Considering there was snow on the ground just days before the race, the fifth-annual Autumn Classic canoe and kayak race had a healthy turnout, with eight boats on the water.
“It’s a good turnout for this race,” said race organizer Peter Coates, who was the second solo canoe over the line and sixth overall.
“It’s just a small informal race for fun. It’s just a bunch of people out for a fun paddle on a Saturday morning, but we just do it faster than most people.”
Despite the good turnout, up from about four boats last year, there was one element missing from the race.
“All canoes – what happened to the kayakers?” said Coates.
Taking first in the 10-kilometre race that took racers up and down a five-kilometre strip of the M’Clintock River starting at the Alaska Highway, was Philippe Mouchet, coming in at one hour, three minutes.
“Today it seems like you go upriver both ways, because to get there there’s current, and to get back there’s the wind,” said Mouchet. “So conditions were a bit rough, but it was a lot of fun for sure.”
Mouchet was paddling a marathon C-1 in the race, a slender, tippy craft the paddler sits in and paddles alternating sides.
“It doesn’t have any rudder, so it’s super hard to turn, and it’s tippy a bit,” said Mouchet. “But you get stability when you get to a certain speed and then it glides.”
Taking second, and first in the duel-canoe category, were Daniel Girouard and Cynthia Corriveau, two-and-a-half minutes behind Mouchet and 20 seconds up from Pam Boyde and Jim Boyde, who were third overall.
Mouchet, who competed in a few Wednesday meets held by the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club, earning him the eighth spot in the club’s points rankings to end the season, hopes to compete in his second Yukon River Quest next year. Perhaps moving into a position to give the defending, multi-time champion Texan team a run for their money, Mouchet hopes to race with Girouard, who recently purchased the Team Kisseynew’s voyageur canoe, used to win the race’s voyageur division in 2008.
“We’re hoping to put together a team of keen people from the Yukon to enter the race and do as well as we can,” said Mouchet. “Getting together a team for a voyageur canoe is more than just training, it’s commitment.”
1st Philippe Mouchet (C-1) – 1:03:00
2nd Daniel Girouard/CynthiaCorriveau (C-2) – 1:05:30
3rd Pam Boyde/Jim Boyde (C-2) – 1:05:50
4th Verana Konig/Joanie Pelletier (C-2) – 1:05:53
5th Benjamin Blias/Andreanne La Rue (C-2) – 1:22:20
6th Peter Coates (C-1) – 1:22:30
7th Iain Seal/Ingabitt Scholven (C-2) – 1:22:40
8th Lisa Christensen/Michelle Christensen (C-2) – 1:43:30
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