This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
performance Top Canoe Racers Secrets from


Few paddlers are capable of what marathon canoe racers do every other weekend—keeping pace through a 1,000-mile course, enduring both grinding monotony and gruelling pain and winning sprint finishes to end 15-hour races. We wanted to know how they do it—so we asked them. Meet three racers who have proven to be the toughest of the tough.


BY IAN MERRINGER Rod Price » 49 Lynne Witte » 55 HOMETOWN: Mt. Clemens, Michigan


YEARS RACING: 37 RACES PER YEAR: 15


BRAGGING RIGHTS: Weyerhaeuser AuSable River Canoe Marathon in both mixed and women’s categories.


LEAD OR FOLLOW? “Riding another boat’s wash can be nice for a time, but I always prefer to be leading at the finish.”


TRAINING REGIME: “During the spring, I’m paddling five days a week with two-hour weekday sessions and four- or five-hour weekend sessions. During the racing season, I’m out five to six days a week, including two three- to four-hour sessions, some six- hour workouts for marathon training and weekday interval training. I also bike and run in the summer with my dogs and cross- country ski and dog sled in the winter.”


STAYING MOTIVATED: “I set goals for each race. If I’m flagging, I focus on the time or placing I’ve set for myself.”


HITTING THE WALL: “Tere is only one remedy: to eat. Te best foods are basic. For longer races, it’s potatoes, cheese and chicken. For shorter races, its grapes and watermelon.”


PRO ADVICE: “Get your own C1 and find a local group to spend time with experienced paddlers. Paddlers like to help each other.”


56 SPRING 2010


HOMETOWN: Orlando, Florida YEARS RACING: 30 RACES PER YEAR: 10 to 25


BRAGGING RIGHTS: Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race, two-time winner of Everglades Challenge, three-time winner of the Adirondack Canoe Classic and six-time winner of the Suwannee River Challenge. Author of Racing to the Yukon—A Lifetime of Adventure Racing from the Everglades to the Amazon to the World’s Longest Canoe Race (rodpriceadventure.com).


LEAD OR FOLLOW? “I prefer to give the competition a good view of my back right after the start. In a stage race, if I have the lead after the first day then I might draft behind the second-place canoe.”


TRAINING REGIME: “Living in Florida, I train on the water all year. Tree to four paddling workouts a week. Weekday sessions are between one and a half to three hours, weekend sessions can be 12 hours if a big race is coming up.”


STAYING MOTIVATED: “I focus on the competition and assume they are struggling too. Sometimes you only need to be stronger than your competition for a few minutes at a key moment in a race.”


HITTING THE WALL: “I view my body as an engine. If I am fatigued, I need more fuel, so I’ll increase my energy intake. I like to drink Perpetuem by Hammer Nutrition. I also eat a lot of bananas and a variety of snack bars.”


PRO ADVICE: “Jump in! Remember that even a disappointing result makes you stronger.”


Steve Lajoie » 33


HOMETOWN: Mirabel, Quebec YEARS RACING: 19 RACES PER YEAR: 10


BRAGGING RIGHTS: Tree-time winner of La Classique de Canots de la Maurice, the Triple Crown event starting in La Tuque, Quebec, and finishing in Trois-Rivières, Quebec.


LEAD OR FOLLOW? “Being part of the pack can be more fun than having a big lead, but if you have a good lead you can set your own pace, which is a great advantage in a long race. Of course, knowing that others won’t catch up is also fun.”


TRAINING REGIME: “During the summer, I paddle five to six times a week and run five kilometres four times a week. During the winter, I cross-country ski four times a week. In all, I train from 12 to 20 hours a week.”


STAYING MOTIVATED: “I keep things simple by focusing on the moment at hand, and not what’s to come. What is to come in long races could make anyone lose motivation.”


HITTING THE WALL: “I stay quiet and focus on my technique, especially the catch. Te catch is the most important part of the stroke. You have to be strong in the beginning of the stroke and then smooth it out. I also try to avoid bonking before it happens by eating and drinking. I drink about one litre every hour, switching between water and Powerade. Te best foods are fruit, PowerBars and Hammer Gels.”


PRO ADVICE: “Be prepared for a long haul. It takes many years to get good.”


PHOTO: HARRY KERN


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64