Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | October 21, 2012

The Preparation Begins

Preparing for the 2013 Texas Water Safari

This past summer, my son Jonathan and I had the incredible privilege of competing in the Texas Water Safari, billed as the world’s toughest canoe race. I was thrilled when Jonathan asked me to do this 260-mile endurance canoe race with him. We prepared for the race by spending some hot days paddling long stretches on the San Marcos and Guadalupe Rivers. We also competed in four shorter races ranging from 22 to 100-miles prior to the Texas Water Safari. All of this preparation served us well and enabled us to finish the Safari in less than the 100-hour deadline. I don’t mind saying that it was the toughest physical challenge I have ever faced. I am grateful to Jonathan for believing in me and for pushing me to go beyond any physical challenge I had ever faced.

Atop Mount Arbel in Israel.

Jonathan is planning on competing in his third Texas Water Safari next summer. His goal is to finish the race in a time faster than his first two finishes. We discussed that in order for him to reach his objective, he will need a younger and faster partner than me. However, we still want to be on the river together. So, Jonathan will paddle with a younger friend and suggested that I consider doing the race with Doyle Lowry, Kingsland’s Executive Pastor. Doyle and I have shared a few adventures together around the globe. He especially enjoys off-road motorcycle treks and has kayaking experience. When I asked Doyle if he was interested there was no hesitation at all. He’s all in! So, Doyle and I will join Jonathan and his friend and about 150 other contestants in next year’s Texas Water Safari. We are more than excited about competing in the race. Like the majority of contestants, our goal is to reach the finish line. That in itself is a tremendous accomplishment.

Although the Texas Water Safari is scheduled for next June, we have to begin our preparation and training now. This week, Doyle and I ordered our boat. We have purchased a safari-rigged Alumacraft Voyager for the race. There are faster boats, but we chose to do the race in the aluminum class primarily because the boat can take a beating and will get us to the finish line as long as we keep paddling. Our boat will be ready for pick-up in about a month, after it is completely rigged for the race and our spray skirt is fabricated. In the meantime, we will train in a borrowed canoe starting Friday, November 2. Our plan is to do 15 training runs that will cover the entire distance of the race course and to take a couple of paddling classes. As long as we remain faithful to our training regimen, we should be in pretty good shape for the race.

Jonathan’s boat will keep the Team Go Beyond name. It only seems right. After all, he and I competed in and completed seven marathon canoe races in his boat — number 1984. Doyle and I have already received suggestions for the name of our team and our boat, including: The Two Pastors, Out to Pastor, Paddlin’ Pastors, and Two Tough Pastors. We are definitely open to suggestions, so please feel free to add your thoughts and give us your feedback. I will keep you posted on our progress as we prepare and train for the race. Jonathan and I are both excited about our new partners and about doing the race. If it was not for Jonathan and his encouragement, I would never have competed in the Texas Water Safari or any of the other races we have enjoyed over the past year. Sometimes all it takes to discover new ways to go beyond is for somebody to believe in you. Thanks, Jonathan!


  1. How about Huperetes Hearts, Blisterin Buds, or Safari Saints

  2. 1. Fathers O’Doyle
    2. Kings Land & Sea
    3. MInisters of War (Spiritual).

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