Updated: Jul 30, 2019
So you want to compete in the Adirondack 90 miler. The first decision in this journey is going to be what category or division of this race will you choose to compete. The main choices are between the C4, Voyager, C2, and C1 divisions. There are guide boats also but as this is a canoe racing site we will stick to canoes for simplicity sake. Now there are advantages and disadvantages to each of these categories and that is where we shall start.
C1 - This is a 1 person canoe. The major advantage of racing this division is that you do not have to find anyone else crazy enough to race with you and you do not have to rely on anyone else for your performance. The disadvantages of this however are that it could be a lonely 90 miles by yourself and you also have no one to help pick you up in those low spots. You also have to come up with a support crew to help transport your things and provide nutrition along the way. If you have never done a long race before I would not suggest that you attempt this race in the C1 for your first time.
C2 - This division is a 2 person canoe. This is the most common division in marathon canoe racing and is what most of us are racing throughout the year. The biggest advantage to C2 for this race would be the fact that you only have to coordinate efforts with one other person. This might make some of the logistics easier as you have 2 people to draw resources from and you have less overall stuff to have carried around and to deal with nutritionally. The downsides to doing this race in the C2 is that if your partner has a bad race, it could put your whole race in jeopardy. Another downside to racing this race in the C2 is that there will not be as much competition as there are in other divisions. If you are looking for the competition this might not be the best match for the 90.
C4 - This division is a 4 person canoe. This is by far the most popular division in terms of competition at the 90. There are not many other races out there that are as competitive in the C4 as you will find at this race. The advantages of racing C4 start with having 3 others teammates that will be able to help you along the journey. When you are racing C4 you will have to be much more "team minded" than you will in either C2 or C1. You also have 4 people to pool resources together for logistical needs. Also, if one person starts to struggle during the race, you have 3 others that can pick up the slack to help the team finish so the likelihood of your race being ruined due to someone having an off day is slightly less. The downside to the C4 especially for the newer paddler is that you either have to create a whole C4 team or find another team to join up with. My suggestion is to ask around if you are interested in trying the C4 for your first time as not all teammates can race every year so there are usually some boats that will be looking for someone to fill up their boat. If you can't find a team to join it might be harder to jump into this race in the C4 division as you will have to find a C4 boat which are normally somewhat more difficult to find than C2s and C1s and you will need to find 3 more people to paddle with. Another hardship you might find will be the logistics of getting 4 people's schedules to match up to train and also deal with all of their stuff come race time.
When I had decided to race the 90 this year I had yet to determine which way I was going to race. I had very tentative plans to race C2 but then my potential partner had conflicting race plan which made me have to really consider my best options. As I don't have experience with this race I ended up making a call to Gene Newman of GRB Newman Designs to ask if he had any suggestions. Luckily for me, one of his normal C4 teammates is unable to race this year so I jumped at the opportunity to hop on their C4 team. So the first part of the logistics is now handled, but what is next?
Once you are either on a team or deciding to race solo and after you send in your entry fee and form the next logistical thought needs to be transportation and lodging. Since this race will be following a modified 90 miler blueway waterway trail and each day starts and stops at different locations along the way you need a way to get your vehicle and other supplies from place to place and you will also need a place to sleep each night as the race spans 3 consecutive days.
Logistically if you can get together with your team and move as one unit that will be the easiest way to make the transportation part of the trip easy. My team however are coming from very different locations and have different lodging accommodations for the weekend so for my trip I was lucky enough to have one of my best friends that is a big fan of the outdoors accompany me on my trip. Now, he will be able to transport my vehicle from the start of each day to the finish making the whole trip much easier.
Now that transportation is checked off the list that last major piece of logistics is lodging. There are multiple options when it comes to lodging in the area from hotels to camping. Here is a link to the race course map for those interested in looking for accommodations close to the end and starts of each day. https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1Ifqqu2DhExscnNKeicNzS_OnjKU&ie=UTF8&t=m&oe=UTF8&dg=feature&msa=0&ll=44.01784767414245%2C-74.5458615&z=10Basically If you are coming in on Thursday night, you will want to stay in the Old Forge area, on Friday night you will want to stay in the Long Lake area and Saturday night the Tupper Lake area will be a solid choice.
For this year I decided I wanted to do the camping route. As we will be driving in on Friday morning, we only had to worry about Friday and Saturday night. On Friday we will be staying at the Lake Eaton Campground. This is a DEC run campground that is both very close to the finish of day 1 and the start of day 2. For Saturday night we will be staying at Fish Creek Pond Campground. This is a great option as the start of day 3 is actually in the campground. I picked a site that was both on the water and the closest I could find to the start which is around site 230.
In my recap article I will give a review of the campsites to help guide others in the future and let you know how all of the other logistics worked out and anything that I would change if I end up doing this race in the future.