Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Texas Water Safari Part 4

Texas Water Safari Part 3

Gonzales Bridge (gravel bar) (mile 85) to Hocheim (mile 123)

The longest stretch of the race, where  I will not have any support.  I have been told this is a do or die. Make or break.  The last bet to be won is in this stretch.   38 miles with no contact, no ice, No Water.  Oddly enough I welcome it.   There's something about being by yourself for long periods of time that Intrigues me.  From what I've found, the vast majority of people have to be around others.  They need to talk and interact. They need constant stimulation induced by others. They need life to happen for them.
     I  find that when you are by yourself, that is when discovery begins.  Not always with yourself, but with the conditions you are presented with. Just looking at the river at this point is interesting. I've been paddling more than most normal Stand up paddlers at this point, but I still love to look at the river. The way it moves. The slighest rock that sits higher than others changes the pattern of the flow. Stumps interrupt how the river wants to move.  Birds do crazy things in and by the water. Wind blows grass in amazing ways.  This all changes the mind from thinking about the hell the body is going through. This is my method.  This is part of the process. It's really what you make of it. You can be mad that you're hot as hell and have a limited amount of food and hydration for the next 10 hours. Or you can look at it as 38 miles of paddling and finding reasons to fall off your board to get cooled off (or in the case of 134 others, your boat). Come on now, Like Forrest Gump says, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get!"
This box is a representation of life, and the Texas Water Safari.
I make it the whole 10+ hours to Hocheim.  I was  warned about this stretch. Even in my laminated notes I see I hgave written,"stock up on water.  Longest stretch".
 I've heard it was a deal breaker.  I see why too.  I was out there for the vast majority of the time by myself.  No music. Maybe 3-4 boats that came by.  Very lonely. But still, very exciting. Granted the scene looked alot alike. But it was fun trying to find the differences.  It's all in your outlook on what's before you.
                                             The  long distances by myself.  Very Peaceful

After I get into Hocheim.  I stay a little bit.  Enough to chat with my crew.  Non-racers probably can't  understand the value of a crew. At times, crew is  better than a steak dinner with all the helpings when you're ravenous. Better than any ice cold hydration drink on the hottest of days, or a sultry cup of cocoa when your core is cold.  They energize you. They restore what you have lost.  All in simple conversation.  Simple positive reinforcement.  Words spoken. No matter what the words are. Just them being there when you are Mentally and physically spent, and have been paddling for hours adds back  miles and miles of paddling back to your soul.  The ground crew gets very little recognition, but is as essential to the race as the the athelete's training. They are the life support system.

                                       Joe Baisa (red Shirt) and Michael Rokos ( Straw hat) 
                                        The guys who get me through my toughest times in this race

I decide not to stay too long and push on to Cheapside. What's another 22 miles? Child's play.  Not too much exciting through this stretch. I've found new ways to entertain myself.  I try to pick a target on the water and spit at it and see how close I can get.  I find that ultra spitting is not my sport. I stick to Ultra paddling.
  Cheapside comes and I welcome it.  I get some great cheers upon my approach.  I haven't mentioned it, but people have been amazing in this process.  Ground crews of other boats, spectators, officials, everyone I encounter have been extremely encouraging.  They are so supportive of what I'm doing.  Little do they know, they are my fuel.  I love it!
       As I write this, I remember earlier today when I received a message on Facebook.  It's from a message in a friend request.  We saw you at Cheapside.  We were cheering you on as you came in. 
 I responded with "at 5-6 am every morning I was usually delirious.  I remember people cheering, and I was thankful, I hope I remember you."
 A samll vid of me leaving Hocheim.  If it doesn't take you right to the vid, scroll down, it's the 8th vid down from the top.
In case you're wondering, it's not some wierd ritual I do with the paddle stabbing the water before I take off.  There was mud on the blade


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Texas Water Safari Part 3

                                                           Texas Water Safari
                                                                      Part 3

Texas Water Safari

Part 3

  A good shot of below Staples Dam. Portage was river right down the metal stairs.

