NEWAYGO, Mich. -- Michael Fairchild of Brattleboro and Peter Heed of Keene, N.H. teamed up to win the C2 Men Vet 1 class of Sunday’s USCA National Championships on the Muskegon River.
The duo won the 16-mile canoe race in 2:00.45. Finishing second was the tandem of Ralph Vincent of Sutton, Vt. and Greg McMorrow of Thorndike, Maine in 2:03.17. The Michigan boat of Ralph Scofield-John Hollands and Indiana’s Terry Pontius-Skeet Craig rounded out the field.
"The race started in the back water of a power dam. After four miles, racers portaged around the dam and entered the Muskegon River for the 12-mile down-river run to the finish," noted Fairchild, who said the river section was challenging and fun because of the constant variation in water depth.
Heed has run in several marathons and is a regular entrant in the River Rat canoe race -- a wild, six-mile event that begins in Athol, Mass. every April. He and Fairchild are regular training and racing partners, including events as far away as Hawaii.
"Training and racing with Peter is a true gift. He is well known as one of the best stern paddlers in all of North America," stated Fairchild. "Best of all, with non-stop races lasting up to 16 hours, he’s always supportive and keeps an emphasis on having fun."
Heed and Fairchild went to Michigan just after taking first place in the New England Marathon Canoe Championships. They won that C2 Men’s Veteran heat in 1:49.12, with Vincent and McMorrow the runnerup in 1:54.41.
Heed co-authored "Canoe Racing: Competitors Guide To Marathon and Downriver Canoe Racing" in 1993. He is a former member of the US Marathon Canoe Team, served as President of The United States Canoe Association for four years, and was named Canoeist of the Year in 2000.