Oct 23, 2018

The Inaugural Tuck Canoe Race

By Daniel Hasler T’19

Outside of a well-rounded core curriculum, a close knit-community, and a wide array of extracurricular opportunities, I came to Tuck to get outside. Having spent the last three years living and working in Washington, DC, I was ready for a break from midnight sirens and the smell of Metro brake dust in the morning. And what better place to retreat from city life than Hanover? Tuck students are within striking distance of world-class hiking in the White Mountains, great skiing at Killington Mountain, and an extensive network of Dartmouth-owned backcountry cabins. What’s more, the Tuck Outdoors Club stands at the ready to make it easy to enjoy these natural assets, subsidizing and facilitating experiences that get as many students as possible exposed to natural beauty that makes the Upper Valley a special place to spend two years.

The Inaugural Tuck Canoe Race

This fall, the Outdoors Club’s signature event showcased Tuck’s nearest and dearest natural landmark—the Connecticut River—the scenic waterway that moseys past campus and outlines the border of Vermont and New Hampshire. The inaugural Tuck Canoe Race took place on September 29, when some 60 students took to the river in a two mile, down-and-back contest for class bragging rights. Ten first-year canoes and ten second-year canoes navigated a course that brought paddlers south, around Gilman Island, and back north again, with a finish line marked by Ledyard Bridge. Afterwards, participants convened back on campus for fun and fellowship with a pancake breakfast. And while the second years ultimately won a race that featured only one capsized canoe, everyone enjoyed a sunny day on the river that showcased some of the best parts of being a student here:

We’re risk takers

While the goal of the race (and the Outdoors Club in general) was to get folks outside who wouldn’t have done so otherwise, we were surprised (terrified?) that several of our canoe teams had little to no canoeing experience. But again, that was the whole point, and just another example of Tuckies’ bias for action and penchant to get involved and ask questions later

We’re competitive

Not all racers were novices, however, as two teams featured veterans of the 17-mile Kenduskeag Race last spring. And these paddlers got after it, with the winning canoe hitting the finish line at 21 minutes, 15 seconds, or a pace of roughly six miles an hour.

We’re interested in any excuse to be together

Because it was the first time this event had ever been organized, the race was largely an unknown quantity for spectators and racers alike. Would it be fun? Would all the pre-race logistics get done to ensure a timely race? Organizers learned the answers to these questions didn’t really matter, so long as other Tuckies would be there.