Saturday, May 31, 2008

Paddle with Kate

(I took this photo and the next one facing forward in the bow while holding the camera backwards over my head)

Saturday, 05-31-08

Kate Ellis and I met at the Rum River parking lot a little before 8 am today. Actually, she was there a head of me and she had begun to un-strap her canoe from her roof rack.

It was a beautiful morning for a paddle. Kate told me she left home at 7:15 am and she wish she could have gotten some more sleep. She admitted that she’s a night owl. She will go to her studio at night and before she knows it it’s getting real late. She said, that’s probably the reason I like the AuSable. I replied that I’m the opposite. The AuSable starts at 9 pm and I’m ready for bed.

We got Kate’s V1 Pro set up and she grabbed her crutches. She told me I had to drag her canoe to the river. She would be able to assist me getting it over the paved trail.

Kate broke her leg falling down some stairs, but I don’t know all the details. Another six weeks before the cast comes off.

Kate led the way while I grabbed the canoe by the bow and headed to the river with eighteen and a half feet of canoe following me. There was a person on the trail when we got there so I asked him if he could give us a hand lifting the canoe over to the other side which he did.

Kate threw her crutches in the belly of the canoe and set up her heart rate monitor. Kate wanted to do long slow distance (LSD) training today. We were going to keep the level in her Zone One. I told her that was fine with me. We weren’t going to be tempted in getting caught up with all the sprinting today.

The last time I paddled with Kate was at the Headwater’s Canoe Race in Bemidji in September 2003. She was the first person to race in my Crozier V1 Pro and that was the last time my Crozier had been used until just recently.

We were to meet Io Harberts and Julie Boehrer at 8 am on the water, but we didn’t see them when we paddled away from the landing. They began paddling at 7 am. We found them up around the first bend. Io was talking to a fisherman in his boat near his home on the river.

The four of us paddled up stream until it was time to turn around and meet the rest of the group at 9 am. Shortly before we got to the landing we saw Steve Yurista and Mike Davis paddle by. We got to the landing where Io and Julie got out. Julie had to work today so she was done paddling for the day. Io would be paddling with Dave Dahl for the next three hours.

Kate and I continued downstream a short distance waiting for everyone to get on the river. We now were paddling back upstream with most of the group. It didn’t take long for the first sprint to begin, but Kate and I didn’t participate in it. We watched the activity from the rear.

After a while Kate and I stopped and waited for Io and Dave to catch us. It wouldn’t be long before Io and Dave got in the mix of the sprints.

There were a total of eight canoes on the river today. The people paddling today were Steve Yurista and Mike Davis, Ed Arenz and Natasha Canfield, Steve Peterson and Anna Peterson, Brett Arenz and Bonnie Peterson, Emily Peterson and Todd Johnson, Io Harberts and Dave Dahl, Keith Canny and Lee Jarpey, Kate Ellis and I.

We made it up to the 7th Av Bridge where the group took a break. Kate and I stayed in the canoe and ate a quick snack. We stopped for three minutes before deciding to paddle a short distance further upstream. When we turned around we saw the group getting back in the canoes. I made the comment that it was a short break. Maybe the mosquitoes were too bad on land.

While paddling upstream before the bridge I heard Kate hitting herself or I should saying killing mosquitoes that were biting her.

On the way back Kate and I paddled mostly with Keith & Lee and Io and Dave. Dave told one of his jokes that got Kate laughing so bad I couldn’t tell if she was laughing or telling me to Hut.

Kate and I paddled for four hours and five minutes. Most of us went for coffee at Dunn Brothers afterwards.

Tomorrow is the Jensen Handicap race in Brooklyn Park on the Mississippi River at the north end parking lot of River Park. I was told the race starts at 11 am. Several of us are going to get in an hour and a half of paddling before the start of the race. Most of us will be put with a rookie paddler so it really doesn’t matter if you’re feeling fresh or not. The main thing is to keep the canoe upright and not hit any bridge supports!!

I remember doing this race and I won’t say who the person was, but I thought they had more experience than they had. We lined up in the middle of the Mississippi River facing downstream. The water was pretty high which meant a fast current. The whistle went off and after a couple strokes we were swimming in the Mississippi trying to get to shore. The current kept pushing us downstream, but we finally got to shore exhausted. I got back in the canoe and my partner got in and immediately we were in the water again.

