Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

New Facebook Page For Canoe Race

If you're one of the 400+ million users of the venerable social networking site known as Facebook, you can now become a fan of the newly minted Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race page.

Updates, comments and fan photos are welcome. Or you can just stick around here and haunt the blog. That's cool too.


Eve Of The Race Updates

From a photographic standpoint, the stream is too low and too slow! From a paddling standpoint, it depends on who you are.

Experienced paddlers might be nonplussed by the lower water levels this time around, but at the same time, people who have never tried the race because of anxiety over the high and fast water in recent years should be able to relax this year. It's a good year to get your feet wet, so to speak.

PS - Partial race results will likely appear in the Bangor Daily News on Monday; full results usually do not come out for two to three weeks. You can sign up for the race results email list on the contact page of my site.

Here's to a fun race and a pleasant weekend for all!

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Paddler Steve Markwith did a trial run of Six Mile Falls & Washing Machine/Shopping Cart yesterday and he posted this web page with photo stills, videos and his thoughts on the conditions there.

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Portage Update: Maxfield Mill Dam Area

As some of you know, there is construction underway at the Valley Avenue bridge, a project which is scheduled to last into June.

There have been some concerns about the construction site and materials impeding the mandatory portage at the Valley Avenue intersection area (known as the Maxfield Mill Dam). Plastic fencing, rebar rods and work trailers are in the path of the portage, for example.

However, Parks & Recreation and a supervisor at the construction site have both mentioned that there's no reason for concern. A path will be cleared through the construction site and the area will be made safe for a portage on race day. No worries!
PS - the water looked GREAT today! Should be a blast. Remember to preregister if you haven't already.

Thanks to Clayton Cole and Pat Davis for providing info.


See You On The Stream

Latest news: the race course will remain unchanged; the finish line in downtown Bangor will be the same. Water temperature is 38 degrees. Parks & Recreation and the search & rescue crews foresee no problems with the stream conditions.

Paddlers of the Kenduskeag are in for a treat. Water levels are amazing (some say the best it's been in 15 or 20 years) and the weather is perfect. The 2007 race is going to be a BLAST.

Be safe and have fun.

If you didn't preregister for the race, you may register from 6:30am until 7:30am on race day in the village of Kenduskeag. (But don't be late!)

And for those of you staying home: the race will be televised from 10:00am until 12:30pm on WABI-TV5.

WLBZ will have the video posted on the internet in 15-minute chunks so you can watch it live or after the race. How cool is that?

Also, the race will also be streamed live on the internet through Watch Maine Sports as a pay-per-view event. ($9.95 per stream).

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Whitewater Survival Tips

I took note of this excellent post on the message board of MaCKRO (Maine Canoe & Kayak Racing Association) and felt that it should be shared by as many paddlers as possible before the upcoming race.

The following is from veteran paddler Clayton Cole, who has lived by the Kenduskeag for 20 years:

"The high flow makes for lots of eddys, holes, wave trains and turbulence, but most difficult spots can be avoided . I would like to share some tips: If possible run the whitewater Friday. Scout the tricky spots Saturday morning. Be prepared to swamp or swim (wear proper clothing). Use at least 4 feet of floatation in any boat, have 6" grab loops or 6' lines with no knots. Have one bailer for each paddler. Keep your boat dry - bail or pull over and dump. Better yet, avoid the middle and skirt around all the big stuff. You must paddle with determination in big whitewater. Don't stare at the hole or wave train or it will suck you in. Commit early to a route, look where you want to go and paddle as hard as you can. Keep your paddle in the water including the recovery when it gets rough and especially if you are carrying water. Don't stop paddling in the big stuff - you will turn sideways and then it gets, well use your imagination. This is going to be a good one!"

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Thunder Hole

Whitewater kayakers had a ball at the Shopping Cart Thursday afternoon.

(click photo to enlarge)
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"High Water Won't Stop Kenduskeag"

"Tracy Willette, the race director and the city’s superintendent of recreation, chuckles about the rumor mill fueled by passion for the area’s biggest whitewater race.

