Lamperez, a native New Iberian who now lives in Chicago, recently gave a free clinic on marathon canoe (and kayak) racing for persons interested in entering Tour du Teche II in October.
Much of what he talked about – including paddling techniques, equipment, dress and nutrition – would be foreign to the average recreational paddler, but probably none more so than the subject of food and drink.
We in this part of the world think we know a little something about food and drink, but paddling at a racing pace for hours on end is no occasion for boudin and beer. Not until the finish, anyway.
Last year, Lamperez and his partner, Wally Werderich, also of Chicago, placed third over-all in the inaugural Tour du Teche, a 128-mile round-the-clock ultramarathon.
With decades of racing and a slew of victories behind him, Lamperez recommends discarding the J stroke, that mark of sophistication for solo cruisers, in favor of frequently switching sides.
High-tech boats and paddles of strong, lightweight carbon fiber are common on the racing scene, but Lamperez says all you have to do to turn your boat into a racer is to cut an oval out of the thin foam pads they sell for backpacking and glue it to your seat.
He also suggests gluing thick blocks of foam to the floor with holes cut it in to hold your water bottles.
Tour du Teche II, Oct. 7-9, is three days worth of paddle marathons that will attract participants from all over the country. The main race, the Tour, is 133 miles down the length of Bayou Teche done in three stages with accumulative times:
•Friday – “Gabriel,” 48 miles from Port Barre to St. Martinville.
•Saturday – “Chitimacha,” 60 miles from St. Martinville to Franklin.
•Sunday – “Roughneck,” 25 miles from Franklin to Berwick.
Cash prizes will be awarded in a number of categories.
Any one of the three legs may be run as an individual race, with various prizes offered up by the communities. As individual races they are the Acadian, the Sugar and the Oil and Gas, respectively.
And there will be a 34-mile pirogue race called the “Crawfish” (also open to canoes and kayaks) from Port Barre to Breaux Bridge on Friday, and a 25-mile canoe and kayak race, the “Hot Sauce,” from St. Martinville to New Iberia on Saturday.
All of these side races will run concurrently with Tour du Teche.
Go to www.techeproject.com for more information.