Sunday, December 23, 2012

400+ mile ocean expedition - March 2013

My 400 mile ocean expedition - March 2013
To promote organ and tissue donation
     The idea for a 400+ mile ocean expedition started after finishing the Texas Water Safari ,
june 2012. During the TWS, as the Safari is called by those that have experienced it, I paddled some miles with a guy named Bill Siersdorfer. What I liked about this guy right away is that he races with an unconventional craft, like me.  Bill uses a front rowing system where he's able to use his legs or arms to paddle with. Sort of like a rowing configuration.
Me during the Texas Water Safari 2012

Bill during the Texas Water Safari


    Post race Bill and I kept communications through facebook. We talked about future races we were both doing and he mentioned he was thinking on the Florida Everglades Challenge.  It's a 300 mile self supported expedition race from Tampa (Fort Desoto) to Key Largo, Florida.
 There are a few die hard canoe and kayak paddlers that enter, but predominantly it's raced by sail powered water craft. 
     Like the Texas Water Safari, I look at the toughest, most challenging races out there.  The EC (everglades Challenge)  will be my toughest yet.   I have little knowledge of tide changes, currents, under tows, and channels of the ocean. Also mangroves, fingers, and navigation by gps and charts to deal with.  The crazy part is, I've never paddled a SUP in the ocean! 
To catch me up to speed I am relying heavily on a great friend, Dwayne Vanhoose. He's been a sailor and a paddler for many years. He once lived on a boat for some years! He's schooling me on ocean navigation, chart use, and gps use for the expedition.

From left: Dwayne's epic kayak, Dwayne Vanhoose, 
Ben Mcnabb  (ground for dwayne's 2012 MR340)
     So the idea to enter a 300 mile self-supported ocean race is crazy enough. Yet, it gets better. No matter what the conditions, you get 8 days to finish!  But I guess not enough for me.  Once I've finished the race and made it to Key Largo, I'm planning to continue on and try to make it to Key West.  I'm hoping for 400+ miles.  The odds are stacked against me attacking a race of this magnitude, add in I'm trying to become the first person to complete this race on a stand up paddle board.
     The biggest obstacle is I have limited time off from work. so far I have 7 days vacation. By race day I should have about 9 days off.   The crew and I are leaving on February 28 after work and driving straight through to get in Tampa for the check-in by friday 5pm. Race day is Saturday march 2nd. So I'll have 10 days to cover 400+ miles before we have to drive home so I can get back to work.
I'll be relying heavily on my crew to drive through the night From St. Louis to Tampa and post race back from Key West to St. Louis.  I'm fortunate enough to have the same crew from the MR340 helping for the Everglades challenge.
My amazing crew for the 2012 MR340 and now for the 2013 Everglades expedition:
 Michael "Rokos on the Rocks" Rokos
 Karen "Amazonia" Schubert
    For the last piece of the puzzle, I'll be relying on my family, friends, and SUPporters.  I'll be doing a kick starter program to make it all happen (check out  kickstarter to get an idea how it works.) It allows people like you to be part of the expedition. By becoming backers of the expedition, you'll receive exclusive rewards from the expedition. Some rewards include daily videos from me during the expedition emailed to you, or full dvd of the expedition, or expedition T-shirts.  A select few will receive my actual race shirts from the expedition. And there will be more.
  This expedition will be used to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation.  Having a kidney transplant in 2001 myself, I believe the easiest thing we can do is have that little box checked on our driver license that says "Organ Donor".  Through the gift of organ donation, people like myself are given a second chance at life to achieve great things!
So for now, happy holidays. Be safe.
  keep in mind that Mid-january the Kickstarter program starts and only lasts for 32 days to become part of this epic journey!
 That little yellow decoration standing at the base of the tree is my son Luke! Big tree.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wsupa SUP instructor certification

Over the Weekend I flew down to Tampa, Fl. to stay with a friend of 16 years.  It was great to catch up with him,  but I flew to Tampa for a very specific purpose, to get my SUP Instructor certification from the WSUPA (World Stand Up  Paddling Association).

Why is this important?
     I've been doing stand up for 4 years now and been racing for 2.  You'd think a guy like me knows what there is to know about SUP.  Wrong! That's the beauty of the sport, you never stop learning.
     Master instructors Dan Gavere and Harmony Dawn headed up the lesson.  The day started at the The Salty Rim restaurant.  Not open for business, but the back deck was open for eager SUP people. After sign in and basic knowledge such as SUP history, stroke, loading a board etc. (given by us the students), Dan began teaching dry land basics including stroke technique via an inflatable SUP on bosu balls.

Dan Teaching  stroke work

After 2 hours of land knowledge we broke for lunch. Mmmmm fish tacos!  A quick half hour later it was time to slather the sunscreen and suit up for the water portion of the class.  We started with stroke work on the water and had to demonstrate we we know and have learned.  I learned little tips in my technique that helped quite a bit.  Small tweaks make a difference in teaching a client and demonstrating properly.  "paddle to reflect your instruction". In other words, at all times you're with clients, demonstrate proper technique as your clients will watch you and copy what you do.  If you use bad form while paddling, they'll see it.

ASI class in Treasure Island, FL 11/11/12
From Left to Right
Harmony, Bailey,  Maddison, Marc, Glen, Me, Cubi, Prestcott, and Dan

Towards the back end of the class we had a little race. Now it looks like i've jumped out ahead of everyone, but the truth is, there was some sabotage.  Marc popped Bailey off her board with a paddle to the rails which caused a cluster of un-balance.  I managed to finish way ahead of everyone and when I cam in I told Dan, That's my new race strategy, let everyone crash in the beginning and then I can win!

   The purpose of the race was to explain to us that it's one thing to have good form while teaching. But it's a whole other to keep good form while going 100%.  While teaching clients, make sure you slow down and explain and demonstrate at a speed that's easy to follow.

A nice shot on the water. We learned rescues to distressed paddlers using our boards to tow and push others.

Post class Pic.  We are all certified ASI instructors.

Now, home in St. Louis, Mo. I am able to bring my new knowledge to my business Supstlouis. I am more confident in my abilities to instruct clients properly and feel thie certification offers alot.  I am currently the only ASI certified instructors in the state of Missouri and proud to say that.  Next I'm looking for further certifications from the ACA and once I've logged enough hours, I will get certified by the Wsupa with a level 2 cert. 

