of the James’.  DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the difficulty of the ‘King of the James.’  Be respectful of other park users during ‘King of the James.’ This is an open race course.

If any of you have questions, please feel free to send the king an e-mail (

The king has spoken.
Be good,
The King

Appomattox River Company – Paddle VA, Paddle the James!


If you have been on something that floats in the James River, chances are you got it from Appomattox River Company. These folks have been doing it a long time, and they know their… stuff. Established in 1977, Appomattox River Company is a family owned paddlesports retailer with one of the largest selections of paddlecraft and accessories in the country.

The folks at  Appomattox  tell us “The resources Richmond has to offer, for grin inducing outdoor fun, are incredibly unique for a major city. RVA has been blessed with an amazing playground in and around the James River. It’s our job as good stewards to relish it, protect it, and share it with as many people as possible. Appomattox River Company has long celebrated that mission, and King of the James is the kind of grassroots event we love to support.” The king could not agree more.


For 40 years Appomattox River Company has grown along with the Paddlesports
Industry. Their warehouse in Farmville, Virginia has more boats and boards than you can shake a stick at.  Filled with 2500+ kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards, it’s enough to make any water logged bottom feeder week in the knees. Cant make it all the way out to Farmville? Stop into the Ashland and Hampton stores to see a selection of their impressive inventory. On top of their support of the King of the James event, Appomattox River Company has long supported other non-profits like James River Association, Heroes on the Water, and many local charity tournaments, races, and events.

Visit for more info.


Pre-registration with the babes!


The royal one invites you to enjoy a glorious night of adventure films featuring women. These aren’t just pretty women, they’re wild and dangerous, bold with no limits. And She too could become King, errr Queen of the James!

Indeed, all should be delighted to partake in a posh event such as this – Get the Babes Out. Join me on Monday, September 11th as we imbibe on a few savory Vasen beverages at Crossroads Coffee & Tea and watch these incredible feats of feminine strength!

Grab your babes, grab your mates and before you get too vashnigyered, sign up for the grandest race in all the land! Register at Get The Babes Out and save $3 bills. That should be just about enough to cover the cost of another beer.  Pre-registration starts at 6pm!

There can only be one Queen of the James!

Väsen brewing, the beer of kings.


The Forest Hill Trail loop. The Buttermilk. The North Bank Trail. The James River. This is the Richmond we know. And if you love it, truly love it, then you know these areas like the back of your hand. You can picture every rut, every root, and every rock.

To produce an adventure race that honors the terrain we hold so valuable, we needed a partner who was equally passionate about our home. We found that partner and lead sponsor in Väsen Brewing Company, a Richmond based brewery on a mission to celebrate the great outdoors.

Located at 3331 Moore Street in Scott’s Addition, Väsen is a member of 1% for the Planet, a global organization that connects dollars and doers to accelerate smart environmental giving. A network that spans more than 40 counties, 1% for the planet includes member businesses, nonprofit partners, and individuals working together to support environmental organizations through everyday actions and annual commitments.

Väsen, which officially opened on July 29, 2017, is in the process of creating one of the nation’s most sustainable breweries and has pledged to donate 1% of annual sales to support nonprofit organizations focused on the environment. In addition, Väsen is working to promote responsible brewing practices, sponsoring outdoor stewardship programs, and advocating for greater public awareness of issues facing the environment. Examples of nonprofits benefiting from Väsen include Blue Sky Fund, RVA MORE, JROC, Keep Virginia Cozy, and more.

Nathan Winters, Väsen’s marketing and environmental director, points out that the Swedish word ‘väsen’ honors translates as one’s inner essence. “We brew to inspire others to chase the things they love,” explains Nate. “For us, that means a steadfast commitment to environmental and social responsibility in everything we do.”

If you haven’t yet visited Väsen Brewing Company, stop into their taproom and see for yourself. Their passion for craft beer and the environment is obvious in every detail. The Väsen taproom is appropriately named The Hyperborium for a place beyond the north winds in Greek mythology where the sun was always shining and outdoor activities could be enjoyed 24 hours a day. A mural by Richmond artist Emily Herr depicts a caribou in the wild, patrons sit at rustic farmhouse tables, a forged steel chandelier by Richmond designer Wendy Umanoff hangs over the entrance in the shape of antlers, and the bar features live-edge drink rails and forged steel brackets.

