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TWS stories (Read 16736 times)
06/17/11 at 21:05:12

Manitou Paddler   Offline
6X MR340 Veteran
3X MR340 Safety Boat Pilot

Posts: 3101
******
 
Ok

So how boney was it.....record low water level...ouch Huh

Joe tried to paddle up a tree, Wally loves log jams and West used a titanium-depleted uranium hulled Mohican

Give us some stories Smiley

Melanie.....any fun?

Congtrats to all

Bryan
 

river is as river does
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Reply #1 - 06/19/11 at 10:47:26

Los Humungos   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
Sometimes wears a Wally
Werderich costume

Posts: 1378
**
 
Some random thoughts/stories on the TWS
-The TWS and the MR340 are two completely different animals.  The only really large similarities are that they are raced by canoes and kayaks and they are both really really long races.
-Previously I could not understand why boats from Texas were so heavy and appeared to be made so poorly.  Turns out that they are not made poorly, they are made with extra strength layup that may make them look crude, but he layup is absolutely necessary due to the beating that the boats take during the race.
-As strange as it sounds, it is easy to get lost during the TWS.  It is true, at one point during the race when our wits were a little gone, Joe jumped out of the boat and climbed a tree  when I was working with the GPS.  He was like a spider monkey he climbed it so fast.  At that point we were very sleep deprived.  There were lots of cuts on the Guadalupe River and Joe was scared we had accidentally taken a cut that put us in the wrong place.  He climbed the tree to see if he could see a land mark.  I think it was just in the state he was in, he was just reverting to his natural King Kong self. As it turns out, we were less than a quarter of a mile away from where we needed to be.
-This year was the lowest water year in the 49 year history of the race.  It was tough as a result.  Lots of shallows, suck water, and flat out dragging the canoe.
-I was in the stern during the race.  It was a very difficult race to jump into and steer having never seen the rivers before.  Most of the Texas teams had spent countless hours scouting the course before the race.  Unfamiliarity was definitely our disadvantage.  To counteract this, I spent a great deal of time wake riding off of boats that were familiar with the river.  Some were friendly wakes, some were unfriendly wakes, but regardless, it was a strategy that helped us to a successful finish.
-West's run was remarkable and his boat looks like a traffic cone.
-If you are going to race the race for your first time and you have never seen the course before, I would highly recommend using an aluminum boat.
-The portages were CRAZY during this race.  They were long, difficult, and numerous.  Among many areas, this is where Joe really shined.  Joe was an absolute horse during the portages.
-Rapids like those found in the Lisbon Bottoms cut are commonplace in the TWS.
-As an analogy, at times, I felt like I was a refined polo player (my USCA style of canoe racing) who was asked to enter a rodeo and compete on the bucking bronco (the TWS).  Only it was not for 8 seconds, it was for 60+ hours.
-During the race, it felt like Joe and I were marked men.  Multiple racers really really wanted to beat us.  Nothing like having a target on your back as a motivator.
-MR340 racers hung together and helped each other when we could.  It was nice to be part of that fraternity. Hoff and Cox + Werderich and Mann = 8 hour of help to each other at a crucial time during the race.  But for the 340, this never would have happened.
-My favorite part of the race was in the morning of the 3rd day.  We were paddling with Hoff and Cox and were following two boats about a half of a mile in front of us.  The decision was made amongst us to try to pass the boats in the morning and put some distance on them that would be harder for them to make up during the heat of the afternoon.  We put the hammer down and made up some ground.  The aluminum was in the front and the starzs unlimited was in the draft.  When we came upon the boats, the best strategy would be to keep the hammer down so that they could not draft us.  Unfortunately, we had some "technical difficulties" in the aluminum boat and had to slow down right at the point when we needed to increase speed to shake the boats were trying to pass off our draft.  Momentarily, the boat being passed caught our draft and it looked as if we would not be able to shake him and our plan was all for naught.  It was right at that moment that the speedy unlimited boat of Hoff and Cox flew out of our draft at a speed that seemed like 60 MPH.  They passed by us and gave us a wink at which time we dropped into their stern draft and we once again put the hammer down.  It was like they were the afterburner we had in our pocket that kicked in at the exact moment we needed it.  Working together again, we ended up putting on at least 15 minutes on the boat we passed.  It is racing moments like this that make me keep coming back to canoe racing.
-More to come...