I told my partner to take it easy, relax and slow down, but I didn’t venture too far from shore the rest of the race.
Later this evening the storm sirens began to blow. I turned on the weather and there was a severe storm coming in my direction with large hail just to the west. Last week I didn’t have time to take my canoes off the Suburban and get the Suburban into the garage. Well, the storm just missed Champlin or at least my house tonight. After the storm past I looked to the east and saw a rainbow that I took a photo of.

I was able to get in a 30 minute run in this afternoon.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Hoigaard's Canoe Derby and other things I did this week...

Kate Ellis called me earlier this week and wanted to know if I would paddle with her this Saturday, 05-31-08. I told her I would and I asked her if you had a partner for the Hoigaard’s race on Thursday. She told me she was going to paddle with Joe Manns. I told her that I didn’t have a partner yet and if she heard of anyone needing one to let them know I was looking for one.

A few hours later I received a call from Todd Ellison. He was looking for someone to race with him. I accepted.

Thursday, 05-30-08, arrived and there was the possibility of severe storms in the evening. The day was cloudy and cool with a strong SE to ESE wind blowing. I checked the flag from my office several times during the day. I knew if the wind continued to blow from this direction with the same intensity that there were going to be some big waves on Lake Calhoun.

There were a couple storm fronts that were south and north of the Twin Cities when I got off work at 5 pm. The rain started as I walked to my Suburban. My other concern besides the wind was if there was any lightening the race would be cancelled.

There were several vehicles with canoes on top parked in the Thomas Beach lot when I pulled in. I attempted to pay the parking meter, but it appeared it was broke. I later spoke to a Minneapolis Parks officer who said they weren’t enforcing the parking today.

The temperature was in the upper 50’s when I got there and I realized I didn’t have any long pants to wear before the race. I put on my light weight wool long sleeve top and my Pearl Ozumi light weight rain jacket to stay warm.

Hoigaard’s had the sign in area set up already. I went over and paid for tonight’s race, signed the waiver and went back to my Suburban. Todd arrived and helped me get my canoe off the Suburban and then he went to pay his entry fee.

The race doesn’t start until 6:45 pm, but Todd and I got on the water at 6:15 pm to warm up. It has been about 5 years since Todd and I have been in a canoe together. We went out to the first buoy to see where it was located. The waves were going to be a problem. Both of us would have to work to keep the canoe going straight and stay upright. We paddled back to the finish buoy that was close to shore and we practiced a couple buoy turns.

While we were doing that most of the other racers were either warming up or lining up for the water start. Time was approaching 6:45 pm. We lined up toward the upwind side of most the other racers. Joe Manns and Kate Ellis tried to get on our up wind side so we moved further up wind.

It had been a while since I did one of these races and I couldn’t remember how the start signal was given. I saw Joe Manns looking back toward shore at the Hoigaard employees and it appeared we had another minute or two before the start. The horn went off and it caught me by surprise. I wasn’t ready to paddle but I quickly recovered and off we went. Todd and I appeared to have the lead and I was doing everything I could do to stay in the canoe while paddling. The further out we got the larger the waves got. Todd and I were focused on the area where the red buoy was located near shore toward the NW portion of Lake Calhoun.

There were a couple canoes that were to our right and back a little when I heard someone say something to the fact, isn’t it a white buoy. I looked over to the canoes that seemed to be on a different line that us, because we were heading to the red buoy. I scanned up ahead and I couldn’t see any other buoy. We stayed on course and these canoes moved over toward us.

Todd and I rounded the first buoy first, but Joe Manns and Kate Ellis were with us. I don’t know how close anyone else was behind us. We now headed to the NE section of Lake Calhoun headed toward Lake of the Isles. I t was nice to get out of the waves, but now there would be a sprint between the two water ways.

Todd and I lead most of the way, but Joe and Kate would either be riding our side wake or stern wake depending on where we were. When Joe and Kate would get past us we would ride their side wake. After we both got around the second buoy we now double back toward other racers. It appeared we both had a substantial lead on the other canoes.

Joe and Kate had gotten past us on Lake of the Isles when we started going west toward Cedar Lake. Todd and I rode their side wake. We both sprinted through the shallow area between Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake. Once we got on Cedar Lake, Joe and Kate eased up some. This was the first time either one of us eased up paddling, but it wouldn’t last long because the next buoy was right up a head.

Todd and I began the sprint to the buoy. We went around first, but Joe and Kate were right beside us. The wind was affecting Cedar Lake more that any other time I could recall. Joe and Kate just rode our side wake across Cedar Lake. I could hear the two of them talking. I remember hearing Joe tell Kate, your doing ok or we’re ok.