And he assures you, there’s nothing to worry about: The Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race, 41st edition, will go off as planned on Saturday morning."

Click here to read the rest of the article


A Quickie Video of Water Levels

I visited the Shopping Cart area and Six Mile Falls today and took some video footage.

Click here to watch the 2-minute video. (Nothing fancy, but it gives you some idea of the volume and swiftness of the stream.) Will be interesting to see how much this changes by race day.

The fellow standing near the Shopping Cart is Bob Martin, who thought it would be wise to stick to river right and hug the bank going through the Shopping Cart. If you get sucked into the Shopping Cart out!
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Six Mile Swamp

Pat Davis is right: the stream is high and fast and swollen. In addition to his pics, here's another one from the Six Mile Falls area.

This is the area where spectators normally stand to watch the paddlers go through the falls.

As you can see (click photo to enlarge) the "vulture" area is completely flooded. The water goes all the way back to the Hudson Road!

UPDATE 4/18/07: Here is a closer shot of Six Mile Falls (taken today).
Where did the "jaws" go? (Click photo to enlarge)

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Race Day Weather Lookin' Good

The weather forecast for race day is "nice with sunshine and patchy clouds, high: 60 degrees". Maybe Old Man Winter is finally taking a hint. Should be a GREAT day for paddling.

Pat Davis sent in a couple snapshots of Six Mile Falls today.
Thanks, Pat!
(Click photos to enlarge).

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Water Levels & Weather Reports

If 10-day weather forecasts are to be believed, we could see a decent amount of precipitation on many of the days leading up to the Kenduskeag race.

I'll post stream photos and conditions beginning next week.

By the way, remember to preregister before 1pm on April 20. The registration form can be downloaded right here.

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It's been a year?! Unbelievable.

My website,, is now entering its third year. And while it does sort of seem as though it has been three years since I launched the site, I cannot believe that it has been a year (to the day) since I started this blog for the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race.

In any case, stay tuned for race updates and more!
The 2007 registration form should be online in a couple of weeks.


2006 Race Results Are Now Online

Bangor Parks & Recreation released the 2006 Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race results today.

In a few days I'll have this PDF file reformatted into HTML pages, where they will be archived on my website.


Race Results Out Soon

The nice folks over at Bangor Parks & Recreation have informed me that the 2006 race results will be available online within a week from today. That's good news.

Here are some preliminary results which were made available just after the race:

Top Times

Jeff Sands-Kenny Cushman 2 hour, 8 minutes, 34 sec., Trevor MacLean 2:16:38, Jeff Owen-Steve Woodard 2:23:42, Fred Ludwig 2:30:50, Jamie Hannon-Chip Loring 2:31:22, Mabee-Kell-Lee-Theb-Hess-Cang 2:31:41, Justin Wardwell-Clayton Cole 2:31:41, Dan Wagner- Charlie Bradat 2:37:01, McGrath-Levy-Gray-Scarda 2:39:25; Brad Krog-Del Cummings 2:39:32, Matt Dingle-Greg Dorr 2:39:48, John Alsop 2:42:52, A. Paradise-P. Reomertsem 2:43:54, Bob Martin-Richy Bartlett 2:44:34, T. Kenyon-M. Cyr 2:45:04, Aaron & Dale Cross 2:45:48, Douglas Depew 2:48:45, Peter Blood-Clint Cushman 2:49:33, William & Nicholas Lunt 2:49:36, Chip & Lani Cochrane 2:49:55, G. Warnica-A. Billard 2:50:33, Eric Taylor-John Eames 2:51:00, Dick & Brian Kelley 2:51:11, Bill & Patrick Deighan 2:51:40, Barry & Eve Dana 2:52:51, Reinhard & Brenda Zollitsch 2:53:46, Guy Flately 2:54:30, Bucky Owen-Dick Storch 2:54:34, Mark Ranco 2:56:21, Tommy Perkins 2:57:21, Dawn Krog-Vicki Cummings 2:58:48, Jon Wescott 2:59:51, D. Conley-H. Brittain 3:01:36, John Carter 3:01:57, Bret & Travis Vicary 3:03:18, Michael Sproul-Mark West 3:04:17, River & Ralph Robertson 3:04:23, Larry Merrill 3:04:25, Brant Winsor-Randy Dixon 3:04:35, Gary & Dustin Brooks 3:04:40, Marc Rohde-Brent Gibson 3:05:05, B. Coffey-J. Wahlstrom, 3:05:55, Earl Baldwin Jr. 3:06:06, B. Merrill-B. Hatt 3:06:45, Ben & Dan Burke 3:07:24, N. Hawes-G. Stellpflug 3:08:05, Sandra Kudrak-Terry Wescott 3:08:45, Bob Mitchell-Bob Miller 3:08:47, Boying-Pellitier-Doucette-Day 3:10:09, Bronwen & Ted Pierson 3:10:38, Randy, Jackie & Juliet Cobb 3:11:41, Benson-Albert-Eaton-Eaton 3:12:00, Steve Markwith-Phil Gagnon 3:12:02, K. Fullarton-A. MacNeill 3:12:42, D. Rosborough-A. Mace 3:13:26