Hut,
Wally Werderich
Los Humungos Paddleos
 

Sometimes when you are man, you wear stretchy pants...its for fun... -Nacho   
You do not get guns like these from riding a bike. -Matt Strieb
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Reply #2 - 06/19/11 at 16:58:17

Dark Horse Paddler   Offline
9X MR340 Veteran
MR340 Record Holder
Gritty Fitty Veteran
Gritty Fitty Record Holder
Lee's Summit Missouri

Posts: 1550
*********
 
The "technical difficulties" were:

By the third day, I was nursing everything I ate; I couldn't eat any large bites of anything or it would trigger a gag reflex. Even gu's I had to "sip" and it would take like 20 mins to eat one.

So I was nursing this payday candy bar. Like a squirrel, I had a quarter of the candy bar in the side of my cheek, and I was swallowing a tiny bit at a time. As we came upon the boat we were passing a bit of the payday bar shifted in my mouth and my stomach said "NO". Literally, we pulled up beside the boat and as the guy was getting ready to say hi or what the hell?, I leaned over the side and let it rip.  To my credit I kept paddling, and I may have missed about a stroke, but it was enough that the guy we passed had time to jump on our wake.  That's when Paul and Melanie gave us the 60 mph wink.

I just have to laugh when I think of what that guy was thinking when we pulled up going at an almost sprint just so I could puke right next to him. 

I knew Wally was the technical half of our team and I wanted to make sure I made up for it on the portages. My favorite one was the log jam. It was about a 300 yard portage through the forest. There was a path of crushed weeds and that's about it. We were 50+ hours into the race at this point and I didn't want to carry our aluminum boat with all the gear that far.  I quickly found a small log (2" diamter x 2.5' long) on the ground, used some rope I brought, and made a harness. I put the log across my chest with the rope coming off each side going back to the boat. Like a mule, I leaned forward and began running. Wally made sure the back didnt slam into a tree, and I pulled that thing all the way through. It felt great.

Climbing the tree wasn't my best decision ever, but it was fun!

The TWS is like a video game.  There is always something to engage you, and decisions you have to make. The price of admission (besides the price of admission) is cuts, bruises, abrasions, insect bites, and poison ivy. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
 

-Joe Mann, Dark Horse Paddler
www.MidwestPaddleRacing.com
Your #1 Site for Canoe and Kayak Racing In the Midwest!!
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Reply #3 - 06/19/11 at 20:10:06

Los Humungos   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
Sometimes wears a Wally
Werderich costume

