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Dec. 9, 2018
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Stroking toward Lula Bridge

By Jane Harrison
 
Recreational paddlers, trained young athletes, master kayakers and stand up paddle boarders will test their endurance March 17 in the annual Lula Bridge Race. The 12-, 18- and 25-kilometer event, organized by the Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club, puts both young and seasoned flatwater paddlers on a lazy stretch of the Chattahoochee River between Lake Lanier Olympic Park and the namesake bridge.
 
Most participants will do the shorter distances between buoy markers, said Kalen Scholz, Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club Coach. But, some will take on the entire course out and back from the bridge. Scholz said adequate rainfall this year has brought the lake up and opened up the long route.

The race is a traditional rite of passage for LCKC paddlers transitioning from indoor workouts and long paddles on the lake into the spring season of more intense training. She expects about 20 LCKC athletes will take on the full 25K. Most will paddle the shorter distances.
 
“A handful of athletes from out of town” will test their mettle against LCKC paddlers, Scholz said. These include a group from Nova Scotia who are training with the local team.
 
Usually several individuals on recreational canoes or kayaks, occasionally even in ocean kayaks or vintage canoes, join in the endurance trek. The rising popularity of stand up paddle board has brought several SUP participants in recent years. “They’d really have to be tough to do the full course,” Scholz said.
 
Top finishers get awards in categories by age, including Bantams age 14 and younger; Juveniles 15-16; Juniors 17-18; and Seniors/ Masters over age 18. Depending on participation, awards will also go to top recreational paddlers and team boats with more than one paddler aboard.
 
The race will begin at 10 a.m. Athletes will need to arrive by 9 a.m. to check in at the tower, prepare their equipment, and warm up. There will be an athlete meeting at 9:30 a.m. on the tower side. Registration is available online at www.lckc.org.

Posted online 2/26/18
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