Paddlers have a gas at Chili and Bean race

Dan Girard, who finished first in the Chili and Bean Race with Tim Hodgson, was halfway through being interviewed when he heard the news.

Dan Girard, who finished first in the Chili and Bean Race with Tim Hodgson, was halfway through being interviewed when he heard the news.

“It felt like we were paddling faster than last year, so I’m happy to know that we did come in…”

“We did 1:23,” cut in Hodgson.

“One twenty-three! Not 1:13? Aw, come on!”

Tuesday evening, 27 paddlers participated in the Chili and Beans Downriver Race.

The 18.5-kilometre race, starting at Rotary Peace Park and ending at the Takhini Bridge, has been taking place since 2001 and is intended to appeal to paddlers of all skill levels.

“(We) try to make it a fun event to get new paddlers out,” said Pat McKenna, a race organizer who finished first in the women’s C-2 with partner Yvonne Harris, coming in with a time of 1:39.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, I’m not a marathon paddler, I’d better not go into that race.’ But when they hear Chili and Beans Race, it sounds more low-key, more relaxed.

“The first race we had one pot of chili and a couple loaves of bread,” said McKenna. “But then we found we had more paddlers coming out, so I added the beans to the mix.”

Girard and Hodgson finished the race second last year in a two-person canoe, behind Greg McHale who set the course record of 1:13 in a solo kayak.

“We thought we got 1:13. We were pretty excited because that was what Greg McHale did last year,” said Hodgson, who was also in the winning boat at the Yukon River Quest.

“Then they said we did 1:23 and then we weren’t so excited,” he added with a laugh.

“Last year was a different race because we had someone to catch, someone was ahead of us the whole time,” said Girard, who’s official time with Hodgson was 1:23:56, nine minutes slower than their time last year.

“This year we were ahead the whole race.”

Nipping at their heals throughout the race, Joe Bishop, paddling a solo kayak, finished the race second with a time of 1:27:55.

“I had surgery on my shoulder this spring so I can only paddle with one arm,” said Bishop, who did have surgery, but seemed to be exaggerating its toll on his performance for comic affect.

“That’s how you guys beat me, I can only paddle with one arm,” he added, addressing Hodgson and Girard.

Bishop and Hodgson actually go far back, having competed against each other in several races.

“It’s a healthy rivalry because it makes you train harder,” said Bishop.

“Joe (Bishop) was trying to ride our wash so I gave him a couple big shovel-fulls,” said Hodgson. “A couple well placed splashes and you knock him right off the wash.

“I’m just glad he didn’t cry.”

“You don’t know how bad (a paddler) he is until you get up close,” said Bishop, suggesting Hodgson’s splashes stemmed from bad paddling techniques.

“In other races Joe got lost, so we’re just glad he’s here,” retorted Hodgson.

As for the food selection awaiting paddlers at the end of the race, organizers are not oblivious to certain side affects to eating chili and beans.

“We call it a ‘positively explosive paddling experience,’” said McKenna.


1st Men’s C-2  Tim Hodgson and Dan Girard      1:23:56

1st Men’s K-1  Joe Bishop        1:27:55

1st Mixed C-2  Susan Rubinoff and Stephen Mooney  1:30:18

1st Women’s C-2    Yvonne Harris and Pat McKenna  1:39:00

1st Women’s K-2    Margriet Aasman and Valerie Theoret    1:44:00

2nd Mixed C-2  Liz Bosely and Peter Coates      1:30:31

2nd Men’s K-2  Jean-Francois Latour    1:30:45

2nd Mixed C-2  Jane Vincent and Jeremy Matiashan  1:35:45

2nd Women’s C-2    Heather Johnson and Erin McNight  1:41:05

3rd Mixed C-2  Zoe Zimmermann and Bob Zimmerman  1:36:18

3rd Women’s C-2  Jenny Trapnell and Ann MacDonald  1:44:52

4th Women’s C-2  Naomi Gladish and Lia Johnson  1:51:19

4th Mixed C-2  Steve Cash with Savannah and Curtis    2:03:43

5th Women’s C-2  Sheri Hogeloom and Sue Carr  2:03:42

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