The 2005 Maine canoe and kayak racing season began today with the traditional opener, a 6-mile race down a section of the St. George River from Searsmont. Despite the big snow year , the river was “bony” with river bottom rocks looking like multicolored easter eggs (lots of Old Town red and green) by the end of the day. The lack of rain and the relatively cool spring temps (days in the lower 40’s, nights in the 20’s) have kept the river levels low. The big water may be still to come! For the remaining race schedule, see the Mackro website.
During my own run I alternated between feeling grateful for being on the river at all — having broken my left wrist 8 weeks ago — and feeling frustrated that I wasn’t feeling stronger and faster. By the last couple miles of the course I had a sense that my boat was pulling strongly to the left — as if the hull were badly warped. More likely my left arm was simply so pooched out by that point that it took 2 strokes with the left to equal one with the right. The bottom line: I paddled a polyethylene VCP Avocet over the 6.5 mile course in 51:43, well off the winning time, good enough for 5th in the K-1 Long class.