Race Recap: #T1DCanoer and Muskoka River X

By September 28, 2016Fresh Air Blog

The CIM community is sending congratulations to Pat Lynch for his wonderful paddle and amazing advocacy, showing people that life with Type 1 diabetes does not slow you down. Last weekend, Pat Lynch competed in the Muskoka River X Sprint race and we asked him to share with us a recap of the race. To learn more about his training and why he got into this race in the first place, check out his original guest blog post, here.  A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to Pat for fundraising over $2500 to help support CIM’s Canoe Tripping Program. Check out his fundraising campaign, here!

Words by Pat Lynch | Photos by Randy of Algonquin Outfitters | Video by Hank Devos


Muskoka River X 80km “Sprint” – the worse name for a race ever because for me there certainly was no sprinting.  The day of the race offered its own set of unique challenges, and when sitting in a canoe, it was the three worst possibly challenges all rolled into one – non-stop rain, strong headwinds, and big waves.  There were times when water was rolling over the sides into the boat, the rain was stinging my skin as it landed, and the wind was certainly crying Mary.  The rain caused my pump to fail in the first 3 hours (thank goodness for backup pens), but it wasn’t until movement in my left shoulder was almost nothing before I called it a day after 65km.




Not finishing the race is certainly a disappointment.  However, it was the unexpected in that 12 hours that allows me to call the race a victory.  As I was trudging uphill on the first portage, a spectator noticed my pump hanging on my pocket, and immediately said, “You are diabetic!”  We talked briefly and at the close, she said, “You will have a big supporter at the end of the portage.”  I had assumed she meant my parents, and not thinking anything more about it continued.  About 20 minutes into my paddle on Lake of Bays, a tandem boat was passing me when one of the paddlers asked again if I was diabetic.  Upon confirming he continued, “My daughter has Type 1 diabetes.  She saw you back at the portage and was completely surprised to see a diabetic doing this race. She plays soccer and enjoys all sports. You have inspired her, and I hope to have her in my boat in a few years.”


When I started this venture so many months ago I never really thought what it would bring or do to me.  And I certainly never thought I could have an impact on the lives of others.  So my “what next?” will be to continue paddling, and already know that I will be back on that course next year, perhaps competing in the 130 Classic, or trying to break the 10 hour time that the Sprint was completed this year.  And if I can show only one other diabetic that nothing can stop us, then my race will have already been won.

The CIM community came together at Winter #Slipstream16 to send messages of encouragement to Pat – We’re so proud of you!