Spike’s Challenge Canoe Races
The Spike’s Challenge Canoe Races are held the weekend prior to the AuSable River Canoe Marathon and runs from the streets of Grayling to McMaster’s Bridge. Time trials for starting position are held on Saturday in the City Park pond. The C-1 Race is on Saturday night and runs from Borcher’s Canoe Livery to Burton’s Landing. The C-2 race is on Sunday where the canoes and teams line up on Ingham Street at 8:30 am. The horn sounds at 9:00 am and the teams run to the Old AuSable Fly Shop for the beginning of their trek to McMaster’s Bridge.
– Sprints for C-2 Race in the City Park, 9am
– Downtown Music Bash on Michigan Avenue, 3-11pm
– Start of C-1 Race at Joe Wakeley’s House (behind Borchers Canoe Livery), 6pm
Sunday, July 21st
– Spike’s Challenge Race at Old AuSable Fly Shop, 9am
About the Race:
Spectators start to locate prime viewing spots on the banks of the Old AuSable Fly Shop six hours before the start. Pre-race activities will begin at 6:00 p.m. that will include Introduction of Paddlers, entertainment and the singing of national anthems. Spectators pre-position their vehicles to leave the start as soon as possible to many of the viewing points along the river.
As 9:00 PM draws near, the excitement of the crowd builds anticipating the start. When the race starts, the spectators closest to the start, of the four block run, will initiate a cheer that culminates with thousands applauding the ninety or more teams as they try to reach and enter the AuSable in the same place at the same time. The very best will not stop until they reach Lake Huron in Oscoda, 120 miles away.
The table below represents the times that the leading teams will reach sites along the race course. Between these sites are many places to observe and to meet fellow followers of the race. Places near Grayling like the Rayburn Property and roads that end at the river like Keystone offer excellent viewing opportunities early in the race.
As the race travels its course, official timers report on the exact times that racers pass. When they do this they radio the information on each split time to the race office in Grayling. A hand-held scanner with the correct frequencies will provide reports on who is moving up through the pack and who is falling back. The timers also report teams having problems and what teams are pulling out. Having a scanner can add enormously to knowing what is going on with the race. It can also be used to pick up the continuous weather updates from the National Weather Service. Several radio stations will also carry updates on the race throughout the night.
You can find out more on their website: AusableCanoeMarathon.org