Eight days, 20 hours, to go and this time it looks like it will really happen. The Missouri River is below flood stage in most places and is coming down everywhere else. So, it looks like we’ll have a good compromise between fast and safe.
I’m hoping for a fast river. I went out on Cross Lake yesterday to see how far I could paddle. My goal was 50 miles. I figure if I can make that distance on a lake I should be able to hit the checkpoints the first day (and stay in the race) on the river. Well, I travelled 41 miles in 12 hours yesterday and I want to tell you that last hour was tough. The heat index was 107 and I was out of water the last four miles. I briefly considered filling up with water and going out again but just didn’t have it in me. So, I really don’t know if I can make the distance on the first day of the race. The good news is that the padding and cushioning my friend Phil gave me REALLY worked. My arms, back, hands, and stomach hurt but I was sitting in comfort all day. Thanks again, Phil.
If you’re checking in on my progress during the race, watch for my times at Lexington and Waverly. I’ll need to hit Lexington (50 miles into the race) by 5:00 pm and then paddle another 23 miles to Waverly by 9:00 pm. That means a 5.62 mph average to make it in time. This is the point where about 1/3 of the racers drop out or are disqualified because they don’t hit the checkpoint in time. If I can make it to Waverly I think I just might make it all the way.
On another note, we’re up to $4,791.00 in pledges for Haiti! That’s $14.09 per mile, $.0266 per paddle stroke. I have a dymo label maker sitting on my desk at work and plan to print out a label with the final figure per mile and stick it on the boat where I can see it during the race. What a great incentive to keep moving. Thank you all so much.
That’s it for this week. Yesterday was the last time to get in the boat before KC. This next week will be spent letting my body heal, organizing all the gear for the race, doing laundry, and all those mundane tasks.