If you're ever in St. louis and want to get out on a board, just get a hold of me. I'd be happy to take you out whether on a lake for your first time, or the big river as pictured!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

DAY 4 – Thursday, August 2nd

Chamois, MO
Not a checkpoint, but still 245 miles into the race

View from the crew
As told by Karen:

It was a rough drive to this dot on the map (is it SHAM-mee or sham-WAH?).   After dodging some backyard fixtures, we doubled back and found the access road.  Upon arrival, we immediately went to sleep.  I ended up somehow draped across the front seats with seat belt buckles poking me, and Michael slept in the grass again.  At least he got smart and completely wrapped himself up before lying down so the bugs wouldn’t eat him up.  It looked like a body bag on a hill.  In any case, we only got a couple of hours of sleep again. 

     Shane had texted me at 3am that he was falling asleep on his board and was going to stop and sleep for a while.  Dwayne hadn’t decided to stop there, but Joe did, so Madeline showed up after sunset (which was beautiful over the river).  Eventually Shane made his way in, tired but in good spirits.  He made requests for food for the next stop (always a good sign, none of the racers wanted to eat in the brutal heat), and I actually got him to do some personal hygiene.  He brushed his teeth and took a shower—with soap!  But then he put all his gross racing clothes back on.  Sigh. It’s like a dog rolling in the dirt after you give him a bath.  Can’t win them all, I guess.  Elissa had sent a short video of the kids that I showed Shane, and I heard a few “awww”s out of him.'

                                            "The vids and pics from my wife are what get me through races"

  The window of  every long race that is the toughest for me is between 2am to about 4:30 am.  I literally have fallen asleep while paddling.   When I start to dip to one side and my balance is off, I startle myself awakw then try not to fall off.  This year, surprisingly I didn't fall off.  Maybe I've gotten smarter.  But after texting Karen I paddled about 5 minutes and found a sand bar and pulled the board up and on.  I put on a windbreaker and pulled the hood on.  The take my floppy Columbia hat and drop it on my face to shield from bugs.  I took a short nap of about 15 minutes which is longet than my usual 8 minute nap.  I was feeling pretty crappy on top of sleep deprived.  The first night took alot out of me from being sick and basically  peeing out my butt for hours.  Then I couldn't eat for a few hours.  I got behind on my hydration that nigh so I had to catch up through the next day.

After Shane shoved off once more, Michael and I piddled around again, taking some more crazy pictures.  Someone came by and asked if knew what the name of the city was about.  Michael immediately came up with a story about John Chamois in the 1800’s, and how he made a towel out of a leather hide or something ridiculous, but he sounded really sincere and knowledgeable.  Our jaws dropped.  “Is that true?” the man asked.  Michael started laughing, “No, I just made it up.”  I think he could’ve gotten away with it if he hadn’t cracked a smile.  We finished up and piled back into the car, bidding adieu to Madeline.  Hermann, here we come!

Hermann, MO Checkpoint 7
269 miles into the race

We knew we were getting close to being done when we made it to Hermann.  It was a short trip down the river since we broke it up by stopping in Chamois. We stopped at a store to get the food Shane requested, then hit Hermann.  Shane was closing in on the Hermann Checkpoint as told to us by His wife via text.  It was drizzling now, thankfully cooling things off a bit (if the 90’s can be “cooled off”).   I saved half my rib-eye sandwich, thinking Shane would like it.  We were trying anything we could to make sure he was eating good solid food.  When he did show up, the first thing I offered was the rib-eye, which he gobbled down.  His feet were terribly sore.  It had been a battle all race long.  He had gotten some new shoes from the local Comumbia Shoe rep, Mark Panu, and hadn’t broken them in.  His wide feet were rubbing along the edge of his shoes and the outside of his feet were extremely sore.  We had tried icing, wearing flip-flops, anything and everything we could.  But he was in a good mood since he found out Pau Hana, one of his sponsors, had released a trailer of a documentary about him and it was getting a lot of response already. 
La Ruta Maya Trailer
After eating, he decided to take an “eight-minute” nap.  He went up on a bank and passed out, right there in the grass and dirt.  Sure enough, eight minutes later, he gets up, refreshed.

 We decide to break up the next leg of the race again and stop at another access point.  After Shane leaves, we point Jane towards Washington, MO.

   One thing that I've yet to figure out is footweat.  The Columbia drain maker's I wore for this race were great, except they weren't wide enough and I didn't break them in. They tore my feet up terribly.

Being on my feet for so long,   under my feet got rubbed raw and then later scabbed  up.  Then the rubbing of the toes ended with my toe nails falling off.

Washington, MO  Not a check point
But 292 miles into the race


Washington may be one of the biggest non-checkpoints in the race, and a great place to stop on the second-to-last leg.   The weather swung between being sunny and humid and being overcast and humid.    Time dragged on.  A larger motor boat (don’t know if it was an official spotter boat or not) pulled in from up the river and we asked if they had seen Shane—he’s not that hard to miss.  “Oh yeah,” one of them said.  “He was on a bank, totally passed out, then all of a sudden just popped up and got on his board and paddled.”   I later got out my camera and showed the picture I took at Hermann of him lying in the dirt and grass.  “Did he look like this?”  I asked.  They laughed, “Yup, that was him!”  
      At this point I was  still in good spirits, but physically pretty beat up.  The heat was 102-106 degrees each day. It really sucked the life out of me.  I was told alot of people had dropped out due to the heat.  I just dealt with it.  Once a day I'd hit a point where my body just needed to shut down. I've learned through racing thet 8 minutes is my lucky time frame.  After 8 minutes of laying in the dirt I'd jump up with the alarm and just get on the board and go.

      AsShane was paddling up to the boat ramp.  There was nowhere to really dock the boat without destroying the fin underneath, so Shane told Michael to take it to the dock nearby.  “You want me to carry it?”  “No, just paddle it over.”  Didn’t have to ask Michael twice!  His moment of glory:  paddling the board 25 feet to the dock.  Shane’s feet were still a mess, and we decided a new strategy.  We took Michael’s foam pad, whicj he had been sleeping on,  and folded it a few times, duct tapied it to the board so Shane could stand on it barefoot.  Shane scarfed down half the sandwich, talking to Ben and some others there while I ran to the car at least four times.  It seemed I didn’t have any of the things Shane needed and every time I went to the car, I always forgot something.  Was I really this unprepared?  Or are we just changing things on the fly? 