Posts: 1378
**
 
-Interestingly, paddlers mostly used single blades the whole race - even though they carried double blades.
-The canoe that won the USCA class was a proboat that used to be my old racing horse.
-We had the ugliest canoe in the race.  Check out the pictures.  The canoe was dented all over and the bottom was hogged and patched crudely in multiple spots.  In fact the previous owners we got the canoe from had saved the canoe after she was found bent in half and fortune cookied on the river.  I grew to love her by the end of the race though.  She kind of reminded me of the Millenimum Falcon.
-It was dang hot all three days, about 98 degrees.  The hottest part of the day was late afternoon.
-Always remember that something very little in a race can develop into a major problem, so always be careful. At the first pit stop water exchange, a jug exchange from our boat happened too hastily. When the water jug was dropped out of the boat, the tube came out and unbeknownst to us sunk to the bottom of the river.  When our ground crew could not find the tube, they went out to buy pieces for another one.  As a result, we missed them at our next water stop and I ended up going for over 4 hours without water.  During this period of time, we had to dial the thrusters back.  We lost many positions during this time and while we eventually caught back up with our ground crew, for the rest of the race, we basically battled to get those lost positions back.
-Prior to the race, someone told me the best way for a man to stay cool was to put an ice pack under their crotch.  During then race I was very scared about over heating because it has not been too warm here in Chicago.  I tried this ice crotch technique and it worked well.
-Deciding what to take food wise was very difficult.  We probably took too much food because I was scared to put my trust in Spiz which was our main food supplement.  I had never used Spiz before.  For the race, we each had 4 jugs with Spiz portions marked on them.  We would get a bike bottle of water from our ground crew and pour the pre portioned amount of Spiz into the bike bottle.  The system worked great and the Spiz worked like a champ.  All I ate was peanut butter sandwiches, cliff bars, gel packs, and Spiz and everything ended up great.
-The real kicker of this race is they save the hardest part for last.  The bay crossing is a real test.  Again, little mistakes will cost ya.  We did not put our skirt on properly and we slowly sunk.  When we sunk, we did not know where we were, and we did not have any sleep for 60+ hours.  Let's just say our boat became unhappy very quick.  Fortunately, we got it back together and finished after what could have been a catastrophic chain of events.  Unfortunately, again a little mistake blossomed and the error ended up costing us about 3 hours on our time and about 3 positions on the leader board.
-Just like the 340, there are some amazing racers in this event.  That being said though, again just like the 340, some of the most amazing stories come from the people who ARE NOT amazing racers.
-When put in situations when you seem to be facing insurmountable odds, sometimes your body can come up with some insurmountable results.  I made it through 3 days and 2 1/2 nights staying awake using only one 5 hour energy drink.  The key was to do something to really really increase my heartrate every time I started to doze.  Also, I embraced the hallucinations.  That was cool, but I still can not figure out why I kept hallucinating so many marachi bands.  
-Get this, I was accused of cheating on the TWS message board.  The thread was ultimately taken down, but I was personally called out by a team captain of another team.  He said that I was receiving "dirty water" during the race (whatever he was trying to say by that).  I have never cheated in a canoe race and never will.  I found it very offensive to be accused.  I was told once that 95% of the people in the world are nice and 5% are jerks.  Well in the Texas paddling community, those 5% are very vocal and at many times made me feel very unwelcome.  Fortunately, the other 95% of the community is very nice and almost make you forget about the rotten 5%.  Unfortunately though, the rotten 5% really stick in my mind no matter how hard I try to put them out of it.  CHEATING for God's sakes!  For some reason, there were a lot of people there who did not want me to do well and after I did well, they wanted to tear what I achieved down.  Again, as much as I try to remember only the good things and the good people -example, see West Hansen, Lee Diveny, Doug McKay, Charlie Stewart, Richard Miller, Ginsie Stauss, Ken Startz, Clay Wyatt, and Wes Wyatt, just to name a few- I simply can not put the rotten 5% out of my mind and I am not sure if I will ever go back to Texas again to race because of them.  
-Nah, I guess I have to come clean.   The real reason I  can not go back to Texas is that I promised a lot of people beer for allowing me to ride their wake at night when I did not know where I was going.  I did not pay up because after the race I was in a hurry to get back to the airport.  In Texas I think that promising beer and not paying the debt is a felony offense.  There are probably wanted posters of me all over Seadrift right now.  I am going to have to check if Illinois extradites wanted felons to Texas.  Smiley
-I am still tired.
-It was a great experience and I was honored to have Joe as my partner and my mate as we took on the TWS in our maiden "novice" run.
-Canoe racing rocks and the Texas Water Safari is one of the best races in the country!

Hup,
Wally "Mastodontico" Werderich
Los Humungos Paddleos
« Last Edit: 06/20/11 at 12:18:26 by Los Humungos »  

Sometimes when you are man, you wear stretchy pants...its for fun... -Nacho   
You do not get guns like these from riding a bike. -Matt Strieb
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Reply #4 - 06/19/11 at 20:56:38

Manitou Paddler   Offline
6X MR340 Veteran
3X MR340 Safety Boat Pilot

Posts: 3101
******
 
Of all the paddlers I know.....Wally, you would never cheat.....and I cannot imagine what it would take to offend you, as you are so easy going

As you said ....some really good folks paddle down there, and many of those Texas folks have paddled up here ....consider several my friend.....but every last one of them has remarked (or shown surprise) on the open hand of friendship they have gotten up here.....like is was unusual or something

I have said it before: some Texas paddlers eat their young

Wally you are a stand up racer sir.....I would likely thrown some punches and sank to the level of the red neck racers who confronted you......you have my respect me amigo

Bryan
 

river is as river does
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Reply #5 - 06/20/11 at 08:59:08

West Hansen   Offline
7X MR340 Veteran
2X MR340 Record Holder
3X Gritty Veteran
Kawnivore Record Holder
Kawnivore Veteran
Gritty Fitty Record Holder
He who hesitates is lunch.
--Chuck Darwin
Austin, Texas, Third Coast

Posts: 1623
*******
 
The loser that made the accusation has been shut down. He's one of a few loud mouths who's abilities are inversely proportional to his noise. Alligator mouth and tadpole ass. The internet has allowed cowards to crawl out from under their rocks without the risk of having to back up what they spew. It's easy and safe to hurl accusations from behind mommy's apron in your own yard and this type of person will always be around.
I'm sorry and ashamed that Wally and Joe had to put up with the accusation, especially when there is a formal, and immediate, method for handling such things at each checkpoint. This guy doesn't represent our paddling community in Texas. He's never volunteered for any races, doesn't sit on any race or recreational canoe boards and has rarely even entered a race. Such is the downside of free speech, but I wouldn't give it up for the world. --West
 

