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Are you strong enough to be a Voyageur? According to Wikipedia, Voyageurs were the canoe transportation workers in organized, licensed long-distance transportation of furs and trade goods in the interior of the continent. The strength and endurance of the voyageurs was legendary. It was expected that each voyageur work at least 14 hours a day, paddle 55 strokes per minute and be able to carry two bundles across each portage between the lakes and rivers of the north woods. A bundle generally consisted of beaver pelts or other furs weighing about 90 lbs. on the way to Montreal, or 90 lbs. of trade goods coming from Montreal. A routine portage meant carrying 180 pounds across rugged terrain full of rocks, mud, mosquitoes and black flies. [reference]
River X Racing gives tribute to these legends of the fur trade with the Voyageur Class. By entering the Voyageur Class you opt to choose one of a dozen hand made wooden crates filled with locally crafted goods and to transport that crate from the Huntsville Town Dock, along the 130km Muskoka River X Classic route (Huntsville Port Sydney Bracebridge Baysville Huntsville), to its destination at the Hidden Valley Resort on Penninsula Lake. Your reward for accomplishing this arduous task? Bragging rights of course, and you get to keep the crate and all the goods that it contains.
The crate is a locally handcrafted wooden box of two sizes. For tandem canoes it’s approximately 2 feet long, by 1 foot wide and 1 foot high (2’x1’x1′). For solo boats, it’s approximately 1 foot square (1’x1’x1′). Crates will have handles and a tumpline head strap to assist in transport over portages. It would be familiar for those that know what a wanagan is. Crates are sealed shut prior to being picked up and must not be opened by voyageurs until they have arrived at their ultimate destination – the Hidden Valley Resort on Peninsula Lake. The exact dimensions, weight, and contents may vary from crate to crate. Voyageurs may select the specific crate they wish to transport during in-person registration/gear check on a first come first served basis. More details, photos, weights will be posted in the future.
The payload in each crate comprises a selection of locally produced goods possibly including, but not limited to: maple syrup, beer (for 19+ voyageurs only), dried meat, oats, honey, soap, and chocolate. Each box could also contain a door prize provided by one of Muskoka River X sponsors. The voyageur(s) will not know the contents of the crates until they arrive successfully at the destination. At the destination, the crates will be opened to reveal their treasure.
Your mission as voyageur: Paddle from the Hidden Valley Resort (the MRX start location) to the Huntsville Town Dock (River Mill Park). Load the previously chosen crate into/onto your watercraft. Continue along the entire MRX Classic course, paddling and portaging as required to transport the crate from pickup location to the ultimate destination at the Hidden Valley Resort in 24 hours or less.
Imagine you are a capable voyageur under the employ of the Hudson’s Bay Company, tasked with transporting goods from Huntsville to Bracebridge and then to the Hidden Valley Resort. Your compensation for this challenge, is that you are given all of the contents of the crate and the handcrafted crate itself….but not until you have successfully completed your mission.
- The chosen crate must be transported by the paddler(s) throughout the entire MRX Classic course (Huntsville – Port Sydney – Bracebridge – Baysville – Huntsville) by the registered paddlers without outside assistance.
- Voyageurs may bring wheels or additional straps/padding to assist in transporting the crate across portages.
- The payload of the crates will be packed in a water-resistant fashion and resistant to bumps and knocks, but should not be considered water-proofed or drop-proofed. Care must be taken to keep the crate dry and in good condition. River X Racing is not responsible for damage to the goods contained within.
- The goal of the Voyageur class is to add a fun yet challenging new objective to the MRX event. It is not intended to cause physical harm, or put participants at increased risk of physical harm. Participants should be in good physical condition and capable of carrying heavy loads over extended distances. Paddlers should immediately abort transport of the crate should their physical condition deteriorate such that transport would increase their risk of physical distress.
- Participating voyageurs will be ranked by finish time in their appropriate watercraft category, receiving acknowledgement in the same way that non-voyageur paddlers in the MRX Classic do.
- Paddlers successfully transporting their crate through the MRX Classic route and delivering the crate to the dock at the Hidden Valley Resort on Peninsula Lake within 24 hours of their race start, will be given the crate and it’s contents to keep.
- Tools to open the crate and inspect it’s contents will be available at the finish.
- Should the paddler(s) not successfully deliver the crate to the Hidden Valley Resort via paddling/portaging within 24 hours of the start of the race, the crate and most of it’s contents will be forfeit. (See crates not delivered successfully below)
- Voyageurs choosing to abort their mission early, may leave their unopened crate at one of the 3 checkpoints along the route (CP1, CP2 or CP3) and continue their MRX Classic journey without their crate. They may continue and will be ranked in the equivalent MRX Classic category.
- Crates not being delivered successfully within 24 hours of race start will be returned to the Hidden Valley Resort by MRX staff/volunteers. The paddler(s) may choose to keep a number of the items from the payload (at the discretion of River X Racing organizers), but will not be given the crate or it’s entire contents.
- River X Racing reserves the right to amend or alter the rules above to best achieve the objective of fairness and the participant’s enjoyment.