48th Annual Wabash River Canoe & Kayak Races
Terry ordered up an awfully nice day for a canoe race this time, and the new location worked well – other than lacking an outhouse at the start. Water levels were up, negating any “rudder anxiety”, temps were mild (although they got hotter as the day wore on), the Wabash had a decent current to push us along, and we had a very nice stretch of river up on which to race. We did, however, have a fairly stiff headwind – one of those mixed blessings. The force of the headwind somewhat negated the effects of the current, but it also provided some cooling as the day warmed.
Once again Julie (Crisp) – Roger’s daughter – volunteered to start and time the events (Larry’s wife was helping to work the race as well), but in her classic fashion of keeping on time, she got this race going – as we were paddling into position(!). First running start I’ve seen in our races, but I’m not complaining: I was in the lead at the time, pointed in the right direction, and I managed to hold that lead for a while. I had almost forgotten that feeling of leading the pack…
As the race settled in, we started to group into our “sub-packs” of internal races. At the front, I led initially, but soon enough I was surrounded with Larry Swift and Deb Kanost on my left side, Bill Kanost on my right, and Matt Conrad waking me. We held some semblance of that group for a few miles, with Bill gradually moving up as he is prone to do. Coming to an island on the left, Larry and Deb opted to go left around the island and the narrower but theoretically shorter passageway, while Bill, Matt, and I opted to stay to the right. As it turned out, when we met up we were in essentially the same positions as we were when we started, so apparently there wasn’t a lot to gain either way.
As the race continued, Matt Conrad was really feeling his oats, and deciding he could go a little faster he passed me up – and now I latched on to his wake and rode it the entire rest of the race! I’ve always been faster than Matt in the past, but not now; he was really making his sea kayak fly. Meanwhile Deb had fallen back a little, Larry had moved up some, and Bill decided he wouldn’t hang around with these amateurs and ran on ahead. At times it looked like Bill was out for a pleasure cruise meandering back and forth in the river. Apparently he was looking for better water anytime he saw a slowing on his GPS. About 1/3 of the way into the race, waves started kicking up from the wind at the same time a DNR powerboat ran by, further amplifying the effect in that section. Matt and I, in off-shore type craft, ran right through the chop, enjoying the fun, while Larry, Deb, and Bill ran to the sides for calmer waters.
Approaching the end of the race, it looked like Matt was going to catch Larry, but as we got close Larry started to pick up the pace again and managed to hold off Matt to the finish. With Matt’s stout pace I thought he might weary and I might have a chance at out-sprinting Matt to the finish, but Matt still had plenty left for a strong finish and I settled for 4th.
Meanwhile Deb was still running strong, but on her own about a minute back. Chasing Deb was Kymberly Byers, whose goal was to come within 5 minutes of Deb. She succeeded, coming in less than 4 minutes behind her, and managing to edge out Skeet Craig. I think Deb is going to have some serious competition in Kymberly in the very near future. If we can get Lori back into the mix we’ll have quite the Women’s Sea Kayak class developing!
The back of the pack wasn’t boring on this race, either. Terry (Pontius), Terry (Howard), and Roger Crisp had their own battle going, and swapped places occasionally, until Terry H managed to pull ahead of Terry P and Roger let them duke it out. Seeing some good competition motivated our aluminum team of George and Hilman, and they cranked it up to finish in almost a dead heat with Terry Pontius. The timekeepers gave the edge to Pont, but it was a tough call. George later told me that it felt good to have some competition to motivate them; usually they’re so far back from the rest that there’s no motivation to push it. But not this time!
Many thanks to Terry, Julie (Crisp), and Larry’s wife (sorry – I didn’t get her name) for putting on a great race!
OC-1 Open 1st Steve Horney 1:18:40
K-1 Man Sea Kayak 1st Matt Conrad 1:18:33
2nd Roger Crisp 1:29:42
K-1 Woman Sea Kayak 1st Deb Kanost 1:19:42
2nd Kymberly Byers 1:23:29
K-1 Open 1st Larry Swift 1:18:00
C1 Man 1st Bill Kanost 1:15:31
2nd Skeet Craig 1:23:53
3rd Terry Howard 1:27:33
4th Terry Pontius 1:28:48
C-2 Aluminum 1st Hilman Culp / 1:28:49