Friday, April 07, 2006

Back Home And Recharging My Batteries

I've been home a full week now, and am finally starting to come out of the fog in my head. Have been mostly sleeping and eating. The first few nights Paul would find me waking up completely confused and disoriented, very concerned that we were not moving forward, trying to paddle the bed out the bedroom door, and complaining that there wasn't enough water.

Aside from need to catch up on sleep, I'm in very good condition. My fingers have some temporary nerve damage, some numbness and lots of tingling when I try to use them in certain ways, they are swollen in the morning, but once slowly stretched and warmed up, all seems OK. I didn't suffer from any blisters or infections, and my butt couldn't have been more comfortable sitting in the Kruger seat during the long hours of paddling. I lost some weight (~10 lbs) during the 1200-mile UFC, wish it were more, guess I kept myself pretty fueled. My clothes fit better so I must have also have converted some fat to lean.

I've been viewing the photos and videos on the WaterTribe website as well as some I have that were not posted. I've also been reading all the messages and race logs that were posted in the WaterTribe discussion forum during the UFC. Thank you all very much for the messages of encouragement that many of you posted or e-mailed. Although Paul relayed them to me over the phone during the race, I've enjoyed reading them all too. Thanks so much!

WHAT AN INCREDABLE EXPERIENCE AND ADVENTURE. It almost seems a dream now. I've been reading through my blog that Paul "DancesWithSandyBottom" kept up so nicely (thanks Paul). And there is so much more. I've made some new and wonderful friends (Dexter "ThereAndBackAgain", Leon "DrKayak", John "RiverJohn", Jenning "the photographer" just to name a few, and, I had the opportunity to renew old friendships I've made during the Challenges. There are very few things I am more prouder of, than being a member of the WaterTribe. Group photo at start of Everglades Challenge 2006.

Warren Richey "Sharkchow" stated it best: "Outsiders may not understand this. But those who enter these events include some of the most interesting people I've ever met. They are rugged individualists, folks of integrity and courage. To use the old cliché, they are the kind of people I'd feel comfortable sharing a foxhole with. The battlefield analogy is a good one because the UFC was a physical and mental battle from beginning to end. " Read Warren's full article on the UFC Challenge. And I look forward to reading other articles, maybe even a book on the challenge (rumor?).

The annual WaterTribe challenges of which I have participated for the past 3 years have been incredible experiences for me, and without a doubt highlights of my paddling life. I'll likely never repeat the 1200 mile Challenge (not because I wouldn't want to, more a problem with time), but, as has been true at the end of every WaterTribe Challenge, even now I'm beginning to look forward to doing the 300-mile Everglades Challenge next year.

Many thank-yous are in order. Without the wonderful support I received, I might not have been able to have participated, and certainly would not have had the success I did.

First, thanks to Chief, Ms Chief, and PRchick for all your work in putting on these Challenges. There is nothing like it in the whole world, and you guys put on the best. (Photo of Chief and I after my finish)

My biggest and heartfelt thanks to Paul otherwise known as "DancesWithSandyBottom", and my family. Without really wanting too, Paul ends up participating in almost every mile of these Challenges from home. Though my regular calls let him know I'm okay, some of the frantic ones in the middle of the night, do little to keep him from worrying throughout. He is a true partner in these Challenges with me.

Special thanks to Mark Przedwojewski at Kruger Canoes. I know that I could not have completed this Challenge had I not done it in the comfort of a Kruger Canoe. I am one of Mark's and Kruger Canoes biggest fans, and proud to be a member of Team Kruger, and the new owner of his old Dreamcatcher.

I was lucky to have received sponsorship that was a great help to me. Balanced Movement Studios, for taking the time to help get me in shape, and for all the encouragement and support throughout. Thanks also to Pacific Action Sails (they are the best), Zaveral Racing Equipment, Dahon Folding Bikes, Maptech, Kokatat, Outdoor Research, Paddleboy Designs, McMurdo, Moutain House, and The Clean Machine. I will be posting more information later about some of this equipment and how it helped me.

I've enjoyed having this blog, and there are many stories that will need to be told, and photos to be shown. My family (in Hawaii and Denver) have also enjoyed being able to keep up with me through the blog. So, I'll likely redesign it a bit, and turn it into a personal blog with focus less entirely on this past Challenge, but certainly with more stories (and photos) about my Challenge, and on my future Challenges, WaterTribe and otherwise.

Thanks Again

1 comment:

paddletothesea said...

Good job on keeping the wet side down in the Florida Race. Not sure I have it in me to race that long but you never know.
Wondering if you have anymore photos or blogs of your paddle trip?
I am Sea Wind owner #69 and would like to read more.