The taproom offers a 20-tap system with Belgian-inspired ales and sours. Their beer is unconventional and is made for those who share an appreciation for the outdoors. In addition to a signature barrel-aging program, the brewery offers variety of saisons, wheat beers, and pale ales. Using a distinctive brewing process, Väsen is clearly focused on producing balanced and sessionable beers. They aren’t afraid to take risks, and their experimental approach produces surprises on the beer menu with new releases just about every week.

We hope you’ll stop in and have a beer with the Väsen team. Make sure to thank them for their efforts to support not only the King of the James, but also the rivers and trails that we value and use every day.


Getting it done with JROC


The King is excited to announce that the James River Outdoor Coalition (JROC) is taking ownership of the King of the James. JROC was formed in 1997 to provide resources to complete improvements in and around the James River Park System and to educate and advise others on issues pertaining to the park. The King of the James consists of approximately 15 miles of some of the best urban terrain in the world, and while this race highlights some of the fantastic outdoor features found in Richmond – it’s only a fraction of James River Park System, also known as the kingdom.

In the past 20 years JROC has completed notable projects that will be utilized during the King of the James Race. Some of these projects include the construction of the 14 th Street Whitewater takeout, where the King will cross the finish line, and the Reedy Creek universal river  access, where the whitewater kayaking portion will begin. JROC was the first group to do trail building specifically for mountain biking on Buttermilk and Buttermilk Heights. This led to creating the rest of the trail network, which now includes the Northbank trail among others. JROC and its members have helped on all the trails at some point, whether through physically working on them, financial assistance, or buying specialty tools and equipment. Motes don’t build themselves you know.

By participating in the King of the James you are giving back to the park we all love. All proceeds from the event will go back into the James River Park System. The event can be done as a Solo, Solo with Raft support or as a Relay Team or Raft Team. This race isn’t for the faint of heart, and therer can only be one king of the James. Experience is required and you must have all the necessary equipment and be an expert whitewater kayaker to participate in the solo event. If racing isn’t your thing – we could use your help as an event volunteer! Please email for more information.

All of the proceeds from the King of the James will benefit the James River Outdoor Coalition. JROC is a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization and all donations are tax deductible. If you’d like more information on JROC, find us on facebook or go to


2014 – Crowning the King

KoJ 110814_6639b

96 participants at the 2014 King of the James (photo Rich Young)

There can only be one…King of the James

Saturday, November 8th marked the date of the inaugural King of the James.  What would normally be an empty parking lot when temperatures are freezing, Reedy Creek was bustling with excitement.  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)

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!

1466318_1000655166626543_34063651799686113_n2014 King of the James – Adam Tremper (photo Rich Young)

IMG_33792014 Queen of the James – Jennie Belt

10407605_647417265379377_9078119428736218210_n2014 King of the James Court – The Ringers

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

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 9.34.27 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 3.19.06 PM


The King of the James – Adam Tremper (photo Hunter Davis)

Hot Box RVA


I had a chance to stop by Hot Box RVA’s printing scene and catch up with Chris, owner and operator of the screen printing business.  Chris is a local entrepreneur  here in Richmond as well as being a kayaker & running enthusiast…to add to that, you wouldn’t meet a nicer dude.  Hot Box RVA opened up shop about 8 years ago and is currently located minutes from the take out.  When you walk into the business, you’ll find a pile of boats against the wall and gear hanging neatly from the ceilings.  The shop is reflects Chris’s love for the outdoors all while being nestled in an industrial landscape on the city’s South Side.  Hot Box RVA screams Richmond and seems too fitting to not have Chris print the shirts for ‘King of the James’.  I know you’ll like the shirts, they look great.  Next time your in need of a screen print job for apparel, posters, stickers, etc…be sure to check out Hot Box RVA, you’ll be glad you did.


