AuSable River Canoe Marathon teams battle for starting positions during three-day time trials event

AuSable River Canoe Marathon teams – before they raced 120 miles from Grayling to Oscoda on Saturday and Sunday – competed against the clock and each other while battling for starting positions during a three-day time trials event last week.
The AuSable River Canoe Marathon Committee changed the course for time trials last year, creating a new loop for the event that made the turnaround buoy accessible to spectators. In previous years, the old course started at Penrod’s, featured a buoy turn at the halfway point downstream, and finished at the starting area at Penrod’s. 
The new loop? It starts in the same place as before at Penrod’s, but it sends teams upstream first, has them turning around at a buoy at the Old AuSable Fly Shop, and then finishing the loop going downstream. With the buoy turn at Old AuSable, spectators can now watch the turnaround – a part of the sprint that many teams say is one of the  most challenging aspects of the event – from the I-75 Business Loop bridge and the hill by the State Police Crime Lab.
Day one of the 2016 time trials: Wednesday, July 26. The weather? Light rain.
Nick Walton and Matt Meersman posted the best sprint time of the Wednesday session at 5:07.16. 
Rick Joy and Phil Weiler were in the second spot after day one with a time of 5:52.72. Tommy Cramer and Dylan Kirk had the third best sprint time on Wednesday (6:02.07).
In all, 15 of the 80 teams signed up for the 2017 AuSable Marathon sprinted on Wednesday. The times ranged from 5:07.16 to 7:35.08.
Only two teams finished under the six-minute mark. Seven teams were between 6:00 and 6:59. Six were between 7:00 and 7:59.
Day two. Thursday. The longest session of the three. It started at 3 p.m. and the last canoe of the day finished at around 7 p.m. The Thursday sprint list featured 47 teams (32 more than Wednesday). 
Weather conditions for Thursday: sunny, warm.
Steve Lajoie and Guillaume Blais had the best sprint of the Thursday session with a time of 4:51.58.
Mike Davis and Weston Willoughby had the second best time of the day at 5:03:01. Andrew Triebold and Mary Schlimmer had the third fastest sprint of the day at 5:03.48. Shane MacDowell and Pete Mead posted the fourth best time of the Thursday session (5:11.71) and Wesley Dean and Jason Hatfield had the fifth fastest time of the day (5:12.90).
Thursday’s sprint times ranged from 4:51.58 to 9:06.87.
After two days of sprints, the top five teams were: 1) Lajoie and Blais; 2) Davis and Willoughby; 3) Triebold and Schlimmer; 4) Walton and Meersman; 5) MacDowell and Mead.
Day three. Friday, July 28. Sunny weather. Friday’s session featured 18 canoes.
Christophe Proulx and Samuel Frigon had the top sprint time of Friday’s group at 4:54.88. 
Trevor Lefever and Matt Rudnitsky had the second fastest time of the day at 5:07.66. Michael Schlimmer and Joe Schlimmer were the third best team on Friday with a sprint time of 5:09.24.
Friday’s sprint times ranged from 4:54.88 to 9:28.39.
In all, for the three-day event, 16 teams posted times better than the record on the old course. Before 2016, the sprint record was 5:22.17, a mark established by Triebold and Matt Rimer in 2006. None of the 16 was able to beat the new course record from last year (4:47.93, set by Blais and Mathieu Pellerin).
With all of the sprints completed, these were the teams that earned spots in the first three rows for the run to the river: (row one) Lajoie and Blais; Proulx and Frigon; Davis and Willoughby; Triebold and Mary Schlimmer; Walton and Meersman; (row two) Lefever and Rudnitsky; Michael Schlimmer and J. Schlimmer; MacDowell and Mead; Dean and Hatfield; Tom Pellerin and Jim Pellerin; (row three) Trevor Robinson and Bill Torongo; Richard Lauth and Kyle Mynar; Patrick Madden and Adam Gelinas; Ted Smutek and Matt Gabriel; Ryan Zaveral and Philip Millspaugh.
The AuSable Marathon – a 120-mile race from Grayling to Oscoda – doesn’t start in the water; it starts on the road. Teams line up on Peninsular Avenue in Grayling, five teams per row, and when the race begins, competitors carry their canoes to the water at the Old AuSable Fly Shop. Teams with the best starting positions have shorter paths to the river and fewer canoes in front of them during the beginning of the race, and that can be a substantial advantage.
In recent years, the time trials event has provided a strong forecast of which teams will finish at the top and which teams will finish at the bottom (or not at all) during the AuSable River Canoe Marathon.
This year, 11 of the AuSable River Canoe Marathon’s top 13 finishers also finished in the top 13 during time trials.
Lajoie and Blais took first during sprints and second during the AuSable Marathon. Proulx and Frigon took second place in the time trials competition and they finished first in the 2017 Marathon.
The third place through seventh place finishers at sprints placed in the same positions during the AuSable Marathon: Davis and Willoughby, 3rd; Triebold and Mary Schlimmer, 4th; Walton and Meersman, 5th; Lefever and Rudnitsky, 6th; Michael Schlimmer and J. Schlimmer, 7th.
The eighth place team at sprints – MacDowell and Mead – took ninth in the Marathon.
T. Pellerin and J. Pellerin took 10th at sprints and eighth in the 2017 AuSable Marathon. Lauth and Mynar were 12th at time trials and 10th in the race. Madden and Gelinas finished 13th at sprints and 11th in the Marathon.
AuSable Marathon teams with the slowest sprint times, in general, have a low finish rate. 
This year, the seven slowest teams at time trials posted four DNFs and placements of 69th, 70th, and 73rd out of 80 total teams. Seventy-three of the 80 finished the race.
The average finish rate for the entire field during recent AuSable Marathons is approximately 80 percent.
This year’s time trials event was spread out over the course of three days. Before 2011, it was a two-day event. In 2011, after having three consecutive years of record breaking participation numbers – 76 teams in 2008, 90 teams in 2009, and 94 in 2010 – the AuSable Marathon Committee opted to add a third day in order to accommodate the event’s increasing number of teams.
 