Klondike, MO The final checkpoint
 311 miles into the race

   It was Thursday evening, and we could feel the end coming.
Soon the time came for Shane to come in.  Madeline had pulled in, and went down to the boat ramp with us.  When I had asked Shane a few weeks earlier what to get at Walmart, one of his more sarcastic answers was “assless chaps”.  I actually found a pair at the party store.  I put them on, along with a cape, and the El Agua Escorpion luchador mask.   Sure enough, when he pulled in, he burst out laughing.  He nicknamed me “La Agua Pequena”—The Little Water.  I guess that’s like a petite flower.

   After 20 minutes at the checkpoint, I sent him off with the same battle cry I had given at every stop (except Waverly): “Rock the water!!!”

  Non-racers may not understand it, but racers do.  When you pull into a checkpoint the best thing you could receive is not tangible.  It's just seeing yor crew.  For me, it's everything.  Familiar faces and voices do heaps for me.  It energizes me more than any food or drink.  Just a few minutes with them gets me going.
    This year, the costumes karen wore just changed it all.  I  was laughing my butt off for hours after I'd leave a checkpoint.  The costumes were inside jokes that most people didn't get.  I think that's what made me laugh even more!

Moving into DAY 5 – Friday, August 3rd

 340 miles!

  When we drove over to The finish, we found Jill (owner of Piddle Paddle LLC) had made it from KC to St. Charles to see the finish, a pleasant surprise we hadn’t known about. 

                                                        Jill with Shane at an Earlier Checkpoint

The wait began.  It was hard to see anything, but we were on pins and needles, eager to see Dwayne.  I thought I saw him and started cheering him on, “Bring it home, Dwayne!”  After a moment someone said, “I think that’s a rock.”  Michael tested it out.  “Marco!”  He stopped and listened.  No answer.  Boy, was I embarrassed.  Dwayne finally came around the last wingdyke and pulled in to our clapping and cheering.  He officially was 17th, although at the time we thought he was 18th in men’s solo.  Top 20!  A HUGE accomplishment!  Go Dwayne!  He took a well-deserved shower and hung out with us on the beach, waiting for Shane and Joe and getting absolutely slap happy with Ben. 
                                                       Dwayne (grey Shirt) and Ben

  We continued to wait.  I had figured on roughly a 1:30am finish time for Shane, but starting seriously watching the shoreline for him at 1am.  His time the year before was 1:39am, and he was hoping to beat it.  However, factoring in the heat and the fact that the river was flowing slower than last year, we figured he blew away his time from last year, relatively speaking.  Elissa texted that he was under the 364 bridge.  We glued our eyes to the darkness, looking for lights to come down the river.  Every time we saw one, our excitement soared, only to find out it was another kayak or canoe.  Finally—FINALLY—we saw the lights that could only belong to a stand-up paddleboard.  I got my phone turned on to video and we started cheering.  We could faintly see the outline of him, paddling for all he was worth, finishing strong and trying to break his record.  And then everyone saw it—the cape and the mask.  Huge laughter from the bank.  With a grand flourish, El Agua Escorpion ran off his board and onto the bank---then turned right around and went back into the water to grab his board which was floating away.  He dragged it onto shore to applause and cheers.  And his time:  1:41am.  SOOOOO close!  We were so incredibly proud of him. 
    .  We let Shane do the rounds while Michael and I loaded the board on top of the car and everything else into the car.  Shane wandered over eventually and climbed in, lying on the backseat.  Both boys fell asleep as soon as I turned onto I-270.  I honestly don’t know how we got home, I was so tired.  We finally made it to Shane’s house, throwing everything in the garage.  Elissa came out and I showed her the finishing line video.  Shane went in to bed, hoping to catch a few hours of sleep before work, and Michael and I left for home.  I was a little more awake on the drive home, and collapsed into bed at 4:30am Friday morning.  I woke up somewhere around noon later that day.

My first thought: “That was awesome!  When do I get to do this again!”  Then I took out my phone and looked through the pictures for the hundredth time. 

                         My Awesome crew: Michael and Karen.  A huge thanks to them for this one!

The finish was a relief and a let down.  I was happy to be back to normal life and to see my family soon, but sad I wasn't going ot be on my board the next morning.  I missed beating my last year's time by 3 minutes.  Considering the river was flowing half the rate as last year, I'll consider it progress.
  It was a tough race and a definate proving ground for ultra distance on a SUP. A proving ground I'd like to invite any other brave Stand Up Paddle boarder to try.  Just let me know and I'll help in any way I can.
Check out for more info. Registration starts January 1st.

I'd like to thank some folks for their hand in making me successful:

My wife and mother in-law Patti for all their support.  They take care of the kids and hold down the fort while I'm training or racing.

Pau Hana for making a fast and sleek board in the 14' Crossfit!

Maui Jim: For their "canoes" style shades

Surfco Hawaii: For the rubberized proteck fins and ez plugs to hold gear to the board

SlickSup:  For making an affordable and effective co-polymer wax that makes the board slick and faster