2014 Race fee and the goods…

five Amz dollars

Registration Fee

The king has been telling people that the race is free. That isn’t entirely true…With the phenomial enthusiam and higher than expected quantity of participation, it was decided that insurance was necessary in order to put on the King of the James. The American Canoe Association (ACA) has been an amazing orginization to work with on this topic and has agreed to help.  However, they require that each racer be a member of ACA. So, if you are an ACA member, you can race for free. YOU MUST HAVE YOUR ACA MEMBERSHIP NUMBER AVAILABLE WHEN YOU REGISTER! You can look it up on the ACA’s website. If you are not currently an ACA member, that’s ok.  You will need to purchase a one day event membership for $5. You can do this at the registration table day of.

Sorry for the $5 inconvenience, but all participants of ‘King fo the James’ are required to register.

There is going to be a pre-race registration hosted at the King’s favorite watering hole, Crossroads. Come out from 6-8pm on Thursday, November 6th. Racers can pre-register, pay for an ACA membership, buy their ‘King of the James’ t-shirt and coozie. And if you were so inclined, you could also stay for a bit and drink a beer… Or several…

The Goods

Speaking of t-shirts, Chris from Hot Box Printing is making them as we speak. Shirts are gunna run $10 bones. They look awesome and all of your friends will be jealous. I only had 70 printed, so get’em while the gettin’s good.


The King despises few things more than an over-the-bars crash, a trashing in a big hole, and scuzy warm beer. There isn’t much I can do to prevent you from the first two, but I can help you with the latter. ‘King of the James’ coozies where made to keep those drinks nice and icy cold. They will run $3 bones. Every time you are sitting at the takeout with your coozie, or by the trail head, nobody will doubt that you are in fact the real ‘King of the James’


Long story short, you can get an ACA registration, t-shirt and coozie for just $15. This is the King’s deal and you can’t beat it.

five Amz dollarsfive Amz dollars

five Amz dollars

Be good,

The King

James River – The Greatest of Urban Parks

Search for North America’s “greatest urban parks” and you will find a host of amazing metropolitan green spaces.  However, what you will most likely not come across is the James River Park System or the any-number of fantastic City of Richmond Parks.  While it’s tuff to say that Central Park in Manhattan, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, or Washington Park in Portland aren’t the best… we can say how amazing the James River in Richmond is.  What we have here in Richmond is special and there is no better way to see the James River by it’s trails and whitewater laden in the heart of the city.  November 8th will be a special day.  The leaves are changing colors and the park will be in all it’s glory during ‘King of the James.’


A stroll in Forest Hill Park (photo Hunter Davis)

And while ‘King of the James’ will highlight some of the fantastic outdoor features found in Richmond, please don’t think this is all that exists.  The trail system in the James River Park System and City of Richmond Parks are far more extensive.  Take a peak at RVA MORE‘s website.  They have done a phenomenal job documenting these trails and give great descriptions on how to access them. Get out and explore places like Powhite Park, Larus Park, as well as many more.


A biker faces the challenge of the Buttermilk Trail (photo Megan Davis)

The Falls of the James gives Richmond a unique landscape and the whitewater found here is amazing.  For some reason or another, this section of whitewater is very underrated in the paddling world and sees very little traffic.  With that being said, the lack of paddlers can offer a trip downriver the sense of solitude, even while being located in the middle of a thriving urban center.  The James River has year round access a long with year round boatable flows (something very rare in the whitewater paddling realm).  In the summer, the water is warm & relatively low.  This creates an amazing ‘on-water’ learning environment.  These conditions are why so many great paddlers are spawned from Richmond.


Even low flows give expert paddle Cooper a chance to train (photo Hunter Davis)

As the seasons change, Winter & Spring bring high volume flows with plenty of action, large waves, and technical lines.  The James River truly is a paddler’s paradise with plenty to explore.  The ‘upper reaches’ of runnable lines have still not been fully explored.


High water offers new challenges…Cooper most certainly the first to free wheel the Hidden Boof (photo Hunter Davis)

Hosting the ‘King of the James’ in Richmond is a privilege and one that we don’t take lightly.  The Park System here on the James is made possible by the hard work & determination of the JRPS staff, city staff, and countless volunteers.  ‘King of the James’ would like to say ‘thanks’ to anyone who has played a roll in the incredible vision of our natural landscape here in Richmond and along the James.  Keeping the James River in it’s Natural State, free of future industrial development, will be one day (what we hope), recognized as North American’s Greatest Urban Park.


a younger Max boofing Eight Ball (photo Hunter Davis)