From the bow of Paul Kane and his Stellar SES
Brent Ernsberger and I chose an East shore start along the St. Joe River with everyone else starting on West shore.
At the first crossover (approx 1/2 mi) I was a couple boat lengths behind Bill Kanost, who was already quite a bit behind Billy Bellinger (1st place finisher of 8.2 mi course at 1:13:45, from Grand Haven MI). Sonja & Deb Kanost in K2 were within barking distance behind me. (Please don’t ask me to elaborate on that comment.) Guy was just behind them.
Just before the first turn, Sonja and Deb had passed me and Guy was on my tail. Bill Kanost found an interesting way to wait up for us by – from what I understand – parking his boat on a bridge abutment footing. He didn’t actually stay there long enough for us to fully catch up, however!
After the first turn Sonja and Deb seemed to be really poring it on. Then Guy decided to pass me. This started a chain of I pass him then he pass me events based upon who was in the fastest current. Sonja and Deb managed to put about 100 yards between Guy and me by about the 1/2 way mark. By this time it seemed another kayaker was beginning to catch up which motivated me into thinking that maybe I better start movin’! Getting desperate, I started taking a more “apex” approach downriver versus everyone else’s flowing with the river bends of current, which took them on a longer path. I managed to get back within a few boat lengths using this approach. Guy chose to take the path of Sonja and Deb, but likely spent more energy trying to catch up to them than I did.
Sonja and Deb, Guy, and I were fairly close together for much of the last upriver portion. I managed to get close enough to Sonja and Deb to do some wake riding. I tried to pass them a few times, but Sonja wouldn’t have anything to do with my plans. So I just waited to make my move on the last bridge turn. This worked nicely as I managed to get about 10 seconds on them before the finish 1 mile later. Don’t ask how hard I was trying to hold them off at the finish – I’ll deny everything. Sonja did say something about having her heart rate in the 170’s near the end, but I’m not sure if that was from her race effort or from being ticked off that I passed them!
Results for the 8 mi course (my GPS showed 8.2 miles) are as follows. [Technically it was not a USCA Points Race but still a wonderful race] on a 65-70 degree sunny, breezy morning.
Billy Bellinger 1:13:46
Bill Kanost 1:17:00
PT Kane 1:20:16
Sonja/Deb 1:20:25 K2
Jerry Gillissen 1:22:01
Hailey Halstead 1:28:34 C1
Ken Stelter 1:29:39
Roger Clark & Ashley Diget 1:41:10 C2
Trenton Stachura 1:59:50
Lin Hoppel 2:10:30
Brent Ernsberger DNF
Roger Crisp DNF