Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

2009 Whitewater Season Begins Next Week

Update 3/29:
Great turnout (109 boats!) at the St. George River Race in Searsmont. (Photos)

Other races, spaced one week apart after the St. George, include the Passy River Race in Belfast and the Souadabscook Stream Race in Hampden. Mackro has posted a schedule of upcoming races.

Mackro President Jeff Owen wants to attract new paddlers to the sport in Maine. MaCKRO is hosting race clinics for all novice paddlers (and anybody else who wishes to participate). The St. George River clinic will be held this Friday, March 27th at 4pm. Read about the clinics here.

Also, if you are not a member of Mackro, consider joining. There is no fixed membership fee this year; you decide how much you would like to donate when you send in your membership form. Mackro is a good resource for beginning and advanced paddlers alike.


Kenduskeag Water Lookin' Good For All Paddlers!

Over 700 paddlers are registered for the 2008 race, not counting race day registrations!

Powerhouse paddlers Robert Lang (eleven time winner of the Kenduskeag) is returning to the Kenduskeag this year, and Trevor McLean will be participating in this year's race as well.

And from today's Bangor Daily News, quoting Bangor Parks & Recreation director Tracy Willette:

"I think the stream is at a pretty good level for everybody. Not too low, not too high," Willette said. "I think it’s going to be a pretty good course for everybody. I think the technical paddlers, the experienced paddlers, will enjoy it, and I think the beginners and recreational paddlers will have a good course to run."

Read the rest of John Holyoke's article here for more information and last-minute tips!

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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.


A Passel Of Race Prep Information

Jeff Owen of MaCKRO leads the Kenduskeag
sessions at the Paddle Smart event in Bangor
on April 12, 2008.

In case you were not able to attend Paddle Smart 2008 this past weekend which featured special Kenduskeag-related sessions, I took some notes and have posted them on the information page on my canoe race website. I hope you find this information helpful in prepping for the race next Saturday.

By the way, if you'd like to scout out the stream from Six Mile Falls to downtown Bangor in your boat, members of MaCKRO will be hosting an informal paddling event on Friday, April 18. Meet up with other paddlers near the finish line in downtown Bangor (near the Sea Dog) at 4pm. You'll go to Six Mile Falls and paddle (at your own pace and skill level) back to town.

Jeff Strout of the Bangor Daily News wrote a handy article about choosing a kayak that is right for you. So if you are in the market for a new kayak (heck, even if you're not) read Jeff's article here.

John Holyoke (also from the BDN) wrote an article a few days after last year's race - and his article is worth revisiting nearly a year later. "Sage Advice From a River Vulture" can be found here.


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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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


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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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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Bangor Daily News Race Article

In case you missed it:

Cushman, Sands Take Kenduskeag


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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College Students: Compete For Your School!

(originally posted 3/27/06)

Although it is missing from the 2006 race registration form, there's a new College Division for the 2006 Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race (and this new College Division is applicable to all MaCKRO points races throughout this season.)

College students may compete on behalf of their respective schools for the ultimate prize: The College Cup.

You must be a member of MaCKRO (Maine Canoe & Kayak Racing Association) to compete in the College Division. There are special membership group rates available for colleges. Contact MaCKRO for more information.

Canoe race organizer Matt Dingle relayed this message:

"Only one, Unity College, has contacted me about their club joining. They did make some comment about the other colleges around here not knowing how to paddle, having buggy whip arms and that they would probably float down the stream backwards, puking in fear. But the message wasn't real clear."

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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.

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No Umbrella's Paddling Picture Show 2006

No Umbrella, Maine's alternative outdoor newspaper, is taking their Paddling Picture Show festival on the road to eight different college campuses in Maine over the next couple of months.

The editor of No Umbrella, Nick Callanan, asked if I could put something together for the traveling picture show to represent the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race. I was happy to oblige.

After choosing some of my favorite shots from the 2003, 2004 and 2005 races, I produced a 5-minute slideshow and it has been included in the festival. I will post the slideshow on the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race website at a later date; in the meantime, check out this cool show when it rolls into your neck of the woods!

Here's the current schedule:

April 13 7 p.m. UMaine - Orono
Screening will in Neville 101

April 14 Skowhegan Outdoor Expo Skowhegan, ME
Screening will be at the Skowhegan Recreation Building

April 19 7 p.m. University of Maine at Presque Isle
Please call the school or check back here for exact venue

Visit the No Umbrella website for more information.