500 miles and 11 hours in the car plus 8 miles and 1.5 hours paddling equals 1 awesome weekend.
I drive a 1996 Ford Taurus station wagon. It has over 250,000 miles on it, but I have no idea exactly how many as the odometer stopped working many years ago. The car was given to me freely almost 1 year ago. It’s what we like to call a “Keys Cruiser” – good for trotting around the keys, but don’t leave the island or your asking for trouble. Well, given that all I really want to do is SUP race all over the state of FL (and the World) I’ve taken my car “Scotty” as he’s been named for the last 20 years, on many road trips. There is something about driving long distances alone that feels very independent to me. Like if something goes wrong, I’m going to have to sort my own shit out. I am so happy to report that the worst that happened was I missed a rather important exit and ended up driving 45 mins out of the way. (one of those “next exit 23 miles” type deals) By the time I got off the turnpike and back on track, I was so far from the course that the woman at the tollbooth had never seen a paddleboard before. I think I could have told her it was a rocket ship and she would have believed me. I was tired and frustrated to turn a 5hour drive into 6, but proud of myself for just laughing it off because at that point, what else can you do? There was a time in my life not too long ago that I would have been in tears of fury making a mistake like that. I am also very proud of Scotty for giving me no trouble whatsoever.
I was put up for the night in Cocoa at one of my oldest friend’s parents’ house who I haven’t seen in like 15 years. This brought back fond childhood memories of sleepovers, homemade slip n’ slides, snorkeling for tarpons in the canal and overdosing on chocolate milk.
In the morning I headed to the O’neil Beach and Boards Fest SUP Challenge. An 8 mile flatwater race with lots of buoy turns to keep things spicy. The weather was perfect and the race was well organized and ran smoothly. I love turning up to these events and seeing all the smiling, familiar faces of my SUP friends and family and also meeting new ones every time as well. This was the most competitive field of paddlers in a FL SUP race that I’ve ever been to. It was the third race out of eight in the Fastest in Florida series, which seems to be drawing a bigger crowd for every race.
I came in 1st place after a really close race with Kim Barnes. And Victoria Burgess not far behind. I drove the 5 hours home one happy happy girl!
I want to say a huge Thank you to my sponsors: Mistral SUP for their support in getting me to these events to race and for the incredible boards that I get the privilege to ride. To Remedys Nutrition in Key Largo for supporting my nutritional needs before, during, and after races, workouts, and even on recovery days. To Carbonerro paddles who have been with me since day 1. Sweet Waterwear, VMG Blades, Be Excellent Brand, CrossFit Key Largo, and Paddle the Florida Keys. Thank You Thank You Thank you. I couldn’t do this without you.