2017 AuSable River Canoe Marathon Time Trials Results
Place Canoe# Name Name Time
1 04 Steve Lajoie • Guillaume Blais 4:51.58
2 02 Christophe Proulx • Samuel Frigon 4:54.88
3 55 Mike Davis • Weston Willoughby 5:03.01
4 01 Andrew Triebold • Mary Schlimmer 5:03.48
5 13 Nick Walton • Matt Meersman 5:07.16
6 05 Trevor Lefever • Matt Rudnitsky 5:07.66
7 78 Michael Schlimmer • Joseph Schlimmer 5:09.24
8 08 Shane MacDowell • Pete Mead 5:11.71
9 68 Wesley Dean • Jason Hatfield 5:12.90
10 90 Tom Pellerin • Jim Pellerin 5:14.70
11 14 Trevor Robinson • Bill Torongo 5:16.59
12 89 Richard Lauth • Kyle Mynar 5:17.76
13 17 Patrick Madden • Adam Gelinas 5:19.22
14 94 Ted Smutek • Matt Gabriel, Jr. 5:20.51
15 62 Ryan Zaveral • Philip Millspaugh 5:20.80
16 43 Wade Binion • Hener Cruz 5:21.24
17 07 Daniel Medina • Austin Weiler 5:22.60
18 22 Tim Sheldon • Colin Hunter 5:22.72
19 76 Tim Chapple • Vincent Bellemare 5:30.00
20 72 Ray Trudgeon • Mandy Trudgeon 5:34.64
21 48 Jérémie Fortin • Anthony Massicotte 5:38.01
22 93 Sean Brabant • Kyle Stonehouse 5:40.35
23 44 Flash Marsh • Carson Burmeister 5:42.52
24 99 Antoine Rouleau • Rosalie Frigon 5:44.11
25 37 Rebecca Davis • Edith MacHattie 5:44.86
26 71 Devin Arenz • Joe Manns 5:44.87
27 30 Chris Issendorf • Andrew Condie 5:45.13
28 64 Simon Dessureault • Sarah Lessard 5:48.82
29 11 Rick Joy • Phil Weiler 5:52.72
30 98 Benedict Schlimmer • Miranda Robinson 5:52.98
31 25 Mike Elenbaas • Mike Hale 5:53.37
32 73 Mike Fries • Kevin Olson 5:57.84
33 29 Nate Winkler • Rodney Matthews 5:58.67
34 88 Shawn Spallinger • Chase Spallinger 5:59.54
35 31 Fred Kueffer • Kira Stolen 6:02.36
36 18 Tommy Cramer • Dylan Kirk 6:02.72
37 40 Fred Mills • Rodger Moak 6:05.68
38 51 Christian Marchand • Sylvain Marchand 6:06.23
39 57 Jon Webb • Gwen Hills 6:06.53
40 79 Doug Moggo • Bruce Daman 6:07.79
41 24 Kristi Treston • Katie Treston 6:08.93
42 52 Paul Olney • JoAnn Olney 6:09.30
43 15 Joel Truitt • Eric Whicker 6:10.55
44 36 Joel Mack • Michael Garon 6:10.99
45 74 Seth Miller • Stephen Miller 6:12.72
46 96 Nathan Tate • Adam Fujita 6:15.11
47 80 Luc Mercier • René Joly 6:17.87
48 67 Roy Sowersby • Jim Cerva 6:30.47
49 85 Gary Aprea • Gloria Wesley 6:33.34
50 50 Bill Mahaffy, Jr. • Chris Hewitt 6:38.05
51 54 Sylvie Nadeau • Lynne Witte 6:40.47
52 61 Chuck Hewitt • Erin Thompson 6:40.79
53 47 Jeff DeFeo • Katie Schaaf 6:46.46
54 59 Fritz Hansen • Jaya Elleson 6:48.30
55 28 David Sennett • Ashley Cary 6:49.33
56 70 Chris Gallagher • Chris Ecker 6:54.16
57 23 Kevin Murphy • Darin Nicholas 6:54.50
58 42 Jon Thompson • Bryan Bearss 6:55.79
59 26 Andrew Weeks • Paddi Thornburg 6:59.85
60 35 Zachary Childs • Ryan Childs 7:04.41
61 86 Jeffrey Matthews • Jordan Jamison 7:05.09
62 10 Maria Schilling • Io Harberts 7:06.15 
63 84 David Armstrong • Karen Febey 7:09.52
64 60 Rebecca Sutter • Roger Henry 7:10.06
65 81 Sinthang Has • Scott Carroll 7:10.14
66 58 Greg Zophy • Lauren Chapple 7:12.30
67 75 Keith Wojahn • Jerry Killingbeck 7:16.63
68 83 Tom Ackemyer • Ray Bauer 7:17.03
69 12 Josh Kellogg • Mike Kellogg 7:19.29
70 32 Judi Clark • Rod Clark 7:25.75
71 34 Ed Lipinski • Scott Doederlein 7:26.48
72 27 Ted Cramer • Dwight Walker 7:35.08
73 87 Nicole Owens • Rodney Elliott 7:35.22
74 49 Lauren Fry • Mark Rowe 7:49.17
75 69 Chris Scully • Ed Butler 8:04.10
76 19 Peggy English • Ellen Thompson 8:07.27
77 45 Daniel Sherman • Bradley Thompson 8:14.62
78 38 David Hallison • Jason Holton 8:43.21
79 56 Jim Braig • Kevin Stalheim 9:06.87
80 41 Chris Ragsdale • Matthew McDougall-Smith 9:28.39
 
