All Posts By

Mike Varieur


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With year four wrapping up, Rob and Mike @ River X Racing would like to sincerely thank everyone for your continued support.  What started back in 2012 as a casual conversation between adventure racing teammates about an event people told us couldn’t be done and that no one would sign up for turned into 1.5 years of planning and our first launch in 2013.  Fast forward to 2016 and the Algonquin Outfitters Muskoka River X and Big East River X continues to draw an amazingly diverse mix of paddlers. This year we saw a father and his 13-year-old daughter line up beside Olympic gold medal athletes.  Backcountry trippers looking for a new challenge were gunnel to gunnel with some of the best marathon paddlers in Canada.  Families and friends (re)united as they faced off against the challenges that Mother Nature presented to them, and against themselves.  Personal strengths were discovered…and rediscovered.  We love this event for what it represents.  It brings the best out of people as they dig deep; literally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  To quote one of our 2013 competitors, Allyson MacDonald, “…if you don’t keep living you end up dying”.  Congratulations to everyone on your accomplishments this past padding season!


On behalf of everyone who participated in the Algonquin Outfitters Big East River X and Muskoka River X we wish to thank our VOLUNTEERS for all of their support.  Everyone should be aware that without volunteers, these events would not happen.  From CP staffing to portage crossings and even tending bonfires, the volunteers are invaluable.  We can’t reinforce that enough. The next time you find yourself at an event, walk up and thank the volunteers because without them, we wouldn’t be racing.


A huge shout out to the following sponsors of River X Racings 2016 events, without whom these events would not be a reality.


To all THE PRIVATE LANDOWNERS through which the portage routes run.

ONTARIO MARATHON CANOE & KAYAK RACING ASSOCIATION, for your continued support, advice, and building a wonderful community of paddling enthusiasts.

ALGONQUIN  OUTFITTERS for being our biggest supporter right from the start.  You said YES the moment we pitched the concept and you’ve been with us ever since. Your heritage embodies everything that is the MRX.  Your support with prizing, logistics, staff, and resources is central in keeping the MRX and Big East running year to year. A huge shout out to Rich and his crew.  For those needing backcountry and frontcountry camping gear, road and mountain bikes, skis, snowshoes, or just about anything that gets you outside Algonquin Outfitter is your basecamp.

HAND CRAFTED CANOE:  A special thanks to James at HCC for being the official canoe sponsor of River X Racing.  For the last three years James has been supporting the MRX and Big East events, providing beautifully crafted prize boats to those who love to paddle really long distances, fast.  This year HCC supplied a gorgeous full carbon Grand Huron C2 stock race boat, won by MIKE HAYES.  We look forward to seeing more of these boats at the races in years to come.  Thank you James.

KAYAK SPORT CANADA: River X was quite excited this year when Dav at Kayak Sport Canada agreed to become the official kayak sponsor of the River X events, bringing an Epic V7 surf ski to the prize table, won by LAUREN BELANGER.  If you’re ever in Toronto and want to drool over racks of racing kayaks and surf skis, drop by Kayak Sport Canada.  Dav and the crew will easily help you go faster on the water.

BOSHKUNG BREWING Co.  Direct from Haliburton and new to the MRX this year, special thanks for supporting our event and keeping our thirsty racers hydrated during the awards banquet.

RIPPLE FX PADDLES:  A shout out to Chris Prater for falling in love with carbon and producing his own line of high quality racing paddles, home-grown right here in Ontario.  Thanks for your support this year Chris.  The MRX prize paddle was won by AURELIA ADAMS.

SALUS:  Back for their fourth year, Salus continues to fill our prize table with the best PDFs on the market.  Thank You.

THE NORTH FACE:  Back for their second year, TNF is also a major provider of prizes for the winning teams including back packs.

MISS NELLES and THE BURGER SHOP:  For keeping our race staff fuelled and ready for action!  If you’re paddling the South Muskoka River, make Miss Nelles and the Burger Shop your stop along the way.

BADGER PADDLES:  For your brilliant woodcraft skills, the beautiful OUPPS trophies, and for keeping the MRX trophy paddles updated every year with the winning teams and times.

BUDGET PROPANE:  For keeping the fires burning and keeping everyone warm in the hot tents.