I leave Staples pissed off.  I slam the paddle to the water and grunt on the initial take off.  I hit it hard until I’m around the bend, out of sight of people.  I think to myself what the hell am I going to do when I get to the 1.8 mile portgage?  I had a system that I worked out to portage the board. Even practiced it walking around my backyard.  I planned to put on my awesome Line trimmer harness (again, thanks work, the harness is back in the shed) and clip into the front hand hold on top of the nose.  Then pull the board as the wheels I brought along would be strapped around back by the fin. I was angry. Then realized, I should be angry at myself.  I should have clipped the harness back onto the board’s center hold like I had been doing.  Ok, I admitted I was not thinking right. Move on Shane. Find better thoughts.

     The current is still pretty good at his point in the race.  I’m making good time while ducking under low water bridges and avoiding stumps and downed trees.  I’m feeling better. The wanting to puke feeling is gone.  I’m finally in a good rhythm of paddling.  Everything’s loosened up and flowing.  In time I  make it to Luling (Zedler) Dam mile 46.   Michael signals me to portage  right over the concrete wall and carry the board over the concrete to the other side.  He says most solos are sliding their boats down th 2ft. concrete spillway by the dam.
                                                                                 Luling dam
                          The top of the dam lowering the board down the concrete spillway
                                                   Portaging down the side of the spillway.
                                                   If you look at the picture above,  I'm now
                                                   where the 2 guys are waiting at the bottom.

The portage is tricky.  I lay the board on the concrete and let it slide down as I grab a hand hold on the tail to lower it down, all while traversing large rocks.  I let the bottom of the board scrape over the concrete.  At this point I have full faith in Board Shaper Todd Cartanto's rubberized coating on the bottom of the board.  It's taken a ton of hits and is now being scraped on concrete.  I get to the bottom and Michael meets me there.  He hands me more bladders with ice and water. 
                                                         Team Captain "Michael Rokos"

At this point in the race, some Texans have lost some bets.  Many folks said I'd be pulling out at Luling.  I'll be honest, It was a tough 46 miles to this point.  There was good flow on the river but you had to be heads up all the time.  Alot could of gone wrong. I see why they bet against me.

Back on river after a welcomed chat with Michael.  Everything's still good. My spirits are up, plenty of water, and still a little daylight.  I paddle on a ways as it gets dark.  Night hits and everything slows down.  I have to slow my cadence so I can try to see what's ahead.  I have a fenix flash light duct taped on my deck bag to see what's immediately ahead of me.  I don a headlamp so I can scan the river. I switch from high beam back to low beam.  I catch glimpses of sticks or stumps in the river and adjust my trak accordingly.  Night travel is not too bad, just slow.  It's hard to see what;s coming.

     It's dark and as I paddle I hear running water.  I can't see but 20 ft in front of me and still hear rushing water.  WTF is it?  I get about 5 feet on top where the sound is coming from and I see it.  I see a drop off.  I back paddle to try figure out what I'm looking at.  It makes no sense. It must be a portage spot.  I paddle back upstream and pull off to the side of the river and hold onto some brush.  I flip through my laminated notes.  Ahhh. Son of Ottine. It makes sense now.  It's an old broken concrete dam.  It's runable, but only center right.  I get back in the center of the river. Paddle slowly. Get right up in the center and finally see it. There's a small chute about 3 ft wide center right.  I take it and paddle through.  I actually clear it until the fin catches the concrete.  It's a nasty feeling with a crunching sound.  It leaves me with a bad feeling.  I paddle over to the side of the river and take a look.  Yup, it broke a fin.  Broke it right at the fin screw.  I take out the fin and decide to make it work.  I put the fin back down in the fin box and jam it forward, wedging the fin into the fin box.  It stays.  I paddle on.
4 miles later I get to Ottine dam. I have to portgage right. The porage sucks!  It's uphill about 15 yards. But it's sandy material that when you step you slide back down the hill.  Every step yields about 6 inches in travel.  The race official there says," man you're my hero."  It's enough encouragement to keep me going uphill.  Then I say to him," Most people had me only making it to Luling.  I guess they lost a bet somewhere."  He replies with," I have you past Gonzo at Hocheim.  Prove me wrong. Get to Seadrift!"  I say," That's the plan."

                    Ottine dam looking up river.  Portage is to the right coming down river, uphill,
                    around to the left, through the woods, an 8' drop off from washout, then back on river.

 As I portage ,I hear a guy I have been paddling on and off with, nick-named 'Polecat' yell,"  Ottine!" (very drawn out).  Sounds part like he's cursing it, part like he's praising it.  Wierd.
 Just a couple miles past Ottine, I make it to Palmetto Bridge. Check point #3   More bets lost. My crew informs me that people are shocked I am still in the race.  They actually are starting to root for me.  The crew says they are getting a ton of questions about the stand up guy.  This is good.  This is definately good. The SUP disease is spreading.

