Monday, June 30, 2008

Group Paddle in Grand Rapids with Friends

Sunday, 06-29-08

I called Al Rudquist at 8 am as planned to see where we would paddle today. If the wind wasn’t blowing hard we were planning to go to some Chain of Lakes about 10 miles north of Grand Rapids otherwise we would go on the Mississippi River.

The wind was blowing so Al told me to meet them at the Blackberry Bridge Landing at 9 am. We passed this landing during the night paddle last night.

There would be two additional people joining us this morning. Krista Matison and Maren Hagen.
Maren and I would paddle together today. I actually met Maren in 2003 when Deighen Blakely and I met Theresa Alto and her to paddle from this same landing.

Al Rudquist would go with Dan Shaffer. Io Harberts and Joe Dunaisky, Corey Meyer and Krista Matison today.

The sun was shining and it was just a nice day to be paddling. We went downstream for about one hour and fifteen minutes. This was about 10 minutes past the landing where we took out on our night paddle last night. On our way back upstream Krista was bonking so I gave her a Powerbar to eat. Then Dan Shaffer jumped in the bow of her canoe and Corey went from the bow with Krista to the stern with Al. Krista felt much better after eating some of the Powerbar and paddled on with a smile back to the landing.

Joe Dunaisky wanted to know if I would be doing a Point System for the canoe races like I did in 2003. Io Harberts also said she would like to see it done. I told them about some of the conflicts I had in the past about doing this so at this point I don’t think so , but I’ll think about it some more.

I told them about some other plans I have to have the racers interact more but I find the Minnesota racers are an independent group and they don’t necessarily do a whole lot of communicating outside a little group by e-mail or phone. Then there is the Minnesota Canoe Racers MSN site. I’ve never like this site because of a variety of issues and there isn’t much communication going on it, but when I wanted to move from this site there was resistance from a couple people so this site remained “active”. I don’t know if it will be worth my time and money to implement my plan, but it would benefit the racers, race directors and the general public.

We were back to the landing three hours and one minute after we started.

We will all be seeing each other next week-end at Al’s Round Robin on Ice Lake in Grand Rapids. See my earlier post on upcoming races for more details.

Chuck Ryan

Night Paddle in Grand Rapids

Saturday Night, 06-28-08
Earlier in the week Al Rudquist, Io Harberts and I made plans to do a night paddle Saturday night. During the meal after the Blackwater Barge race we were letting everyone know that we were doing a night paddle tonight.

Al Rudquist told me to meet at 9:15 pm at the Steamboat Landing a few blocks downstream from the Highway 169 Bridge that goes over the Mississippi River in Grand Rapids.

Joe Dunaisky told me about an LED bulb for a Mag light that he put in his flashlight that was much brighter than the standard one that I had in mine. I went to five locations in Grand Rapids before finding one for my three “D” cell mag light. These bulbs aren’t cheap, but it’s going to be nice to have a brighter light.

I went back to my father’s and began to work on my light set up. A few minutes later my father came home and helped me out. Years ago I had attached the mag light holders to a piece of wood that was cut to an angle that was going to be installed on my Wenonah V1 Pro. The bow plate on the Crozer was different than the Wenonah’s so I needed an additional piece of wood to raise the light up a quarter inch or so. After the triangle piece of wood was cut for the top of the bow plate and another one was cut for underneath I secured the light so it couldn’t tear the thin carbon fiber of the bow plate.

While working on the light set-up it began to rain hard and the wind was now blowing strongly whipping up large white caps on Pokegama Lake. I had a couple of cups of coffee while waiting for the time to leave for town. It would only take at most 20 minutes to get there. When I arrived at 9:10 pm everyone was taking the canoes off the other cars. Al said we would spot my Suburban and Joe Dunaoisky’s car at the take out point.

I took my canoe off and put my paddling gear inside it. Joe Dunaisky and I followed Al Rudquist and Dan Shaffer to where we would spot out vehicles downstream. Io Harberts and Corey Meyer were left to fend for themselves in the 59 degree wet, windy weather.

