For the first time in five years a pair of paddlers were the first to spoon-up delicious, meaty goodness at the Chili and Bean Downriver Race on Tuesday.
Whitehorse’s Stephen Mooney and Dominic Alford paddled their tandem canoe to first in the race, ending a string of solo canoe and kayak wins dating back to 2009.
“The reason we come here is for the food,” said Mooney. “It’s a good secret. People should come out just for the food.”
“I was busy until I heard Pat was cooking,” said Alford. “Then all of a sudden the schedule cleared.”
Mooney and Alford completed the 18.5-kilometre race from Rotary Peace Park to the Takhini Bridge in one hour, 23 minutes and 57 seconds, about 10 minutes off the course record.
Mooney, who was in the back of the canoe, was an incredible motivator, said Alford.
“His whip, it’s small so you don’t see it, but it hurts,” said Alford. “Once we’re around the first bend, he’s flogging me.”
Mooney won the solo kayak division of the 2013 Yukon River Quest. Alfrord, on the other hand, was racing in his very first paddling race. Mooney invited Alford to join him in the race just three hours before the start.
“I usually bring other victims out, like my wife or my daughter,” said Mooney. “This year it was a very good friend of mine … Dragged him out and he was my victim this year … he’s a recreational paddler, but he’s strong, so I brought him.”
Less than a minute behind Mooney and Alford were Whitehorse’s Pam and Jim Boyde, paddling to second with a time of 1:24:20 in a mixed tandem canoe.
The Boydes, who placed fifth last year, were in the winning voyageur boat at this year’s Yukon River Quest.
“The Boydes, Jim and Pam, put the pressure on us,” said Mooney. “I told Dom, this is going to be the pace the whole race, maybe five minutes into the race.
“They never let up. The most we gained on them was maybe 60 or 70 yards and they closed it to 50, maybe 40 at the end of the race.”
Race organizer Pat McKenna and Mia Lee claimed third in another tandem canoe with a time of 1:30:59. McKenna was glad the rain stopped and the sun came out just as racers dipped their paddles in at Rotary Park.
It was almost the first rainy Chili and Bean race in its 11-year history.
“We had a beautiful run on the river, the rain held off, and it was quite lovely,” said McKenna. “We thought we were going to get some nasty weather, but it turned out well.
“It was great to see some new faces out – we had 23 paddlers.”
Voyageur team Paddlers Abreast placed fourth at 1:39:39. It was the first time the popular Yukon River Quest crew took part in the race and the second year in a row a voyageur team raced.
On board were Claire Desmarais, Jane Haydock, Anne Jessup, Michelle Harper, Johanne Lalonde, Cheryl Rivest, Jill Murdoch.
While solo paddlers took the top four spots last year, the first soloer came fifth overall on Tuesday.
Whitehorse’s Alison Schrieber, who was in the race for the first time, came fifth in a solo canoe with a time of 1:39:59. She is the first woman in race history to compete in a solo canoe.
“It was beautiful … I’m glad the rain stopped,” said Schrieber. “It was a good sunny night, lots of eagles on the river, it was nice.”
“There are very few C-1 women paddlers, so it’s very nice to see,” said McKenna.
Whitehorse’s Tim Hodgson, who placed first the last three years, was absent from the race.
As always, paddlers were treated to homemade chili, beans and desserts at the end of the race, hosted by the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com
1st Stephen Mooney/Dominic Alford (C-2 men) – 1:23:57
2nd Pam/Jim Boyde
(C-2 mixed) – 1:24:20
3rd Pat McKenna/Mia Lee
(C-2 women) – 1:30:59
4th Paddlers Abreast
(voyageur) – 1:39:39
5th Alison Schrieber
(C-1 women) – 1:39:59
6th Loic Markley
(K-1 men) – 1:57:16
7th Karen Barnes
(K-1 women) – 2:04:07
8th Dean MacKay
(K-1 men) – 2:04:22
9th Michelle/Terry Markley (C-2 mixed) – 2:09:43
10th Bev Avano
(K-1 women) – 2:10:20
11th Judy/Neil Hartling
(C-2 mixed) – 2:22:09
12th John Wright
(K-1 men) – 2:22:33