Paddling on throught the night the river starts to get slower and wider.  Already a bit tired from a day of technical paddling,  I still have technical paddling, but now with less current, which means more output.  I find mental outlets to take my mind of paddling.   I am now singing  songs that I sing to my son as I put him to sleep at night.  Curse that Elmo book! The lyrics ring in my head...Things may not be what they seem now, all throught the night...  Clouds are drifting, frogs are peeping..
What the hell am I doing? The sad part is I do this for over an hour. I run through the songs in the dam Elmo book!  No matter.  It works. I get through the night and get to day break.  I make it to Gonzales Gravel bar. Mile 85. I chat with my crew alittle bit and do a board inspection.  I find that I've put a hole in the nose of the board somehow.  Not sure how, but I go to my repair kit.  Surfco hawaii's Quick fix putty.  Dave from Surfco says it works. We'll see.  I goober the nose with enough putty to make sure it holds for the next  170+ miles.   I also take the opportunity to change fins.  Up to this point I had a 7" rubber proteck fin on.  I switch out to a 9".
    I've hit a point I need to rest the legs a bit.  Standing up is hard enough.  Doing it while paddling, not an easy task.  I lay the board on the gravel bar. Tell Michael I have to rest.  I walk up under the bridge and take my shoes off and lay down.  I hear the cars running over the bridge.  I don't even care about the sound. I tell my Team Captain to wake me in 30 minutes. In 30 seconds I'm out cold!
                                              My first sleep in almost 24 hours of racing. 


Texas Water Safari Part 2

                                                                  Texas Water Safari
                                                                              Part 2

     Race day: June 9th

          We arrive at the Start in San Marcos and unload everything.  Get the board unloaded and  I start to stretch qnd get warmed up.  At someone’s insitency they have me speak with a local paddler who's highly regardedin the paddling community about what to expect on the race.  So I meet this guy, who seems nice enough, and as the conversation unfolds I ask him what he thinks about me doing this on a SUP.  His response,” Logistically you have 0% chance of finishing on a stand up paddle board.” I just smile and say ok.  He goes on about not seeing the course, not running the river sections, and all the details why the 0%.  I get what he’s saying.  The odds are stacked against me.  From an outsider's POV racing on a SUP doesn't make sense. But I’ve been here before.  I’ve been told that doing a race of this magnitude is impossible.  I have reserved the fact in my mind that the only limitations in life, are the ones that you put on yourself. 

     After hitting the John about 5 times, we finally get my board into Aquarena springs, the race start.  A crystal clear preserved habitat that they allow the race to start on by special permission.  I put in and paddle to warm up.  I get all the normal weird looks from the racers.  Surprisingly, there are a quite a few Texans that smile and say, “you are crazy man, Good luck.” or "that's cool".  I thank them and keep warming up.  I paddle back in and settled into the line-up.  I decide to hang halfway back in the pack.  This is their race, I don’t want to piss them off by being up front creating a cluster. 

     Minutes before race start the National Anthem plays.  I am fortunate to be the only racer standing, hat off, over my heart, head bowed down.  Yes, I am patriotic.  I love my country. My Grand father was in WW2 in the navy.  My brother served in the army.  I appreciate their sacrifices.

     A couple minutes before the gun, a reporter asks why a stand up in this race.  I am so focused on the start I give him an answer something like, “because I want to do the toughest races out there, and this is it (not knowing what I’m getting into).  He leaves and seconds later the start commences.  Paddlers are hammering paddles to my left.  I am lined up on the right to let all the fast guys scream by on the left.  After the fast boats fly by I make my way to the middle of the pack.  The wake is insane form all the boats.  It’s like paddling in the ocean.  I see race vets West Hanson and Wally Werderich fly by me in their race canoe (2 bad ass paddlers that end up winning their division).  I go to yell some encouraging words to them but almost fall off from the wake.

