Fort Wayne Canoe & Kayak Races 6.18.22

Fort Wayne Canoe & Kayak Races 6.18.2022

Race conditions don’t come much better than those we had this past Saturday for Lori’s Fort Wayne Canoe & Kayak Races. Temps in the 70’s, plenty of water, and only a light current made for an excellent race venue. No one even hit a log! This race has frequently been a kayak-centric race, and never more so than this past race, as all competitors were in kayaks with the exception of Dwight Walker and his daughter Lacy Buck, who paddled a C2 Cruiser and George Tinsley / Hilman Culp in their aluminum C2.  Out of 15 competitors, 6(!) were in K1 Open and 5 in K1 Sea Kayak (4 men, 1 woman).  I brought out my Falcon to this race; it sure looked cool, and it ran great!  It was just that the motor was rather decrepit…

As usual, we started from Shoaff Park and headed downstream .9 miles to the St. Joe Center Bridge, rounded a pylon and headed north to the Mayhew Road Bridge, rounded a pylon there, and headed back. I’ve GPS’d this course at 9.7 miles in the past. At the start, we charged out hard. Bill Kanost got tossed about in the wake a bit, while Oleg kept far left to stay in clearer water. I ran pretty much even with Oleg and Paul Kane at the beginning, but it wasn’t long before things got stirred up a bit. Ted Beatty came charging up fast in his downriver boat, while Larry Swift really pushed his surf ski along. Coming to the St. Joe Center Bridge, Ted was leading, with Paul and Larry running close and Oleg off to the side running in the lead as well. I was back several boat lengths at this point, but the Falcon can practically turn in its own length (quite a change from the SEL I usually race), while Oleg had to use two pylons to get his ICF boat turned. Coming out of the turn, I was once again even with Oleg, but that didn’t last long as Oleg pulled away. And shortly thereafter Bill Kanost came paddling up rapidly. Oleg had dominated this gang in the past, but this week Ted and Bill were in fine form – and especially Ted, who set a blazing time and came in first overall, with Bill about 3 minutes behind him and Oleg about a minute behind Bill.

Meanwhile, Larry was pushing Paul hard, eventually catching and passing Paul to come in about half a minute ahead – and just barely ahead of sea Kayak paddler Jon Henderson. Jon passed me up early on and he just kept moving hard, just being edged out by Paul by 1 second! That’s impressive in a sea kayak!  During the upstream run, I was running just ahead of Dwight Walker and Lacy Buck in their C2, until they passed me a mile or so from the Mayhew Bridge turn. But I had no complaints; it was easy to draft their C2, and I got quite a ride to the bridge!  I had dreams of passing them back up on the way downstream, but my body had other plans at that point, and I enjoyed the tour back to the finish. Not far behind me was John Christensen, who has been running his carbon Epic Endurance quite well – and good enough for 2nd place in men’s sea kayak. Matt Conrad followed John, with Deb Kanost coming in just shortly after Matt. Many thanks to Deb for being out sole female competitor Saturday! Roger Crisp started out with the gang, but a back injury sidelined him after the initial run to the St. Joe River Bridge.  Lori offered to award him a first place in K1 Sea Kayak Recreational but he insisted on a DNF for the Sea Kayak class. Coming in last was our favorite gang of C2 Aluminum paddlers, George and Hilman. It’s a lot of work moving that aluminum canoe, so I really have to give those guys credit for faithfully running that boat at every race!

No one had any desire to run an afternoon race, so after awards we packed up and a few of us headed to Shigs and Pits BBQ for a fine post-race meal.  As a side note, prior race director Jim Anderson showed up near the end of the race to make a guest appearance, and my wife Julie came out with our dog Bella to help with the photos and such. Roger’s daughter Julie was also there, helping time and take photos. Many thanks to all who made this race a big success: Lori, Julie, and Julie!

Results:

C2 Mixed
Dwight Walker / Lacy Buck   1st 1:35:26

C2 Aluminum
George Tinsley / Hilman Culp Jr  1st 2:03:59

K1 Woman Sea Kayak
Deb Kanost  1st 1:45:24

K1 Man Sea Kayak
Jon  Henderson   1st  1:34:21
John Christensen  2nd 1:39:03
Matt Conrad  3rd  1:44:43
Roger Crisp  DNF / 1st Recreational

K1 Open
Ted Beatty  1st  1:27:34
Bill Kanost  2nd  1:30:49
Oleg Vengerowsky  3rd  1:31:30
Larry Swift   4th  1:33:54
Paul Kane  5th  1:34:20
Steven Horney  6th  1:37:59

Photo above is from Roger’s daughter, Julie Birge.

Photos below from Julie Horney

Race Start, St. Joe River, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USCA, racing, marathon, flat water, C2, C1, K1, K2, kayak, canoe

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