Al drove down the River Road to the landing that I believe was about 10 straight road miles away. Coming back to where we would start our paddle a doe ran out in front of Al’s vehicle where we just missed hitting the deer. Luckily there wasn’t a second deer.

When we got back to Steamboat Landing, Io and Cory were standing on the lee side of a building to get out of the wind. Prior to the start I took a photo of everyone. I believe we all started with some sort of rain jacket or warmer long sleeve top but those quickly came off once we began paddling. We were on the water at 0947 pm.

The rain held off and the wind was mostly to our backs, but there would be a couple areas in the oxbows of the Mississippi where the wind would be in our face. Al said our paddle should take us two and a half hours.

Early on there was still plenty of light to run the river without lights. As we paddled longer there were several sections where a light was needed because it was so dark. Al knows this part of the river like the back of his hand, but there was one tree that was lying in the river that wasn’t there the last time Al paddled this section. This tree was in an area that was so dark that we had our light on so the tree didn’t pose a problem.

Since Al knew the river he knew all the correct lines to run the corners. If someone was running the river at night that didn’t know it as well they would still get down the river but with more meandering. This is the same with any river that someone doesn’t know well or at all.

Al told me my light was fine the way I set it up. I couldn’t see how my light was illuminating the water in front of him since all I could see is Al’s back. I could see the wide angle off to his sides and I could see the light in the trees further in front.

We didn’t need to run with the light constantly, but when we would get to an area that was totally black I would ask Al which way to go.

I remember in 2000 when I did the AuSable Canoe Marathon with Al DuBois there were times why I was in the stern I couldn’t tell which way the AuSable River would turn. I would say, Al which way and he would reply, I don’t know! Sometimes we wouldn’t know which way to go until we got there and then to complicate things there would sometimes be a sweeper that we would need to maneuver around.

I remember being totally focused during the whole night while on the AuSable and that the night seemed to pass quickly but it was also mentally exhausting.

Tonight, Al Rudquist would say some things about the river such as a cut coming up or we are going on the inside of a tree off the point. Of course, I couldn’t see these things until we were just about upon them. The river gives you a whole different perspective while paddling it at night. Hopefully what ever you find on the water you have enough time to react to it safely. This is one reason to practice paddling at night.

One aggravating factor when doing a night paddle is when a canoe behind you keeps their light on. This bright light bounces off everything blinding you so you can’t see in front of the canoe. If the person in front of you is wearing white clothing this really causes a problem. It’s a good idea to wear dark clothing. Last year Kate Ellis became nauseated and was vomiting because a canoe behind her wouldn’t turn off their light for three hours or so.

We finished our paddle right at two hours. Al was surprised that we finished so quickly. We did have some wind at our backs but we all paddled hard tonight.

Several of us talked about mentioning a head of time when the Blackwater Barge Race is held next year to plan on doing another night paddle and then another paddle on the Sunday after the race. So everyone mark your calendars next year for a week-end full of paddling. Everyone can do the race on Saturday, a night paddle on Saturday night and then a daytime paddle on Sunday.

Every canoe doesn’t have to have a light source on their canoe to do the night paddle next year.


2008 Blackwater Barge Festival Canoe Race

Saturday, 06-28-08

Today was the Blackwater Barge Canoe Race in Cohasset, Minnesota. The race wasn’t scheduled until 1:45 pm. This is a later start than most of the other canoe races. I was staying at my father’s place on Pokegama Lake not too far away.

I was up early and just hung around the house until I left for Portage Park where the race would start and the festival was being held around 1130 hours. I had to go the long way around to Cohasset from my fathers place because of road construction on Hwy. 17. I needed to stop into The Home Depot anyways for some batteries than I would need later for our scheduled night paddle on the Mississippi River.