    ¼ mile into the race as you leave the Aquarena is the first portgage.  The canoes converge into the woods and disappear.  I follow suit.  I hop off my board and put my harness on.  My harness is no more than a harness you wear that you clip into a line trimmer (thanks work, I returned it after the race).  I clip into the center hold of the board by means of a double carabiner (caribiner then fabric, then another carabiner).  I lift the board for the first time fully loaded.  Holy crap, how am I going to do this.  The board weighs 42lbs(with a rubberized coating) and at 14' is akward,  my gear is a little over 50lbs.  I carry the board about 15 yards and have to set it down.  The non-existent trail, consists of rocks, roots, hanging vines,  unstable surface, and trees.  I pick up the board and keep carrying it.  40 yards later I see water and throw the board in.  I get back on and start paddling.  I feel like I’m going to puke.  The portgage took a lot a lot out of me and I’m not even out of the first mile of a 260 mile race!

  I hammer down and take off.  ¾ miles in comes Rio Vista.  The river converges into a series of 3 chutes. After each chute there’s a pool of water and then the pool narrows down to anbother chute that is about 4-5ft wide.  I portgage the first chute as it’s too low on the bottom and I fear breaking a fin.  I decide not to clip in to the board and lower the nose down first over the rocks sliding the bottom of the board over sharp rocks. Normally this would be a bad idea because it would tear through the fiberglass.  But the secret weapon that no-one knows about is that board shaper Todd Caranto has been developing a rubberized coating made specifically for this type of racing for SUP’s.  I get to test it out. And it passes over the rocks no problem. Not a scratch.  I hop on the board and paddle on my knees to the next chute.  Screw it, I’m running it.  I drop down the chute and hold onto the deck bag as the nose disappears into the water.  The rapid washed over me and I emerge refreshed. The spectator cheer.  I paddle on and run the last chute.  I stand and paddle on. The spectators go crazy.  After the last chute I paddle by an aluminum canoe that is half submerged with the nearest paddler 5 feet away.  In front of them is a Safari boat filled with water and the 2 paddlers are holding onto the sides walking it over to the shore.  I press on.

                                   I approach Rio Vista. My face probably says it all right now
                                                                   Running Rio Vista
                                                                        Carnage at Rio vista

     A couple smaller portages later and I get to Cummins dam at mile 5.  As I paddle up to it I can tell there’s an obvious drop off and mandatory portage right.  I get behind about 5-6 canoes in line to see what the deal is.  Once I make it further in the line I am trying to figure out how I follow suit to these canoes.  To the right of the concrete dam (which is about a 50ft drop) there are concrete spillways about 2.5 ft wide that drop down at a severe angle.  People are tying ropes to their boats and lowering them down the 50ft drop! I’m screwed. I have no rope.  This info of the portage was nowhere to be found.  All the description said was portage right.  Then I see the light.  On one of the spillways is a wooden ladder that is bolted in.  I jump at the opportunity and throw the nose up over the concrete.  I lower the board down nose first and hold onto a Surfco Hawaii hand hold that I glued onto the top of the tail.  I’m scaling down the ladder as I  hold the board’s weight in my right hand. I drop the nose from 3ft from the bottom.  Crap. I just chunked my board.  I pick up the board and carry it over to the water.  Take a look at the nose and am shocked.  No damage whatsoever!  The coating is proving to be bullet proof.

    I paddle on.  The whole time thinking about cottonseed rapids.  How the hell am I going to get through these rapids known for eating boats.    8 miles in I get there.  I see a tandem boat that is taking a porage up over a river bank.  I decide last minute not to run the rapids and follow the tandem.  I emerge down river from the rapids to the disappointment of my ground crew. I hear, “what happened” from the crew.  I yell back,”It wasn’t worth the risk”.  It would have been awesome to run these famed rapids, but at 8 miles into the race, it wasn’t worth the risk of destroying the board.  I paddle on.  Making the last rurn away from Cottonseed I get a nice tree that ha fallen across the river.
                                                             Leaving Cottonseed

     I paddle through the day with more obstacles and portages until I get to mile 17, Staples dam, the first checkpoint.  I portage right through the woods about 20 yards. I clip into the board this time.  There are metal stairs on the right of the dam that I use.  The harness works beautifully walking down the board.  I get to the bottom of the stairs and remove the strap and put it on my board.  I talk with the crew and get some water.  I go to take off and a spectator yells,” you dropped your rope.”  I turn around and he’s pointing at the water.  I try to paddle over and he bends down to grab the strap.  I yell at him. “No no. drop it. Drop it”. Not listening he throws it on my board.  A race official says, sorry you can’t use it.  Race rules dictate that you can not receive any outside help throughout the race.  This spectator just unknowingly screwed me.  I now have no way to portage my board now!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Texas Water Safari - part 1

The Texas Water Safari
Part 1

How it all began:

  I rested up and then started planning my 2012 race year.  I tried to find the longest, toughest races that were out there and add them to my season. I checked out the Texas Water Safari, but couldn’t find a ton of info on it.  Time passed and I was invited to race in Belize.   So I put the TWS on the back burner and focused my attention on Belize.

