BANGOR, Maine — Trevor Maclean took advantage of a pair of uncharacteristic miscues by 11-time champ Robert Lang en route to the overall win in the 44th annual Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race on Saturday.
Maclean, a 33-year-old from Halifax, Nova Scotia, started the race a minute behind the 54-year-old Lang, but passed the Rothesay, New Brunswick, paddler for good when Lang hit a rock and rolled his kayak about 4 miles into the race.
Lang hit another subsurface rock — paddlers call them “sleepers” — just after the bridge at Six Mile Falls, allowing Maclean to lengthen his lead.
Maclean finished the 16½-mile race in 2 hours, 19 minutes, 5 seconds, while Lang was second in 2:23:46. Jeff Owen of Orono and Steve Woodard of Cumberland paddled their two-man racing canoe to third place in 2:31:27, while solo kayaker Ray Wirth of Belfast was fourth in 2:38:49.
The win was Maclean’s sixth over the past nine years. He finished second the other three times he competed.
“Robert has a lot of experience on this river. You’d think he’d have all those rocks marked so he’d know where they are,” Maclean said.
Both paddlers were racing in Olympic flat-water boats that can provide a racing advantage during the first 10 miles of the race, which runs downstream from Kenduskeag to Bangor and has no rapids. The boats are more apt to tip over, however.
Lang, a whitewater specialist who had never tipped his kayak in his Kenduskeag racing career, estimated he lost three or four minutes each time he tipped over. He said he thought his experience might allow him to challenge Maclean for the win over the final 6 miles of the race, when his whitewater savvy could pay dividends.
That didn’t happen.
“To be honest, if I had not had the second swim, I may have had a slight advantage over Trevor,” Lang said. “I might have been able to pull back some of that minute [that Maclean made up after the staggered start]. So it would have been quite interesting. But my race was over on that second swim. It was just too long to get back in the boat.”
The race was run under low water conditions and cloudy skies. The air temperature was in the low 40s and the water temperature at Six Mile Falls was 41 degrees.
In all, 889 paddlers in 479 canoes and kayaks entered the race.
For a detailed video of the race, visit bangordailynews.com tomorrow evening