Every year for the past 9 years, Steve has participated in the United States Canoe Association Nationals. The venue changes each year for several reasons. This year the Nationals are being held in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. Look at a map of Wisconsin and find Green Bay – then look about an hour north and you’ll find this small town on a beautiful river.
Yesterday, Steve and I took the tandem canoe and paddled about 7 1/2 miles looking for the ‘shortcuts’ he would use this week in his races. We saw turtles and other unknown creatures who stuck their heads up from the water and ducked back down and we saw a beautiful Bald Eagle fly over our heads and land in a nearby tree; he sat and watched us paddle by.
Today, Steve paddled in his first race – Sea Kayak Touring. He won his class and he won his age group – got another Championship jersey and he’s a happy man.
The start of the race is upriver at the Potato Rapids Dam. The paddlers have to carry their boats up a bit and put in above the dam. They paddle 4 1/2 miles upstream, turn around a buoy and come back to where they started. When they get there, they have to get themselves and their boats out of the river and carry the boats about 1/4 mile (around the dam) to another put in where they get back in their boats and go down stream another 4 1/2 miles to the finish.
Here’s a shot of a few of the paddlers getting their boats ready to paddle:
Here’s a shot of the pre-race meeting where the paddlers are given last minute instructions and reminders of rules.
A shot of the paddlers at the put in. They have to paddle out to the open water beyond the water weeds to the start line.
And this is the entrance to the second put in (at the end of the portage – portage is what it’s called when you have to get off the river and carry everything around to where you can get back on the water). Several paddlers slipped and a few fell on their way down this incline.
And here comes Steve: He’s completed 9 miles of the race and is carrying his boat across the gravel:
Once he was back on grass, he chose to pull it.
Coming to the finish line:
And he’s done:
And because he won his class, he had to have his boat “jigged”. That means the man in the white hat (name is Jerry) has to measure and weigh the boat to confirm that it meets all the specifications for Steve’s class.
Many of you hear us talk about these races and I thought you’d enjoy seeing some of the events of one of our days. Our day began at 6:00 this morning with coffee and oatmeal. We left the campsite at 7:30 to drive to the head of the river. Pre-race meeting was 9:15, Race began at 10. Steve finished the race at 12:05, the last paddler finished around 1:30 or 2 and the awards ceremony was at 3. It is a long day for both of us. AND WE DO IT AGAIN SUNDAY!!!!!!