As we approached the water way with the concrete wall Todd told me to keep the canoe close to it. I knew we would get in the shallows and pop the canoe up. We hit it first and pulled ahead of Joe and Kate by a couple canoe lengths. That didn’t last long, because they pulled up with us after we got on the Lake of the Isles.

We both got around the next buoy and were now heading south across Lake of the Isles back toward Lake Calhoun. We all stayed together, but after we got into Lake Calhoun Joe and Kate pulled ahead of us. We were now back in the waves and the waves were even bigger on the way back.

Our canoe was rocking and taking on water as Todd continued to paddle fast while I attempted to keep the canoe going in a straight line. I wasn’t having very good luck. Todd told me he had a couple inches of water in the canoe and to move my seat back. I told him I was all the way back and I also had a couple inches of water.

It was obvious that we were not going to catch Joe and Kate. The both of them were doing a fine job in the waves. Now I just wanted to make sure we stayed upright. Slowly the bailer drained most of the water out of the canoe by the time we reached the final buoy.

Kate and Joe finished the race with a time of 1:06:58 for 1st place in the mixed division. We finished with a time of 1:58:00 for 1st place in the Men’s Division and 2nd overall.

There were a few teams that went swimming tonight. I know Io Harberts and Emily Peterson went over. I heard George Stichlier and his partner did, also. I think there were two more teams.

After the race were able to pick up our t-shirts and the teams that finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd received their ribbons.

I spoke to one of the Hoigaard’s employees and asked him once the results are typed up to e-mail them to me and I would post them on my blog. Hopefully that will happen.
On Tuesday, 05-27-08, I decided not to paddle since I paddled several hard hours over Memorial Day week-end. I decided to run for 30 minutes instead, then I went to the health club and did some leg extensions and leg curls.

Wednesday, 05-28-08, I went out in my C-1 on the Mississippi River out of Champlin and paddled for two hours and ten minutes. When I got home I typed up a letter and e-mailed it off to a potential sponsor for the AuSable Canoe Marathon. I had spoken to the person with the company earlier in the day and so I knew where to e-mail it. If it happens I’ll be sure to let everyone know!

If anyone else wants to help sponsor Bill Briggs and I for the AuSable Canoe Marathon just let me know.

Thursday, 05-29-08, was Hoigaard’s.

Today, Friday, 05-30-08, I didn’t have to work so Ed and I paddled the Rum River. We planned to paddle at 1000 am. Several hours before we started there was a light mist/ drizzle. Shortly after we started paddling it stopped and it actually was a pleasant day to paddle. The temperature when we started was around 58 degrees. After the clouds started to beak up it was in the low 60’s. There was no wind while we paddled. The river was very smooth.

Ed and I went up to the 7th Av Bridge and back. When we got back to the landing it was 2 hours and fifty-five minutes of paddling. We decided to go for five more minutes to make it an even 3 hours.

Next, it was off the health club for leg extensions and leg curls followed up with abs and stretches.

Since the day turned out fairly nice, I decided to go for a bike ride. This time I went with my road bike for an hour and twenty two minutes.

Tomorrow, I plan on paddling in the bow with Kate Ellis in the stern. We are starting at eight while the rest of the group will show up at nine.

Sunday is the Jensen Handicap Race on the Mississippi River where an experienced racer is paired with some one new person. I’m not sure what time it begins, but if I recall from past years it was noon. The race usually last less than an hour. Pot luck to follow. Since I haven’t seen anything about this race on paper or website this is usually what takes place.

My neighbor e-mailed me today inviting me to a bike ride that a group of them go on at 3 pm on Sunday. Depending on the time of the canoe race on Sunday I will try to make it. I’ve been invited in the past, but there has usually been something else going on at that time. This will be a social ride.

Today, 05-30-08 I received a copy of the June Issue of Silent Sports. Check it out! The article I wrote on the Snake River Canoe Race is in there, a picture of me in my C-1 during the race from and a photo I took.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Paddle

Sunday, 05-26-08

Not much to report today. Only four C-2’s took the water today. Today was a short paddle, but I would have gone longer if anyone else wanted to go. It’s tough when I want to paddle longer hours for training for the AuSable, instead of doing shorter more social paddles. Although, Ed and I did a shorter paddle today we did do several sprints in the shallows. It was a good workout.

Some paddlers wanted to turn around before the island today when we were only three minutes from it. A couple of us continued on and the others followed. It took us one hour and three minutes to get to the island and forty-five minutes on the return.

John and Kathy Sullivan were just going upstream past the landing when we got there. I talked Ed into paddling back up to the first bridge, but the Sullivan’s were a ways a head of us by the time we turned around.

