KIALOA Paddles 'Elele, Evelyn O'Doherty needed a bit of motivation to spark consistent training - with a huge dash of fun - through the hard-hitting East Coast winter of 2015. She found her inspiration with a cool program called, "100/100 Challenge."
The best way to share this story is in Evelyn's own words. "Game. Set. Match. I couldn't be any more stoked," she begins.
"In the depths of a NY winter, I was having trouble keeping my motivation high to continue my paddling routine. The weather got colder, the sky turned grey, snow began to fall, and suddenly, yoga classes were looking pretty good. But someone turned me on to this online group called the 100/100 Paddle Challenge based in North Carolina where, if you sign up, you have 100 days to complete 100 miles on the water.
What do you get? A sticker.
It was enough. I was in. Starting on January 1st, I joined the 100/100 Paddle Challenge and have been out on the water, weather permitting, at every opportunity. It may seem silly to some, but the idea of winning that 100/100 sticker in the midst of winter kept me motivated. Must. Have. Sticker. I can be stubborn like that.
Figuring out the gear, adding layers of wool, transporting equipment and choosing routes based upon wind protection and tide, it's been a lot of work. But the thing is with this 100/100 Paddle Challenge is every time you get on the water you take a pic and post it in the group with your mileage count and everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, cheers you on and amps your stoke. It's crazy, and fun and great, great, great.
Pictures? Applause?? And a sticker??! I'm all in.
So, I kept going. Even when the bay froze over, I waited for it to break apart and found slivers, then pools and open areas I could paddle though, often breaking through slush or sliding around icebergs. It was SO incredibly BEAUTIFUL out there! I just fell in love with distance paddling all over again.
There were some tough moments in life through the winter and paddling pulled me through those challenging times, giving me something to look forward to and a place where I could be alone … and at peace. I began soaking it up and savoring every stroke. Adding 20 miles to my count while I was down in Puerto Rico made me realize that maybe I could do this. I could really accomplish the goal and put in 100 miles before the 100 days were up. My stoke reached an all-time high."
We love this story! We love that she completed the challenge. On the final day of her challenge, Evelyn launched at daybreak in 27 degree weather to an empty, windless, glassy bay and took her victory lap. Evelyn shares, "101.25 miles completed. I couldn't be more stoked. And grateful. And stoked some more. Thank you 100/100 Paddlers. For giving me the opportunity to get real and intimate about winter paddling, for teaching me about gear and equipment in freezing temps, for giving me the motivation and opportunity to stay strong and focused on my goals and, mostly, for being the amp-filled, paddle-loving peeps who just keep going. Mahalo and namaste. May we all paddle on."