Jackson Hole

Deviating from the annual trip to the snow-filled canyons of the Wasatch Front in Utah, the NCMC visited Wyoming for a week of skiing in February. Staying in Jackson, they skied at legendary and uncrowded Grand Targhee on the western side of the Tetons on their first day, and then skied several days at slightly daunting Jackson Hole with its steep trails and 4,100-foot vertical. They also spent a day cross-country skiing in Grand Teton National Park. They received generous guiding from Grace Hartman, sister of Jimmy Chin and colleague of Jan. Grace lives in a yurt with her family and also hosted them for dinner one night. She took them all around Jackson Hole one day and also brought them to the national park. The weather was great, with a couple of snowy days interspersed with blindingly bright sunny days. Lots of goggle and sunglass wearing by all. They hung out in Jackson when they were not skiing, and recommend The Lodge at Jackson Hole for anyone planning to visit. Skinny Skis is also a great shop (with tons of Patagonia clothing) with expert advice on all things nordic. And don’t forget to have your picture taken under a large antler arch in the town square. Jan, Jack and Tom made the trip, and were able to park for free at Jackson Hole resort because of car-pooling in their rented Subaru Outback. The Outback did a good job of taking them over the Teton Pass from Jackson to Alta, WY, where Targhee sits. This trip, by the way, gets one briefly into Idaho. You can find pictures and video from the trip here.

2015 90-Miler

With Bill out of the boat to attend a wedding, the NCMC for the first time entered the Adirondack Canoe Classic as a Jack-Tom-John three-man team. They used John’s Minnesota III rather than the Minnesota IV with an empty seat. They were happy with the boat, although John had to spend the race in a bench seat without a proper foot brace. Bonnie joined Jan and Mary in a three-person pit crew. The weather was superb, and the NCMC was entered for the first time in Open Touring, which got them off earlier in the morning and allowed them to enjoy calmer water for the first hour or so.
Despite one altercation with Grace McDonnell and her “Adirondack Women” Voyageur crew, it was smooth paddling. The water was low, however, making the Saranac, Racquette and Marion River sections a bit slower. The same was true of Brown’s Tract.
Numbers wise, the NCMC’s time of 16:14:09 was good for 65th place among the 247 boats. They easily beat the six other three-man crews in the race, and finished 28th among the 53 C-4s. They also beat Grace’s boat on Day Two despite the fact that, according to Grace, the NCMC wasn’t racing.
It was the 21st 90-Miler for Jack, the 18th for Tom and the seventh for John. Bill has done 18 and Jay did nine. Andy and Dylan each did one. That’s a total of 75 races for the NCMC. That’s 6,750 miles minus a few miles for the cancelled Day Three in 1996 and Jack and Bill’s one-day race in 2008.
You can see the photos from the race on SmugMug.
Race results are here.

Updated 90 Miler History

With the 90-mile Adirondack Canoe Classic looming in September, it’s time to update the history of NCMC’s participation. Jack has now competed in 20 90 Milers.

2014 Jack, Bill, John and Tom (4-man) 15:14
2013 Jack and Tom 16:04
2012 Jack, Bill, John and Tom (4-man) 15:17
2011 Jack, Bill, John and Tom (4-man) 15:04
2010 Jack, Bill, John and Tom (4-man) 16:15
2009 Jack and Bill 17:26 (Yale murder)
2008 Jack and Bill (they did one day, Tom’s bad back)
2007 Jack, Bill, Tom, John (4-man) (Day One capsize, can’t find time)
2006 Jack, Bill, Tom, John (4-man) 15:37 (Bog Goger pit crew)
2005 Jack, Bill, Tom, Andy (4-man) 15:27 (Munsons were 15:21)
2004 Bill and Tom 16:12
2003 Jack and Bill 16:47
2002 Jack and Tom 16:43, Bill and Jay 18:23
2001 Jack and Tom 16:22, Bill and Jay 18:41
2000 Jack and Tom 13:43, Bill and Jay 14:42 (Day One shortened)
1999 Jack and Tom 16:56, Bill and Jay 18:02
1998 Jack and Tom 16:16, Bill and Jay 17:30
1997 Jack and Tom 18:06, Bill and Jay 18:32
1996 Bill and Jay 14:46 (Day Three cancelled)
1995 Jack and Dylan 20:50, Tom and Jay 19:25
1994 Jack and Jay 15:39 (Day One must have been shortened)
1993 Jack and Tom 18:02

Winter Camp 2015

Bill, Jack, Tom, Tuki and Caz went winter camping from the Kimpton Road clubhouse to St. Regis Pond in March 2015. It was very cold (well below zero) when they arrived in the Adirondacks, so they did a day ski and then an overnight trip to the pond. You can see photos from the trip here. There is also some video.

Birthday!

Happy Birthday to NCMC member Kathleen “Kasey” Goger of Montclair, who has backpacked, paddled and skied with the NCMC over the years. Here is a photo from a canoe trip to Lake Lila in the Adirondacks in 2002. Kasey is on the left with Jan Conroy and Tom Conroy.