Cognitive Dissonance: when being wrong just isn't an option.
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Reply #6 - 06/20/11 at 10:59:31

Jeff Moore   Offline
MR340 Veteran
MR340 Record Holder
Kawnivore Record Holder
Kawnivore Veteran
St. Louis

Posts: 59
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This video posted by the "Hippie Chicks" shows 1300 at mile 13. It too invlvoes a tree.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR8cIDXOMFI
 
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Reply #7 - 06/20/11 at 12:12:57

Los Humungos   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
Sometimes wears a Wally
Werderich costume

Posts: 1378
**
 
Jeff Moore wrote on 06/20/11 at 10:59:31:
This video posted by the "Hippie Chicks" shows 1300 at mile 13. It too invlvoes a tree.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR8cIDXOMFI


Ha ha ha! Not too graceful, huh?
 

Sometimes when you are man, you wear stretchy pants...its for fun... -Nacho   
You do not get guns like these from riding a bike. -Matt Strieb
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Reply #8 - 06/20/11 at 12:16:46

West Hansen   Offline
7X MR340 Veteran
2X MR340 Record Holder
3X Gritty Veteran
Kawnivore Record Holder
Kawnivore Veteran
Gritty Fitty Record Holder
He who hesitates is lunch.
--Chuck Darwin
Austin, Texas, Third Coast

Posts: 1623
*******
 
Poultry in motion. --West
 

Cognitive Dissonance: when being wrong just isn't an option.
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Reply #9 - 06/20/11 at 12:42:04
Osprey   Ex Member

 
I didn't know they put brakes on canoes!   Grin

Congatulations on an awesome first Safari.  Glad you guys rocked out and learned a lot in the process.  Now, you can attack the Safari armed with info.

Dna
 
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Reply #10 - 06/20/11 at 20:34:42

Barbara   Offline
10X Race Volunteer
Groves, Texas

Posts: 637
**********
 
Not sure why I find the video sooo humerous.  I keep chuckle-ing even after watching it a couple of times.  I think it's the picture of Wally actually being pushed back once they hit the log.  Then, to see how deep the water is right where the log is vs. how shallow it is around the log. 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and telling your tales of the safari.  We have supported West for many (many) years and it's nice to hear someone else's thoughts on this crazy adventure.

Barbara
 
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Reply #11 - 06/20/11 at 20:47:53

Christine   Offline
Race Volunteer
Port Arthur, TX

Posts: 48
*
 
OMG! Each story took about 10 minutes to read due to the laughing tears, and re-reading parts I had already read.  Bad river = great stories.  Thanks for the laughs, sorry to find so much humor in your misery.  And Wally, I am still amazed you got Joe in that costume!  Congrats on your finish and win!
 

Christine
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Reply #12 - 06/22/11 at 07:09:43

Manitou Paddler   Offline
6X MR340 Veteran
3X MR340 Safety Boat Pilot

Posts: 3101
******
 
West

Contests on a shattering solo run

How did you get a Mohican down that bone field

Story time dude Smiley

Bryan
 

river is as river does
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Reply #13 - 06/22/11 at 14:08:22

Dark Horse Paddler   Offline
9X MR340 Veteran
MR340 Record Holder
Gritty Fitty Veteran
Gritty Fitty Record Holder
Lee's Summit Missouri

Posts: 1550
*********
 
some more from us.

