In the port of Quebec, with giant grain silos as a backdrop, the racers lined up at the starting line.
As they pushed out toward the Saint Lawrence River, the solid ice started to break apart. The rowers switched to a one-legged push, their spiked shoes finding traction against the clumps of ice.
Eventually they found clear water, and started rowing toward the opposite side of the river.
I couldn’t figure out why this was considered a canoe race instead of a rowing race until I saw that the coxswain in the stern was steering with a paddle instead of a rudder.
The race consisted of a couple of laps back and forth across the Saint Lawrence. The returning first seemed to be those that found a path of clear water, or a longer path of solid ice on the opposite shore.
Despite the cold, everyone was smiling as they crossed the finish line.