Texas Water Safari Training

Ginsie Stauss filled Seat 3 of our five-human race boat today for a short run on the San Marcos River. Pam LeBlanc photo

One of the trickiest parts about Texas Water Safari training is what my teammate Deb Richardson calls “boat calculus.”

She’s talking about the high-level math required to determine what time we need to meet at the Starbucks to get to Martindale to pick up our boat, strap it to a truck, tote it down the road to drop it in the water, then take two vehicles to the takeout point, leave one there for the trip home, and get back to the put in.

It’s complicated stuff, which also requires factoring in variables such as coordinating with other paddlers, figuring out whose vehicles can carry a 35-foot canoe, and how long the actual paddle will take. (Not as long as the hijinks required to coordinate, I can tell you.)

Texas Water Safari training

Our race boat is more than 35 feet long. Pam LeBlanc photo

Endurance paddling is a time-consuming sport, and I don’t mean just the actual canoeing part.

In today’s episode of Texas Water Safari training, I left my house at 6:30 a.m. We finally got the boat in the water at 9 a.m. and paddled for three and a half hours. By the time we finished unloading, doing a few boat-related errands, and motoring to Starbucks, another two hours had passed.

Still, it’s worth it. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day than gliding down the San Marcos River. (The spiders, though, I could do without.)

Highlights of today’s short run? A bald eagle, three snakes, some knee-deep cattle, wildflowers, and perfect, overcast weather.

Texas Water Safari training

Paddling in Texas means sometimes paddling past cattle. Pam LeBlanc photo

We’re less than two months out from the Texas Water Safari, a 260-mile race from Spring Lake in San Marcos to the Texas coast.

The middle-of-the-night panic attacks are in full swing.

Will I feel as crappy as I did the last 12 miles of the 2019 race, when I felt like an 18-wheeler had run me over, and I had to balance myself in mid-canoe to pee for the 50th time?

The answer is probably yes.

But the finish – when I slosh ashore, 260 miles of river and bay and alligators and hallucinations behind me – will feel just as good too. And that makes it worth it.

Texas Water Safari Training

Launching the boat after hauling it around Staples Dam. Pam LeBlanc photo

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