Al’s Round Robin

The partner board
The partner board

This weekend Graham and I went to Grand Rapids, Minnesota with a couple paddling buddies to race in the biannual Round Robin. This was my first time in MN and first time racing in this format, and it was pretty fun. In this race, all the entrants race with all the other entrants over a short (10 min) course. A computer program written by one of the athletes and it assigns the partners for each heat and then sums each athlete’s total time over all the races. Photos courtesy of Rick Lorenzen.

You identify an athlete based on their number, in case you haven't met them before.
You identify an athlete based on their number, in case you haven’t met them before.

Thirty races! This made for long and grueling days. There was a bit of a break, but for the most part there was a really short turnaround between races: find your partner, find a boat, decide bow or stern, and head out. It was quite hot on the first day, and humid, which was a bit of a shock for us coming from cold and rainy SK. The next day was more overcast with a tiny rain sprinkle in the morning, but with a stiff wind.

Canoes along the lake's edge
Canoes along the lake’s edge

It is pretty tricky to quickly adapt to so many different people, styles, experience levels, weights, and strengths. That was also what I liked about it: the adventure of assessing each new partnership and deciding what would make the most of it. I did a medium job of this, but I learned a lot. Disappointingly, I did the worst job with some of the fastest guys, and guys I paddled with before. However, I was a big and strong enough to push along some of the smaller or less fit folks, and overall did pretty well. I ended up being the fastest woman and beat some dudes as well, finishing 20th of 30 participants. I can see where to make up some time, so next time I’ll be able to chase down a few more people.

Graham did really well, coming in second to our Saska-buddy Mike. Our other Saska-buddy Trevor was fifth. The ride down was also pretty fun since we got 24 hrs to talk about canoeing. We billeted with OUTSTANDING hosts Al and Krista at their lakefront home. Most competitors were staying there; we had some really wonderful meals and got to meet and chat with everyone away from the race course. The evenings were filled with singing frogs (also bugs), we ate salad out of the garden, and there was also a very cute cat that looked just like grey kitty and was about as friendly. I am definitely looking forward to the next one. 🙂

Someone took some action shots; I’ll post them if I can get a hold of them.

Loons (and bebe loons!) on the lake
Loons (and bebe loons!) on the lake


  1. This sounds like such an awesome, and interesting racing challenge.

    The accommodations sound absolutely ideal, with paddling buddies, and complete with garden salads, and a cute friendly kitty! Awesome.

    Way to go Graham and Catherine!

  2. Marathon Canoeing Sprint Regatta style – interesting.
    I love the loon shot!!

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