The Sullivan’s pulled to the left shore just before the bridge. I wasn’t sure what they were up to. John Sullivan attempts to get out of the stern and immediately falls face forward into a push-up position in the deep mud on shore. I couldn’t hear what was being said, but I imagine Kathy might have been laughing once she knew John wasn’t hurt. I didn’t have my camera ready at the time and I missed the opportunity to get a picture.

We continued to watch and then John went to the bow and Kathy goes to the stern. It appears they are going to carry their canoe from the water to shore. Kathy grabs the stern of the canoe and she immediately fell in the mud on her bottom. This time I was able to get a picture. It was John’s turn to laugh. We paddled up close to them and they said they were practicing their portages.

Ed and I turned around the bridge and made it back to the landing for a total paddling time of two hours and eighteen minutes.

Later, I got my Mountain Bike out and went for a ride. Again, I did the 20.7 mile loop for a time of one hour and twenty-seven minutes.

Today started with bright blue skies, but during the paddle it turned cloudy and stayed that way all day.

This Thursday is the first Hoigaard’s race so I guess I need to find a partner otherwise I might just have to do it in my C-1.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hoigaard’s Canoe Derby begins this Thursday, May 29th

Here is a link to the derby:

I started paddling this canoe derby in 1999 with Warren Thunstrom. I mentioned earlier that I raced several times with Warren in 1999. We also race several of these races put on by Hoigaard’s. That year I always paddled in the bow. Each year Hoigaard’s has a t-shirt with some sort of logo / picture.

Here is the front of the t-shirt in 2000 that shows me in the bow and Warren in the stern.
Then again in 2004 we are on another t-shirt. This t-shirt has been washed several times so it's faded.
Today, 05-25-08, Dave Dahl was wearing another t-shirt from Hoigaard’s. I took a photo of the t-shirt Dave was wearing today. Again, that’s me in the bow.


Sunday's Paddle on the Rum River

Sunday, 05-25-08

Io Harberts and I made arrangements to get in about 2 hours of paddling before the group arrived at the Rum River landing at 0900 am. Io and Joe Dunaisky are going to do the AuSable together this year, but they live a distance away from one another so they can’t put in long hours together. I’m in the same situation because Bill Briggs lives in Winnipeg. When possible, Io and I will try to get some extra hours of paddling in prior to the rest of the group coming out.

Io and I were on the water at 0701 am. We paddle one hour and five minutes before turning around to head back to the landing. We got back a little sooner than I thought we would, so our total paddle time together was one hour and forty-five minutes. I was going to paddle with Ed Arenz and Io was going to change canoes and paddle with Devin Arenz.

Io and I took it easy during our paddle to warm up the muscles and joints from yesterday’s hard paddle. Once we paddle with the group there would be no taking it easy.

There were fewer canoes today for the paddle, maybe six or seven canoes. The sprints began at the first bend and the sprints were numerous and often throughout the two hour and fifty minute paddle.

Io, Devin, Ed and I wanted to go all the way up to the 7th Ave bridge, but everyone else wanted to turn around about 15 to 20 minutes from the bridge and head back to the landing. We decided to paddle back with them. Once we got to the landing the four of us continued downstream to the dam and then we turned around and headed back to the landing.

My total time paddling today was 4 hours and thirty-five minutes. I didn’t get my 6 hours in that I hoped, but it was a hard paddle today.

Most of us went out to Caribou Coffee afterwards. When I got home I mowed the lawn since it hadn’t started storming like it was forecasted.

When I got done with the lawn I decided to go for a bike ride. I went my normal route which is about 20.7 miles. The sky was getting darker and darker to the west. The severe weather sirens began to sound about a half hour left in my ride. I looked back and saw the dark clouds still coming toward me. The siren stopped after about 10 minutes and then they started back up about 10 minutes from home.

I pulled into my driveway and my neighbor next door told me the there were reports of large hail just to our west. There were tornado warnings for our area, also. I was in the house a couple minutes before the rain started. This went over very quickly and it appeared that the worst part of the storm had past to the north. A short time later the rain came down harder and hail came down for several minutes.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

First Six Hour Paddling Day of the Year

Saturday, 05-24-08

The wind was going to pick up during the day, but when I got up at 0600 am it wasn’t too bad. It was a good thing we would be paddling on the Rum River today with the wind expected to be between 20 to 30 mph.

