From Troy Nebeker, founder of the 24:
This time of year is pretty amazing. The spark and energy coming from this group makes a heart smile. Thank you for being part of this.
Just got a note from a veteran 24 paddler who is captaining a team / city this year. He sent out a letter to his crew with so much good info – I copied a few of the sections and included them here.
What Happens for 24 Hours:
No, you do not paddle for 24 hours non-stop! We do this in shifts (or “relays”), working as pairs.
6 paddlers = 3 pairs.
You will be assigned to a buddy for the entire duration.
I will create a rotation schedule. Each pair of paddlers will rotate, an hour per shift. (We use a rotation format that has been used all 6 years.)
The First Hour, The Midnight Hour and The Last Hour = ALL paddlers paddle together. Which means, everyone will pull a double shift (two hours of paddling) at least once.
At the end of the project, you will each have paddled 10 hours (or more if you decide to jump in on other rotations), over a 24-hour period. If you are a 5mph paddler, that’s 50 miles you will have covered. 4mph = 40 miles, etc. So you can see that there is in fact some volume to this effort. Even if you go super casual, you are likely to cover at least 30 miles throughout the duration. That’s a long way! Go You!
Rest or Sleep: Make a Schedule.
Sleep in between rotations is pretty hard to get, so you really have to plan for it. Don’t leave it to chance or think “I’ll just rest when I’m tired.” I’ve done a lot of these, and I find that drafting a schedule on paper, that I adhere to strictly, can be the difference between feeling terrible for days after, or feeling fine the very next day.
When I set my schedule, I account for the fact that I am not likely to actually close my eyes and sleep. But planned rest is critical, so I will make notes on my schedule that simply say things like “lay down.” Even if I am not sleeping, laying on my back, not talking and resting for 20 minutes can be very helpful.
Bring a sleeping bag and a ground pad. Or a cot. Or whatever makes you cozy. Bring ear plugs too (sleepy paddlers can snore and there is always background conversation happening. The group focus is to keep paddling and talking is part of the motivation. If you don’t like to hear people talking while you sleep…. plan ahead!)
What to Wear
We will have a “base camp” for operations, so no need to skimp on items to bring. Stay dry and stay warm. We’ve had years where it literally rained (hard!) on us for the entire 24 hours. Nothing was dry. And it was cold. Several people had touch-and-go experiences with mild hypothermia – that’s just part of the experience. But you can help by bringing lots of changes of cloths. I almost always use The 24 as a great excuse to buy another pair of fresh booties (one day, my dream is to come stocked with like 10 pair of dry booties! Ha!)
The Hardest Part….
The thing to be most prepared for is Sleep Deprivation. It’s a long event. You cannot measure it as simply 24 hours…. you have to measure it from the time you wake up on the day of….to the time you get back home and in your own bed. You will really have been awake for closer to 30 – 32 hours by the time you are back in bed. That’s a long time. Don’t discount the impact that will have on you!
Remember What This is About
This is not an easy night. And it’s not meant to be. This happens in the Spring because the weather usually throws a little bit of everything at us. It’s not comfortable. And neither is Cancer. Our focus here is about raising awareness and money. Lots of both. It is likely that we will even have some folks present with us who are in the hardest fight of their lives. When you start feeling tired, sick or grumpy out there…remember the folks we are paddling for. Spend some time in silence and meditate on those people. Give their situation and their life your full attention and see what happens inside yourself as a result.
I’ve been in all but one of these events and over the years I’ve watched a lot of really good people lose the fight. It’s heartbreaking, every time. But this is what living is about. It’s about helping when you can. We are fortunate, so let’s use our good fortune to lift up someone who needs us.