Updated: Jul 30, 2019
It has been almost two weeks since the USPP canoe race on the Susquehanna river. USPP is the 2nd weekend on the race calendar, immediately following the Rat Race. It is the first "serious" event of the season, for the Rat Race everyone just shows up without any idea of what to expect, and to perhaps party a bit more than what is healthy and to catch up with friends who we haven't seen in months.
Participation was down a bit this year, with 10 pro's lining up for a $500 first place purse, and subsequent amounts for the lesser positions. A quick description of the course- the race starts at the route 205 bridge just downstream of Oneonta, runs for about 1 hour and 15 minutes downstream to Wells Bridge, around a buoy and back upstream for 25 minutes finishing at the Otego boat launch. Because of the strong current, it is impossible to line up across the river so all the boats start on shore, with the stern paddler holding onto a branch or twig. The first boat to register lines up first, the 2nd in 2nd place and so on. Trevor and I intentionally lined up at the back of the pack to gain as much experience as possible riding waves and climbing wash. We have also been trying out a 2010 Corbin this spring, a departure from the JD Pro 2 that we normally paddle.
Our main competition, Ryan Zaveral and Shane MacDowell, quickly jumped out to a lead, putting several waves between the duo of Bruce Lee (Wooo!!!) and Tom Yarosh by the time they crossed under the route 205 bridge. Trevor and I started carefully, meticulously climbing the waves and current. The river was ripping (we averaged over 10 mph for the first few miles), so we also spent some time finding our hips. It took about 10 minutes to work through the pack and catch Ryan and Shane. From there on we kept on a strong effort to distance the pack, putting time on Bruce and Tom, and everyone else but Ryan and Shane. They were fast enough to keep on our wave and push a very respectable pace when it was their turn to pull.
Eventually, after 35 minutes or so and clear of the really fast rough water, we slowed down enough for Bruce and Tom to catch back up. We rode together until the Otego boat launch, where we picked the pace back up and distanced Bruce and Tom. Ryan and Shane kept with us until the buoy turn at Wells Bridge, where we finally put some time on them and ended up winning by 1 minute and 20 seconds.
My average heart rate was 158 bpm, with an average speed of 8.8 mph, 10.6 feet dps, and an average stroke rate at 74 spm. Overall the effort was moderate to high, and because of the strong current and majority downstream course the speed and dps was excellent. Going by feel, the boat felt faster, more responsive and under control compared to the weekend before. Now on to Canton!