Threats of rain, wind, and possible storms kept some potential racers at bay, but for those who dared to venture out we actually had some pretty nice racing weather. Temps in the 60’s and a light rain during part of the race kept us comfortable as we expended pent-up energy, and the overcast meant no sunburn threat!
Water levels were higher and running faster than usual, but not too threatening. A number of trees extending out into the water along with low-hanging branches and some underwater logs provided some challenges to those running close to the shore – as Ted Beatty found out. We all launched as a group, heading downstream initially to the St. Joe Center Road bridge, where we made our first turn and headed upstream. Paul Kane, our only K1 Unlimited paddler this time (I was in OC1), took an early lead, but Bill Kanost, Ted Beatty, Matt Conrad, and I were running just behind him. Eventually Matt fell back from waking Bill, and I jumped onto Bill’s wake, with Ted leading by a short distance. At the bridge turn Paul had a small lead, with Ted, Bill, and myself coming to the turn together. I managed to turn inside of Bill and Ted, but it’s hard to match those two heading upstream (especially since I couldn’t hug the shore), and they started to pull ahead.
Heading past the launch on our upstream trek, Paul Kane still held a respectable lead, with Bill Kanost behind him, Ted back a bit more, and me following, with the rest of the gang a little further back. But things don’t always stay the same… Ted charges out very hard, but eventually backs off. Bill, on the other hand, seems to thrive on endurance. Starting out fast, but a little easier, Bill just gradually keeps moving up until he dominates, and so he did today. During the upstream run to the buoy by the Mayhew Road Bridge, Bill managed to catch and pass first Ted (shortly after the first turn), and then Paul, and then he continued to hold and extend that lead to the end. Ted was running fairly close behind as Bill caught up to Paul, but as Ted leaned to miss a tree branch the wing on his canoe caught a log, sending him into the St. Joe River for an invigorating swim. Such are the fortunes of racing… I nearly caught Ted as he was just getting restarted, giving me some hope of running with him, but ’twas not to be. Ted was pushing hard, and really working the sides of the river well.
Meanwhile back in Sea Kayak, Matt Conrad was having a very good day. Matt jumped to a commanding lead among the Sea Kayakers and just kept it all the way to the end. Deb, who put in a very good performance herself, said Matt just accelerated like a rocket once he turned the upstream buoy! Roger had a good run, but some painful blistering on his hands limited his performance and his “fun factor”. And finally our C2 Aluminum gang of George and Hilman ran sweep, picking up the buoys along the way. Lori said they get bonus points for helping out the race director like that!
Allen Albert was back, not paddling but doing the all-important task of helping with timing. It was great seeing Allen again, and I know Lori was glad for his help. And many thanks to Lori for putting on a great race! No afternoon races were held, but we certainly had a lot of socialization after the races. Even something of a paper airplane contest. 🙂
Race distance was approximately 10 miles. Results are listed below.
2019 Fort Wayne Canoe & Kayak Races Results
Bill Kanost 1st 1:33:07
Ted Beatty 2nd 1:36:26
Paul Kane 1st 1:35:27
Steven Horney 1st 1:38:16
Sea Kayak Man
Matt Conrad 1st 1:42:09
Roger Crisp 2nd 1:49:54
Sea Kayak Woman
Deb Kanost 1st 1:44:59
George Tinsley / Hilman Culp 1st 2:03:37 (includes time to pick up the upstream buoy).