SARANAC LAKE — Middleport's Todd Vanderwalker and his daughter Faith Ann, 16, placed second recently at the 90-Mile Adirondack Canoe Classic in Old Forge and ending in Saranac Lake.
It was a three-day race with five miles of portages. This was the 37th year for the Canoe Classic where 250 teams ranging from single person canoes and kayaks to 10 person war canoes compete in various classes, or compete in open touring which is a non competitive “in it to finish” class.
Vanderwalker said he remembered hearing of the race from his father, Dan, who competed in the first couple years of it winning first place in his class.
While in Tupper Lake with his Son in July, Todd saw a sign for it and decided that he wanted to give it a try. Faith Ann agreed to compete with her father in this last minute decision and they got their application in to compete in the C-2 Family Class just in time to make the cut off.
The Vanderwalkers named their team, FAD racing, which stands for Father And Daughter, as well as Faith Ann & Dad.
Training started in the Erie Canal twice a week for six week. Faith Ann had to learn how to be in the stern steering which was a totally new position for her. The hope was that they complete the 90 miles but with out much race training or experience they didn’t know what to expect.
“It was a grueling 3 days with lots of blisters, lots of memories, and in the end a first place finish for their class,” Todd said after he and Faith Ann crossed the line on Day 3 with an overall time of 16:48:09.
The time for the second place finishers in their class was 16:57:57 and the third place team crossed the line with a time of 21:45:13.
Not only did Todd and Faith Ann take first place for their class they also won “The Reynolds Cup,” which is selected by event organizers and presented in memory of Dick Reynolds who loved paddling the 90, especially with his daughter, Holly.
It's awarded to a parent/child team that plays hard, plays fair and has fun together on and off the water, which definitely describes this outdoor loving duo who is also working on hiking the 46 High Peaks together.
Todd’s wife, Alicia, son, David and father, Dan, served as their pit crew and were honored to be there to celebrate this accomplishment with them.