More than thirty participants from as far away as Florida and Michigan came out for the inaugural French Broad Classique canoe and kayak race last weekend.  The racers covered 34 miles from Blantyre to the Asheville Outdoor Center at Carrier Park during the race and the top times of the event clocked in under four hours.

For most people, canoeing is a leisurely way to spend a sunny day of the weekend. But for the 30 paddlers who took to the French Broad on Saturday morning for the first stage of Asheville’s latest canoe and kayak race — the inaugural French Broad Classique — canoeing is a fast-paced sport with no down time.

The race is the idea of adventure sports athlete Andy Kluge, an avid paddler of the French Broad: He organized the race as a way to get people out onto one of his favorite sections of the river. “I’ve been paddling this section of the French Broad for the last six years, and about a year ago I decided to organize this race because I’d been to a lot of other races, I’ve seen how they are organized, and I thought, ‘This section of the French Broad would make a great race,’” Kluge said.

More on the French Broad Classique at Mountain Xpress…