KENDUSKEAG, Maine — Perry Lebreton of Old Town stood in the rain Saturday morning, looking out at the roiling, murky Kenduskeag Stream, and shared a thought that many paddlers would have been forgiven for uttering.
“Whose idea was this?” he asked his friends, a decorative Burger King crown wrapped around his racing helmet. “I could be home sleeping.”
Instead, he was among 810 paddlers in 430 boats who started the 53rd Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race, aimed their boats south and headed to Bangor. And this year, Lebreton vowed to do better than he had during his first effort in 2015.
“We crashed at Six Mile Falls. I had four people in the canoe,” Lebreton said. “It was an older canoe and we hit the rocks pretty bad. We had four people and two paddles left, and we tried to finish it, but we hit the falls and crashed all the way down.”
Lebreton said that on Saturday, he decided to abandon the four-person and instead entered in a one-man kayak that he thought would enable him to finish the race and erase the bad memories.
One of Lebreton’s friends, Marjorie Morales of Levant, said she has been kayaking the race for a few years, and always struggles at Six Mile Falls. This year, she thought higher-than-normal water conditions would help her out.
“It’s nice and high. I think I’m gonna smooth right over there,” she said.
Trevor MacLean of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, posted the race’s fastest time — 1 hour, 52 minutes, 53 seconds — for the 11th straight year and the 15th year overall, while fellow kayaker Ben Randall was second overall in 1:57:46. Canoeists Mark Ranco and Chris Francis were third in 2:00:00, while the war canoe of Angus Deighan, Andrew Deighan, Anna Leavitt, Justin Wardwell, Abigail Robertson, Nolan Mabee, Patric Deighan, Ashton Mabee, James Mabee and River Robertson took fifth in 2:00:33.
John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...
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