I got a chance to paddle with a few of the Wisconsin Kayak Canoe Race Group in January right before we got iced out on the Yahara. An hour and half with Kevin has helped my forward stroke immensely.
Here is information on the WKCR season opener to coincide with Canoecopia on March 9th - 11th.
Start time: 3:30 p.m. (Note that some earlier e-mails had mentioned 2:30 – we moved it back by an hour.)
Location: The Yahara River in downtown Madison, Tenny Park, just downstream of the locks, at the canoe racks. You can reach this parking lot from Sherman Avenue. Please note that this location is a few blocks North (upstream) from previous years.
More Information: Kevin LeRoy, Kevin.firstname.lastname@example.org
Gimmick: We try to set a race course where the winning time in minutes will equal the forecasted high temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. For your reference, the average high temperature in Madison on March 10 is 40 F. The lowest recorded high is 5 and the record high is 66.
Entry Fee: None. However, please note that you get what you pay for. All we are providing is a course and somebody to shout, "GO!" There are no classes, no door prizes, no awards, no safety support, no bathrooms, no t-shirts…the list of what this race does not provide goes on and on. Timing and scoring will be somewhere between casual and non-existent.
Disclaimer: It is very important that you understand the risks of racing on nearly frozen water. The casual nature of this race means that nobody is going to take any steps to ensure your safety. You are completely on your own. You should only participate in this race if you have sufficient paddling experience, understand what you are getting into; and lack common sense.
Course description: The race course will be laps up and down the river (number of laps depends on temperature). This stretch of the Yahara is almost exactly one mile long between Lakes Mendota and Monona. It is almost entirely straight, is generally about 3 - 5 feet deep and fairly narrow. Depending on water levels in Lake Mendota, current can range from minimal to moderate. This is an urban river with plenty of urban river features such as old bridge pilings, pipes, bicycles and shopping carts. You do NOT want to hug the shoreline (especially under bridges). The middle of the river, however, is clear of obstructions. If ice and wind conditions permit, we will also use part of Lake Monona. In the five years that we’ve held this race, we were able to use Lake Monona twice. Once it was too windy, and twice it was still ice covered. Our local ski club has an unofficial meteorologist, and he says we should expect things to still be wintery and icy in early March. (http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/~scottb/ski.html)
After the race: Several of us will go out to dinner. A specific restaurant has not been determined yet, but it will certainly be someplace that serves beer.
Before the race: This race is held on this date to coincide with the big Canoecopia paddlesports expo. For more information, go to http://www.rutabaga.com/ and click on "Canoecopia".
Also, the other paddlesports shop in town, "The Paddlin’ Shop", will be having special events as sales that weekend as well. See http://www.paddlin.com/ . We purposely set the race start time late in the day so you would have plenty of time for browsing at paddlesports gear and listening to presenters before the race. (And the late start time also helps facilitate post-race beer drinking.)
America is a great story, and there is a river on every page of it. - Charles Kuralt