KING WILLIAMS INN:  The best down-town location to set up base-camp.

STAPLES:  Helping us with all our printing needs, and making those beautiful, waterproof maps.

HIDDEN VALLEY RESORT:  For hosting our event and putting on a great buffet, filling everyone’s belly with heart and tasty food.

OLIVER’S COFFEE and CLIF BAR:  For supporting our race kits with great coffee samples and energy bars.

LIV OUTSIDE: For hosting CP2 in Bracebridge.

ODYSSEY EVENT MEDICAL:  For keeping everyone safe on the course.

CANADIAN SKI PATROL:  For supporting the health needs of racers along the course.

CAMPBELL BUS LINES:  For all our transportation needs.

AXIS GEAR:  For our swag.


2016 Muskoka River X Results

2016 Big East River X Results 

All Big East and MRX Photos Here

SUP Racer / Bart de Zwart  (article)

Steve Chrapchynski (article)

Doppler Online (article)

Jared Munch MRX Stages 2-3 (video)

Team X-Stream (video)


2016 Ontario Ultra Paddling Point Series Final Standings

Congratulations to paddling partners Mike De Abreu and Tom Phillips for being crowned Ontario’s 2016 Ultra Distance Paddlers.  With four races on the schedule this year ranging from 40km to 220km, 310 paddlers participated in the series.  Exciting time for Ontario as ultra-distance paddling continues to grow.  Check out all the details here.   



JUNE 17 & 18, 2017:  To celebrate our 5th year, Rob and Mike are doing something seriously different.  A 24-hour marathon paddling race where solo, tandem, and relay teams race against the clock to complete as many laps of a 12km course as possible in 24 hours: 24 Hours of River X.   A fantastic weekend where paddlers from all walks of life can come together in a social atmosphere of friendly competition, paddling as little or as long as they like along a spectator-friendly course.  Although new to marathon paddling in North America, this racing format has proven itself to be hugely popular with land-based weekend warriors and competitive athletes alike.  Open to SUP, Canoe and Kayak, River X Racing is pleased to bring this new race to the water.  Details will be formally announced on November 19th, 2016.  Stay tune!

SEPTEMBER 15-17, 2017:  Back for a 5th year, River X Racing will again be hosting the MUSKOKA RIVER X Sprint, Classics and Coureur des Bois distances.  With minor improvements being considered, the mighty MRX will continue to offer the same degree of adventure and challenge as you have come to expect.

Registration opens December 3, 2016.



River X Racing Winter 2016

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2015 was a great year!

We would like to THANK everyone who supported our events.  We host the events because we love paddling, we love Muskoka and Algonquin and we love adventure racing.  Bringing the three together and sharing them with like-minded people is special for us.

2015 saw quite a number of people participate in the MRX with very little race experience.  A HUGE shout out to those people who seized the moment and fearlessly jumped into marathon paddling headfirst.  Amazing.  We love that kind of spirit and hope to see more of it in 2016!

Also new for 2015 was 220km of pure expedition paddle race excitement:  The Coureur des Bois had teams traverse Algonquin Park in one day, camp out overnight with only the gear they carried with them and then take on the MRX Classic on day two: A great success that will see more excitement into 2016.

The Ontario Ultra Paddling Point Series was launched this year with over 300 paddlers participating!  What a great showing for ultra-distance paddlers in Ontario and beyond.  Dean Brown was crowned the 2015 Champion. Check out the link for the entire 2015 points standings.  2016 will see the addition of the Kingston-2-Ottawa ultra distance race in August.  The K2O brings OUPPS up to 4 events, each building in distance and culminating with the Muskoka River X in September.  Ontario is quickly becoming the ultra-distance paddle racer’s destination for SUP, Kayak, and Canoeist.  Support OMCKRA and paddle where you live.

Check out all the 2015 results and photos:

Algonquin Outfitters MRX Results

Algonquin Outfitters Big East River X Results

Photos from the 2015 Algonquin Outfitters Muskoka River X

What’s New for 2016?

