The race is still on.

I’m still planning on heading south in a few weeks. My son has been working hard to get ready for this thing and I can’t imagine missing his first ultra-marathon canoe race. However, the employment situation dictates an adjustment.

I’ll have to cut out a few expenses – like my ground crew. Sharon will have to cheer me on from Shreveport this time. Going unsupported means packing pretty much everything I need for the three day race in the boat. It will be heavier, and I’ll have to set up camp every night but, heck, it’s part of the challenge. Remember the picture I took before the MR340 when I was testing how much I might pack in the boat? Well, I really will have to stuff all this gear in it for this one.

Will it fit?

So, who’s headed south? First off it’s Christian Flottman. His boat’s old and his equipment is pretty basic, but he’s fearless and strong. Because his boat has a rudder and he’s using a kayak paddle he’ll be in the unlimited class. This is bad because he’s facing the toughest competition. It’s good, though, because right now there are only three other boats entered. His girlfriend, Kristi, is coming along as his coureur du bois. I hope she knows what she’s getting in to!

John Markaverich is a guy I’ve been working out with. He and his friend Jim Faler are headed south with us. I’ve never met Jim but John’s really improved since we first started training. He’s pushed me to get better too. And he’s been a great paddling buddy out there on the lake. Both these guys will bepiloting kayaks – they’re my competition. And they’ll be supported by their lovely wives.

And I’ll be out there in my touring kayak. It’s not a racer but it’s great for covering long distances. Including John and Jim I’ll have 13 other people in my division. My odds of finishing in the top three? Probably pretty slim but you never know.

So that’s it. My friends from St. Louis decided to drop out at the last minute. Maybe they’ll join us somewhere next year. Maybe you’ll join us next year? Think about it.

2 responses to “The race is still on.

  1. I don’t know, Ned – with your determination and grit you may just finish in the top three. We are pulling for you, that’s for sure!!!

  2. Well, you never know. The positive is that most of the people in the kayak division are local folks from south Louisiana. Locals in their first race looking for an adventure? The negatives are that those locals have had the chance to get out on this water and know it really well. Also, one of them is from a family that owns a kayak store down there and he bills himself as a professional athlete. I don’t know how many are youngsters and how many are old guys. And I’ll be going unsupported this time. That’s an interesting challenge and I’m kind of looking forward to it but Tim, David, Sharon, and Carol certainly helped a lot last year.

    I’m not as in shape this year as last but I have a better idea of what I’m getting in to so maybe that’s a wash. And lots of things can happen over the course of 135 miles and three days. People get sick, they have boat problems, they become discouraged. I saw a lot of young, strong guys drop out last year in the first day.

    I’d certainly like to finish in the top 50% but could just as easily finish last – or not at all. Like I heard a guy say last year – “It was really, really hard when I thought it was a race. Then I realized it was also an adventure. Then it became really hard – and a lot of fun.”

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