Radio Chum:
For 24/7 SUP news  and cool music

Sunday, September 9, 2012

2012 MR340 Part 3

2012 MR 340 Part 3

Day 3 – Wednesday, August 1st
Glasgow, MO     Checkpoint 4
141 miles into the race
View from the crew (as observed by Karen)
     We made it to Glasgow quickly so we could catch a few hours of sleep before Shane came in. .  Shane seemed off pace, and didn’t have a spot tracker, so we had to guesstimate when he would come into each checkpoint.  I calculated that the earliest he would get there would be 6am.  Michael smiled and said, “You can start looking for him at 6.  I’ll look for him at 7.  Betcha he won’t be here till 8.”  We settled in for the night, Michael under a tree on a sleeping pad and me in the front seat of the car. 
                                                Michael  (crew) crashed out catching a few hours sleep 
    I woke up at 5:30 and put all the supplies together as Michael continued sleeping, then headed down to the waterway right at 6:30.  There was a guy with binoculars there, and I asked him, “Have you been here for awhile?”  He shook his head no.  I turned to some others next to him, “Have YOU been here for awhile?”  They nodded.  “Have you seen the guy on the stand-up paddleboard?”  Before they could answer, the guy with the binoculars said, “He’s coming in right now.”  WHAT??!?!?!?  Panic set in.  I ran back to the car, screaming, “Michael!  Michael!!  MIIIII-CHAELLLLLL!!!!!!”  He popped his head up, “What?”  “Shane’s coming!”  The next scene was out of a cartoon.  Michael literally jumped off the pad with stuff flying everywhere. 
  Shane was in rough shape and decided to stay for a bit.  This was the beginning of when his bad gastrointestinal issues would start.  Actually, they had started earlier at Glasgow and on the river, but now Michael and I were really seeing it start to take its toll.  He took a rest on the pad that Michael had been occupying not too much earlier and dozed off.  That’s when I remembered I had bought a stuffed animal just for this occasion.  I put the little horse (dubbed “The Horse with No Name” by Michael) next to him. 
36 miles from the Miami Checkpoint to Glasgow. 36 miles doesn't seem alot but after paddling 105 miles already, it wears on you. I definately was feeling the effects of 100+ degree heat all day and now paddling through the night being sick beat me up even further. I don't know what it is about this leg of the race, but I ended up being sick on the same stretch last year. This year was pretty bad. Not trying to be too graphic, but imagine standing on a sup. Now turn and face perpendicular. Bend down and grab the right side of the board with one hand, and hang your ass over the other side and do your business. Now do it for 3 hours. Sound easy? It's not. It's like holding a yoga pose while peeing out your butt. Not pretty.
After he woke and went to the bathroom again, he came over to us and asked for some Neosporin.  I squirted some on his finger and he put his hand down the back of his pants and … I will let you figure out where he put the ointment.  Needless to say, I put a big dab of Purell on that finger since he wanted to eat now.  After a decent amount of food, Shane seemed to be doing a lot better.  He set off down the Missouri as we set off for our next goal: Katfish Katy’s.
     Nothing worse than a raw Heiney. 
One thing I've learned in life is that a man can get by with 2 things: Neosporin and duct tape! In this case, Thanks Neosporin.
Katfish Katy’s, Lupus, MO  Checkpoint 5
 187 miles into the race
  From Glasgow to Katfish Katy's is a long stretch at 46 miles.  It happened to be at the peak of the heat which was nasty.  Every hour  I had to jump off my board and wet my clothes to make things bearable.
The next issue to tackle was the checkpoint, as there was some confusion over this stop.  Was it mile marker 180?  Or further down at 170?  Some documents said one thing, some another.  We decided it was 180, which actually was a good choice.  It was a barren area down a winding road, past the Katfish Katy store down to the river.  The heat was unbelievable.  I really worried about Shane since he was dragging at the last stop.  This was another long leg of the race  (46 miles) and he would arrive right at the peak of the heat, somewhere around 103 degrees. 
The waiting continued. .  Dwayne showed up first and decided to stop awhile.   Shane finally came in not too much later in the late afternoon.  I was very pleasantly surprised that he was in pretty darn good shape.  He wolfed down two pulled pork sandwiches and we convinced him to sit in the air-conditioned car for a bit.  He left together with Dwayne, beginning a long stretch of them paddling closely to each other.  Nothing like hanging out with a friend during a tough challenge.  I was glad they had a chance to be together, knowing it would be encouraging to both. 
    This leg of the race will always be the highlight for me.  Dwayne Vanhoose is a guy that I admire dearly.  He is that friend that you want to have who would do anything for you and expect nothing in return.  He's been a mentor for me and has helped me figure out many things in my personal life.  If I have somehting I'm having a hard time with, I give him a call and we talk..
  In 2011,  he was my crew for the mr340.  Alot of the reason why I finished that year was his advice and encouragement throughout the race.

                                                 Dwayne (grey shirt) with his crew Ben Mcnabb
                                                                              at this Year's MR340

     Dwayne paddled an Epic 18' kayak in this race.  He was way faster than I was. As we left Katfish Katy's he hung back with me for 2 hours.  I yelled  at him to paddle his ass off and go. He would tell me, " I never get to hang out with you, now's a good time."  He was making excellent time for his first endurance race, but chose to hold back and just be a friend.  Amazing!  You won't find a more quality person than this man.
   After they left, Michael and I dawdled a bit, and we decided at the last minute to take a shower at Katfish Katy’s.  
 Next up:  Jefferson City.
Jefferson City, MO       checkpoint 6
 223 miles into the race
   We found our own way down to the checkpoint, which was pretty crowded.  Ben (dwayne's crew) found us immediately and said hello.  We went down to the boat ramp, which was lit up with tiki torches. 
                                                          Jeff City Checkpoint at night
  Off in the distance, the Capitol building was illuminated in the night. Several of us commented how pretty it looked all lit up like that.
I wandered around a bit, as did Michael, killing time during our wait.  We set up a little area on the sand, watching the other boaters come in.  Dwayne came in and headed up to the parking lot where Ben had some Imo’s pizza and toasted ravioli (the St. Louis treat!) ready.  Dwayne didn’t want the ravioli because dipping it was too much work.  We laughed, but I actually understood that.  Shane came in shortly after him, at almost exactly midnight, looking rough again.
Well, he wasn’t laughing in Jeff City.  He collapsed on our area on the sand and said he wanted to sleep for about 25 minutes.  When we looked at him, he was playing with his phone.  “What are you doing?” we asked.  “I have so many business messages …”  “Put your phone down!”  He obeyed and immediately fell asleep.  When we woke him up, he hesitated getting up.  “I think I need to sleep some more,” he said.  Michael later told me that was the first time he heard that from Shane.  We moved him farther up the beach away from the noise and lights.  He ate a little of the Imo’s that Ben and Dwayne shared with us along with a few other things, then collapsed again.

                                                          Shane Out cold at Jeff city
 I got his pillow and horsey out of the car for him.  He could barely lift his head for me to shove the pillow under it.  Another half-hour later, he got up.  Still half-asleep, he left the checkpoint at 1:45am.  This second night of racing was proving far more difficult than the first, for all of us. 