Based on your feedback we have made some notable improvements:

  • The Big East River X has an expanded kayak category to better reflect boat classes
  • The Muskoka River X now has a “short course”.  The MRX SPRINT will have teams finish in Bracebridge covering 80km
  • Team can now paddle C2 Rec canoes in the MRX SPRINT.  These are very common sub-17 foot canoes that don’t meet C2 Stock specifications for the MRX Classic.
  • We will be moving to a more reliable GPS tracking system.
  • We are back again for a second year at Hidden Valley Resort for registration and the awards.

Algonquin Outfitters is back for it’s fourth year as Title Sponsor. Honestly, if you need something, just talk to them.  They have everything you need.  And Huntsville Store Manager Nate is a two-time MRX Alumni, so you can be confident you’re getting the right advice.

Need to Rent a Canoe?  Contact Gord at Algonquin Outfitters.  AO has everything you need to train and race in the River X.  Visit our Documents section for AO’s boat rental program.

HandCrafted Canoes is back for their 3rd year as Boat Sponsor.  New for this year HCC is building full carbon Grand Huron 18” race boats.  Designed crazy light and super fast, the Grand Huron will go head to head with other competitors such as Clipper’s WW2, Savage River, and Jenson designed hulls.  The Grand Huron is made in Kitchener, Ontario.  Take a trip and talk to James.  He will build you a custom C2 Stock expedition race canoe that meets specifications for the 2016 Algonquin Outfitters MRX and Big East River X.  HCC is also offering a huge discount to teams that register for the MRX and purchase a Grand Huron before February 29, 2016. Talk to James for all the details.

The full-carbon Grand Huron is our Prize Boat for 2016!

Your 2016 expedition starts here!  

JUNE 18, 2016

Algonquin Outfitters Big East River X 40km marathon race


Algonquin Outfitters Big East River X 9km Family-Recreational race

SEPTEMBER 15-18, 2016

Algonquin Outfitters Muskoka River X Coureur des Bois 220km 2-day expedition race


Algonquin Outfitters Muskoka River X Classic 130km 1-day expedition race


Algonquin Outfitters Muskoka River X Sprint 80km 1-day expedition race

 Register early and win!

Race both the Big East River X & Muskoka River X and you are eligible to win!

HandCrafted Canoes 18’ full carbon Grand Huron C2 Stock expedition race canoe.

Register for both the Big East River X & Muskoka River X and you are eligible to win!

Accommodation for up to 4 people x 2 nights at the King William Inn.

Register for both the Big East River X & Muskoka River X and you are eligible to win!

A full MRX Swag Package including North Face Bionic Soft Shell, StormTech fleece toque and StormTech tech hat, all with custom MRX embroidery.

What’s included in the MRX fees?

  • You get bragging rights for finishing one of the toughest expedition paddling races in the world!
  • Medals, prizing, and certificates for winners
  • Door prizes open to all participants
  • MRX branded race jersey
  • MRX embroidered StormTech FINISHER tech hat
  • Ranking in the Ontario Ultra Paddling Point Series
  • Post Race Awards Party (voted best post race awards by Get Out There Magazine’s Readers Choice): Live music and our legendary MRX post-race feast in the relaxed atmosphere of Hidden Valley Resort, overlooking beautiful Peninsula Lake;
    • Smokey Bandit BBQ Ribs
    • Chimichurri Marinated Grilled Chicken
    • Baja Spiced Grilled Mahi Mahi
    • Corn on the Cob
    • Salads: House-made Potato / Mediterranean Pasta / Mixed Bean / Garden
    • Dinner Rolls
    • Vegetarian/Vegan Options by Request
    • Pint of ale specially brewed by Lake of Bays Brewery, located just up the road from CP1
  • Full set of Never Tear water & tear resistant full-color topographic course maps
  • Full set of course details and navigation instructions
  • Full-Color vinyl adhesive numbering plates
  • Full-Team race kit with all the supplies you need to get started on your expedition, including a spectator kit with full driving instructions and maps
  • Fully equipped and mobile (land/water-based) logistical event management team
  • Four (4) fully equipped first aid teams (check points)
  • Four (4) fully equipped land/water-based mobile SAR emergency medical teams
  • Police traffic control at high exposure road crossings
  • Mobile emergency shuttles from any extraction point on course to the finish line
  • Hot Tents are each check point and finish line
  • Iridium Satellite (GPS) trackers and emergency transponders: The best trackers in the world!
  • GPS-enabled live tracking map allowing spectators to watch your progress on their computer or mobile device anywhere in the world: The ultimate spectator solution for adventure and expedition racing.
  • Registration, gear check and captain’s meetings all take place inside, in the comfort of Hidden Valley Resort
  • Fees associated with all the various permits, event rentals, logistics needs, and race insurance

Coureur des Bois teams have all of their transportation needs included!