The group was going to meet at 0900 am, but Ed and I were going to start at 8 am. I arrived at the Anoka Fairgrounds at 0740 am since I needed to do a couple things to my C-2. Ed arrived shortly before 8 am and we were on the water paddling at 0803 am.

The Rum was down about 3 feet from its highest level this spring. There was plenty of “suck” water to paddle in today. Ed and I would later talk to some homeowners on the river who told us the city plan to close the dam on the 26th. The water level should go back up when they close it.
I wanted to do six hours today and I knew Ed had committed to four. We paddled up to island and turned around. We got about a half hour from the landing when we came across Anne and Joe Manns. They started a little before the rest of the group and they wanted to get some time on the water before heading up north today

Anne and Joe Manns turned around with us to go meet the rest of the group. We came across the first wave of paddlers after a few minutes of paddling. They turned around to join us to meet the final wave of paddlers that included Brett Arenz paddling with Dan Hassell.

We all turned around now and headed back upstream. There were 11 C-2’s out today. There were a few time times going upstream when I looked up ahead and all I saw were canoes moving in different directions on the water. It reminded me of water bugs dancing on top of the water.

Once we got up to the island I know a couple of canoes turned around to paddle back with Dan Hassell back to the landing.

A short distance upstream of the island, Joe and Anne turned around after saying good-bye to Ed and I. Ed and I pushed on up to the 7th Av bridge where we would take a 12 minute break. The rest of the group wanted to stop about 10 minutes before the bridge, but Ed and I continued toward the bridge. Everyone decided to follow us and we took a break as a group.

Ed and I decided to get back on the water after 12 minutes. This spurred the rest of the group to get going. I noticed a few of the paddlers had switched paddlers for the downstream portion.

The wind wasn’t really a problem on the Rum. There were a couple spots where it was really noticeable, but I could hear the wind blowing through the trees. I knew the wind would cause me some problems in my C-1. I still would have a couple more hours of paddling when I got back to the landing.

Shortly before the landing Ed told me that he would continue paddling with me. I really appreciated that Ed decided to continue paddling; but he needed to stop, get some more water and check on his dog. The total paddling time back to the landing was four hours and nine minutes for Ed and me.

I stayed down by the landing as the other canoes came in to see if anyone else wanted to continue, but there weren’t any takers.

Ed and I got back in the canoe after our muscles had tightened up. Ed at one point told me that he either had no strength left in his stroke or else we were in suck water. I promised him we were in the suck water and from then on we paddled away from shore in the deeper water.

I kept asking Ed questions in the hope to keep his mind off paddling. It seemed to work because we made it back up to the island in one hour and four minutes. Ed commented that he didn’t realize we were moving at such a good clip. I wanted to go up a little further before turning around to make sure I got my six hours in today. We eventually turned around at the Boy Scout Camp.

We continued our talking as we paddled downstream. The river was alive with activity today. I believe today was the opening day for bass fishing. I even saw my neighbor, John, fishing from his kayak. John had recently found the pleasure of paddling on the Rum River.

Ed and I paddled a total of six hours and eight minutes today. Thank you Ed for the enjoyable paddle. I really wanted to put in a longer day, but Ed didn’t have to.

I looked at the Mississippi River when I crossed the Champlin Anoka Bridge on my drive home and the wind was really kicking up the waves. It definitely wouldn’t have been an enjoyable day on the Mississippi.

Io Harberts and I plan to be on the water at 0700 am tomorrow to get in a couple hours of paddling before the rest of the group shows up at 0900 am. I will then paddle with Ed at 0900 hours.


I thought I would post this picture from last Wednesday's paddle on the Mississippi River.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Snake River Canoe Race Article in Silent Sports Magazine

Joel Patenaude, editor for Silent Sports, told me today that the June issue of Silent Sports is hot off the press. A scaled down version of my article, Snake River Canoe Race, is in the June issue. I had sent him a couple photos earlier, so there should be a couple photos with the article.

I don’t know if it’s on the news stands yet, but check it out when it does. Here is the website:

Yesterday, 05-22-08, I was on the Mississippi River in my C-1 for two hours and five minutes. I forgot my camera. Prior to paddling I did a short run.

Tonight after work I decided not to paddle since I plan to put in about 6 hours tomorrow. I have a partner for about 4 of those 6 hours so I might be back in my C-1 for the last 2. I’ll have to see what tomorrow brings.

I went for another short run of about 23 minutes, then hopped on my road bike for 20.7 miles (1:18). Afterwards it was to the club to lift some light weights for a short leg workout. I finished up doing abs, back exercises and stretches.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bill Briggs says Yes for the AuSable!

