Well, it’s really here and I am really doing it. In 23 short days, I will be subjecting myself to Bug’s, Heat, No sleep, and Barges. The MR 340 is almost here and I am getting excited, even after watching videos, read blogs and Facebook post’s talking about how grueling it is and how people go through so much pain just to finish it, and they are in Canoes and Kayaks. Why not stick a 5 man SUP board into that mix and go big or stay on shore right. No I am not the athlete I want to be but I am excited, pumped and ready to get out on the water. I have figured out the type of diet and foods I am going to be eating along the way and really focusing on the amount of fluids I will need to intake. I have read through so many posts about how people use gels and supplement powders, all the way down to BBQ and Fried Chicken. Through all this, I always see negative or corrective “know it all” people trying to tell people what they SHOULD eat or you will be in a world of hurt. I know most of these folks are saying this with good intentions but that is what works for “THEM”. Every person’s body is different and people react differently to certain foods. The last thing I want to do out in the middle of the river in front of 4 people is have an “OH BOY”. After reading ultra distance blogs on cycling, running, hiking and paddling the things that I have learned is, it clean and eat what your body is used to. One of the biggest concerns I have is hydration. When it could be 100+ degrees on the water in direct sunlight I will be focusing on water intake and try to avoid bad sugars like Redbull and soda of course.
The MR 340 is pretty much the only thing I think about now that it is crunch time and I am pretty sure my co-workers and family are getting sick of me talking about it but this is the biggest adventure and sporting event I have ever done. A few people have told me that I should start small and do a 50 mile race or shorter races to see if I can make it. I sit back and think to myself, if I have the will and determination to do this then I am going to finish it even if it involves me being drug off the board on a stretcher. Shane even told me that I am getting to that finish line if he has to duct tape me to the board. It’s these people that have had my back the whole time. Without the support and encouragement from my friends and co-workers, I don’t think my excitement would be as much as it is right now. Everything from peppy text’s from Shane to the morning paddle sesh’s with Ben and Jason to our after-work paddles with Ben, Jaden, Jimmy, Kelsey and Natelie. Every minute I spend on my board is another minute gained in training my feet to not go numb and balance I gain on the board, even though our after-work paddles might have a beer or two on them.
Another crazy thing I am starting to see is people recognizing me when they see a big ass trippy paddle board strapped to my roof. A couple people have even said “Hey your that big bearded guy paddling in the crazy race with 4 people arn’t you” , these people happen to be 340 paddler’s as well. For the first time in my life I feel like I am doing something that I was meant to do with my life. No I am not rich but I am very lucky to have a dream job that surrounds me with what I love and the people that I love as well. To me that is worth more than money. All my life I have always loved water, the rivers and lakes and oceans are running through me, I have always loved music and I have always played music be it DJing or playing Conga’s but I never felt like it was what I wanted to do with my life. The moment Shane gave me this trippy, big ass paddle board and I stepped on it I knew instantly what I wanted to do with my life. It sounds crazy but every time I am on a paddle board I feel nothing, nothing but happiness and relaxation. From 5’11″ft up on the water I can see so much more beauty and feel more connected to the water. I guess that is also why I am so excited about entering the MR340. Just think, I get to see 340 miles of beautiful Missouri River and pass through all these little river towns and meet new people that are paddling for the same thing, TO FINISH THE DAMN RACE AND NOT DIE.
In the past year tons of blessings have happened to me, some huge and some small. When this adventure all started it was simply a friend helping another friend try to change his life. Once Shane built me the board I was blessed again by a few folks at Bending Branches and Aqua Bound hearing about my little story and wanting to help me out. After Andrew Stern the Marketing dude at Bending Branches emailed me saying he wanted to send me a new paddle they designed I was floored. The Journey may have started with the board, but without a paddle, I was going to get nowhere. That’s why this company is forever in my heart, the best part is I get to sell and promote these paddles at my job. So you could say because of Bending Branches and AquaBound, I get to start other people on their journey to good health and a fun life. Since all of this I have had the pleasure of meeting Ed Vater, the president of Bending Branches and AquaBound. After a few emails to each other we both seem to have figured out that our love of paddling runs through our blood, we both even mailed each other copies of our favorite books and they are both about rivers or river life. You don’t find to many companies the size of them and still get to experience and see the humbleness of the people that work there. Humbleness to the point that Ed and I exchanged books. Ed sent me a copy of The Last River Rat – by J.Scott Bestul and Kenny Salwey, I have not read it yet because I plan to keep it with me while I am on this adventure. When I am needing some quiet time during rest I plan to read a chapter or two each time I stop. I had to return the favor so I sent him a copy of River Angel’s – By Rod Wellington, this book should fit Ed to a “T” due to the fact paddling runs through his body and when you are as supportive as he and his company is they indeed are river angels.
All in all I am mentally ready for this race right now, I am so excited I just want it to get here so I can start it. I know once the day comes I will be scared shitless but as of right now I am doing pretty good. In the days to come I will write a little more each day. Right now when I start writing and my mind goes blank. This pretty much some’s up the fact that I will be a bad blogger or one that is known for writing post’s that ramble on. So for now, check back often to see more post’s that talk about river’s and SUP and how much rambling I can do ……