      This was a tough year for this race.  The heat was really sucking it out of me. With temps between 102-106 I was a constant sweat box. I lost alot of fluids through sweating it out.  Every hour or so Jumping in the Missouri river was helpful to wet my clothes and cool off.  I was drinking mass amounts of water and maintaining my electrolyte balance with gatorade powders and camelbak elixir tabs.  It just didn't seem enough ever.  At Jeff city my body needed to shutdown.  Usually I can paddle 24 hours and only need a 20-25 minute nap.  But at Jeff city I woke from my 25 minute nap and could feel that I just wasn't in good enough shape to get back on the board.  Another 30 minutes nap and I felt I could manage it.  So water bladders loaded up and food resupplied I was back on the water and plugging away.  Only 117 miles to the finish, sort of the final stretch.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012 mr 340 Part 2

2012 mr 340 Part 2
 View from the crew (as observed by Karen)
                                      Leaving Kaw Point (pictured) to checkpoint #1 = 50 miles
Check point #1 Lexington, MO

Shane:  The first 50 miles of the race were  tougher than last year.  The river was moving half the speed.  But I still managed to get a good start off the line and settle in towards the upper middle of the pack.  I let all the inexperienced paddlers sprint in the beginning and didn't try to pace with them.  But I kept a pretty strong pace in the sprint (the first hour or so).  After an hour of humpin it, I slowed my paced a little. 
     I'll admit it, I'm not a sprinter, I'm a distance guy.  I hate the beginning of races when I have to jump out in the sprint to get in a decent position.  I feel like I'm going to puke about 30 minutes in.  I always feel like i'm sucking down way too much water and make myself feel sick. It usually takes me a good hour and a half to get into a race pace where my body relaxes and I can just race.
The 50 miles seem to go by fast, but I'm definately earning it.  I manage  to keep just under a 7mph pace for the 50 mile stretch. Post race I look at the time splits of coming into the checkpoint and going out.  It reads: Time in 14:30   Time out 14:30.  No time wasted on land. Nice!
Karen: I don’t remember much about the Lexington stop itself, but I do remember what happened on the way there.  The first thing we had to do was get gas.  While there we got a hearty breakfast of spicy chicken strips and biscuits with gravy.  A deli in a gas station?  How awesome is that!?!?  I should also mention that we were using Michael’s TomTom to navigate around.  He chose the option named “Jane”, which was a woman’s voice with an English accent.  She kept telling us to “turn onto the motorway.”  Motorway?  Really?  Does she think that we drive on the left side of the road too?  This would be the first of many times that we would yell at her that famous line by Dan Akroyd in Saturday Night Live, “Jane, you ignorant slut!” 
Moving on, we were driving by a cornfield (the constant running scenery of the entire trip) when we saw a store on the side of the road that was called—I kid you not—Nerd’s.  They sold heavy lawn equipment.  Because when I think of nerds, I think of them using lawn mowers and chain saws.  Don’t you?  This was too much of an opportunity to literally pass by.  We got out and started the first of what would be many stops to take stupid tourist pictures.
  After a bit we moved on to the checkpoint.  The first leg was one of the longest and everyone seemed to be waiting longer than usual since the river was really slow.  We spent the time working on song lyrics for Shane’s luchador theme song as well as getting all his replenishment supplies ready.  One of the first arrivals was Joe, paddling at a ridiculous pace. 
Joe in his 21' Huki S1x
It also seemed like it had taken a lot out of him.  The heat was already unbearable, upper 90’s and would be around 100 degrees all week long.  Somewhere around 150 of the 400 boats would never finish the race (some never even started), the heat being the major contributor.  Like I said, I don’t remember much of Shane coming in and out, but he came a lot later than we thought, and scrambled out quickly.  I sent in the obligatory checkpoint text to race officials saying Shane had come in and left.  I’m sure I was one of the only ones, if not THE only one in the race to get back an encouraging text, “Go Shane!”  Did I mention that Shane has cult status in this race?  One of the only ones that had more people than just his ground crew clapping and cheering for him when he pulls in and out of a checkpoint. It was sometime after the first stop when Elissa called  (Shane's wife) and asked if Shane had his phone.  Of course, we said, it’s mandatory.  Has to have it.  Safety thing, you know.  She said she was tracking him down Highway O.  When we got to the next stop, we figured out why.
Waverly, MO  Checkpoint #2
73 miles in
Sure enough, we found the yellow iPhone in the car. Elissa must have thought we were dragging Shane down the street like a water skier. At Waverly, we met up with the usual crowd—Ben, Madeline, Jill and Jeremiah. 
     Pre-race, I sent Shane desperate emails asking how I do this ground crew thing.  He said he was just happy to see his crew when he came ashore. With a good mental attitude being one of the key components to finishing such a grueling race, I decided to make him REALLY happy to see us. Needless to say, I got a LOT of double takes and giggles, and several people stopped me to take pictures. The leader of the Boy Scout troop that was manning a concession stand there stopped me and got a pic of me with the kids. The Scouts didn’t look too enthusiastic about it, but their leader sure was.
                                                        Checkpoint #2 Yup, this happened!
Finally Shane came into view.  I gave my camera to Jeremiah and started to do a hula dance on a rock.  Shane cracked up.  Mission accomplished.  “Is there more?” he asked.  “Maybe,” I teased.  We took a pic. That would be one of his favorites of the race.  It’s now somewhere on the Facebook universe.  My mother would be so proud.  He relaxed for a few minutes, but then got antsy and hurried when he saw other racers come in.  He jumped on his board and pushed off, refusing to take his phone and leaving before we could fully supply him. 
     It was a frustrating stop, especially since we found out he wasn’t eating or drinking very much.  I yelled harshly after he pulled out, “Eat something!!”  About 50 people on the ramp, including Shane, turned and looked at me, shocked at my tone of voice.  I’m sure I looked absolutely ridiculous, standing there with a scowl on my face and  wearing coconuts and a grass skirt.  Michael came running down the ramp with more supplies and lights for the coming darkness and was upset that Shane had already left.  We were starting to learn the balance between what we thought Shane needed versus what Shane knew he needed.  It would be a fine line that we would walk for the next 50 hours.
Shane:  A funny thing happens when I race.  I act involuntarily at times.  In this instance I knew the checkpoint was taking way too long.  Something pushes me me to get back on the board and go.  I can't explain it. It's just something that happens. The racing mindset takes control.
                                                               Leaving the checkpoint
Miami, MO - Checkpoint #3
105 miles in
Karen: The next stop was Miami, Mo.  To say we got there the hard way would be the understatement of the century.  We plugged the coordinates into “Jane” and headed out.  Jane, the ignorant slut, decided to take a shortcut.  Instead of taking us east and then north along the main roads, she decided to cut a diagonal path that went through a conservation area.  My first clue was when the road went from paved to gravel.  “Are we sure this is right?”  Michael had pulled out my sleek new Android phone with a million features that I have yet to learn, and turned on the navigation system.  “Yeah, see, it’s right here, we’re just cutting through.” 
It was dark when we pulled into the lot.  We hung out with Jeremiah and he showed us the huge scary beat-up green van he was driving. We waited for our teams and Michael and I plotted--it was now late, past 11pm, we had no reception on our phones and we knew we had to convince Shane to take his phone with him overnight, for safety if nothing else.  Unfortunately, poor Elissa was waiting for news, and between our adventure in the conservation area and not having reception, she had no clue what was happening. 
    However, this turned into a really good checkpoint.  Shane was in great spirits, ate and drank a lot and seemed to actually relax.  Surprisingly, he put up no fight when we told him how prudent it was to take his phone with him.  When he paddled off at 11:35pm, Michael commented on how easily Shane took his phone.  “You know why, don’t you?” I asked.  Michael looked at me blankly.  “No, why?”  “He has to call in to do that radio show tomorrow morning!”  Michael looked at me and busted up laughing.  Shane always has an agenda …
Shane:  When I race I have a ton of stuff running through my head.  I have plans for each day and goals. I actually make phone calls during races, I schedule things, I check in with my Wife at times, even check my email.  I know, pretty ridiculous. 
    But in this instance, this was something different.  I am such a lucky  dude. I am fortunate enough to be the Midwest SUP reporter for Radio Chum.  It's the first 24/7 SUP radio station.  It has good music and they give updates to what's happening in the SUP world.
 So I specifically didn't bring my phone all day so I wouldn't use it so i'd have enought battery to call in for the show. And oh yah, Radio Chum gives out the esteemed honor of being awarded a luchador name and mask if you achieve some kind of awesomeness. 
                                               I have been christened El Agua Escorpion!

