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Seattle Sports is sponsoring us and provided us with three frost pack coolers. Here’s the skinny about these soft-sided vinyl coolers.
So..whats up with these coolers and why are we taking them on our expedition? First, Kouji, the expedition leader has been using them for about 10 years. He swears by their durability especially because they have this bombproof heavy duty vinyl liner guarding the outside but the biggest benefit comes in that they are soft-sided coolers with the ability to keep your stuff cold all day.
When compared to a normal cooler of this size, which would absolutely not fit in the small and oddly shaped hatches of a kayak, these can be pushed and squeezed to fit into those tight spaces. Also, and arguably the best benefit for kayakers is that these can hold your days worth of food comfortably between your legs for those times when your happen to be kayaking 200K from Japan to South Korea and the only time you can get out of the kayak is after 13 hours of paddling to your first rest stop, an island 70K away.
Bracing my shoulder for the load, I strain to pull the kayak from the concrete floor. It comes down on the already tensed muscle with a thud, the cockpit combing forcing its way deeper into my shoulder, slowly teasing out the soreness that is the beginning of my journey. Doubt, slowly creeping its way up the moss covered rocks of the shore and retreating back into the sea, finds a place to rest in my mind as I grip the paddle.
Mental preparation…This is the real training. Its the most abstract and hardest to train for, but its the one thing that can be the difference between success and failure. It started almost 5 months ago when I began this expedition training. I so vividly remember the distance, looking at every mountain encased in fog and regretfully contemplating how much further I had to paddle. I was always so eager to get out of this claustrophobia inducing kayak and onto the land I knew so well.
The 10th of May was the day. The day I kayaked for 11 hours with the majority of it into a strong headwind. The day my mind remained in the present, feeling every muscle twitch and encroaching pinch of joint pain. The day I started to sing “Hey Jude” into the oncoming gusts of wind. The day I did 65 kilometers, 5 short of my goal of 70. Here is my visual training log from my Gaia tracking software: https://cloud.gaiagps.com/public/2uZ8reXP5iLSO2yOrj3KNbyE/Aerial/
It’s rare that you come across people who are as awesome as this dude. Oh…and did I mention that he is going around the world, on Foot? I caught up with the Straw Hat Backpacker Ryan on his way to Hiroshima and took a dive into this guys story that left me gasping for air. If you are not complete motivated when you finish this podcast I will refund your time in red jellybeans. In the mean time, sit down and give this podcast a listen. Don’t forget to check out his site: http://strawhatbackpacker.com/