Ohio Canoe And Kayak State Championships
5 Mile Kayak Race
Fairport Harbor, Ohio
Racing Class: Rec / Touring Long Boat
Finish Time: 58:01
Finish Place: First Place
Race Review by Scott Orlando
The Ohio State Championships bring out some very fast competition for canoes and kayaks alike. Paddle board divisions have also been added to the race. There are two races offered at the State Championships which are a long race of 10 miles and a short race of 5 miles. The short race is often more popular. There are always several racers that opt to compete in both races. Boats race in classes based on size, construction material, and design to keep things fair. This year I chose to race my Stellar S16 Multisport in the Rec / Touring Long Boat Class. The race is an up river – down river out and back course on the Grand River in Fairport Harbor. Race conditions were much better than last year with a light breeze and just a little chop in the water. I competed in a class against a strong paddler that I race often but have never beaten in any kayak race or adventure triathlon. As the race started we settled in quickly. My start was a little slow as my GPS watch didn’t start so I stopped paddling to reset it. I paddled hard to catch up to the pack and made up for my lost time. I realized this race class would come down to myself or the guy who always beats me. I got right behind him in a drafting position and stayed on his stern for the first few miles. After about 2 miles he leaned back and told me that he went out too fast and to pass him. I made my move and got in front of him. I pushed hard to gain some separation as I knew he would work hard to stay with me. Several times he has come from behind me close to the end of a race to beat me so I knew I couldn’t let up. There was a heavy current at the turnaround buoy and several boats actually cut the turn too tight and got hung up on it or missed it completely. I had an excellent turn and was glad to have the current now working with me instead of against me. I caught the faster water and increased my paddle tempo. Not knowing how far ahead I was I kept working pushing harder with every paddle stroke until I crossed the finish. I had finally beaten him and won my division at the State Championships. I won by less then 2 minutes. It was an amazing race.