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.