     March 2012 I raced in La Ruta Maya Belize challenge.  A 179 mile race in Belize that traverses the ancient Mayan route ( ).

The Day prior to the race I was walking through the town of San Ignacio with the Pau Hana crew when we saw some Americans so we went over to talk.  We found that they were obviously there for the race so we talked about boat situations.  Virginia Parker and Morgan Cohutt both Texans were racing with a third member that was back at a hotel.  So we gladly divulged I was racing on a 14’ Pau Hana Crossfit.  Their reaction was the same as I get most of the time. Wow, wait what?  As the conversation progressed, Virginia said, “I hear there’s some guy that’s going to try to do the Texas Water Safari on a SUP.”  Todd Caranto (Pau Hana board shaper) pipes in and says “yeah, that’s this guy right here! He’s gonna be the first person to race the TWS by SUP.”   So from that point forward I learned that the TWS was now on my list of races to conquer.  The word was already out, there was no turning back.

     Fast forward a month from Belize.  My wife and I have our second child (Tessa) on April 20th.  My training time Is now hard to come by.  I have to make the decision of do I train tonight or spend time with my family.  This becomes the question every night.  In this process, I slowly  become a ghost around the house.  Training at 4am, then to work, then to work for clients landscaping, then home.  Spend an hour or so with the family before I disappear into the basement to train for the second time in the day.  Somehow I maintain this pace until the TWS comes.

      2 weeks prior to the race, my nights are filled with emails, gear lists, acquiring gear, talking with sponsors, trying to get sponsors, getting my ground crew on the same page, all lumped in with light training and squeezing in some family time.  I could not have made it through this process without my wife.  She was home all day with 2 kids and when I came home she would let me train and disappear to prep for race stuff.  I was exhausted, but she was beyond exhausted.    I’m fortunate to have the support I have on the home team.  My wife and Mother in-law were the rock at home base. Without them this whole process would not work. I would not be racing!

     Getting there: Thursday June 7th

     June 7th I wake up and work for the City, punching in at 6:30a and out at 3:00p.  I race home to get all my gear ready.  My wife goes and picks up the rental car for me and comes home with a Jeep Liberty.  Man, I love Jeeps.  I drive a 01’ Jeep Cherokee and it’s the best vehicle I have ever owned.  The trip is starting off right.

     My crew shows up. Team captain Michael Rokos and then Crew expert (and also an endurance athelete)  Joe Baisa.    We load everything in the Jeep and load the board on top.  I say my goobyes to my ladies, My wife Elissa, My mother in-law Patti, and my Baby girl Tessa.  Sadly, my son is asleep inside.  I don’t want to wake him and leave, leaving him upset.  I end up just leaving.

      The trip is estimated to take 16 hours.  Joe Baisa starts out behind the wheel.  They let me linger in back and relax.  As the drive progresses, Joe stays behind the wheel for almost 13 hours of the trip driving straight through and switching off with Michael.  They let me sleep all night Until I awake in Texas.  I like this ground crew already. 
                                               From left: Joe Baisa, Michael Rokos, Shane Perrin

Arrival in San Marcos: Friday June 8th

       We make it into San Marcos to the start Early afternoon Friday, where there’s a mandatory check-in.  We get the board off and tubs of gear and food.  With this race you have to declare everything you will have with you for the entire race.  (The only thing your team captain can give you during the race is ice and water).  Michael and I painstakingly do this, from a snakebite kit all the way down to how many clif bars I have, and it’s a ton of them.  The process takes a while.  In the meantime various people make their way over to check out the board and the guy that is going to try to SUP the Texas Water Safari.  Michael and I talk to a lot of folks with a lot of questions.  West Hanson, a local favorite and a hell of an athelete stops over (check out  He’s genuinely happy I made it.  Whether it’s to watch me die on the course or to have more Midwesterners find out what the Safari is all about. 
                           Michael at the check-in.  Inventory of all gear and food.

