The Dan River Boat Race at The Weirs

The day of the boat race came and it rained. It wasn’t a hard rain, just persistent. The racers lined up their kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards by the launch. Thirty-two were registered.

The Rescue Squad was down by the weirs ready to handle whatever came at them. They would man the weirs when the first boat was spotted.

A spotter stood on the first weir and watched. And it rained.

Right around ten o’clock, the first of the “open” boats came through. The races leaving from here would only be racing two miles (I think) but there was an “open” category that was put in further upstream for a 6 mile course.

This, by the way, is a racing kayak.

I was not previously aware of racing kayaks. The second boat through was a local river expert riding an Epic.

Like the first boat, he had no trouble coming through the weirs.

It looks like he might have gotten some water on the last weir but it could have been the angle of the shot. I didn’t notice this until I got home and he had continued on with no issues.

Meanwhile, the other racers had moved their boats onto the launch.

And they began setting off in two minute increments.

I never did figure out where they came out of the water. It was a little cold and a little damp and I was distracted by getting a coffee and a warm apple fritter in downtown Madison at the Mad Bean.

Maybe next year I can actually run the race. Not in a racing kayak. Too rich for my blood. But there were people in canoes and regular kayaks too.

I did finally figure out how you get on the water here though. I was looking up the park but I should have been looking up MadTown Tubing.

Instructions for how to get on the water with MadTown Tubing:

Call (336) 548-2789 to make a reservation for a tube or a sit-on-top kayak.

Go to MadTown Tubing in Downtown Madison at 102 North Water Street. You can park directly across from the Tubing headquarters or you can park in the public parking lot a few blocks up the road in the heart of the shopping district. You will probably want to wrap up there anyway eating in one of the restaurants or having a recreational beverage (there is a coffee house, and craft brewery, and a distillery?).

Have a fun, safe time on the river.

Support a local merchant.

Leave some love on the MadTown Facebook Page.

One word of caution: Do not call the Town of Madison’s number that is posted on the Madison River Park Facebook page. They will tell you that the town owns the park but has nothing to do with getting people out on the river. They didn’t seem super happy about the influx of calls they’ve been getting lately. MadTown Tubing is run by the town’s Parks and Rec Department.