I was at both race starts in 2018 when my Dad and uncle raced. I watched on social media as they progressed through their journey. As I get older, I am excited for adventures and new experiences. While my time off has often been dedicated to exploring different destinations, the idea of embarking on something like the R2AK never crossed my mind—until it did. The thought of participating in such an event alongside my family adds an exhilarating dimension to this opportunity. It's a chance that may never present itself again, adding to the excitement. With the R2AK, I am excited to embark on an extraordinary expedition that promises to redefine the boundaries of our collective exploration and forge unforgettable memories.
“This Race will change you” these words were spoken to me by a previous racer on the dock in Port Townsend the day before we embarked on the 2018 race. It is the ambiguity of that statement that is so profound. No matter what I do or where I am, my thoughts never venture far from the Race to Alaska. It’s become a part of me that I struggle to explain, but a part that I offer no explanation for. The wild nature of the race, the wide-open spaces, the wind, and the current running at you like a school bus all make you see things abit differently. These things may change those who experience them. After 4 years of anticipation, I am excited to be coming back. It will make ringing that bell in Ketchikan one of the two best events of the year. Wearing the R2AK blazer in September will be the second. Hey Race Boss, I wear a size 44.
When Robbie first started talking about the R2AK, I thought he was crazy, yet a part of me wanted to go with him. A lot of reasons piled up to keep me home, work, the small boat, and the fact that I don’t like the cold; these are all at the top of my list. I went to support my husband and brother in 2018 and I really enjoyed the excitement of the race. I got to experience Port Townsend, I was able to watch the 5:00 a.m. start, before going to Victoria to greet Robbie and JT when they arrived. The entire event was an awesome experience. For the next several days I kept watching all of the information pouring in from the various teams and it made me realize that deep down I wanted to be there, cold or not. For me, this race is one part a chance to experience everything that is R2AK and one part a chance to test myself in ways I never have before. Getting to compete in the race on Team Buckeye with my husband, brother and daughter will make finishing the race even that much more special. I can’t wait to wear the blazer in September. I wear a size 10.
Big, and cool, that’s how I describe this race. I mean really big, as in bigger than life big, big like outer space big. No chance of me going into outer space, but sailing to Ketchikan I can do. On the cool factor scale, historically the R2AK is a 10, look it up. Still not convinced? Just ask one of the cool kids in September, they will be the ones wearing the R2AK blazer – with sleeves. Breaking the boat and stopping short of Ketchikan in 2018 created an itch on top of my itch. I plan to scratch that itch in 2020. Being part of Team Buckeye, the epic journey of 2018, the sailing over the past 2 years has become a part of who I am. I can’t wait to race again in 2020 with Team Buckeye, cheating death, chasing R2AK glory, on a boat, with some of my favorite people. This will be the second coolest thing in 2023. The number one coolest thing will be standing with these same people as we join the cool kids club and put on that blazer in September. Hey R2AK guys, I wear a size 44.
I love adventure and I always have, the R2AK may be one of the most unique adventures on the planet. In 2018 I became an accidental tracker junkie and spent a lot of time watching Team Buckeye’s adventure. There is a point at which you realize that you are not so much following something, as you are living Vicariously through it. With each passing hour, I looked for updates and cheered the duo on from Mississippi. With each struggle I cringed, with each success I cheered. When they retired from the race I felt like my favorite team had just lost a close game. When JT returned and mentioned a bigger boat, a larger crew, and another attempt in 2020 I knew I wanted a spot on that team. I could not imagine racing or ringing that bell in Ketchikan with anyone but Team Buckeye! The only thing better might be putting on that blazer in September. FYI Race HQ I wear a size 44.
Team Buckeye is Back! After 4 years, the planets have finally aligned, and we are back! I am very excited to be participating in this year’s R2AK! My 2018 race partner and brother-in-law are joining me along with my wife Kitty, daughter Emily and Friend Chuck Heirs!
Feel the fear and do it anyway. A motto I once heard and have clung to ever since. I’ve jumped out of airplanes, climbed sharp rock faces, and backpacked through the most hazardous conditions. What better thing to add to my repertoire than sailing from Washington to Alaska in one of the earth’s most challenging sailboat races? The activity’s thrill pulls me in, but what keeps me going is knowing how accomplished I will feel, especially when our crew rings the bell in Ketchikan. While I may be an adrenaline junky, I’m also a girl who loves to be with her family, and doing this race means I get the best of both worlds. I was stuck in South Dakota the last time Team Buckeye did this race, but hearing their stories made my heart start pounding, and I knew it was my turn next. This kind of adventurous life means I don’t have a lot of possessions, making the blazer I’ll wear in September one of my most prized pieces of clothing. I wear a size 10.
Meet the Team (so far)
Asking a Humble 16-year-old who just joined a team to write about herself while going to school, sailing, and following a rigorous R2AK workout schedule is a lot. So I thought I would take a stab at introducing Renne by sharing some of her own words. Via Facebook Messenger: “I was on a team that was approved before the decision was made that we would not be racing this year. I am devastated, crushed, lost, etc.”- Renee. My first conversation with Renee went something like this “Renee, thanks for calling, I want to be honest, this is a long shot, but worth a conversation.” -Robbie.
It was clear to me from the beginning she had skills, over 170 days sailing, CPR/First Aid, Ski instructor, small boat sailing instructor, wilderness survival, cross-country running, and for good measure, her parents are from Ohio! While the team welcomes all of those things, I loved her passion. Once again in Renee’s own words: “Ohioian's unite!”
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