Category Winners

Open Class: Jeff Sands-Kenny Cushman 2:08:34; C2 Long: Peter Blood-Clint Cushman 2:49:33; C2 Medium Experienced: Jeff Owen-Steve Woodard 2:33:42; C2 Short Experienced: Martin Fitch-Andrew Magiera 3:14:32; C1 Experienced: John Alsop 2:42:52; C2 Mixed Experienced: Reinhard & Brenda Zollitsch 2:53:46; K1 Long: Trevor MacLean 2:16:38; K1 Short: John Carter 3:01:57; K1 Short Women: Maggie Sutherland 3:21:34; K1 Recreational: Douglas Depew 2:48:45; Century Class: A. Paradise-P. Reinertsen 2:43:53; Golden Age Class: Bucky Owen-Dick Storch 2:54:34; Junior/Senior: Gary & Dustin Brooks 3:04:40; C2 Women: Laurie Stearns-Susannah Owen 3:40:41; C2 Women Recreational: Dawn Krog-Vicki Cummings 2:58:48; Junior/Senior Recreational: Dick & Brian Kelley 2:51:11; C2 Mixed Recreational: T. Kenyon-M. Cyr 2:45:04; C2 Medium Recreation: Dan Wagner-Charlie Bradat 2:37:01; C2 Short Recreational: Brad Krog-Del Cummings 2:39:32; C1 Recreational: Guy Flately 2:54:30; C1 Women Recreational: Sarah Quaintance 4:34:49; C2 Medium Beginner: T. Lowell-H. Thompson 3:29:33; C2 Short Beginner: Greg Vail-Andrew Warnica 3:20:38; C2 Mixed Beginner: Lance Davis-Karen Roy 3:23:03

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Kenduskeag Is A Go

The race is on!

Race day registration has been scaled down to one hour, from 6:30am to 7:30am.

So if you plan to register at the last moment tomorrow, better get there early.

Here's the latest canoe race article from the Bangor Daily News.


No TV Coverage Of Kenduskeag This Year

WABI-TV, the CBS affiliate which usually broadcasts the action from the bridge overlooking Six Mile Falls, will not be televising the race this year.

A phone call to the sports desk at WABI confirmed this; the low water levels will likely lead to many portages, resulting in dull coverage.

However, this should not be taken to mean that the Kenduskeag will be cancelled. Nor should a television producer's idea of the "excitement factor" of this race be taken as a signal that paddlers won't have an exciting afternoon. I'm betting otherwise.

Said it before, will say it again. Don't let the rumors or news get you down. The race is on!

Stay tuned (so to speak).

