C-1 paddlers race from Grayling to Burton’s Landing during annual event
Spike’s Challenge race features 55 competitors this year
Fifty-five paddlers raced from Grayling to Burton’s Landing in one-person canoes during the 2017 Spike’s Challenge C-1 event on Saturday.
Overall numbers were up from last year’s total (45), but lower than in 2015 when the event had a near record field of 63 competitors. The C-1 race featured 64 paddlers – the current record for largest field in the event’s history – in both 2014 and 2012.
The C-1 race begins in Grayling at Joe Wakeley’s house (near Borchers AuSable Canoeing) and ends at Burton’s Landing. For the start, paddlers line up on both sides of the river in groups and leave in different heats. Starting positions are determined by random draw. It can be a challenging start with paddlers converging in the middle of the river during the start of each heat.
Finish times this year ranged from 42 minutes to 62 minutes, approximately.
Steve Lajoie finished first in the Expert Division with a time of 0:41:40. Mike Davis took second place at 0:41:46. Guillaume Blais was third at 0:42:41.
Weston Willoughby placed fourth (0:43:34) and John Kasik finished fifth (0:43:43). Danny Medina was sixth (0:43:46). Nick Walton took seventh (0:43:51). Also in the top 10 were Trevor Robinson (0:44:18), Russ Reker (0:45:02), and Jeff Kolka (0:45:05).
Twelve paddlers competed in the Women’s Division of the Spike’s Challenge C-1 race on Saturday.
Rebecca Davis won the Women’s Division with a time of 0:46:30, the 13th best time overall. Mary Schlimmer, with a time of 0:47:29, was second in the Women’s Division and 15th overall.
Gloria Wesley was third in the Women’s Division (0:48:31) and Mandy Trudgeon was fourth (0:48:33). Kristi Treston finished fifth in the Women’s Division with a time of 0:49:25.