Pat is an endurance athlete who broke a world record in 2016 for the oldest woman (she’s 62) to complete the Great Pacific Race, a 2,400-mile trans-Pacific rowing competition from California to Hawaii. She and her crewmate were also the fastest pair to cross the Pacific by any two- or four-women team.
When rowing in open waters, a light breeze is one thing; hurricane wind is another. The ocean may look inviting and calm from land, but the current is unpredictable. Things can change with the wind, especially if you’re rowing across the Pacific in a small boat.
It started within hours of her launch. The breeze gave way to gusts that morphed into hurricane winds. With daylight fading, Pat knew she was in for a long night.
The winds reached 45 mph. Waves, the height of a four-story building, crashed against her tiny vessel, tossing it around like a toy. Pat knew that the risk of the boat breaking and sinking were high. Rowing was futile; survival, paramount. She had to lock down the oars first; a loose one could whip back and damage the boat or kill her and Pat wasn’t going to let that happen.
She secured the oars and whatever else she could. She grabbed her crewmate and took refuge in a small carbon fiber hutch the size of a small cab, the kind that fits on a truck. The space barely held one person, much less two people. The chances of the boat suffering a crack were high. All it would take is ¼” breach. If that happened, Pat knew survival was dim.
For hours, the boat was thrown into the air and came crashing down onto competing waves. The force threw Pat from one side of the cabin to the other. The rowboat did somersaults, sometimes landing on its side or completely upside down. The screeching and howling cacophony accompanying the storm were deafening.
“I had never heard sounds like I heard that night. I’d never experienced anything close to this. The situation was frenetic but I was as calm as the eye of the storm. BioTE® helped me remain clear-headed and composed. I never lost it out there.”
After hours and hours of tossing and turning, it was over. Pat was beaten up but alive; her crewmate, a little worse for wear. Pat’s rowboat had temporarily lost momentum but she came out of the storm still determined to go the distance.
There were more surprises in store, but Pat was resolute. She went on to row the full 2,400 miles and clinch two world records.
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