Al Rudquist was already at the festival when I arrived. We would be racing together today. We went up to register and got our free t-shirt. There was still plenty of time before the race so I talked with some of the other racers before getting my canoe off my Suburban. I also watched the short parade where candy was being thrown to the children who watching the parade. It looked like Halloween with the children with all their goodies that they collected!

It’s a shame that more racers wouldn’t be attending this race since there were three other races scheduled for today in Minnesota and Wisconsin. I know of some other racers who were attending the other races today so there wouldn’t be that many people racing in the Pro class here in Cohasset.

There was also a recreational class that would do one lap and they start on the water. The Pro’s would do two laps. They do a LeMans start and there’s a longer portage between the two laps.

Al Rudquist assigned the start order for the LeMans start. If I remember correctly there were six canoes in the Pro class. There was Al and me; Fred Rayman and Ed Arenz; Io Harberts and Cory Meyer; Joe Dunaisky and ??; Dan Shaffer and ??, Keith Canny and Lee Jarpey.

We were all assigned our order of placement by Al Rudquist and we all lined up single file. Al and I were the last ones in line. When the signal was given for the start of the Pro class everyone grabbed their canoe that was on the ground and we all started running down the street before making a sharp right turn down the boat launch to the river that’s probably 10 feet wide.

When Al and I got to the water there was just a small opening. Al ran into the water with me following. We had a smooth start and we were the third ones to start paddling. The course begins by paddling out and around an island then we head back around a buoy near where we launched our canoes. We rounded the island first and back to the buoy. After the buoy turn we decided to have a sociable first lap and we let the two other canoes catch up to us. These two canoes were Io and Corey and Ed and Fred.

When we all approached the portage through the cattails and other vegetation, Al and I made it in first. Al got out first and began pulling the canoe a head before I jumped out. I was hoping I wouldn’t sink too far in the muck. The portage begins with a short run before we have to go up a steep, short incline before running through the Portage Park complex, across the road, then down the boat landing before getting to the lake.

The second lap was like the first one. Up around the island and back to the buoy before making the long circle back to the Mississippi River. After we rounded the island we could see that we had a sizeable lead over the second place canoe of Io and Corey. Way behind then were Ed and Fred. Something must have happened to them because all three of us approached the first portage together.

Al and I did a steady paddle back to the portage off the Mississippi River. This time we only had to run about 100 yards before the finish line. We finished the course a couple seconds over one hour and twenty-nine minutes. I believe it was 1:29:04.

Io and Corey came in second followed by Ed and Fred in third. I noticed that Ed couldn’t run. Ed told me later he had pulled a muscle in his calf on his second step during the first portage. I watched as Ed hobbled across the finish line with Fred behind him.

I don’t have the race results at this time but I hope to have them soon. I will post them if I get them.

I hope more people attend this race in the future. The organizers treat everyone very well. Besides giving out cash prizes and trophies to the winners they provided a meal to everyone who attended the festival.

The one sight I wish everyone could have seen was when Micki Rayman was paddling with her three young nieces. They were all in a recreational canoe with the two smaller ones in make shift seats in the middle of the canoe. The start of the recreational class had begun and I could hear Micki call, Hut!, and the young girls would all switch sides in unison. The two middle girls had to raise their paddles high over the head of their sisters in front of them. Once they got the paddle to the water they began a very quick stroke rate. They appeared to be having a blast!

Several of us, including Al Rudquist, talked about this week-ends lack of participation of the racers and we decided next year to promote the race better by letting people know that theirs going to be more paddling than just the race. We decided to make this week-end a paddling week-end. In addition to the race on Saturday we would schedule a night paddle for Saturday night and a day light paddle on Sunday to make the trip worth while for those who drive a distance to Grand Rapids.

I want to thank my step-mother, Donna Ryan, for providing the photos so that I could post them on my blog. She also took a short video before the batteries ran out. When I have time I may see how to post it on You Tube and provide a link to it.
Chuck Ryan

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Minnesota River Paddle with Kate, Doug and Keith...

