Father and daughter from Middleport take 1st in 90-mile Adirondack Canoe Classic
Todd and Faith Ann Vanderwalker win the Family Class
Todd Vanderwalker, 38, and his daughter Faith Ann, 16, competed in the 90-Mile Adirondack Canoe Classic this past weekend starting in Old Forge and ending in Saranac Lake. It was a three-day, 90-mile race with 5 miles of portages.
This was the 37th year for the Canoe Classic with 250 teams ranging from single-person canoes and kayaks to 10-person war canoes, competing in various classes or in open touring, which is a non-competitive “in it to finish”class.
Vanderwalker remembered hearing of the race from his father, Dan, who competed in the first couple events, winning first place in his class. While in Tupper Lake with his son in July, Todd, saw a sign for the competition and decided that he wanted to give it a try. Faith Ann agreed to compete with her father in the C-2 Family Class.
The Vanderwalkers named their team, FAD racing, which stands for Father And Daughter, as well as Faith Ann and Dad.
Training started in the Erie Canal as they only had six weeks to train. Faith Ann had to learn how to be in the stern steering which was a totally new position for her. The hope was they would complete the 90 miles but without much race training or experience they didn’t know what to expect.
It was a grueling three days with lots of blisters, lots of memories, and in the end a first place finish for their class.
Todd and Faith Ann crossed the line on day 3 with an overall time of 16 hours 48 minutes and 9 seconds. The time for the second place finishers in their class was 16:57:57 and the third place team crossed the line with a time of 21:45:13.
Not only did Todd and Faith Ann take first place for their class they also won “The Reynolds Cup.” This award is selected by event organizers and presented in memory of Dick Reynolds who loved paddling the 90, especially with his daughter Holly. It is awarded to a parent/child team that plays hard, plays fair, and has fun together on and off the water, which definitely describes this outdoor loving duo who is also working on hiking the 46 High Peaks together.
Each crew that races needs a Pit Crew that will get to the start and meet them at the finish of each day as well as get to the portages to cheer them on make sure their hydration is good and get them anything they need.
Todd’s wife Alicia, son David, and father Dan served as the pit crew and were honored to be there to celebrate this accomplishment with them.