Mixed conditions for ’Round races

SARANAC LAKE – The ‘Round the Mountain Canoe and Kayak Race was held Saturday under mixed weather conditions, with the day starting wet and cold.

By start time at 11 a.m., conditions had improved with a brisk wind pushing away the clouds.

“It was windy on Ampersand Bay right when we started, but once you got into the river it calmed down,” said Saranac Lake High School senior Sam Martin, who raced in a voyageur canoe with other students.

The event drew a mix of recreational and competitive paddlers, some were new to the event, others had come for years.

The fastest time of the day went to unlimited kayak paddler Todd Furstoss of Rochester, who completed the 10.5-mile route in one hour, 27 minutes and nine seconds. The race route started at Ampersand Bay Resort on Lower Saranac Lake and continued to the Saranac River all the way to Lake Flower in Saranac Lake. The race went around Dewey Mountain.

Furstoss said he got off to a bad start and had to catch up with at least one of his competitors. He was able to pass some boats after the Lower Locks carry and pull away slightly from the pack.

“Because of my fixed rudder, I stayed in the channel,” he said. “That was to my benefit, and I went past these guys and pulled away.”

Joe Shaw of Essex had the next-fastest time, finishing 27 seconds after Furstoss for second place in the unlimited kayak class.

The fastest time in a tandem canoe went to Roger Henry of Rexford and Bloomingdale resident Mark Winter, who finished in 1:31:51.

The touring kayak class was very competitive with Saranac Lake resident Roger Gocking besting the field with a time of 1:35:39.

A four-person team from the Rochester area made up of Kevin Berl, Patrick Madden, Jim Mallery and Bruce Coddington won the C-4 class with a time of 1:27:47.

A team of Saranac Lake youth and adults teamed up for a competitive Voyager canoe time of 1:41:46. Randy Young captained the team of local athletes that included Keith Kogut, Trish Wickwire and high school students Sam Martin, Elsa Evans-Kummer, Haakon Petersen and Royal McDonnell.

The race was organized by the Adirondack Watershed Alliance (AWA), and was a New York Marathon Canoe Race Association points event.

The race organizers Grace and Brian McDonnell thanked the volunteers who assisted with the event and Ampersand Bay Resort for allowing the use of their property for the start line.

“These wonderful people give up a weekend day to be in safety boats on the course, register racers, time the event and provide radio communication,” said an AWA press release about the volunteers. “The Adirondack Amateur Radio Association coordinates event communications out on the course, and power to run our timing equipment, thanks guys.”

AWA is a paddling club that promotes and organizes paddle sport activities. AWA’s next event is the Adirondack Canoe Classic, Sept. 5 to 7, followed by the Long Lake Long Boat Regatta Saturday Sept. 20. For more information about AWA events or to contact event organizers see www.macscanoe.com. For a list of paddling events in New York State see www.nymcra.org.