Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | December 27, 2012

Rio de Los Brazos de Dios

Preparing for the 2013 Texas Water Safari

Although the Texas Water Safari is still months away, Doyle and I continue to feel the pressure to step up our training. To date, we have trained only on the San Marcos River. However, today, we did a training run on the Brazos River. Early Spanish explorers named this wide and slow-moving river Rio de Los Brazos de Dios — translated “The Arms of God River.”

There are several legends about how the Brazos got its name. However, the common denominator among these stories is that thirsty explorers happened upon the river in the nick of time and were refreshed by its waters. These intrepid souls stumbled into the arms of God!

The Brazos is the longest river in the Lone Star State and one rich in history. Washington-on-the-Brazos, located a short drive from Houston, is recognized as the birthplace of Texas. It was at this location in 1836 that representatives of Texas settlements met to make a formal Declaration of Independence from Mexico and where the government of the Republic of Texas was created.

It was a cold 38-degrees this morning when Doyle and I headed toward the place where the Brazos River intersects Highway 290 west of Hempstead, Texas. We were excited about joining my son Jonathan, his friend Bob who will paddle the Safari with him, and our friends and multi-Safari finishers Ben and Jay. It’s always nice to have company on the river. Paddling with others keeps us all accountable for maintaining a good pace and makes the time go by faster.


Taking a break along the route.


Bob and Jonathan in Jonathan’s canoe, Number 1984.

We had hoped that the weather might warm up a bit but it stayed cold all day. And to make things even more uncomfortable, the light but persistent mist combined with the wind kept us all shivering as we made our way down the river. But I am happy to say that we had a good 14-mile run. We all reached our stopping point within minutes of each other and then enjoyed a good time of fellowship on the bank before loading our boats and gear and heading home.

Doyle and me in our canoe, Number 316.

Doyle and me in our canoe, Number 316.

Today was a good reminder that we have to stay committed to our training regimen regardless of the weather. It was really cold sitting in an aluminum canoe and paddling for four hours on the Brazos. In a few months we will be paddling with 150 other folks on the Texas Water Safari in temperatures that are likely to reach over 100-degrees. And we still have at least a dozen more training runs to complete in all types of weather before the big race in June.

Brazos River Training Run

Our 14-mile training route on the Brazos River as recorded by our Spot Tracker.

I am not sure there is ever a good way to make hard things easy. Hard things are just hard! And the Texas Water Safari is one of those things that will always be hard. But I do know that hard things like the Safari can be accomplished one paddle stroke at a time. Our practice runs are necessary in order for us to be better prepared to paddle the estimated 250,000 paddle strokes between the start and finish of the race. So, this won’t be the last time we paddle in the cold!


  1. Why was Doyle in shorts???? LOL

    • I think it was because he was wearing his new Ironman cap! 🙂

  2. I will be praying that the Arms of God will keep you all safe and sound thoughout your training and the big event. Clara


    • Thanks so much, Clara. Prayers needed and much appreciated.

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