Bill Briggs from Winnipeg, Manitoba told me today that he would do the AuSable River Canoe Marathon in Grayling, Michigan with me. We have never paddled together before, so we are going to do the Chippewa Triathlon together in June before the AuSable just in case we have to make some changes to my canoe.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the race here is the website:

This race is a non-stop, 120 mile canoe race that starts at 9 pm and to be recognized as an official finisher the paddlers must finish the race within 19 hours. There are several cut-off times through out the race course, also. If a paddler doesn’t make one of cut-off times they are finished.

On Monday, 05-19-08, Ed Arenz and I paddled the Rum River for 2 hours and fifty-five minutes. Afterwards I spent time posting the Rum River Flag Race narrative and pictures to my blog. Skinny ski once again ,, put a link to my blog about the Flag Race on their website. Thanks, Bruce!

I was told to contact,, because they wanted some pictures from the Flag Race. I sent them the narrative and some photos. They were having some problems with the size of the pictures. Grace with the newspaper said she would take some photos off my blog once it was posted. I don’t know if they will print the narrative or not or if they will use any photos. If anyone sees the narrative or photos in the paper let me know.

Tuesday, 05-20-08, I went to the health Club and lifted weights with my legs. Then I did intervals on the stationary bike for an hour.

Tonight, 05-21-08, it was back to the Mississippi River out of Champlin in my C-1 for two hours and fifteen minutes. It was a nice evening to paddle.


Monday, May 19, 2008

2008 Rum River Flag Race

Sunday, 05-18-08

The Rum River Flag Race was hosted by Country Camping Tent & RV Park, on the Rum River. . This was the eighth year for this race. The race is promoted, “The twist on this canoe race is all contestants paddle upstream to a designated turn-around, grab a flag and “high-tail’ it back to the finish line. Flying the flag proudly!”

There was a new “twist’ in this year’s race. There was prize money for the first five positions in each of the men’s, mixed and women’s divisions. There would be food, free t-shirts, other prizes and awards presented at the post race gathering. All of this for only $17 per person.
Pati Midlo, her family, relatives, friends and other volunteers do a really nice job putting on this race and everyone is very personable. Thank you to them and also a big thanks to the race directors, Norm and Duane Strike

This year as well as the other years Pati Midlo made arrangements to have the Ambassadors for the Isanti Minnesota Rodeo Jubilee Days to be present. They would assist in various different tasks during the race and at the awards ceremony afterwards. The three Ambassadors this year are Kasey Byrne, Dani Carlson and Emily Frank.

It looked like it was going to be a nice sunny day for the race. The temperatures were only going to be around the mid 50’s at the start of the race. The wind was expected to increase out of the northwest, but with the sun shining it wouldn’t be too bad. Actually for racing it was very nice, since the trees along the race course blocked the cooler wind.

The race was to start at 11:00 am with the pre-race meeting at 10:45 am. I left home just before 9am. It would take me about forty minutes to get there. I would be there early, but that’s ok as this is a very sociable canoe race and I knew there would be some people I hadn’t seen in awhile.

Lee Jarpey was in his car when I pulled up to the office. Pati Midlo was behind the desk getting things squared away with her helpers and other duties. Shortly after I arrived more and more people began showing up. Ed and I had pre-registered by mail for the race. We were the only ones to do so. Everyone else would register today.

Everyone began gathering in the office to Country Camping. I saw several people who I hadn’t seen in the four years since the time I took time off from racing. It was nice to see everyone again.

I was taking photos during this pre-race time, but I needed someone to take photos while I was out racing. Pati Midlo had one of her volunteers, her neice, Crystal Midlo for the task. I gave Crystal a quick lesson on how run my Nikon D-80 and told her to take a lot of photos. She didn’t let me down. Thank you, Crystal, for the good job!

Most of the racers were preparing their canoes when I got to the area where we park our vehicles. I saw a few more people I hadn’t seen in awhile down there, also. After a few more pleasantry’s Ed and I got my Crozier C-2 down from my Suburban and got our gear ready for the race.

Pati Midlo and Crystal, my photographer, came driving by in their 4 wheel vehicle headed to the landing where the race would start. I handed off my camera to Crystal.

Ed and I walked the canoe down to the landing. There were a few teams on the water already, but it was almost 10:45 am so we stayed on shore for the pre-race meeting.

Pati called for one of the Ambassadors to blow the whistle to get everyone’s attention so the pre-race meeting could begin. Duane Strike had a dry marker board with the course drawn out and he described the course to everyone. This year there were going to be some buoy turns. This makes the race interesting for both the racers and the spectators.

