2009 Yukon River Quest: Blisters and Debauchery

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Somewhere, Dr. Scholls is smiling. But while blisters were the name of the game at this year’s 2009 Yukon River Quest, the longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world where paddlers race non-stop over 460 miles to Dawson City, so was fun and festivities at one of the toughest adventure marathon events in the world.

Of the 73 teams that started this year’s gruelfest, marking the 3rd largest field in the 11-year history of the event, only 56 teams finished, with new records in the women’s tandem canoe and tandem kayak divisions.

“It was a great event this year,” says YRMPA President Jean-Francois Latour. “We had a record turn-out and two new records.”

Overall, it was Team Texans taking the top spot, finishing the War Canoe division in 40:52 hours and pocketing $2,100. For the solo division, it was Carter Johnson taking first in a K-1, finishing at 44:24 and taking home the $900 first-place prize, with “Alberta Beef” Kevin Mellis winning the men’s solo canoe division at 53:15, also earning $900.

Awards

First Place Overall: Team 73 “Texans”, Richard Ameen, captain
Prize: Free entry for captain and team in 2010 race, donated by YRMPA
Top Yukoners: Team 1 “Relentless”, Tim Hodgson & Jane Vincent
Prize: Two small kegs donated by Yukon Brewing

Top Women’s Team: Team 64 “Dawson Before Dusk”, Veronica Wisniewski & Liz Bosely
Prize: Two packs donated Coast Mountain Sports

Top Senior Team (55 & over): Team 29 “The Austrian”, Heinz Rodinger
Prize: Panoramic photo donated by Inanda Images

Top Solo Teams: All solo winners (see list below) received gold and/or silver canoes donated by Gold Trail Jewelers – Dawson

Most Improved Team: Team 20 “Yakumama”, Joanie Pelletier & Kari Johnston, (finished 3 hours, 47 minutes faster than their 2008 time)
Prize: Golden paddle donated by Klondike Visitors Association
Spirit of the Yukon Award (sportsmanship & race spirit): Team 77 “Team Dene”, Charlie Tssessaze, capt. (for stopping to assist Team 73 which had been dumped by a large boil in the river near Minto). Prize: Yukon River gold nuggets donated by Raven Ink.

Honorable Mention to Team 22 “Wildfeet” Marc Hebert for providing food and water to fellow team in need at Little Salmon. Gift of 2008 race DVD donated by Northvids.com
Red Stove Award (for team that “wins” the race between last 2 teams): Team 75 “Team Kai”, Tim Taylor & Phil Lafave
Prize: Two halves of a Yukon Stove donated by Haywire Industries

Top Yukon Canoe & Kayak: Team 1 “Relentless”, Tim Hodgson & Jane Vincent C2, and Team 23 “Yukon Wildflower” Ingrid Wilcox K1
Prize: $500 each donated by YRMPA

