March 2019 - CANOEING, KAYAKING & SUP
banner photo: Canton Canoe Weekend solo recreational paddlers at the start line. Blanche Town
Try This Exciting, Low-Impact Sport
By Ed Greiner
When the subject of canoe and kayak racing comes up in casual conversation, the usual response is, “You’re kidding. You actually race those things?” The incredulity is common.
Some people get involved with paddlesport racing in a logical manner. They start with a short, fun race after having had some instruction in technique and gear. Others jump in blindly, starting with an ultramarathon, and no idea what they are in for. The latter way was mine.
Many years ago, a coworker asked if I wanted to be his partner in the Adirondack Canoe Classic, the 90-mile, three-day event that crosses the Adirondack Park from Old Forge to Saranac Lake. After being egged on by a third coworker, I agreed. The rest, as they say, is history.
The less insane way to introduce yourself to paddlesport racing is to do some research. There are many non-profit organizations dedicated to the sport. The New York Marathon Canoe Racing Association (NYMCRA), is the premier organization covering the entire state. They set standards for boat types, classes and age groups, as well as compiling the schedule for the year.
The Saint Lawrence Valley Paddlers (SLVP), is the largest and best organized of the regional groups. The Northern New York Paddlers (NNYP), and the Upper Susquehanna Pedalers and Paddlers (USPP), are also active groups putting on races and training sessions. The Adirondack Watershed Alliance (AWA) puts on races in the Adirondack Park region, as well as coordinating activities to preserve the fragile waterways.
Northern New York Paddlers is the group that serves the Greater Capital-Saratoga Region. NNYP is centered in Schenectady County, but has members in the counties of Fulton, Montgomery, Saratoga, Albany and Warren. North New York Paddlers puts on three races each year, as well as weekly time trials, and offers instructional paddling. You do not need to be a member of any organization to participate in NNYP events, but paddlers are encouraged to join.
The NNYP directs three canoe, kayak and SUP races for 2019: 1) Towpath Regatta 4.5-miler at Gateway Landing Park, Schenectady on Thursday, June 20; 2) Electric City Regatta 12-mile marathon, three-mile recreation race, and one-mile fun race on the Mohawk River at Rotterdam Junction on Saturday, July 13 (electriccityrace.org); and 3) Barge Chaser Race of 10 and three-miler at Kiwanis Park on the Mohawk River in Rotterdam. All three races are suitable for beginners with shorter distances of one to four miles. The Electric City Regatta and Barge Chaser also have longer events, 11 and 10 miles respectively, for more serious racers.
More information on the yearly schedule can be found online at NYMCRA (nymcra.org), SLVP (slvpaddlers.org), and AWA (adirondack90miler.com).
Come out and try this exciting low-impact sport that’s welcoming to new racers. The fitness component alone will change your life. There are many opportunities to participate throughout the year!
Ed Greiner (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a remodeling contractor. He and his wife, Kimberly, live in Esperance and they’ve been involved in canoe racing for 29 years. He is a member of Schenectady Wintersports Club, Northern NY Paddlers, NY Marathon Canoe Racing Association, and several other sporting organizations.