Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | June 7, 2013

It’s Time to Paddle

The 2013 Texas Water Safari

After months of training for the Texas Water Safari on the San Marcos and Guadalupe Rivers, the start of the race is now only hours away. At 9:00 AM tomorrow, the starting signal will sound and my friend Doyle and I will be off on the adventure of a lifetime as we paddle the 260-mile course from San Marcos to Seadrift, Texas. I can hardly wait for tomorrow but hope that I can get a reasonable amount of sleep tonight. I will definitely need it because I will spend the next four days and nights paddling down the river with Doyle!

This afternoon, we arrived at Aquarena Springs in San Marcos to check in our boat and to go over our inventory with a Texas Water Safari race official. The strict race rules require us to have certain items and to make a careful list of absolutely every item on the boat. In addition to having a race official check our inventory, we must sign liability waivers and attend a pre-race meeting to get final instructions and updates about the race course.

Filling out our inventory list.

Filling out our inventory list.

Reviewing our inventory with a Texas Water Safari race official.

Reviewing our inventory with a Texas Water Safari race official.

The staging area is a beehive of activity as racers prepare their boats for the big race. There are so many little details to attend to before the start of the race — making absolutely certain that everything is in its proper place in the boat and properly secured. The last thing anyone wants is to lose something important on a portage or in the rapids. And, if you happen to forget something or lose it, you have to go on without it. No replacements.

One of the staging areas where racers prepare their boats for the race.

One of the staging areas where racers prepare their boats for the race.

My favorite part this day was the opportunity to see many of the friends we have met and with whom we have paddled on previous races. I absolutely love the paddling community in Texas. Since I started doing marathon canoe races with my son almost two years ago, I have been encouraged by the respect and concern that racers have for one another. The river can be a dangerous place and its great to know that if you get in trouble there are folks who will not hesitate to come to your aid. And, I appreciate the free-flowing encouragement from both racers and their support teams.

Some of our dearest friends in the paddling community.

Some of our dearest friends in the paddling community.

This afternoon, my friend Jay, a multi-safari finisher, approached me and asked me to pray for him. He invited Bob, my son’s paddling partner to join us. It was such a blessing for me to pray with these two guys whom I have grown to love and respect. Praying in the middle of all the activity reminded me of how much we need the Lord to help us when we are facing tough challenges.

Praying with Jay and Bob.

Praying with Jay and Bob.

So, the training runs have ended. The preparations have been made. Now, it’s time to paddle. No more training for the race or talking about the race. It’s time to do the race. Barring anything unforeseen along the way, we trust that we will reach the finish line in less than the 100-hours allotted.

Team Lone Star Pastors and spouses.

Team Lone Star Pastors and spouses.

My son Jonathan with his fiancé, Aubrey, and paddling partner, Bob.

My son Jonathan with his fiancé, Aubrey, and paddling partner, Bob.

FOLLOW OUR ADVENTURE | I am grateful to each of you who have left us such encouraging comments on our Lone Star Pastors Facebook page and who also follow us on Instagram at omarcgarcia or #lsp316. I encourage you to follow us on our SpotTracker page. This page will be active on Saturday at 9:00 AM when the race starts. Our SpotTracker will send a signal to our online map every fifteen minutes or so, depending on satellite signal. I hope you will follow our journey and pray for us as you do.


  1. They say “behind every great man, is a great woman.” You and Doyle are great men, and you have a host of great people supporting you and praying for you. Thanks for setting a great example of going for great goals!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Kay. And thank you and Cheryl for standing beside us on our great adventure. Your prayers and support mean everything to us.

  2. Cheering for you all! Geaux Lone Star Pastors.

  3. Don and I are hoping to see the LoneStar Pastors on the river tomorrow! You will be in our prayers while on your adventure!
    Stay safe and have fun!

    • Fantastic. Hope to see you then. As you can see, I am awake when I should be asleep!

  4. Praying for you two to finish strong!

    • Thanks, Kay. Doyle and I appreciate the prayers. Tough race but God took amazing care of us. Finished 63 out of 117 boats. Not bad for two old guys 😉

  5. Praying for safety, blessings, and success for you and Doyle.

    • Thanks a million for the prayer support, Kelly.

  6. Isn’t Internet wonderful. We are sitting in airport in Darwin, North Territory, Australia and I’m able to check on your progress, and progress you are making. Congratulations . You and Doyle make a great team. I’m so proud of you both. Prayers for perseverance, strength, and safety are everywhere. Don’t forget to eat your snacks. Go Lone Star Pastors!

    • Thanks, Carolyn. We had a better finish time than we expected. It was a blast and a blessing to share this experience with Doyle.

  7. Sunday

    Hello Omar and Doyle,
    The Faith and Fellowship ABF are watching your blog and your progress. You are both in our hearts and in our prayers. Be safe, praise God and have a great time.

    Gerry Meeks

  8. Praying for y’all!

  9. Omar and Doyle, just woke up (2:16 AM Monday) praying for you both. – Father God, please cover my friends this morning with your protection. Give them the endurance you have trained in them, rest as they need it and let them feel Your awesome presence throughout this adventure!

    Stay strong. The Dry’s are pulling for y’all!!!

  10. Been following you on spot track and praying for your team.
    Robert & Rose in Uganda.

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