Class Winners
(teams must finish under 60 hours to receive prize money)
Voyageur Class – Overall
1. Team 73 “Texans” – 40:52 ($2100)
2. Team 77 “Team Dene” – 41:42 ($800)
3. Team 62 “London Pride” – 53:48 ($450)
Voyageur Class – Open
1. Team 73 “Texans” – 40:52 ($2100)
2. Team 77 “Team Dene” – 41:42 ($800)
3. Team 62 “London Pride” – 53:48 ($450)
Voyageur Class – Women
1. Team 51 “Paddlers Abreast” – 53:48 ($2100)
2. Team 32 “Team Whoa” – 57:19 ($800 donated to Paddlers Abreast)
Solo Teams – Overall
1. Team 45 “XL” Carter Johnson K1- 44:24 ($900)
2. Team 11 “Numbnuts” Shaun Thrower K1 – 47:00 ($400)
3. Team 2 “Giddyup II” Brett Norvill K1 – 53:48 ($200)
Solo Kayak – Men
1. Team 45 “XL” Carter Johnson K1- 44:24 ($900)
2. Team 11 “Numbnuts” Shaun Thrower K1 – 47:00 ($400)
3. Team 65 “Alberta Beef” Kevin Mellis C1 – 53:15 ($200)
Solo Kayak – Women
1. Team 23 “Yukon Wildflower” Ingrid Wilcox – 62:20 (no cash)
Solo Canoe – Open
1. Team 65 “Alberta Beef” Kevin Mellis – 53:15 ($900)
Tandem Canoe – Overall
1. Team 1 “Relentless” Tim Hodgson & Jane Vincent (mixed) – 47:22 ($1100)
2. Team 15 “Canoe-Dog Lackies” Gaetan Piourde & Aaron Hachey (men) – 47:32 ($525)
3. Team 64 “Dawson Before Dusk” Veronica Wisniewski & Liz Bosely (women) – 48:53 NEW WOMEN’S C2 RECORD! ($325)
Tandem Canoe – Overall
1. Team 1 “Relentless” Tim Hodgson & Jane Vincent (mixed) – 47:22 ($1100)
2. Team 15 “Canoe-Dog Lackies” Gaetan Piourde & Aaron Hachey (men) – 47:32 ($525)
3. Team 64 “Dawson Before Dusk” Veronica Wisniewski & Liz Bosely (women) – 48:53 NEW WOMEN’S C2 RECORD! ($325)
Tandem Canoe – Men
1. Team 15 “Canoe-Dog Lackies” Gaetan Piourde & Aaron Hachey – 47:32 ($1100)
2. Team 16 “Black Prince” Robert Withers & James Heath – 50:51 ($525)
3. Team 71 “Paper Covers Rock” Patrick Von Wiegen & Michael Code – 55:33 ($325)
Tandem Canoe – Mixed
1. Team 1 “Relentless” Tim Hodgson & Jane Vincent (mixed) – 47:22 ($1100)
2. Team 30 “Team B Pari Passu)” Joe Evans & Barbara Kraler – 49:52 ($525)
3. Team 66 “Just For Fun” Brad Krog & Dawn Krog – 50:01 ($325)
Tandem Canoe – Women
1. Team 64 “Dawson Before Dusk” Veronica Wisniewski & Liz Bosely (women) – 48:53 NEW RECORD! ($1100)
2. Team 20 “Yakumama” Joanie Pelletier & Kari Johnston – 51:05 ($525)
Tandem Kayak – Overall
1. Team 74 “Oxford Hopefuls” Lou Maurice & Hilary Greaves (women) – 51:48 NEW WOMEN’S K2 RECORD! ($1100)
2. Team 40 “The Wiebe Clan” Darrell Wiebe & Jennifer Allen (mixed) – 52:03 ($525)
3. Team 17 “Dave and Pete” Peter Budden & Dave Townsend (men) – 53:15 ($325)
Tandem Kayak – Men
1. Team 17 “Dave and Pete” Peter Budden & Dave Townsend – 53:15 ($1100)
2. Team 61 “Vati-kaki” Francois Coetzer & Philip Coetzer – 54:33 ($525)
3. Team 24 “Bugmen 1” Peter Whaley & Matt Gunning – 55:16 ($325)
Tandem Kayak – Mixed
1. Team 40 “The Wiebe Clan” Darrell Wiebe & Jennifer Allen – 52:03 ($1100)
2. Team 37 “Two-Kon Tango” Carl Schoch & Lana Davis – 56:42 ($525)
Tandem Kayak – Women
1. Team 74 “Oxford Hopefuls” Lou Maurice & Hilary Greaves (women) – 51:48 NEW RECORD!! ($1100)

Info: info@yukonriverquest.com

Straight from the Blog of Team Bugman
Want an insider’s look at how the race went? Get a snippet straight from the horse’s mouth in the blog from Team Bugman, consisting of Canada’s Peter Whaley, Jamie Playfair and Matt Gunning.

“The race was one for the books. We showed up having never attempted anything as insane as ‘The Longest Canoe and Kayak Race in the World’, so we had no idea what to expect from the race or how we would react in this type of situation. All we knew was that we wanted to paddle the Yukon River and doing it with some of the worlds best paddlers sounded inspiring…there were also a few beer involved in the early decision stages…

As the race got going we were all feeling pretty good. We weren’t getting caught trying to keep up with the front runners but remaining around what we had thought to be mid pack. The first portion of the race took us across Lake Lebarge, it’s a crazy long lake that can be an early end to most racers adventure. We were lucky this year as the weather on the lake was perfect. We also all enjoyed the chance to get to paddle beside people from all over the world and hear their stories of why they were here on the river. Some were there to win or better their time from previous years but quite a few were there for the same reason as us, just to see what it feels like to push our bodies and minds to the edge.

We got that chance as we put the lake behind us and re-entered the river portion. At this point we had been paddling around 12h straight…still a long way off from the first mandatory rest point. Peter and I soon started to realize the advantage having a tandem boat as opposed to Jamie being by himself in a single. Tandems are fair bit wider and more stable. This does require more effort to push though the water but with two paddlers, speed is comparable. There’s also ‘built in conversation’…depending on the company that can work for or against…it was a positive thing for us for sure.

As it was the summer solstice, the sun never totally left us. Sleep was also forcing itself upon us during this stage. It’s a scary, and oddly quite a neat thing, to wake up and realize you are still paddling. No lie…we all fell asleep at some point while paddling for a second or two and muscle memory kept our arms moving. This was fairly dangerous in a 26” wide tandem, but it’s nowhere near as worrisome when it happens in a 21” single kayak. Jamie recalls paddling close to shore and wrapping his arms around trees for stability as he tried to get 10-15m of shut eye before having to push on. It was just dusk enough to add to the hallucinations that didn’t take long setting in. The driftwood people would come alive around 4:00am and drift back to wood around 7:00am.

Staff Posthttps://paddlinglife.com
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.

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