The racers would line up facing upstream. Once the whistle blows for the start of the race the racers would paddle upstream and make a counter clockwise turn around the furthest buoy. After the turn we would immediately head to the bank where several flags are stuck in the bank, grab a flag and continue down stream to the buoy at the start/finish line. The racers then make a clockwise turn around the start/finish buoy and head back upstream to the 3rd buoy. The 3rd buoy is in the back waters just past the first bend in the river. The racers make a counter clockwise turn and head back to the finish. Duane pointed out the start line where the racers needed to line-up. I asked Duane how the start of the race would be announced, he said, “on your mark, get set, then the whistle.”

Pati also requested at the end of the race if some of the racers would be kind enough to take the Ambassadors for a short paddle in a racing canoe.

When the pre-race meeting was finished all the racers headed for their canoes and onto the water for a short warm-up. Ed and I joined everyone else for a warm-up heading upstream. After the warm-up we lined up just to the right of center along the start line. There were canoes to our left and a few to our right. The start line was at an angle across the river and there were several canoes that were one canoe length past the start line. Duane was yelling from shore attempting to get the encroachers back to the starting line. Typical for any canoe race, no one wants to give up any ground. I think some of the racers on purpose didn’t want to look at Duane to see where they should be. I know in their minds they were saying to themselves that they weren’t moving back unless the teams next to them move back first.

Instead of the race starting the way Duane said it would start, I heard a count down from 10. Well, the race was started. Ed and I should have lined up closer to the right shore. There were about 3 teams on our right who were in the slower water and they moved ahead of us. Ed and I didn’t have a good start where we were positioned. The teams on our left were slightly ahead of us also. We were fighting the waves from both sides. Ed and I have never raced or done a mass start together. This was my first race in a C-2 in four years. I did the Snake River a couple weeks ago in my C-1, but there’s a big difference in racing a C-2.

Ed and I finally got back on track after the bigger waves settled down. We were moving up on several of the canoes, but everyone was still pretty much bunched up. We were heading toward the first left hand bent in the river with a little opening under the branches of a tree that was down in the water.

Ed and I got around Rick Lorenzen and his son, Tony. Io Harberts and Anne Manns were just in front of them. Ed and I passed Io and Anne just before the bend. Ed got through the small opening, but the stern of my canoe was swinging out from the turn. I was headed right for a large branch and I knew it was going to hurt when I bounced off it. Well, that was what I was hoping would happen. What actually happen instead of bouncing off the branch, the branch with its many forks actually stuck me straight on my body and lifted me out of my seat and pushed me backwards. All I could do was fall backwards and luckily I fell back in line with the canoe. My heart was already beating from the anticipation of tipping into the cold water. Luckily, we didn’t tipped, not just for us, but I’m sure I would have taken out one or two other canoes.

Ed told me he felt the stern get lighter and he hoped that he would feel the weight return. He stopped paddling and put in a brace when he felt the stern get lighter. I remained in the canoe, but with this stop in forward progress we lost the two places we had just gained before the bend.

Ed and I paddled hard and passed up those same canoes again. I could see the next canoe up from us was Brett Arenz and Jose Matute. Stephanie and Jason Larsen were in front of them. Further up were Joe Mans and Andy Gilbert. Way up ahead was Todd Ellison and Kate Ellis.

Brett and Jose caught up with Stephanie and Jason and rode their stern wake for a period of time before passing them. Then it was Stephanie and Jason’s turn to ride Brett and Jose’s stern wake. Meanwhile, Ed and I continued to paddle by ourselves in an attempt to catch the closest canoe. Stephanie and Jason finally fell off Brett and Jose’s stern wake.

Ed and I slowing gained ground on Stephanie and Jason. We finally caught up with them shortly before the buoy turn. Ed grabbed a flag from the bank after we made the turn around the buoy but we lost a little ground to the Larsen’s. We caught back up and rode their stern wake a short distance before making our move to move up on the left side of them.

The Larsen’s then dropped back to ride our side wake for a distance before dropping back to our stern wake. They would pretty much ride our stern wake the remainder of the race.

On the approach to the buoy at the start / finish line the Larsen’s were a couple canoe lengths behind us. Ed and I got set up for the turn. Ed put in a cross bow draw to go around the buoy and the Larsen’s moved up to a half boat length. I remember yelling to Ed, ok,ok, for him to start paddling again. I don’t know why I didn’t say, Hut!. Ed was probably wondering what I wanted him to do.

