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East Fork/West Fork Canoe Challenge

© 2006 by Bonnie McKenna
All Rights Reserved

“This is the eighth year we have had this race. It is the only race that starts at night,” said R. D. Kissling, race director for the East Fork/West Fork Canoe Challenge. “This gives racers an opportunity to experience paddling in the dark. We will not see dawn until at least an hour into the race.

The race starts at Lake Houston Park at 5 a.m. with a “Le-Mans-style” start requiring portage to Peach Creek to put boats in the water. The race goes down Peach Creek to Caney Creek to the East Fork of the San Jacinto River then out across Lake Houston to the West Fork of the San Jacinto River; continue up stream to the finish near the U.S. Highway 59 bridge.

“There will be two different formats to the race. The first group is the marathon racers; they just want to go as fast as they can. After that we will have a group of adventure racers. Adventure racers will be required to make check points along the route. Penalties area assessed if a check point is missed. Both races will include a mid-race portage. Maps and checkpoints will be released at registration. The race will cover 16 miles and take between two-and-a-half to four hours. “The City of Houston Lake Police will be part of our safety net patrolling the lake. They have been a great help every year. “We will have solo, tandem, men’s, women’s, and mixed classes for kayaks, canoes; there will be prizes for each class. “A long-sleeved T-shirt, that is famous among Texas canoe racers, will be given to all who register.

Registration before March 19 is $25 and $35 up until race time. “I am hoping to see at least 40 boats competing this year.” For online registration go to www.active.com (search East Fork West Fork) or contact the race director at RDKissling@aol For additional information, go to www.luv2paddle.com bmckenna@ourtribune.com0