90 miler

I want to try the 90 miler this year. But looking at the dates my wife/shuttle bunny, won’t be able to make it. Is it possible to do the race without a support person/vehicle? I’m thinking it would greatly complicate things?


Fresh Water at 8 lbs a gallon
How much drinking water do you want to stow ?

Mike, you just need to find a little help. I will be in the area, but I can’t crew for you full time. We could get your truck to Saranac Lake.

funny. The 90 miler takes place on
some pristine lakes. Just dunk a cup.

Brian will announce at the start of each day if any one needs a driver, and normally there are a few people who are willing to do it for a slight fee or whatever

jack L

It is possible

– Last Updated: Apr-01-13 8:00 PM EST –

While possible, it is quite unofficial. You will have to count on the generosity of a stranger from another crew, and luck to drive your vehicle, or shuttle you to fetch it. Having said that, it is a very common thing to do. You just have to make yourself known early to Brian (the race director), and to make the rounds of the other hundreds of paddlers and pit crews. In past years the race committee provided transport of camping gear, but no more.

If you haven't entered the 90 before, be sure to get your application in as soon as it comes out, usually around the 3rd week of June. Entry for newbies is by lottery. Last year the DEC allowed Brian to increase the number of entered boats from 250 to 275 for the first time. Even so, he had over 325 entry applications, and some had to be sadly turned away.

Motor boats

– Last Updated: Apr-01-13 10:29 PM EST –

All of the lakes and rivers of the 90 miler allow motor boats and have many shoreline residences/camps. As a result, while generally "clean", I wouldn't call them exactly pristine. However water should not be a huge problem. Bring two or three of liters of water to begin, and there is additional water (and candy bars) available from race volunteers at several of the carries. Miles per day are approximately 35/30/25. Bring food to eat while paddling appropriate to your burn rate.

Thanks all
I have an e-mail into Brian.



– Last Updated: Apr-01-13 10:34 PM EST –

Some of us do the Cannonball-90, which is the entire traditional 90 mile course in a single day. All of it is paddled or carried without transport assistance, including a total of 10 miles of carries. It is not an official race, just something to do for training, usually around the time of the summer solstice for maximum daylight. Sometimes we have assistance with fresh supplies mid-way (at Long Lake), more often we are unsupported and bring all food and water (filtering or treating as needed) for the entire trip. I've done solo canoe alone, solo canoe with others, tandem canoe, and voyageur canoe. All fun.

How many hours does that take you?

I’ve done a few 50 mile days, but that was on rivers where the river helps out. Lake paddling with portages would slow things down for me.

Cannonball hours

– Last Updated: Apr-02-13 1:05 PM EST –

It typically takes between 19-20 hours, depending on boat and crew. I really like to begin at exactly midnight in Old Forge.

After silently cruising past softly lit shoreline camps, paddling across the big lakes in total darkness by the light of the stars is not to be missed, especially if solo and alone. That schedule puts me on winding and often foggy Brown's Tract with just enough light to see for navigating the bends and beaver dams in morning dusk. The sun greets me rising over Raquette Lake while the water is still in morning calm. Arriving in Saranac Lake before sunset to a cheering small gathering is quite nice.

Note that the Yukon 1000 consists of a little over 6 days with max by the rules of 18 continuous hours (we keep it right to the minute) of paddling each day. With the current, average distance is 160 miles/day. The cannonball is good training.

Going without pit crew
A few questions. 1)Are you staying in motels or campinng? 2) Will you prepare your morning and evening meals or eat out?

Going solo and camping and cooking your meals means you will have gear that needs transportation from the start each day to the finish each day. You will need to arise early to cook, eat, and break camp before the paddlers meeting. At the end of each day you will need to find your gear, set up camp, cook your meal.

Staying in motels and eating in restaurants simplifies the mornings, but still requires getting from motel to restaurant to start line.

Either way you will need someone to transport your gear for you; whether it be camping gear or just your clothing. Finding someone to drive your vehicle each day with your gear makes it simple for you, but is a big imposition on others.

Having a pit crew makes life so much easier. You really need to line up a pit crew beforehand or at least a driver. At everydays finish there are those wet tired paddlers trying to hitchhike back to the start line to retrieve their vehicle and gear. And its a long walk.

In the early days there was a gear truck for those going unsupported and a shuttle from Saranac Lake back to Old Forge for people to drop vehicles at the finish line on Thursday night. Those days are over.

For your first time you might want to partner with someone who can provide a pit crew and is missing a partner. Portaging a tandem boat and gear with two people is easier than a solo boat and gear alone. A

C-4 is even more fun. 2 people with an empty boat, two people with just gear.

If the logistics look daunting, ask the Voyageur crews if they’d like another paddler, some are looking for paddlers even after registration. Its

good to do your first 90 Miler with someone or a crew that’s experienced.