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A Couple of April Fools Scout The Stream

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge images)

On the morning of April Fools Day, I scouted different parts of the Kenduskeag with my neighbor Chris D'Amico, a seasoned vet of the canoe race. As a paddler, I'm a hopeless novice. I work primarily as a photographer. So it was good to scout some sections of the stream with someone who could actually "interpret" the water. This we did by car and by foot - not by boat.

It doesn't take a seasoned veteran of this canoe race to see that the stream levels are quite a bit lower than in years past. But I felt a need to know just how bad the damage is. Would a seasoned race participant take a look at sections of the stream and abandon all hope? Recent race cancellations in Maine (all due to low water) have some people sitting on pins and needles. Is it possible, they ask me, that the race could be cancelled altogether this year? It is a question which has popped up in the back of my mind as well.

It's important to note that up until now, there has been absolutely no mention of a pending cancellation by the race committee. And today's estimation from Chris was one of cautious optimism: "The stream is low, yes...but it certainly appears to be doable. At least for now. Some sections will be rough going, but it appears to be passable."

I'll have to leave it up to other paddlers to determine whether "passable" is good enough for them. But in any case one thing seems certain: Six Mile Falls looks to be a dicey proposition. With such low water levels, a paddler's options are limited. We walked along both sides of the stream in the area of Six Mile Falls, all the while amazed at how much more exposed the banks of the stream are this year.

Tree stumps, knifelike slices of ledge, spits of grassy land - all of which were submerged under several feet of water last year and in years past - were completely exposed. Stairsteps of rocks and boulders riffled the stream.

Chris lined up some possible approaches to Six Mile Falls and again, he felt that it seemed passable. But tricky. He figured that lining up for a run into the low-level falls may require considerably more technical skill and finesse of paddlers this year. He also wondered if most people might decide to portage the falls altogether to avoid such a problematic obstacle. Then again, there's an outside chance that Six Mile Falls will be designated a mandatory portage.

That about closes it for our April Fools Day stream and race speculation. For whatever it is worth. Stay tuned!

UPDATE 4/5/06: Stream levels have risen in just a few short days thanks to rain, sleet and light snow. Things are looking much better. So, no more hand-wringing! I would be VERY surprised if the race were cancelled at this point. I don't think 2006 will be a year of record race times, but I don't think this race will be cancelled. Just my 2 cents, take it or leave it.


St. George and Passy River Races Cancelled

Unfortunately, both the St. George and Passy River races have been cancelled due to low water levels. Both races were tentatively scheduled for this weekend (April 1st & 2nd). No word on the status of races scheduled in the near future; it's still too early to tell. Stay tuned - I'll post updates as they become available.

Here's more from the Bangor Daily News.


Sixteen Miles of Bad Road

How low can it go?

The Kenduskeag is so low that, in places, I could walk halfway out into the stream without getting my shoes wet. However, I have heard from a couple of different paddlers that the sections of the stream they tested were passable.
(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

If you know how to do a raindance, this might be a good time. The St. George River Race in Searsmont was postponed for a week due to low water levels. Things can turn around quickly given some steady rain. But at the moment, the Kenduskeag looks like sixteen miles of bad road. As my neighbor put it: "Looks like we'll be painting the rocks with our boats this year."

PS - Here's a good story by John Holyoke (Bangor Daily News) with regard to the St. George River Race and the low water levels.
PSS - Long range forecast calls for rain next weekend and on some weekdays after that. So don't let the low water observations deter you from registering for the race.

Comments (4)

Iceout: Slowly But Surely

Stopped along the stream during lunch break today. The fog set a nice mood. A couple of years ago I snapped an iceout sequence (in case you haven't seen it).


Dry Dock (But Not For Long)

Well, it's almost that time of year again. The 40th Annual Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race is only five weeks away, and the 2006 registration form is now available for downloading.

Remember, registering early saves you money ($17 per person as opposed to $30 per person if you wait until race day to register).

And you won't have to deal with the stress of waiting in line.