-The cold ice pouches we used we referred to as horse collars.  they were homemade (very well) fabric things that were folded and had pockets that opened with velcro.  you would put ice into these and then the ice would stay evenly distributed instead of bunching up.  then they would go aroud your neck and shoulders and velcro together.  I started calling them horse collars.  They worked good but they cold reminded my muscles of how sore they were.  I chose to go without them.  which worked great for wally because then he could have more.
-That poor guy from Chicago.  He was not used to the heat.  Countless times he asked me, "How much further until the next checkpoint?",  "10 miles...why?  you OK?", "I'm out of water". "Oh, I haven't even drank half of mine.  Here have some."
-Somehwere around mile 15 we were in 13th overall.
-That first afternoon, when the I threw the drink jug out, it sunk and disappeared, it caused our ground crew to miss us at the next spot that we were going to get water.  As a result, we went from 11:15am - 4pm with only a half gallon of water.  It was about 98 degrees.  We were at the point where we actually saved our pee just in case we didn't see our ground crew at the next checkpoint (we thought maybe the truck had broken down or something).
-Luckily, we did NOT have to drink our pee.  But I was totally ready to if I had to.  This WAS the safari after all.
-After the afternoon, we had to slow down because of the lack of water.  By 6:30 when we passed Zedlar Dam, we were 34th overall.
-Navigating the first night for us was a lot of fun.  I have attached a picture of the Myner boat going through the Palmetto to Gonzolas section (they were there in the daylight).  By this is what it was like at night.  It was like travelling through a graveyard of Dinosaur bones.  With my keen night vision and Wally's excellent paddling skills we skimmed through that first night and passed about 10 boats either going slow or who had laid down to sleep.
-By the morning, we were in about 24th place.

Imagine paddling through THIS in the dark!
 

-Joe Mann, Dark Horse Paddler
www.MidwestPaddleRacing.com
Your #1 Site for Canoe and Kayak Racing In the Midwest!!
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Reply #14 - 06/22/11 at 14:19:00

Dark Horse Paddler   Offline
9X MR340 Veteran
MR340 Record Holder
Gritty Fitty Veteran
Gritty Fitty Record Holder
Lee's Summit Missouri

Posts: 1550
*********
 
Another good one is the Ceuro gravel bar.  We stopped there right before the 2nd night, and I wanted to change clothes.  I am a huge beliver in changing clothes in the middle of a race.  you feel so fresh and so much better.  the extra 5 mins it takes usually is worth it because you'll paddle faster and better and be more comfotable.  I also think that your persperation will lead to micro salt crystals in your shirt and such and will act like tiny grains of sandpapaer which will cause more chafing.  So if you change during the race, you eliminate that too.

So we stop at the gravel bar and there are about a dozen people there, 9 men, 3 women.  I step out of the boat and yell, "Warning!  I am getting naked!"  so I strip down to nothing, wade into the river and do a quick underwater rinse. (much cleaner river than the MO).  As I exit the water, I see a 3 man (no women) boat pulling up.  they didn't see me go in, but they pull around the bend just in time to see a naked man materialize from the water.  I had my new clothes from my drybag all laid out and ready to go, but there was a flaw in my plan.  I didn't have a towel...I had to use my bandana. Sad

With new clothes and a new outlook, we set off into the evening ready to tackle night number 2.  As we were paddling away, I mumbled my thanks and apologies to those who had to endure my nakedness.  One of the ladies yelled out real loud "No problem!  Anytime!!"

We laughed about that for a while.  Believe me, we all know how things get after being on the river for 2 days...it was probably a funny story for them too!
 

-Joe Mann, Dark Horse Paddler
www.MidwestPaddleRacing.com
Your #1 Site for Canoe and Kayak Racing In the Midwest!!
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Reply #15 - 06/22/11 at 14:45:31

Manitou Paddler   Offline
6X MR340 Veteran
3X MR340 Safety Boat Pilot

Posts: 3101
******
 
Ok

No more naked Joe stories.....West, come on man....story time....but please no naked themes.....can't handle any more Roll Eyes

Bryan
 

river is as river does
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Reply #16 - 06/22/11 at 16:14:49

West Hansen   Offline
7X MR340 Veteran
2X MR340 Record Holder
3X Gritty Veteran
Kawnivore Record Holder
Kawnivore Veteran
Gritty Fitty Record Holder
He who hesitates is lunch.
--Chuck Darwin
Austin, Texas, Third Coast

Posts: 1623
*******
 
Heading to a post-Safari happy hour with the Hippie Chicks, so I'll fill in something later. As a sign of how bad things are down here, water-wise: the three day ICF K-2 stage race scheduled for the second weekend in July has been postponed until October due to low water. That's a first. --West
 

Cognitive Dissonance: when being wrong just isn't an option.
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Reply #17 - 06/22/11 at 20:09:34

Dark Horse Paddler   Offline
9X MR340 Veteran
MR340 Record Holder
Gritty Fitty Veteran
Gritty Fitty Record Holder
Lee's Summit Missouri

Posts: 1550
*********
 
One time, at canoe camp...
 

-Joe Mann, Dark Horse Paddler
www.MidwestPaddleRacing.com
Your #1 Site for Canoe and Kayak Racing In the Midwest!!
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