Race to Alaska

My alarm went off at 430a this morning, and I was on my bike pedaling to town in the lightening dawn a few minutes later. When I got to the waterfront at 530a, there were a couple hundred people milling about and a growing number of boats assembling in the bay.

IMG_1461I joined the main crowd in watching the parade of boats being paddled and peddled out of the marina. It wasn’t far, but it was into a stiff breeze, and most of them were sailing vessels, never intended to be propelled by human power. But they were heading to the starting line of the Race to Alaska and while there are very few race rules, one of them is “no motors on board”.
IMG_1468The basic facts go like this: Began last year, the Race starts in Port Townsend and ends 750 miles north in Ketchikan, AK. Any boat without an engine can enter, and all participants must be self-supported.

I don’t know much about boats, but there were all shapes and sizes…
IMG_1475 IMG_1476 IMG_1478And then they were away!
IMG_1483 IMG_1493

Clearly, I’m not a huge boat junkie, but here’s the thing: the Race brings out all of these ordinary and extraordinary people – decorated racers, badasses, drinking buddies, fathers and their grown kids – who are living their dreams. Race management and whole community around it are all about celebrating every one of them for being out there. Genuinely cheering them on, not for being flawless or winning or even for finishing, but just for being out there. And I love that.

I peddled back home, thinking about how good it feels to dream and how amazing it is to be among people trying to live their dreams and how much better off the world is when more people are doing just that.

And then I made pancakes and settled in for a regular day at the desk job. Not exactly the dream, but a little easier to take after that start.

PS – If you are even a little bit interested, I highly recommend following the Race here. I skipped the pesky details of Stage 1 vs 2, but the push to Alaska starts Sunday. You may spend days glued to the tracker but it’s totally worth it.

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