Sprint results courtesy of www.ausablecanoemarathon.org
 
Best Sprint Times, 2000-2017 | AuSable River Canoe Marathon
Year Team Time
2017 Steve Lajoie • Guillaume Blais 4:51.58
2016 Mathieu Pellerin • Guillaume Blais 4:47.93 **
2015 Andrew Triebold • Steve Lajoie 5:23.04
2014 Andrew Triebold • Steve Lajoie 5:28.10
2013 Andrew Triebold • Steve Lajoie 5:28.34
2012 Andrew Triebold • Steve Lajoie 5:29.15
2011 Andrew Triebold • Steve Lajoie 5:32.04
2010 Andrew Triebold • Steve Lajoie 5:35.82
2009 Andrew Triebold • Steve Lajoie 5:34.45
2008 Andrew Triebold • Steve Lajoie 5:28.67
2007 Andrew Triebold • Matthew Rimer 5:26.24
2006 Andrew Triebold • Matthew Rimer 5:22.17  *
2005 Andrew Triebold • Matthew Rimer 5:24.41
2004 Mo Harwood, Jr. • Matthew Rimer 5:25.44
2003 Jeff Kolka • Serge Corbin 5:34.04
2002 Mo Harwood, Jr. • Matthew Rimer 5:39.74
2001 Jeff Kolka • Serge Corbin 5:41.17 
2000 Tim Triebold • Matthew Rimer 5:57.54 
 
* Record sprint time for the old course
** First year for the new sprint course
 

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