We began the upstream paddle to the final buoy turn. Ed and I stayed to the right shore while Stephanie and Jason moved over to the left side to paddle up the eddy before crossing the main current of the river to the buoy in the back water.

The both of us had gained some ground on Brett and Jose who were now on their approach to make a counter clockwise turn around the buoy. Ed then said aren’t we supposed to turn counter clock wise and I said yes. Without thinking I though Ed was thinking Brett and Jose were doing it wrong when in fact they were doing it correctly. When Ed said that I immediately changed our course to the left then I realized that Brett and Jose were doing it correctly so I moved back to the right, but this messed up our approach to the buoy. We didn’t lose any places for this small mistake, but we did lose a couple seconds to Brett and Jose.

We were now a few minutes from the finish. We held off Stephanie and Jason to the finish line. Ed grabbed the flag and waved it proudly as we crossed the finish line with a third place finish in the Men’s Division with a time of 1:26:58 and we had the 4th fastest time overall.

Once all the racers were finished, Joe Manns, Todd Ellison and I each had one of the Ambassadors paddle in the bow of our canoes. Emily Frank was in the bow of my canoe. Joe and I took our Ambassadors up around the first buoy and showed them each how to do a cross bow draw to make the turn around the buoy. On the way back we met up with Todd Ellison and his Ambassador and we had a three canoe race downstream. I think the girls were fascinated on how fast these racing canoes can go.

Everyone proceeded up to the Game Room that’s attached to the Country Camping Office. All the racers signed the “Thank You” cards to the local businesses that provided the presents. We picked up our free t-shirt, then it was time for something to eat. Food was provided by Country Camping.

The award presentation took place with a raffle where several prizes were given away and then the awards given out to the paddlers.

Stephanie and Jason Larsen who raced today and have lived in the Twin Cities for the past several years are moving to Ashland, Wisconsin. They are both very friendly people and exceptional paddlers and today was their farewell party. Bonnie Petersen presented the Larsen’s with several gag gifts and a canoe paddle signed by many of the racers.

A group photo was taken of most of the people who raced today at the end.

I want to give a big “Thank You” to Pati Midlo of Country Camping, the businesses that supported today’s race and all the volunteers. Again, Thank You, Crystal for taking pictures during the race while I was on the water.

This is another Minnesota race that everyone should consider doing. The race is run exceptionally well; the Rum River is very scenic, also. Besides the Pro division there was a citizen division.

There were 15 canoes in the Pro Division and 4 canoes in the citizens. Let’s see more canoes next year!

The winners of the men’s division were Joe Manns and Andy Gilbertson with a time of 1:25:28. The mixed winners were Kate Ellis and Todd Ellison with a time of 1:24:x6. They were also the overall winners. The woman’s winners were Io Harberts and Anne Manns at 1:30:46.

Race Results


Rum River Flag Race
May 18, 2008

C2 PRO Mens
1 Joe Manns (MN) / Andy Gilbertson (MN) 1:25:28
2 Brett Arez (MN) / Jose Matute (MN) 1:26:43
3 Chuck Ryan (MN) / Ed Arenz (MN) 1:26:58
4 Devin Arenz (MN) / Ahvo Taipale (MN) 1:30:06
5 Jeff DuBois (MN) / Al DuBois (MN) 1:31:49
6 George Stichlier (MN) / Steve Yurista (MN) 1:32:03
7 Keith Canny (MN) / Lee Jarpey (MN) 1:32:14
8 Tony Lorenzen (MN) / Rick Lorenzen (MN) 1:36:09

C2 Mixed
1 Kate Ellis (MN) /Todd Ellison (MN) 1:24:x6
2 Jason Larsen (MN) / Stephanie Larsen (MN) 1:27:05
3 Steve Petersen (MN) /Natasha Canfield (MN) 1:31:42
4 John Sullivan (MN) / Kathy Sullivan (MN) 1:36:12

C2 Woman
1 Io Harbertsa (MN) / Anne Manns (MN) 1:30:46
2 Emily Peterson (MN) / Anna Peterson (MN) 1:31:32
3 Julie Boehrer (MN0 / Bonnie Peterson (MN) 1:36:11

C2 Citizen
1 Warren Thunstrom (MN) / Allen Voight (MN) 0:50:54
2 John Arenz (MN) / Wanda Arenz (MN) 0:56:46
3 Bridget Dudos (MN) / Anne Rykken (MN) 1:00:46
4 Zac Beaver (MN) / John Midlo (MN) 1:30:20

Chuck Ryan

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