Two representatives of the Skagway High School class of 1970 set off from Whitehorse just after noon Wednesday in the Yukon River Quest canoe and kayak race.
The Skagway Alumni team of David Brena and John D. ODaniel hope to be competitive among the 18 teams in the canoe class.
The two classmates were on the same basketball and cross-country teams in high school and even chased the same cheerleaders, Brena said last week.
ODaniel raced last year with Steve Parsons for the Skagway Alpine Club team, finishing in 82 hours, 56 minutes. He hopes to improve on that time this year with a new diet and loose-fitting wardrobe.
Brena, who has competed in triathlons, has convinced ODaniel to give up last years staple of jalapeno poppers, deli sandwiches and cold pizza in favor of Hammer ultra endurance products. The team will carry four 64-ounce containers of the drink powder, and they each plan to consume 300 calories an hour.
For an extra supplement, they will pack Hammer gel. Its not to be applied on the body, though ODaniel probably could have used it last year on his paddling seat sores. To avoid that problem this year, he has given up his blue jeans which rubbed him in places that caused Moleskin to bunch up.
ODaniel is counting on Brenas system to both keep their overall canoe weight down, and keep them moving forward. They will be paddling a sleek 18-foot Clipper Jensen that Brena purchased last year.
Their training runs over the past month have consisted of paddling up and down the Yukon River around Whitehorse. With their canoe spray skirt on, they battled some waves on Lake Laberge against the wind.
The only divergence from the strict diet will be beer, but theres a consumption limit.
David Brena and John D. ODaniel (holding tub of Hammer powder) pose before their canoe in Skagway before heading up to Whitehorse for the start of the Yukon River Quest. JB
If we take four beers, well win, ODaniel said, because if we have four beers in us, we start talking about winning.
By the time this issue hits the streets Friday morning, the Skagway team should be well past the Carmacks checkpoint 200 miles downriver, where they would have taken a mandatory eight-hour layover with team support from Brenas sister, Maureen Stacy of Anchorage.
This writer, who is one of the race officials, will be on a safety boat for the entire length of the 460-mile event to Dawson City, and assisting in filing reports to various media and the race webmaster.
To follow Skagway Alumni team number 15, and the progress of all 33 canoe and kayak teams, go to the race results link at www.polarcom.com/~riverquest or www.whitehorsestar.com.
The Yukon River Quest, now in its fifth year, is the longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world. It was born out of the Dyea to Dawson centennial races. JEFF BRADY
Little Leaguers Take on Haines
The Skagway Little League teams just finished a home-and-home series versus Haines teams and came away with some victories. Above, in the games played here on June 14, clockwise from top, Brian Beckner of the Mariners rounds third base as Kaylie ODaniel scoots into second; pitcher Brent Beckner snags a fly ball; Amanda Jensen, Jade Roberts, C.C. Hahn and Kaitlyn Surdyk eat hot dogs and play in the dugout; and Cardinal Tylor Forester raps a single. JB
July 4th International Tourney expected to bring out seniors
Skagway softball skills will be put to the test as the season approaches its first tournament.
The Skagway 4th of July International Softball Tournament is scheduled for July 4, 5 and 6 at both fields. Each of the maximum 10 teams will play a guaranteed five games.
Teams are expected to come from as far away as Juneau and Whitehorse to take on Skagways finest in the annual event.
Local rivalries are shaping up with the season only halfway through. Four Skagway teams are planning to compete, with another local Old Timers team threatening to come back.
Were the only team the Hambones dont have a winning record against, said Cory Thole of the Moes team. They may be five time returning champs, but the record shows the results.
For questions or registration information, contact tournament director Cindy ODaniel at 983-3021. RW
(through first rotation)
North Country 2-6
Shirt Company 0-8