The first of the big 3 also known as the Triple Crown of Canoe Racing is only 2 weeks away and with the entry deadline only a day away it seemed like a good time to take a quick look to see how the race is shaping up this year.
Some people seem to think that the General Clinton 70 miler does not get the same amount of participation as Ausable River Canoe Marathon in July but that is just simply not the case. The reason this appears to be so is that the Ausable does not separate the entrants into different categories like the Clinton does or have different canoe(boat) classes to race (with the exception of the last 2 years adding a shortened version for Rabaska). So if you compare the current Pro C2 class at the Clinton with the entrant list from the Ausable it does appear that the Clinton is lacking by over half. However, if you look at just the racing classes that have participants that would also compete at the Ausable and add them together it is a different story. In last year's Ausable (2018) there were 84 total teams making a total of 168 paddlers. With the current entrant list for this year's Clinton (2019), There are 40 pro c2 entries, 43 amateur C2 entries, 28 C1 entries (both pro and amateur) and 6 C4 entries. That makes a total 218 paddlers. I only included the racing classes as there are other classes in the Clinton such as recreational stock, and aluminum that traditionally do not have people that would also compete at the Ausable. This would add an additional 129 paddlers attempting the 70 mile Journey.
These numbers work out to be a 29% increase in the number of racing paddlers on the water at the Clinton compared to the Ausable. This is just one small reason that if you have never traveled to upstate NY to see the General Clinton Canoe Regatta you should put this race on your bucket list!
With that out of the way let us get to the real talk, who is going to be the favorite to win this year and what is the top 5 in the pro class going to look like? As of the writing of this article there are 2 big names that you do not see on the current entry list. Those names are Andy Triebold and Serge Corbin. That means this could be a very interesting and closely competitive race. I think some of the teams that you need to watch out for include P 32 -Jimmy Pellerin and Steve Lajoie, P13 - Guillaume Blais and Samuel Frigon, P5 Trevor Lefever and Ben Schlimmer, P1 Mike Davis and Kyle Stonehouse and P21 Ryan Zaveral and PO Quesnel. These teams just also happened to be the top 5 at Canton this past weekend. Now the Clinton is a much longer race so much more can happen but I am confident that these teams will not fall far out of the top 5 if some other teams are able to squeak in there.
In the womens division it looks like there are currently 4 teams going after the $1000 bonus. I think the clear favorites in this division has to be team P17 of Rebecca Davis and Edith MacHattie but the remaining positions for the other bonus money will be battled out between P4 the Treston sisters, P35 Pam Boteler and Kelly Rhodes and P41 Melissa Swislosky and Katie Peck.
The mixed division might be the battle of the Schimmers as the brother and sister team P12 of Mike and Mary will battle it out against Joe Schlimmer and Sylvie Nadeau of P15. Other will surely be Matt Meersman and Sarah Lessard in the P19 boat.
The Pro C1 class this year is also going to have a great turnout with 14 boats in the class. In the past 3 years only Normand Mainguy, Rod Mclain, Luc Mericer and Tim Chapple have competed in the class giving them a slight advantage having the experience of paddling 8 hours by themselves but there are many other great paddlers in this class that will surely make for a great competition.
Overall I think this years General Clinton 70 miler will be a great race and I am excited to see how it all shakes out.