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Need a new challenge? Try a paddle between Austin and Bastrop

Staff Writer
Austin 360
Paddlers in canoes and kayaks compete in the Texas Winter 100, a race from Austin to Bastrop on the Colorado River. Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman

By the time Jeannette Burris pulled into Fisherman’s Park, all she could think about was peeling off her cold, wet clothes and getting warm and dry.

She’d spent the last 12 hours and 19 minutes paddling down the Colorado River in the Texas Winter 100, a 100-kilometer paddle race that starts beneath the Interstate 35 bridge in Austin and finishes in Bastrop. In that time, she’d seen the sun come up and go down — and taken a lot of strokes with her double-bladed paddle, dripping water into her lap with every one.

Burris, 61, who averaged just under 5 miles per hour in the race, finished second (“but also last,” she noted, because she wants to keep it entirely honest) in the women’s solo division and 14th (“and also last”) in the overall event. (In this year’s race, finishing times ran from about 9 1/2 hours to more than 12 hours.)

“It was a lot of solitude out there, which is good, but also hard,” she said. “When it gets to 6:30 p.m. and it’s dark and cold, and I’m sopping wet, I’m just ready for it to be over. It’s not physical — I go to the gym. The mental part is, ‘Why the heck do I do this?’ Then you get to the finish and you remember why — it’s because I finished another task most people don’t do.”

Read more about this cold, wet and fun event in Pam LeBlanc’s Fit City column on Mystatesman.com