Thursday, 06-26-08

Kate Ellis asked me last Thursday at Hoigaard’s if I would be interested in doing a longer paddle sometime this week. Since I worked last Saturday I would have an extra day off this week which would be today, Thursday. I told her that I would like to get in a longer paddle.

I called Kate a couple days ago to see if she was still interested. We tentatively planned to do a 5 to 6 hour paddle on the Mississippi River starting in Dayton. Then yesterday she called me to tell me that Doug Berg and Keith Canny were going to paddle the Minnesota River and if I was interested in joining them. Sure…

We were to meet at 7 am at the north parking lot along the Minnesota River next to Hwy 101 in Shakopee, Minnesota. Doug’s wife would then shuttle us to La Sueur where we would paddle back down to our vehicles. Kate was told it would be about a 6 hour paddle. I’ve never been on this section of the Minnesota River and neither has Kate so we both looked forward to the paddle.

I got up at 0430 am and had my normal breakfast of oatmeal and coffee before getting on the road at 0535 am. I wanted to get on the road early to beat the morning traffic. Although it would only be some twenty miles or so I knew I would need some extra time because of traffic and the fact I’m always early.

Traffic wasn’t bad and about 40 minutes later I was on Hwy 101 approaching the bridge looking for a sign saying park or entrance to a park. Well, I kept looking to my right and really didn’t see any thing obvious so I drove to a Holiday Gas Station in Shakopee. I was told there were about three different parking areas. I drove back over the bridge over the Minnesota River and found a parking lot that would probably be where we would meet.

I was the first one there then Keith Canny showed up followed my Doug Berg. Doug Berg’s wife then showed up in her vehicle. Once Kate showed up we transferred her canoe to Doug’s vehicle and everyone put there gear inside.

Doug drove all us to a park where we would put-in in Le Sueur which was at least a half an hour to forty-five minutes away by road from Shakopee. Doug also had a map of the section of the Minnesota River that we would paddle today. The map showed it looked like it was supposed to be about 56 river miles back to our vehicles.

While driving to Le Suer the sky to the west was getting dark. It looked like it could possibly rain upon us before we were done. The temperature was in the lower 60’s with little or no wind. We were on the water at 0814 am. I was told the water was higher than it normally is but I could tell the water had been much higher earlier due to the amount of erosion along the stream banks and all the sand and mud deposited along the shore line.

The water was swirling and there were some pretty big boils as we paddled down the river. It made the canoe dance as we went and I could hear Kate laughing in the stern. I asked her what she was laughing about and she told me she was having a tough time keeping the canoe straight due to the water conditions. That’s fine as long as she wasn’t laughing at me!

The cloudy skies made the first three hours or so of paddling very enjoyable. It wasn’t until about 37 miles from the time we started before we saw our first house along the river. Kate and I commented that the reason we hadn’t seen any buildings was probably because of the wide flood plain along this stretch of the river.

The second half of our paddle the sun began to peek out and it now started to get warm.

On this paddle I would experiment with what I would be drinking in the AuSable Canoe Marathon. I mixed up a bottle of Orange-Vanilla Perpetuem by Hammer Nutrition before the start. Since it has some protein in it and I didn’t want it to spoil I didn’t want to mix up my second bottle until I was ready for it.

We pulled off onto a sandbar where I began this process of attempting to put in the mix in my second water bottle. Let’s say it was much more of an ordeal than I anticipated and I probably had as much mixed on my body as in the bottle.

Kate mentioned to me a few times this past week that she will sometimes bring a bagel with peanut butter on her longer paddles. I usually won’t bring anything dry like that because I have a hard time swallowing it if I’m exerting myself. Since I knew I would be able to stop and eat one today I did bring one. It tasted very good. I also used some Vanilla Hammer gel and I had a Protein Hammer Bar. I brought two bananas. I ate one and accidentally knocked the second one off the canoe cover into the water.

