Non-Starter Sugar Creek Race Report 1.20.17
The Great Sugar Creek Race of 2017 started out like any other race: wearily looking over at the alarm clock and thinking “you can’t be serious!” Followed by “you know, if I stopped this racing silliness I could blissfully return to a state of unconsciousness.” But some nearly forgotten measure of will prevailed and I hauled my protesting carcass out of bed. A check of the weather radar showed an ominous looking storm system inching its way to Crawfordsville, but a call to Bob Swalley reassured me that the current intent of the organizers was to press forward with the race. Bob also left me with this caveat, apparently via Roger Crisp: “Don’t bring that 30 ft long, 6 inch wide boat you usually paddle.” Too late Bob – it was already loaded. Besides, it was only 21 feet long and 17 inches wide…
The trip to exotic Crawfordsville was unremarkable – other than coming to the realization two thirds of the way down that my early morning math skills left something to be desired and I could have departed an hour later. At least I wouldn’t miss the shuttle. The skies were dry for my trip down, but coming into Crawfordsville I received a call from Cindy, one of the race organizers: the race had been cancelled. “But I’m already here!” I protested, so she said “come on over and meet the gang.” Upon arrival at the campground rain drops had started to fall, and just as I got to the shelter where everyone was huddled it really broke loose – lightning and thunder included! It turned out the reason for the cancellation initially was the high water levels; they were at 3 feet, and the campground stops renting kayaks and canoes at 2.5 ft (although water levels looked superb for our crew- provided no one was paddling a Dart…) The arrival of a major, enormous storm just provided additional justification to cancel the race. I told Tom Thomas the amount of rain coming down would have swamped his open canoe in a manner of minutes (which I why I paddle a surf ski…). While standing around discussing the race with the organizers, I came away highly impressed with their planning – among other things there were about a half dozen DNR guys there for safety, and one truly radical-looking airboat. A number of major movers and shakers in the area seemed to have come together to put on this race, so it was quite a disappointment that it was cancelled. Not to mention the long drives many of us undertook to get there. But on the plus side, they gave us each a hat and I was able to visit with the Kanosts, the Conrads, Tom Thomas, Dave Hendrich, and Skeet Craig.
Returning home I found the storm had engulfed the state, generating torrential rain from Crawfordsville all the way back to Fort Wayne. While I never got the boat off the car, that doesn’t mean I didn’t get an opportunity to float. Only it was crossing a bridge going down 74… I might have even uttered a slightly naughty word at that moment. But thankfully the rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. And we’ll look forward to racing Sugar Creek some day in the future. Meanwhile, get set for Wildcat in two weeks!