Reporter in the Two Seat
Because of a change in the schedule of some conference that Jack has to attend to peddle the SmartPill, he was able to do the 2009 Round the Mountain 10-mile canoe race with Tom. Jan agreed to serve as pit crew for the race, which starts on Lower Saranac Lake and ends in Saranac Lake on Lake Flower. The finish line is the same as the 90-Miler.
While driving up to the clubhouse on Kimpton Road the day before the race, Tom heard from Jack, who said race organizer Brian McDonnel asked if they could use their four-man canoe for the race so two paddlers without a boat could join them. Tom demurred, noting that his bad back, which forced him out of the previous September’s 90-Miler, was untested. Tom said that, if he had to abandon, he didn’t want it to screw up anyone’s race but Jack’s. Jack said that made sense.
Tom and Jan met Jack at the clubhouse on Kimpton Road that night. The next morning, they put the 18-foot tandem Jensen on the car and drove to the start of the race at the Ampersand Bay Resort.
Here is the description of the race by McDonnell: This flat water race starts at Ampersand Bay Resort on Lower Saranac Lake. Paddlers go southwest to Bluff Island, where they turn south into the Saranac River. Competitors then follow the river to the Lower Locks, where there is a short carry to Oseetah Lake. Paddlers then cross the lake to the islands in the northwest. The course ends on Lake Flower in Village of Saranac Lake. Paddlers are encouraged to bring their own shuttle from the start to finish. Entry fee is $25 per paddler. ($20 for AWA members)
When they arrived at the start of the race, it became clear that Brian had expected them to bring the four-man canoe for the other two paddlers, so they drove back to Kimpton Road and switched boats. One of the people who was going to paddle with them was a reporter for the Albany Times Union newspaper. He was placed in the two seat while the other guy, who looked like he could paddle, sat in the three seat in front of Jack in the stern.
The day was on the windy side and there were some waves to be negotiated, but all went well until they entered Oseetah Lake and somehow headed off course in a lake they have paddled at least 20 times! They came close to capsizing at one point when they took a pretty big wave over the bow when they were turning the boat and had to face the waves broadside for a moment. Fortunately, they did not go over, although a boat or two passed them as they tried to get back on course. They did end up getting hardware among the four-person boats, which was nice, and the reporter wrote an excellent story on his adventure with the NCMC. The editor would link to it here, but he cannot find the link.
Gallery: 2009 Round the Mountain