Since I brought my GPS today I was watching the time and the mileage as we went down the river. We arrived back to our vehicles after paddling six hours and twenty five minutes. The actual mileage was 47.34 miles not the 56 miles that we thought it was going to be based on information from the map.

We all headed to the Dairy Queen in Shakopee after we got the canoes back on the vehicles. I have a very enjoyable day paddling on the river. I want to thank Kate for paddling with me today and putting in a longer day. I want to thank Doug and his wife for the shuttle and to both Doug and Keith for keeping us company today.

I’m ready for another longer paddle when we can all get together again.

Tomorrow, I’m headed up to Grand Rapids. I will do the Black Barge Canoe Race in Cohasset on Saturday. Io Harberts wants to do an evening paddle so maybe that will take place Saturday evening. Al Rudquist and I are still planning on doing a longer paddle on Sunday.


Here is what I’ve been doing since I posted the photos that Anna Peterson took at Hoigaards on 06-19-0-08.

I never received the results from Hoigaard’s this week so there were no results for me to post.

Friday, 06-20-06

I went for a 2 hour and twenty minute paddle on the Mississippi River in my C-1. Afterwards, I went running for forty-five minutes.

Saturday, 06-21-08

Only went for a one hour and twenty minute bike on my road bike after work. I didn’t paddle with the group this morning since I had to work.

Sunday, 06-22-08

The group wasn’t going to paddle until 9 am today. I decided to get some extra time in before I paddled with Ed Arenz at 9 am. I was on the water at 0645 am and got two hours of paddling in. Io Harberts and Natasha Canfield were going to start at 7 am so I turned around and paddled with them.

Ed Arenz and I paddled for three hours and ten minutes. My total for the day was 5 hours and ten minutes.

Monday, 06-23-08

I was back in my C-1 for two hours and ten minutes on the Mississippi River.

Tuesday, 06-24-08

I went and got a haircut after work so I decided not to paddle today. Instead I went for an hour run. This was my longest run since I started back running this year. Then I went to the health club to do some leg extensions, leg curls, abs, back exercises and stretches.

Wednesday, 06-25-06

More paddling in my C-1. Two hours worth.

I’ve been busy at work this past week and with my outdoor activities I haven’t had time to sit in front of a computer.

Chuck Ryan

Sunday, June 22, 2008

06-19-08 Hoigaards Canoe Derby Photos

Left to Right: Brett Arenz, Todd Johnson, Devin Arenz and Ed Arenz

All photos were taken by Anna Peterson during the 06-19-08 Hoigaard's Canoe Derby. Thank you, Anna !

The lakes are full of milfoil. It sure makes racing in these conditions harder especially for the bow person. Tonight's race there was two equal parts, paddling and cleaning weeds off the bow.

I was also reminded tonight why I don't particularly care to have kayaks racing with canoes. The first incident at the first buoy turn could have been another canoeist, but it wasn't. I won't get into the details here, but those racing in front know what I'm talking about. Then after the first buoy turn I was being flung water in my face with every stroke from the persons kayak paddle and not just a little water. I couldn't pass so I had to drop back to avoid this annoying occurrence.

The winners of the Men's Division was Brett Arenz and Todd Johnson.

Second Place in the Men's was Devin Arenz and Ed Arenz.

Kate Ellis and I were first in the Mixed Division and third overall. I thought when we crossed the finish line I heard the time of 1:05:51, but when we received our blue ribbon they said the time was 1:07:51.

I started to write the times for the other teams, but the new employees for Hoigaard's were having some difficulty in getting the correct teams in the correct divisions and some of the places were incorrect so I stopped.

If they figure it all out and send me the race results I will post them.
Chuck Ryan and Kate Ellis

Left to Right: Kate Ellis, Chuck Ryan, Ed Arenz and Devin Arenz

Left to Right: Marsh Jones, Kate Ellis and Chuck Ryan

Todd Johnson, stern; Brett Arenz, bow.

