What's the big deal about Canton Canoe Weekend?
We are only weeks away from the General Clinton Canoe Regatta, the first of the Triple Crown races that are the most regarded and prestigious races in the marathon canoe world. It is normally very difficult to predict the outcome of the 70 miler as there are not many prior races where the best of the best come to compete at together. That is the main reason that Canton Canoe Weekend is such a vital race in the grand scheme of the race world and why you should plan on being at this race if you want to see where you currently stack up in the ultra competitive professional scene.
For those of you not familiar with Canton Canoe Weekend it is a premier 2 day event that has both C1 (Saturday) and C2 (Sunday) races that take place on a 14.5 mile round trip course on the Grasse and Little River in Canton NY. The C1 race is the real big draw as this is by far the most competitive and lucrative C1 professional race in marathon canoeing and last year there were 45 professional C1 races to test their abilities and compete for the C1 Pro International World Champion Title. This is a great course as there is a variety of different water conditions and skills required to excel on this course from reading the river and picking the best line both up and downstream on the Grasse River especially through the rock garden to tough boat control and handling on the Little River and not to mention 3 buoy turns on the course.
Now let us get to the numbers so you can understand why this race in particular is so important to the looking forward to the General Clinton and thus the remainder of the race year. I will be comparing numbers from the 2018 C1 race and General Clinton for this assessment.
Out of the 45 total C1 Pro competitors at Canton, a whopping 41 also competed at the Clinton. That is 91% of the people. This first stat is a big one as we can start to conclude if someone shows up to Canton there is a good chance this is a warm up race for the Clinton. There was only 1 team at the Clinton in the top 10 that did not have someone that competed also in Canton. The only 2 paddlers that did not show up to Canton last year that finished in the top 6 places were Serge Corbin and Christophe Proulx. In the Top 10 teams at the Clinton (20 paddlers) the only other people that didn’t also compete at Canton were a team from Texas (Chris Issendorf and Ian Rolls) Logan Mynar, or people from Canada including Serge and Chris and Graham Smith.
When you go even further looking at the C1 results at Canton you can see that this might be the best Clinton predictor out there. Andy Triebold and Steve Lajoie came in 1st at the Clinton and 2nd and 1st respectively at Canton. Guillaume Blais placed 4th at Canton and 2nd at the Clinton. Trevor Lefever and Ben Schlimmer placed 3rd at the Clinton and Trevor placed 3rd at Canton and Ben placed 8th. Samuel Frigon placed 14th at Canton and 4th in the 70. Jim Pellerin and Joel Lacroix placed 5th at the 70 and 6th and 15th at Canton and Mike Davis and Weston Willoughby placed 6th together at the 70 and 5th and 7th at Canton.
The basic idea here is that if you want to know how good of a paddler you really are and you can’t test yourself at one of the triple crown races I would highly suggest making the trip to Canton. If you want to see what the competition will be like for the 70 I would suggest you go to Canton. If you like a friendly atmosphere and a well organized event I would go to Canton. In other words, GO TO CANTON.