Swimmers and kayakers participate in Chattanooga’s River Rocks Festival. Photo: Randall HolcombeMust Do AdventuresRiver Rocks in Chattanooga Canoe jousting, trail running, mountain biking, bouldering, hot air ballooning…if you’ve got an outdoor pursuit, it’s probably on the docket for Chattanooga’s River Rocks, a 10-day celebration of mountain pursuits. Sept 30-Oct. 9. riverrockschattanooga.comWatch a video of all the Chattanooga River Rocks fun!Paddle the Upper Ocoee 1600 cubic-feet-per-second of dammed water is released into the Upper Ocoee the first three Saturdays in September. The class III-IV Upper Ocoee is home to the Olympic Whitewater Course. americanwhitewater.orgUSA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships Watch the best downhill pros sort out the podium on new lift-served downhill courses designed by North Carolina native and former national champion Christopher Herndon. Sept. 22-25. skibeech.comThe Ultra Race of Champions The best ultra runners in the world will go toe to toe at the Ultra Race of Champions, a new event to be held at the Wintergreen Resort, outside of Charlottesville, Va. The 100K course features 32 miles of singletrack, 25 miles of gravel road, and five miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway. There’s a $10,000 cash purse, half of which will go to the first female and male finisher, and a belt buckle for anyone who can finish the race in under 17 hours. The race is open to all runners, but a few of the notable pros already committed are Geoff Roes, the Western States 100 Mile course record holder; Dave Mackey, the USATF 100K trail champion; and Karl Meltzer, who has more 100-miler wins to his name than any other runner. Sept. 24. ultraroc.comGreenville Sets 5K World Record Within the last year, three Southern running clubs have set Guinness World Records for the successive 5K relay. In Florida, 100 members of the Florida Striders set the first 100x5K relay world record (37 hours, 12 minutes, 53 seconds) last December. But that record was quickly beaten this past March by the Charlotte Running Club, which had 100 members run successive 5Ks in 30 hours, 56 minutes, and 49 seconds. Then, in May, the Greenville Track Club usurped Charlotte by running 100 successive 5Ks in 30 hours, 1 minute, and 15 seconds.“There was only one point where we had doubts about beating the record,” says Ed Hughes, a runner and one of the directors of the event. “It was early in the attempt. One of our runners was overcome with heat exhaustion, and he was on lap 10 of 12.5. We were concerned he might collapse and that would mean giving up the attempt if he had to be carried off the track. He is a very determined individual and he made it by walking the last 2.5 laps, and fainted immediately after making the handoff. The rest of the event went smoothly. We hosed everyone, whether they wanted it or not.”Hughes says the club is now looking at setting a 100x8K relay world record.Quote of Note The bike is the key. It can be transportation to school or a job, or it can mean freedom, fitness, and fun.– Stephen Janes, director of Trips for Kids WNC, a nonprofit that takes at- risk youth mountain biking
He continued: “We were talking about football. In terms of football everything is fine. Since then I’ve had conversations with people close to him, not directly.” The subject of Benitez’s future was not raised on that occasion, yet it may be on the agenda should Chelsea fail to beat Wigan in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday. The Spaniard was unable to say whether he will remain in the post until the end of the season. “He (Abramovich) is not talking about this; he likes to talk about football,” Benitez said. “He was saying the team were fantastic in the first half, then the second half…he was talking about normal things.” Benitez refused to entertain questions over his future and insisted his focus was on Wigan, adding: “If you win, it’s fine. If you cannot, people start talking. I cannot talk about the future if my priority is the next game. I have a contract until the end of the season and we can be talking and talking, but all I can do is to win games. “My position is to concentrate on games and try to improve the performance of the team. We want to win. He (Abramovich) wants to win. That’s it. He wants to be in the top four, obviously. We know with a little bit of luck we will be in a much better position.” Benitez, who spent the first part of the international break at his family home on the Wirral, was adamant the uncertainty over his position was not unsettling. “My job is exactly the same,” he said. “I knew that I was signing six or seven months of contract. I’m not here to change things outside the pitch. I’m here to improve players, to do my best every day.” Press Association Benitez, appointed in November until the end of the season tasked with sealing Champions League qualification, spoke with Russian billionaire Abramovich following the defeat of Arsenal but in the four games since the Blues have failed to win. Whether the silent treatment indicates Abramovich is preparing to replace Benitez after three wins in 10 matches is difficult to tell, but the oligarch is not renowned for his patience. Benitez did confirm, at least, that Abramovich was content following the win over the Gunners, saying: “The Arsenal game was the last conversation we had. That was 20 days ago – we were doing really well. He was very happy.” Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has revealed he last spoke to owner Roman Abramovich almost three weeks ago.