Ed arenz, stern; Devin Arenz, bow.

Kate Ellis and Chuck Ryan

Kate Ellis and Chuck Ryan

Kate Ellis and Chuck Ryan

Left to Right: Jeff DuBois, Al DuBois, George Stichler, Steve Yurista, Andy Gilbertson and Emily Peterson.
Again, all the above photos were taken by Anna Peterson.

Chuck Ryan

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Red Bridge Inn Website and updated Canoe Race page

Jennie at the Red Bridge Inn sent my blog address to her webmaster who put a link to my blog on their Canoe Race page: The canoe race page has been updated with current pictures as well. Take a look!!!

Here is the Red Bridge Inn Bed and Breakfast website:

Again, I want to thank everyone at the Red Bridge Inn and all the volunteers who put on a top notch race this year. I hope everyone plans to do this race again next year. Remember we need to get some woman teams next year, also.

When you go to my blog via the link find my narrative on the Red Bridge Run! Canoe Race and at the end of the narrative there is a link to the results.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Marathon Canoe Racing Videos

Here are some videos of the AuSable Canoe Marathon in Michigan. Bill Briggs and I are doing it this year. The only time I've done this race was in 2000 with Al DuBois.

AuSable Canoe Marathon Start:

2005 Curley Canoe Race:

2005 Weyerhauser AuSable Canoe Marathon:

2007 AuSable Canoe Marathon:

AuSable Canoe Marathon Intro:

2006 AuSable Teaser:

Ausable (very short):

2007 AuSable Teaser/Promo:

Here is a video of the start of the General Clinton in New York. I did this race in 2002 with Tom Gardner and in 2003 with Al DuBois.

2007 General Clinton Canoe regatta:

Chuck Ryan

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Upcoming Races ( 06-28 and July 5th & 6th) and a longer paddle on 06-29-08!

Blackwater Barge Festival Canoe Race

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Portage Park in Cohasset, MN

The Blackwater Barge Festival is a one day festival highlighting a professional canoe race and a Woods Trail 5K Run. The canoe race course, on the Mississippi River, will include a running start, paddle, and portage through Portage Park with a running finish. Amateur races will complete a one lap course lap (approximately 1 hour). Professional canoeists will complete two course laps (approximately 90 minutes). Cash prizes given. Award ceremony following races and each participant will receive a t-shirt.

Registration Fee: Professional $30 per person

Professional Class begins at 1:15pm

There are other classes- call for info and times

For more information call 218.328.6225 ext. 11 (or ; it wasn’t undated with this years info when I last checked, better to call)

All photos from the 2003 Blackwater Barge Race.

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Longer Paddle

Al Rudquist and I plan on doing a 5 to 6 hour paddle the day after the Blackwater Barge Canoe race. I’m letting you know now so plan on sticking around on Sunday for the paddle. We would like for everyone to join us. We have gone on the Mississppi River upstream of Grand Rapids before.


Al’s Round Robin

Al Rudquist is having his race this year.

Date: Saturday, 07-05-08 and Sunday, 07-06-08 @ 9am

Location: Ice Lake in Grand Rapids, MN

Entry Fee: $20.00, covers food on Saturday night

Camping at Al’s, Krista, Sage and Ingrid

Dinner Saturday night-food provided, BYO drinks

Al wants you to let him know if you are going to “play” by June 30th. They need to know how much food to buy. Sign up now and pay later when you see Al. Phone: 218.326.5735

This is a fun race where you get to paddle with all the other paddlers. This is a chance to paddle with someone you’ve possibly never paddled with before.

Hope to see everyone there! I believe Al plans to limit the number of entries to 32. Remember to let him know by June 30th , please!

NOTE: Disregard the August dates for this race on Minnesota Canoe Racers and They both have the wrong date.

All photos from the 2003 Al's Round Robin.

Any questions other questions, feel free to contact me.

CIIcanoe at Comcast dot net or call me.

Chuck Ryan