AuSable River Canoe Marathon Readies for New Champions

GRAYLING – Andrew Triebold and Steve Lajoie have become well-known names in the AuSable River Canoe Marathon over the last 12 years, winning the event nine times.

The duo has etched their names into the champion’s column every year since 2008, as well as winning the Triple Crown of Canoe Racing from 2008-13. Additionally, Triebold won the Triple Crown as an individual in 2014.

This year, the decorated partners have split up, with Lajoie, who’s from Quebec, deciding not to participate in this year’s marathon.

Triebold, a Grayling native, has picked up a new partner in Jacob DuBois, a native of Houston, Texas, who will be competing in his first AuSable Canoe Marathon.

With Triebold and Lajoie not defending their title, the field has opened up.

“It’s a hard race to pick this year,” said Colin Hunter, who put down the paddle to announce the event this year. “We’ve got a whole lot of teams. We’ve probably got 10 teams that wouldn’t surprise anyone to be in the top five. So it’s going to be really interesting how it shakes out as the marathon shapes up through the 13-14 hour mark. It’s going to be quite the spectacle.”

Mathieu Pellerin and Guillaume Blais, a pair from Quebec, have a good chance to knock Triebold from the top spot. The two finished in second place last year in the AuSable Canoe Marathon, but they ended up winning the Triple Crown in 2015.

The two teams are familiar with each other. Both competed in the Spike’s Challenge on July 23, with Pellerin and Blais holding the lead near the finish line, but they saw Triebold and DuBois start to make a comeback effort.

Pellerin and Blais finished in first, while Triebold and DuBois ended up in third place.

“They start last and they were close to us at the end, like 40 seconds,” Pellerin said. “Anyway, Andy’s always good and always in very good shape. We know we would have to work hard to beat him.”

On Wednesday, Pellerin and Blais recorded the fastest time trial, finishing their sprint in 00:04:47.93. They will look to pick up their first victory at the AuSable Canoe Marathon on Saturday at 9 p.m. Triebold will be going for his 11th career win in the marathon.