Today's quiz: What type of boating race is contested partly on land?
Griswold - For Priscilla Reinertsen, becoming a competitive canoeist was a natural progression.
She described herself as a "beat up" marathoner. When she and her paddle partner Ray Thiel of Voluntown put their racing canoe into Hopeville Pond shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday, the race blinders went on and Reinertsen, a Contoocook, N.H. resident, became focused on the task at hand.
"I enjoy the competition, the series of different challenges," she said before carrying the boat to the pond's edge.
The Great Pachaug Canoe and Kayak Race, an event that is part of the New England Canoe and Kayak Racing Association's flatwater point series and a fundraiser for the state chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, went off without a hitch Sunday as about 50 people took part in the challenge that included 10-mile courses for racing kayaks and canoes and a 2.8 mile recreational course.
The race stretched the length of Hopeville Pond. The boats were put in the water at the state park public beach.
The kayakers paddled two lengths of the pond, while the canoeists kept heading south to the Pachaug River, where competitors had to portage at a dam and paddle around two small islands before heading north back to the pond, a total distance of 10 miles.
Race organizer Ted Kenyon of Waterford said many of the competitors, from several New England states, know each other from other events.
"There's a lot of camaraderie in canoe racing," Kenyon said.
Participants earn points for the race in the New England association's series - awards are given out to points leaders at the end of the season - and the course was designed to test the paddlers' technical skills.
Carina Peritore of Lexington, Mass., and Tom Ellsworth of Orange, Mass., have tackled much longer courses this season and in years past.
Peritore said she gets on the water in early spring and trains to be able to compete in the Triple Crown of Canoe Racing. Earlier this year she competed in The General Clinton Canoe Regatta, a 70-mile race near Cooperstown, N.Y., and the La Classique de Canots de la Mauricie, a three-day race in Quebec, Canada.
Ellsworth competed in the third jewel of the crown, the Weyerhaeuser AuSable River Canoe Marathon, a 120-mile overnight race in Michigan.
"It's a good race to stay in shape and keep the fast twitch muscles in condition," Peritore said of Sunday's 10-miler.
At the other end of the spectrum, Deanna Hart of Pomfret Center just wanted to stay in her kayak. A novice kayaker, Hart said her goal was to stay in the boat, finish the race and enjoy herself.
After completing the 2.8-mile course, she stood on the beach watching the more competitive racers cross the finish line. Hart said she met each of her goals.
"It was very peaceful," she said.
And as for Reinertsen and Thiel, they gave it their all.
"You race as hard as you can against yourself, against the clock and against your fellow paddlers," Reinertsen said before walking down the hill to the awards ceremony.
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