Long Boat Regatta 2014

The NCMC participated in the 2014 Long Boat Regatta at Long Lake. It was the first time the club used a C4 in the race. Jack, Bill and Tom were joined in the crew by David Woods, who traveled up from New Jersey and arrived a few minutes before the start to compete for the first time in a canoe race. He acquitted himself well in the third seat, as the NCMC battled high winds and big waves on the course. Hardware was procured in recognition of the strong effort put in by the NCMC. After the race, the group enjoyed a well-deserved beverage at the Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake before Woods headed back to New Jersey. It should be noted that it was Jack’s idea to invite Woods to participate in the race after he had called the NCMC “sissies” for using wheels in the 90 Miler. You can see a few pictures here

2014 90 Miler

Congratulations to Jack, Bill, John and Tom for their outstanding performance in the Adirondack Canoe Classic September 5-7. The NCMC finished 28th out of 63 C4s and 45th out of the 264 boats in the race. Their time of 15:14:09 also beat 5 of the 7 war canoes. There were three other C4s with times over 15 hours that were ahead of them, so the NCMC were very close to 25th place. The overall winner of the race was a C4 with the outstanding time of 11:40. You can see photos from the race here

90 Miler

With the 90 Miler approaching, we thought we would share a view of the race expressed last year by Peter Heed, author of Canoe Racing: The Competitor’s Guide to Marathon and Downriver Canoe Racing. Here it is:

Sorry I missed your good race, Shawn, but unfortunately there is a conflict with another wonderful race – actually a paddling ” event” – The Adirondack Classic 90 Miler! Thought you’d get a kick out of hearing that this race is evidence of a growing new trend in paddle sport – team canoes, especially C – 4s!

We all know that the concept of “team canoes” aka “Voyageur/War Canoes” is not new. There actually was a good set of races which emphasized War Canoes back during the 70’s and early 80’s in New England. Those races faded away for the most part, but there is a new variation of the team canoe that is starting to have a real impact on the racing scene – the C-4. These four person canoes come in “stock form” (Wenonah and Savage River) or longer “unlimited” hulls made by Grass River or Rimer. They bring “team dynamics” to canoes that can be raced in all sorts of river and lake conditions. They are fast; they are fun; they can ride wake just like a C-2 or C-1, and they are a blast to paddle! Nowhere is this more evident than at the Adirondack Classic.

Many New Englanders have had the good fortune of racing The Adirondack Classic, but for those not familiar, The Classic is a three day stage race – a 90 mile journey through the heart of New York State’s gorgeous Adirondack Forest Preserve, from Old Forge to Saranac Lake. This annual Fall event follows the same routes traveled by the region’s early settlers and guides – a chain of lakes, rivers and carries known as the original “Highway of the Adirondacks.” It is both a race and an adventure back in time. Many of the difficult “carries” (portages) seem to have changed little in over a hundred years of use. Not only is the course breathtakingly beautiful and historical, but this race is hugely successful. They limit the field to 275 canoes – and turn teams away every year!! In a time when many races struggle with dwindling entry numbers, you know there is something very special going on here to attract so many paddlers. The organizers offer all sorts of classes for everyone (yes, SUPs too!), but the increase in the team boats, particularly the C – 4s, has been nothing short of incredible. This year there were 41 teams entered in the “racing” C – 4 division (stock and unlimited) and 32 C -4s in the “touring” division. The math is easy – that’s 292 paddlers just in C-4s!! There must be something to this – and there is!

Much of the credit for popularizing the C – 4 class goes out to Marc Gillespie and his Forge Racing organization, for encouraging racers to give C -4 a try and for helping them find canoes. Just look at some of the legends of paddling – both current and past – that tuned out to race C – 4s this year: Andy Triebold, Steve Lajoie, Nick Walton, Matt Rimer, Bruce Barton, Tim Triebold, Jeff Kolka, Sol Carriere, Paul Olney, Matt Rudnitsky, Rebecca Barton, Mike Davis, and Al Limberg – just to name a few! Even more important was the tremendous number of less serious, fun oriented paddlers, who turn out to fill the teams. With the best racers spread out onto different teams, it “levels the playing field” and emphasizes the significance of team work. The end result: great competition with a huge dose of fun and camaraderie.

Another unique aspect of the 90 Miler that cannot be ignored is the wild scene at the portages. The portages at the Classic (or “carries”, as they refer to them) are long and challenging to say the least. How long? On the first day alone you face 4 portages with a total of over 3 1/2 miles.! These make the portages at The Run of The Charles seem like a walk in the park! So how do so many levels of paddlers with so many different and sometimes heavy boats make it over these difficult portages while still having fun? Wheels! Lots of wheels! All sorts of wheels! I have to confess that until I paddled a team boat, I was one of those racers who used to secretly think ” wheels were for wimps.” How wrong I was! The first year I was in a C – 4 with Jeff Shultis and some good NY paddlers – big strong guys! Our wheels broke on the long, rough carry during Day 2 (The old Tupper Lake 40 race that many will recall). We tried to lug the big 23 ft canoe(with 4 jugs, food, equipment,etc) on our shoulders. Wow! Just about reduced us all to tears- a bunch of wimpering wimps! When Alec Davis’ team wheeled by us with Alec riding in the canoe – like he was on a parade float – we just about gave up! We finally did make it back in the river, after getting passed by countless teams breezing past us on their wheels. And we vowed never, ever again to even think of trying to portage a stock C -4 without a good set of wheels! Or any other kind of canoe for that matter. If you come to paddle the 90 Miler, bring some wheels!! You won’t regret it.

So if you get a chance to paddle on C-4 team at the Adirondack Classic – or any race – give it a try! It is thankfully one of the newer and growing aspects of paddle sport! For instance, both the Clinton and this weekend’s Josh Billings Triathlon have a C – 4 division.!! Thanks Patty!! I know my good teammates from the 90 – Gary and Gloria – will be out in their C-4 on a Josh team this year, so you can see one in action and maybe give it a go. Whatever you do, give some thought about coming to northern New York some Fall weekend in the near future and have an unforgettable paddling experience at The Adirondack Classic 90 Miler!

Happy paddling,

Peter