Author Topic: Canoe Marathon race- SUPing down the Des Plaines river!  (Read 2750 times)

NoSaltSuper

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Canoe Marathon race- SUPing down the Des Plaines river!
« on: February 21, 2013, 06:06:27 PM »
I have done this race many times with my kids in my canoe, or a kid in a kayak. It's the 2nd oldest "canoe"/paddle race in the country.

And NOW, they have a SUP classification! SUP is definitely coming alive in the Midwest, this is so cool.

" CLASS SPECIFICATIONS will now include one Open STAND UP PADDLEBOARD CLASS for men and another for women, enabling SUP participants to compete for awards and recognition as with canoe and kayak classes. SUPs may be of any length, but must be paddled in a standing position with a single blade paddle."

Oh, go here to see the site: www.canoemarathon.com

I did the race last year again and saw about 4 SUPers, out of about 600 or so vessels. We were in our canoe, plodding along.

This year, my 14 and 17 year old daughters will be taking the canoe together and I'm going to SUP the race.

So, part of me wants to keep this quiet and reduce the competition but obviously, I'd rather have a bunch of folks on SUPs out there with me, preferably behind me.

So, come on down Cheeseheads and come on over Michiganders! If I can travel to your races, you can travel here!

I'll even help arrange car/board shuttling. But on that note, there's a free shuttle from the finish to the start, so it's not a problem.

Ok, who is in?!
Semper Fi!

It's simple, either you get the wave or the wave gets you.

cmprp

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Re: Canoe Marathon race- SUPing down the Des Plaines river!
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 11:30:06 AM »
Good stuff! Fun to see new paddleboard-specific races cropping up, and just as much fun to see long established races reaching out to SUPers.

If I'm in town I'm definitely in.

"Mr. Canoe" Ralph Frese founded this race in 1958. Frese passed away in December at age 86. Frese's friendly and approachable demeanor, his impact on the growth and development of paddlesports as well as his local waterway conservation efforts made him a beloved member of the Chicago area paddling community.

Here's a link to some cool videos on Mr. Canoe:

http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2012/12/11/canoe-guru

NoSaltSuper

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Re: Canoe Marathon race- SUPing down the Des Plaines river!
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2013, 11:13:05 AM »
BTW, registration opened up on March 1st.

The earlier you register, the earlier in the day you start. But that also means you have to head out much earlier to park your retrieve vehicle and take the bus back.

The wind does become a factor later in the day towards the end of the race. I swear, it's ALWAYS blowing against us, every dang time.

Again, it's www.canoemarathon.com

Hope to see some more SUPrs out there this year, I'll be on mine, have previously only done canoe.
Semper Fi!

It's simple, either you get the wave or the wave gets you.

NoSaltSuper

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Re: Canoe Marathon race- SUPing down the Des Plaines river!
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2013, 12:25:43 PM »
Sent this to another Zoner so I thought it might be useful here too, more details on the race:

The race starts on Oak Spring road, just West of St. Mary's road in Libertyville.
The river can be very shallow, but it just all depends on the rain we get. Two years ago, mandatory life jackets and the river was deep and moving fast, a few boats capsized and I saw one pinned against the bridge, paddlers nowhere to be seen. Last year, shallower and slower, paddle scraped the bottom a couple times.

There are plenty of trees on the sides, but the middle is clear. I've not seen any rocks to worry about in the middle, just the edges. There's some logs jutting out here and there but again, the race organizers get out there and cut back any big or dangerous stuff.

The biggest challenge, IMO, is early on when there's more traffic and the river is narrower and you have inexperienced paddlers. I had two girls in a canoe pushing my daughter and I in our canoe, into and under an outcropping bush. I had a few words for those girls!

But SUP's are faster than most canoes so if you're keeping your eyes open downriver, that shouldn't be a problem, not too many people coming up from behind except the kayaks and they know how to steer.

The other weird/unique part is the start. It's done in waves throughout the morning, about 8 "boats" per heat a few minutes apart. So you launch then wait in the river somewhere, usually hanging onto a tree, listening for the next set of numbers being called out. Then you drift down to the start which is a horizontal line running across the river, with 8 vertical lines hanging down. You then grab onto and hold that line until it's your turn. This is my first time using a SUP in this race so I'm not sure how difficult this maneuver will be.

There are two dams to cross, 1 is a mandatory portage, the other is optional but I will probably portage them both. The optional one we almost always scrape our canoe, as it's a funnel with rocks and could likely bust a fin, or scrape your board nicely. Unless the water is high in which case, you barely notice there's a dam and can go right over/through it.

The 1st 2/3rds of the river are somewhat narrow and the wind isn't a factor, lots of trees. The last 1/3rd or so opens up and gets wide, the wind can pose a problem, especially later in the day so register soon to get an earlier start.

At the finish, it's kind of awkward with other boats coming in, banging into each other and then there's a bigger dam about 25 yards down river, don't want to go over that. Again, watch downriver and plan in advance for your landing. Should be easier than a canoe, as we can hop out, just grab our board and get out of the way.

There's a lot of folks in this "race" some very serious paddlers, most not. I've seen a few SUP's the last two times, guessing there will be more now with the SUP class, good deal!

Definitely bring a Camelbak or similar with food, PFD and maybe a hat/sunscreen, depending on weather. I've been on the river for 7 hours once, but that was with my kids! Hoping for about a 3 hour paddle but, I just don't know. This will be my longest paddle yet.
Semper Fi!

It's simple, either you get the wave or the wave gets you.

 


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