JOHN CHAPPELL: North Notes: Creek Adventure Big Hit for Fest
The spring music and art festival in Robbins is proving a hit with practitioners of canoe and kayak artistry.
More folks by far have signed up already than ever expected for the first Bear Creek Adventure Biathlon, according to the president of the North Carolina Canoe Racing Association.
Dr. William McDuffie, a Carthage veterinarian, has been paddling his whole family for years -- not in the way of punishment, but as an outdoor treat on the waters of the Old North State. With a Robbins town commissioner who is also an outdoor enthusiast, Mark Garner, he's been busy helping to open and promote public use of area creeks and rivers.
They and others are already practicing for the April 12 event, a feature of Robbins SpringFest 2008.
"We're only two weeks away from the Robbins Spring Festival and the Adventure Biathlon," McDuffie says. "Even though they're not calling for rain or lightning, I think we'll still plan on a practice session on Sunday afternoon (April 6). I will be at the N.C. 705 access at 2:30 with canoes and kayaks available. We can get in a little paddle practice and it will also be a great opportunity to take a look at the race course."
The adult race starts at 11 a.m. the Saturday of the festival. A youth race kicks off at 10 a.m. Youth races are free, but the whole family can watch the biathlon even if not competing.
Registration for the adult biathlon involves a nominal fee, $15 if on the day of the race (registration by one hour before each event). People can compete solo, or as a team of two, three, or four.
"The excitement begins with an exhilarating run of about 1.5 miles," McDuffie says in a press release. "Then a quick switch to a canoe or kayak (if you're part of a team, relax. It's your partner's turn to have fun) for a scenic, but hopefully fast paddle of about one mile on beautiful Bear Creek. You will end up back where you started so it's time for you or your teammate to run again."
Then it's a switch from Bear Creek canoe regatta to a foot race.
"Cross over Bear Creek (not with the boat, that would be too easy) and hopefully you'll just get your feet wet," he says. "Everyone watching will want more. Climb up the muddy creek bank and run towards Lowes Foods. There's a couple more water crossings and a very tough but short hill, circle the flag and come back across the creek up to the finish line."
Don't know how to paddle a canoe or kayak? McDuffie has an answer for that: find a partner to do the paddling.
"If you want to go solo we'll teach you how -- but you'll have to wait until race day to find out what eating donuts has to do with a biathlon," McDuffie says. "There will be a "canoeing/kayaking for dummies" event before race day. You'll leave there paddling or receive a full refund. It is free though. There are also a limited number of canoes and kayaks (if you don't have your own) available for race day. Come to the how-to class and you'll get first choice. These will also be free."
This weekend could be the last chance for that free instruction. McDuffie says he's surprised -- and very pleased -- by the number who are already registered for the biathlon.
"I've had six more people sign up since yesterday," McDuffie said Monday. "It's not too late to sign up, but it's way too late to back out. We're probably over 50 now."
Contact John Chappell at 783-5841 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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