Monday, August 27, 2012

2012 Mr340

2012 MR340
This ain't your Momma's float trip

            Something really interesting happened after this year's MR340 race here in Missouri.
  (The  MR 340 is 340 miles non-stop on the Missouri river ).  One of my crew, Karen Schubert, wrote her perspective from a crew's P.O.V. of the race and sent it to me.  After reading it I realized I only tell my side of the race story and what I experience.  The crew gets to observe the details like when I come into a check point and I look like crap.  When on my side of it, I think I'm ok, but they see otherwise.  I thought for this race write up I'd share Karen's perspective and add a little narrative of my own. So here goes
Karen: Sitting here watching the Olympics a few days after the finish of the MR 340, I watch 15-year-old Katie Ledecky win a swimming gold medal.  Not only that, she almost broke the world record and blew away the rest of the field by a couple of seconds.  Not bad for a girl that a year ago wasn’t even eligible for the Olympic trials. Now she’s on the gold medal podium—one of those “burst-on-the-scenes” athletes that will no doubt be talked about for a while because of her amazing accomplishment.
I know a guy kind of like that.  Shane is taking traditional water races and turning them on their ear with things that haven’t been done before—heck, they weren’t even THOUGHT of before.  So when he asked me to be part of his ground crew for the MR340, I jumped at the chance.  It was like being asked to be the personal assistant for a rock star.  Hecks, yeah!
Shane warned me it wasn’t going to be easy, and I figured that.  But for some reason I just felt like it was a perfect fit for me, and I couldn’t wait for the time to come.  He had asked me six months before, and after a million questions (and getting about 12 real answers) and several trips to Walmart for supplies (“You want me to get tampons for gunshot wounds???”), we were ready to go.
DAY 1 – Monday, July 30th
                                                       From left to right, Team #1115
                                           Karen (crew), Shane (racer), Michael(crew)
Getting to his house on Monday, we were already late out of the chute.  Shane had to work and had just gotten home, his wife Elissa had to get the rental car, and Michael, my ground crew partner in crime was running behind.  We finally got out of the starting blocks and headed across the state on I-70 to Kansas City.  As someone who gets carsick if I’m not driving, I became the default driver.  I don’t know if Michael and Shane ever regretted that decision, but I knew my job was to get us there ASAP.  “What’s the speed limit here?” became a popular question as I pushed the envelope to get to KC as quickly as possible.  With a quick pit stop at Steak N Shake to grab food,
                            Michael- Crew for the Texas Water Safari and now for the MR340
Pit stop at steak and shake
 we made it in just under four hours.  Shane jumped out of the car to go to the meeting as we pulled up.  After parking the car, Michael and I went in as the meeting had just ended and found ourselves swimming upstream through a mass of humanity.  We found Shane and then chased him around as he made the rounds socially, checked in with the race officials and picked up all his racing giveaways.  We met up with Jill, from Piddle Paddle LLC in KC, who was letting us stay overnight at her house, as well as her husband Doug who was in the race.  Also staying there was Shane’s good friend (and last year’s ground crew, my savior for answering all my questions), Dwayne and his ground crew Ben.  By the time we got there, ate spaghetti, played with Marlow the big German shepherd, hung out and figured out who was sleeping where, it was somewhere close to midnight.  We have to get up when???  Dwayne, Ben, Doug and Jill wanted to leave at 5am.  Thank goodness we decided on leaving at 6am.  A petite flower like myself needs her sleep—and has to get in a good shower.
 Day 2 – Tuesday, July 31st
Kaw Point -Starting line
 Race day!!!! I woke up excited, and a little bleary-eyed. Shane already had his game face on. Very little talking, serious, urging us to get out the door. Our gas tank was almost on empty and I was just hoping to get there before the car puttered to a stop in the middle of the highway. Fortunately we made it there and followed everyone to the river front—a little too far. I went down a boat ramp that I’m sure I wasn’t supposed to into the crowd. By the time we realized it, it was too late. A car has already followed me down the ramp, and I couldn’t back up. Oh well, might as well use it to our advantage! We unloaded the board and immediately started attracting looks as people noticed that we didn’t have a traditional boat. After an official directed me to get my car out of the way, we helped Shane get his board down the ramp and into the water.
 I heard a lady ask, “What is that?”  A little voice, a boy around 7 or 8 answered, “Oh, I know!  It’s a board and you stand up on it and paddle it.”  Wow!  I guess it IS getting more popular!  We met another good friend of Shane’s, Joe and his niece Madeline who was his ground crew.  She along with Ben would prove to be great comrades-in-arms during the race.  Shane pushed his board into the water, followed it out and dunked himself under.  Sigh.  The river stink starts.  Couldn’t he have waited to get wet?  Shane went way out, then over to the side near some brush and pulled out his surprise.  Donning a yellow and black luchador mask, he paddled along the shore, calling out Wally from Los Humongos Paddleos.  The crowd got a big kick out of it, and Shane ended up in the KC newspaper.  The debut of El Agua Escorpion is a hit! 
At 7am, after the national anthem and a shot of a musket and a cannon, off they went.  Almost 200 solo paddlers dashed down the Kaw River toward the Missouri River.  Michael and I decided to stick around and watch the multi-paddler group leave an hour later.  That’s when the things got interesting.  Wally from Humongos Paddleos came by in full luchador costume. 
 Some of the vessels were, um, unusual.  The catamaran.  The canoe that was so long that it was two pieces and had to be bolted in the middle so it could be taken apart to be transported.  The boat where each paddler had a canopy over their heads.  Whispers along the bank: “They’re going in THAT?  They’re never going to make it …” 
I’m sure many people said the same about Shane.  Actually, the phrase I heard again and again was, “He’s crazy.”  Or the variation on that: “That’s crazy that he’s doing that.”  Shane’s crazy and what he’s doing is crazy.  Yup, that about covers it.
After a few fun photos with the Musket Man, Michael and I decided to get on the way to the first check point, Lexington, MO.  And that’s when the fun started.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Rando's Race questions

