“Spend as much time as possible on mountains, in small boats, or otherwise out in the weather; if you never get wet, cold, exhausted or scared, you won’t properly appreciate being dry, warm, rested and safe.” ~ Peter Jay

"I’m an adventuring river rat at heart. Put me on a floating piece of driftwood and I’m happy." ~ Christina Glauner

"There’s folly and foolhardiness on one side and daring and calculation on the other." ~ C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels

Sunday, May 30, 2010

South Dakota Kayak Challenge

Yesterday I participated in the first South Dakota Kayak Challenge. On Friday, I drove down to Yankton for the pre-race meeting and to camp in Riverside Park, the starting point. After the meeting, we shuttled cars to the finish line at Bev's On The River in Sioux City and took a bus back to Yankton. Ryan Snuggerud was also racing and he camped next to me. We also planned to stick near each other for most of the race.

View SDKC in a larger map

There were racers from Ontario, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and, of course, South Dakota. Boats ranged from surf skies to sea kayaks to recreation kayaks. Even the race veterans (MR 340, Texas Water Safari) were impressed with the number of racers for the inaugural event. After the race, I am told, the first overall racer said that it was his toughest race.
That maybe because of the typical South Dakota winds we experienced. We had winds in the 20s mph and gusts up to 32 mph. The temperature was in the low to mid 90s.
Looking over the map (above), Ryan and I did a good job of trying to shave distance by cutting across the river curves. My gps data shows 67.3 miles for the course, under the 72 river miles.
We also had another paddler hanging with us through the race, Justin Herreman of Black Hills Paddlers fame. As the race went on, we grew more tired. Three quarters of the way through the first section, I put my rudder down because I realized I would wear down too quickly if I was constantly leaning/edging as I fought against the headwind. Ryan and I got out and stretched at every check point, plus on one sandbar. As we neared the finish, Justin and I sprinted out, giving the patrons at Bev's On The River and Jolly Rogers a show. I was into the marina mere seconds ahead of him (Justin) with Ryan right behind.
We were exhausted, but I believe everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event. Thanks again to the volunteers, sponsors, and racers that made this a successful race. Here's to next years race!

We came across the finish line (marina entrance) roughly around 9 PM, 14 hours after the start. Results will be online Monday afternoon, but I though I heard that we rounded out the top 20 or 25. In my sprint with Justin, I was paddling a minimum of 8 mph and hit 8.5 mph.
EDITED TO ADD: The results were posted today. Justin and I were tied for 9th in the adventurer class. We finished at 8:53 PM with Ryan just a minute behind us.


  1. It was good to see you at the race, Pat. There are a couple of photos of you on my blog. Congratulations on finishing the race. I assume that you continued on to the finish on Saturday, and I wonder what time you got in.


  2. No worries, hope to see you there in 2 months :)