Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Mid-American Canoe Race
I remember when I was young hearing stories of how my Dad did this race years ago and while being announced as being in the lead tipped the boat and took himself out of the race. That isn't the only part that I remember, but I remember thinking it was something I wanted to do when I grew up. Not the tipping part, just the canoeing part. I had initially intended to do the race last year, but I had other canoeing plans that got in the way. This race was one that I had listed to put on my next list after this one is done, but I guess I will have to find something else to put in it's place.
I didn't know what to expect from this race. It was the 49th time that it had been run. The only problem I saw with the race was the shuttle service. We started off our morning driving the boat up to the start line in St. Charles and drove home to the finish line. After waiting 20 minutes for the shuttle we made it back up to get ready for the start. We made it with about 15 minutes to spare. I was a little nervous while we were waiting, but luckily there wasn't a problem.
The race started in heats of 10 boats at a time every 4 minutes. We were the 7th heat to leave. This meant that there were plenty of boats to catch up to, but also that many would be coming to pass us. All in all, I think only 3 or 4 canoes passed us. I don't know what I expected, but I just thought we would see more passing us. That was a good sign.
Another positive was that we didn't run into anyone. I figured with hundreds of boats out there and our minimal experience we have working together that we might have some navigational problems. That didn't happen. We did cause someone to run into another boat. Not our fault! He was trying to squeeze between us but couldn't quite make it. I got a laugh out of it. There's no easier way to tip a boat than to have someone run into you. That didn't happen. Too bad. Not that it would have mattered. The Fox River is so shallow. We saw a deer run across the river and never get deeper than it's knees. I also had to get out three times to push the boat along through low points when we were dragging on the rocks. These were all points where we lost valuable time in the race.
Casey and I did what we set out to do. We finished 31st out of 115 boats! Our goal was to finish in the middle of the pack and not embarass ourselves. I was really happy with how we did in our race after only practicing once together. We are already hinting at doing it next year. I expect that after going through it once, we should have a much better idea of what to anticipate and should do much better next year.
Katie also posted about the race. I'm counting on her for the photographic evidence. She got some good shots of us as well as a few from our cheering section.