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#T1DCanoer and Muskoka River X

By September 7, 2016Fresh Air Blog

Long time CIMer and member of the Type 1 community, Pat Lynch is taking on a mega-challenge this summer. Muskoka River X. Not only is he taking on this epic physical (and mental!) challenge (we’ll let him tell you more about it, below!) but he’s also fundraising money for Connected in Motion, to support our tripping program – something that is close to his heart. We asked Pat to share some of his experiences with us, as he heads into the last leg of his training for his September 17 race.

Words by Pat Lynch | Photos by Mike Last

MLP-20130721-1004It is always hard to find a place to start, especially when there is so much that needs to be said.  So first I will start with the race, The Muskoka River X.  I’ve been following this race since it first started in 2012 – a 130km race that starts and finishes in Huntsville, following the traditional routes of the natives and early explorers of the area. What is unique about this race is that you only have 24 hours to complete it, and it is completely self-supported (meaning no water stations, food bags or support crew along the way). I immediately fell in love with the idea of someday competing in it, but was intimidated by two small factors – the distance and managing my diabetes.  In a race like this you are basically burning as much energy as you would in a week, so how does that affect my diabetes?

Fast forward to February 2016, and a new race format is introduced, the 80km “Sprint” category, with a 14 hour time limit.  Without a second thought, I immediately signed up.  This is something I can do, I tell myself as I submit my credit card to pay the registration fees. 


I’ve been paddling for over 25 years.  It has become such a part of me that I make paddles through the winter months.  Canoeing has allowed me to see some pretty amazing things, from old growth forests to massive canyons to bears and moose and beavers and racoons.  Man I hate racoons.  It has also taught me many things, not only how to survive on my own in the wilderness but also how to survive in day-to-day situations.  I’ve also been diabetic for over 25 years, and it has never prevented me from getting in my canoe and paddling.  Whether it is something as simple as an overnight trip to the Beaver Dam, or a 12 day journey through the Temagami region, for me it has always been how far do I want to go – and what do I need to do to get there.

MLP-20130721-1295Connected In Motion is a huge reason for me signing up for this race.  This organization has introduced me to so many people, all living with Type 1 diabetes, that are completing their own massive challenges. Whether it is completing a 300km bike ride, or a young adult trying to figure it all out after being diagnosed, these are the people that provide me with the inspiration as I sit in the canoe and paddle.  CIM has also taught me many things, because with Type 1 diabetes you never stop learning.  And not just health things, but life things as well like Disability Tax Credit, Trillium and a host of other programs that can help diabetics. 


So I need to repay them, and they need a new canoe trailer.  Through a lot of hard work, they have all the equipment they need – canoes, paddles, packs, tents, stoves, dishes, etc. but nothing to carry it all in.  A homemade trailer was used to move the canoes and gear to areas close to home, but it has met its fateful end (no human was injured in this tragic event).  They need (and want) to go further – but also need a proper trailer to do so.   

As race days gets closer and closer (10 days as of today!), I make my final preparations and complete the last few long training runs, the“what if” start coming.  I am anxious, excited and certainly scared.  I have put the time and effort in to be as ready as I can be, and know that I have the support of not only my friends and family, but also the support of a massive Type 1 community.  So please help me support CIM, to allow them to continue to provide amazing backcountry adventures to more adults – adventures that have and will to continue to have a major impact in my life. 

Check out my fundraising page, here: https://www.classy.org/fundraise?fcid=658763

You can also keep up with me, via GPS on race day – CIM will post the link as we get closer to.

Pat has been living with Type 1 diabetes for the last 27 years.  Grown in Kitchener, ON he has lived in Banff, Ottawa and Melbourne over the years.  He currently calls the small town of Dorset, ON (on the Muskoka/Haliburton border).  This keeps him busy with his love of the outdoors, while working for a local marina to help pay for it all.