     We go through this process for what seems like hours and I realize I don’t have enough dry bags.  Joe Baisa heads out and gathers last minute supplies.  Returning with dry bags and a whistle.  We make the check-in. I realize we have just enough time to head out to Austin Canoe & kayak to pick up a paddle that Werner sent out for me and make it back to the safety briefing at 4pm.
      Of course we get 20 minutes into our trip and there’s major traffic.  We make the decision to keep going anyway.  We get there and after a very confused employee, he emerges with the paddle.  Werner bent shaft Grand Prix.  Awesome just to look at.  I thank him and we go to leave. Just until he says, “Hey have you paid for that?”  I explain that it’s a sponsor paddle but he’s not buying it.  I leave the paddle at the counter as he makes a call.  All sorted out and we leave only to realize we’re going to miss the safety meeting.  Joe drives and hauls the best he can with even more traffic.   The meeting starts at 4pm.  We arrive at 4:30.   Joe drops us off as Michael and I slink in to the back of the pack and listen to the skinny.  Mostly prerace fluff but some good stuff. 

     As we sit and eat, yet another curious person enquires about the stand up guy.  After some conversation she says to my face, “ I’m sorry but you won’t make it past palmetto (approx.. 60 miles in).  I just smile.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Driving to Texas

I workd a full day today for th city. Punchd out and drove home as fast as i could. Got e everything gathered up for the trip. My ground crew made it to my house by 5pm today. I had all my gear and board loaded. Got all their stuff loaded up as well and said my goodbyes. It's never easy for me leaving my family. My son was still asleep from his nap, but my wife and my mother in-law was there to see me off. Mom was holding my little girl Tessa. I gave them all a kiss and tried to choke out a few words. I hate leaving them. We departed at 5:15 fully loaded. As I write this, we are 5 hours in to our 16 hr trip. Joe Baisa is driving the first leg while Michael Rokos sleeps a bit. I'm trying to sleep, but I'm crammed into the backseat of a jeep. Oh goal is to drive straight through til we get to Austin canoe and kayak. Werner paddles was nice enough to sponsor me with a bnt shaft carbon sup paddle and shipped it to Austin. So that's he plan. Get there, get he paddle, andget to check in for te Texas water safari. They check everything. From gear to food and make a checklist for the start. Then at the finish they check it again to make sure you don't get additional gear along the way. Basically they make it as tough as possible. So back to my luxury seat inthe backseat of he jeep for now. It's kind of nice. Maui Jim sent me some sunglasses for the race and include some shirts. The one I'm wearing is a long sleeve hoodie. The hoodie is nice as it keeps my bald head warm as I lay back here.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A path

Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP).  I wake up thinking about it. It crosses in in out of my mind throughout my day. I go to sleep dreaming about it.  It's like nothing I have ever encountered before. It's a sport that has many dimensions to it.  Yet, here in the midwest, 9 out of 10 people I talk to have never heard of it.
     I started "standing up" 4 years ago out of a 14' old towne canoe.  I built a paddle out of pine and cedar and took a 30 mile trip with friends on the beautiful Current river.  I wasn't sure what I was doing, but  I knew I liked whatever it was.  So as the years went, I built a couple boards out of wood strip  and continued my Standing experience.
    It wasn't until last year (2011) I actually paddled on a commercially made foam-core/fiberglass board.  My stand up world changed  yet again.  The sport of SUP emerged in me.  I began to race in long distance kayak races entering as the only SUP.  My shortest race was 20 miles. My longest 340 miles.  Stand up is my passion,  it is my life's adventure.
     This year I started my race season paddling in "La Ruta Maya Belize challenge".  A 179 mile race staged over 4 days. The competitors consist of 3 paddlers in a racing canoe. I became the first person in the race's history to paddle all 4 legs solo.  To boot, I did it on a SUP. Something the Belizean people have never seen.
     Up next I have my toughest race.  The Texas Water Safari on June 9th.  It's 261 miles of non-stop paddling in the heat of texas.  In the first 40 miles there are 17 portgages.  Added to that there are Log jams you have to go over, under, or around.  There's class 2 rapids.  Rocks, shallows, strainers and more nastiness.  Not to Mention this is Texas. It's hot.  This one's gonna hurt!
     I'll be sure to update everyone after the race on all the details.  Thanks for reading.