Rando's Race Questions

That was one crazy race. Here's some questions for you...
Rando: 1. For ultra distance flat water SUP (mostly lakes) do you think that carbon boards are the ticket? 

Shane: You'll definately save weight by a carbon board. But something to remember is long periods of sun and heat will warp carbon.  You almost have to put a skirt covering over the top to protect the board. 
 The most important thing about choosing a board for Ultra distance SUP is the board has to work for what your purpose is. I highly recommend trying out a ton of boards before you buy one. Any reputable dealer will let you demo a board before you buy.  Feel the board. Take it out for an hour paddle if they let you. if not, ask to rent it for an hour.  Load it down with your gear and paddle it.  Then ask yourself, can I do this for multiple days?

 Pau Hana made an 18' full carbon board for me for the TWS but when we sat down and looked at the race logistically, the 18' full carbon wouldn't work.  The carbon is brittle and it wouldn't be able to take 5 days of sun and lots of hits by rocks.  We went with the 14' crossfit by Pau Hana (fibergalss) and coated the bottom with Pau Hana's rubberized technology to absord a ton of hits.

Rando: 2. Is there anything wrong with a very soft rubber fin for shallow river stuff? Or is it ineffective on the total flats when you need better tracking? Is the ProTech fin you used flex much, or is it only the edges that give?

Shane:  It's all about the terrain you'll be in.  If you're in shallow, rocky rivers or lakes then definately go with a rubberized fin.  I used the 7":  Proteck Superflex fin from Surfco Hawaii.  It took alot of hits and rolled/folded over stuff. It worked well for the first 80 miles of the race. Then when the river got deeper I switched to a 9" Proteck performance fin also from Surfco Hawaii.  It's more stiff and is great for tracking while still being able to hit stuff and not destroy a fin.
When you're talking ultra distance play it safe and carry an extra fin or two.  They don't take much room and
are easy to swap out if the terrain changes.

Rando: 3. Have you ever tried the Seattle Sports Lashmate instead of the EZ Plug for attaching gear?

Shane:: I don't have any experience with the Lashmates. They look to be alright. I just don't know enough about them. 
I go with Surfco's EZ-plugs because I've used them for over 800 miles of racing this season and they haven't failed me. Plus they're $6.95 vs. the Lashmate's $24.95.  But I am interested if someone has used the Lashmate to fill me in what they think of it.

Rando: 4. Any experience with traveling at night with a GPS for navigation?

Shane: I used a Garmin E-20 for the Texas Water Safari.  It worked really well.  Saved my butt from making what would have been dumb decisions on cuts that I would have taken had I not had the gps.  A few weeks later I did a 63 mile race in Missouri and dropped the Garmin in the Missouri river.
I'd definately recommend a gps for Ultra distance.  it's super useful. Plus It'll tell you if you're dragging ass and need to stop to rest and fuel up with is average mph.

Rando: 5. Have you ever resorted to using kayak style double paddles in upwind conditions?

Shane:  I sold all my kayaks and canoes last year. Along with them all my double blades.  To me, it doesn't make sense to use anything other than a SUP paddle when on a SUP.  Worst case you can kneel down and choke up on the SUP paddle if you have to. personally I like occasional headwinds, they remind me how easy I have it when the weather is calm.

Rando:  6. Regarding your ankle swelling. Is that due to the many hours on the board that might happen to anyone, or is that something unique that you have experienced? 

Shane: In the hundreds miles of racing, the Texas race is the first time that the swelling has happened.  I wear compression pants that stop above the ankle.  then I wear Columbia's power drain running shoes that are under the ankle. The one exposed area not compressed in some manner is my ankles.  That's where the source of swelling  began and then spread as I took off my shoes, then later took off my compression pants.

If anyone ever has any questions or even wants to pick my brain on anything. Please email me @

Monday, August 13, 2012

Texas Water Safari Part 10 Post race

Texas Water Safari Part 10 - Post race

Once on shore I am all smiles. I try not to show my leg is killing me and proceed as normal. I think just the people's support at the finish line was enough to make me forget a little about it. I get the board on shore and for some reason I am worried about taking the fin off the bottom before I stop to take it all in.  Michael keeps yelling at me to forget the fin and just relax.  I take it off anyway.

     I don't even really think of what I just accomplished until the next day.  This night I just am happy to be amongst friends I've met along the river.  I was able to meet and enjoy so much of the Texas paddling community.  The paddlers, the crew, the people that heard about the stand up guy that came out just to see him.   Some who stayed out late (4am) just to see me in to the finish.  People like Robert Youens that was there to see me in.  Also West Hansen that was there, who had helped me through alot of emails with pre-race planning prior to the race.  People that I look forward to seeing again hopefully at the 51st TWS.  People that just wanted to shake my hand and say, " man that is unbelieveable what you just did."   People like Zoltan Mraz and his crew. I take the feeling in and just enjoy it.

                                                 Zoltan finishes his 12th TWS out of 22 attempts!