  • Shuttle from Hidden Valley Resort (Huntsville) to Start Line (Whitney)
  • Shuttle from Oxtongue Lake to Dwight (Start of Day 2)
  • Shuttle from Finish Line (River Mill Park, Huntsville) to Hidden Valley Resort (Huntsville)

Sprint teams have all of their transportation needs included!

  • Shuttle from Finish Line (Bracebridge) to River Mill Park, Huntsville

Did we mention that participants are eligible for amazing prizes?

More than $15,500 in prizing and incentives has been won in our first three years!

MRX course statistics

Fastest Overall Hull Speeds, including portaging.

C2 (Tandem Canoe):  9.8 km/hr (2014 – Classic)

SUP (solo):  7.1 km/hr (2014 – Classic)

C1 (solo canoe):  7.4 km/hr (2015 – Coureur des Bois)

K1 (solo kayak):  8.1 km/hr (2015 – Coureur des Bois)


Start / Finish: River Mill Park: Huntsville, Ontario – Bracebridge, Ontario

Total Distance / Portages: 80 km x 13 portages (approx. 5000m / longest: 1700m)

Estimated Duration: 8 hours to 16 hours


 Start / Finish: River Mill Park: Huntsville, Ontario – River Mill Park: Huntsville, Ontario

Total Distance / Portages: 130 km x 20 portages (approx. 7000m / longest: 1700m)

Estimated Duration: 13.5 hours to 24 hours


Start / Finish: Whitney, Ontario – River Mill Park: Huntsville, Ontario

Total Distance / Portages: 220km x 36 portages (approx. 11,800m / longest: 1700m)

Estimated Duration: 26 hours to 48 hours

 Sunrise: 06:58hrs                 Sunset: 19:38hrs

Average Daily Temperatures

High: 18.8 degrees Celsius     Low: 6.5 degrees Celsius       Average: 12.7 degrees Celsius

Other Weather Statistics

Average Daily Wind speed: 12km/hr

Average Monthly Rain: 111mm

Average Days with Thunderstorms: 3

Average Days with Fog: 5

2015 BIG EAST RIVER X Update

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Just a few more days to the first event of the 2015 Ontario Ultra Paddling Point Series that includes the Big East River X 40km event, the North Bay to Mattawa race in July and the Muskoka River X Classic and Coureur de Bois in September.  We hope everyone has been training hard and is ready for some long-distance paddling action this year.  Currently, the water levels on the Big East River are in good condition and the current is reasonable.  The weather looks good but they are calling for stronger winds so you may experience some wave action on the return trip across Lake Vernon.  Please be prepared.

REGISTRATION:  You can still register on-line if you have not done so already.  This will save you a few dollars and make your on-site registration process move along faster.  All paddlers MUST attend on-site registration starting Friday at 3pm until 9pm and then again Saturday morning at 6am to 7:30am.  This is necessary to ensure we have confirmation of who exactly is on-course, receive your waivers/medical forms, and provide you with your boat number, race maps and meal tickets.  We may also need to measure your boat if there are any questions about which class you fit into.  Please don’t wait until the last minute or you risk missing this process and potentially not being able to participate.  Registration is located INSIDE Algonquin Outfitter’s Huntsville store.

PARKING:  Please note that the event that was planned by the Chamber has been cancelled so please feel free to use the public parking lot next to River Mill.  (Currently marked as a No Parking Zone in the competitor document).  Please park in the public parking lots and NOT is the store parking lots.  We have rented River Mill Park on Saturday so please feel free to use this grassy area for pre-race staging.

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for reading the Big East River X Competitor Document and fully understand the mandatory equipment needs as per Transport Canada, as well as safety procedures.  This includes everyone wearing a non-inflatable PFD at all times when on the water.  We will review the course, event process and safety procedures mandatory race briefing 30 minutes which all participants are responsible for attending.

See you all this weekend!  The River X Crew….