 Morning shows up. This time I'm not paddling through the night.
Seadrift, TX  The finish

Michael and I just hang out a little bit and put the board out by other boats.  We stay until the sun comes up, then decide it's time to get some sleep.  Then I get the awesome news from Michael that he went to our hotel at 2am and they gave away our reservation because they thought we weren't coming.  So the hunt for a place to crash begins.  It ends shortly after we talk with Robert Youens and he says there are hotel rooms in walking distance that the TWS rented that are for showering up post race and that we are welcome to crash there.  Greatly appreciated, we take him up on a shower and some sleep.  6:30am I finally hit the sheets in a bed after 4 nights of sleeping on the ground. I'm out to sleep, fast.  Until I wake up at 8:30am to Michael and another gentleman screaming at each other outside the hotel door.  I get up and walk over, half alive, and ask what's going on.  They both become quiet and I'm left confused.  I walk back in the room to Michael's explaination. They were telling Michael we didn't have permission to be sleeping in the room. Michael tried to explain we did. Then the yelling. Then the half alive me walks over.. yada yada.

   We gather our stuff and go to leave.  Within 10 minutes Michael and the guys are apologizing to each other and shaking hands, even hugging.  Apparently the 2 guys outside the hotel room had a rough TWS. They both DNF'd (did not finish).  They were racing to raise funds for vets and were upset they didn't make it to the end. 
No worries. Who needs sleep at this point.  We leave and go towards the finish line area again.

   The awards ceremony is getting ready to take place in a few hours and we make our way over to mingle. I talk to an old timer that raced the TWS back in the 70's.  Bucky shows me a scrap book from back in the day when he used to build canoes to race.  They are crazy looking. He proudly tells me his number of finishes.  Yet he also includes the number of times he did not finish.  It's an amazing conversation we have for about 20 minutes.   

     I get to talk to a lady who asks me about the story of my kidney transplant which I explain.  In this conversation, this is where I learn that our fallen brother, Brad Ellis, was able to donate multiple organs upon his leaving us.  Amazing! His thoughtfulness is something most people never think about.  All it takes to become an organ donor is to go to the dmv or online and update your license.
        Joy (who I later learn is a heck of a paddler herself)  asks if it's ok to relate my story in conjunction with her speaking on Brad and the collection they are taking up for his family. I whole heartedly agree.

                       Joy Emshoff (left) with Ginsie Stauss make a donation box for Brad Ellis' services

I meet a host of others that want to hear my story, but all I want to do is hear their story and how they are involved with the TWS. I see alot of people that I spent time with at the checkpoints.  I see the Garcia family at breakfast at a local diner.  Allie gives me a cool bracelet that matches my race colors.  Just all around good people.

Allie Garcia and friend Daniel on the far left.
 Becky  Garcia with the blue shirt and to her left Don Garcia who paddled
with Team Cuatro Sinko.

After a morning of story swapping and talking to just open and friendly people, the awards ceremony begins.  They hand out plaques to all finishers.  Being the 50th anniversary, it's a huge deal. For a race to exist this long and to have people year after year come back is amazing.

                                                     What you see on the back of my Jeep!

After a few other people are called up, they come to me.  As I walk up to hear the folks clapping and cheering, it's overwhelming.  I'm honored that they've included me in this race. I truely feel accepted within the Texas paddling community.  People are genuinely happy for me to be there on that stage.  To be out on the course that so many of them have been on, they know what it took for me to get to this point to be able to consider myself a TWS finisher. I later am told  there are only about 221 solo finishers in the TWS 50 year history.  I'm told I'm the 220th

The things I received on this stage: 50 year race anniversary award, TWS patches, a hearty handshake, an amazing applause, Respect from the texas paddling community, and most of all, belonging.

Befor eleaving the stage, I'm goated into saying something.  I'm so in the moment of where I'm at that I can't even think of what to say on the mic. Here's what comes out:

The rest of the day is just hanging out and enjoying being on land amongst friends. Michael takes the board out and has some fun in the bay. He even gives some lessons to a couple teens wanting to get out on the board.  I watch as the parents on land are all smiles watching their kids have fun.  That's what it's all about for me.  People enjoying the sport. 

We leave Texas that evening for St. Louis. It's a tough one. I am so in love with this paddling community in Texas. They truely are the most genuinely caring and supportive folks around. I can't even count the number of people that helped me through the TWS. Even post race they're still helping me through support and SUP promotion.
                                People like Debbie Richardson, who placed 1st in women's solo.  Post race she's  been a huge help.

Lindsay Stillman. Who's making a short documentary of my Texas Water Safari experience.  Out soon...  Plus she's fundraising to get me back down to the CR100 race in Texas.

And there a bunch more people. Like Cindy Meurer who's letting me stay at her house for the CR100.

I just am amazed by the generosity of eveyone.  My TWS experience has been like none other. There are loads of people to thank and I apologize if I don't get everyone. There are a few key players that I want to mention here:

 First and foremost: My wife.  She is the one who's home with my son Luke (2.5 yrs) and daughter Tessa (3 months) while I do all this crazy stuff. Through my training and racing, she's the rock at home. Also alot of credit to my mother in-law Patty.  She's a huge help too.

The crew for the TWS. Michael Rokos and Joe Baisa.  Without them, there was no TWS.  They came through in a huge way with crew support.  Great guys.

The Pau Hana guys.  Owners Todd Caranto and Royce Hanamaikai for being the first SUP company to believe in me and back me.  The 14' Pau Hana Crossfit is insane. Super fast and sleek.

Maui Jim. For their awesome shades. I rocked the Lagoon style shades for the TWS

Werner Paddles.  The Werner Grand Prix Bent Shaft is the Paddle that got me throught the race

Surfco Hawaii. Everything on my board was held down by Surfco's EZ Plug system. I also used a 7" and 9"  proteck rubber fin throught the race.

SlickSup. It's a co-polymer wax coating I use on all my boards.  It reduces drag and creates a slickness to the board.  Great product

Now the fun begins.  The season is winding down. I just finished the Mr 340 a couple weeks ago (340 miles). I have the Cr100 in a few weeks. Then the planning season starts.  I'm looking at some new races for next year. Longer distances and some expeditions.  I have to work on sponsors and strategies.  So there really is no down time for me. why do I do it? For the love of the sport!

If anyone ever wants to contact me for any reason please do.
  I'll do my best to return all emails within 2 days.
And If you're in the St. Louis are, check out
It's my SUP business. Lesson, rentals, and sales available.

     And to leave you with a little race humor:
Michael, I think it's too late for the this TWS racer