Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 81: Guest Post

Hi, it's Paul's dad, Mark Ridley, filling in for Paul this evening. Paul lost time today doing an interview on CNN (we'll post a link once they put it on their Web site), among other things, so he's putting in some extra time on the oars tonight. I'm happy to give him a break by posting a blog entry for him.

Earlier today Paul hopped into the water once again and scraped the barnacles off Liv's hull (for what we hope will be the last time). It's kind of a scary operation, but it always seems to have a worthwhile impact on his speed. Fortunately for his on-shore team, Paul never tells us in advance that he's going to get out and scrape; we only find out about it when he's safely back in the boat. (It saves on blood-pressure medication!)

Paul also did some housecleaning today. He began the row with the forward cabin crammed with food (freeze-dried entrees, candy, Cliff bars, etc.) and by now he's eaten his way through almost all of it. So he took time today to rearrange ballast and rebalance the boat, for better handling.

Paul's finally allowing himself to think about the reality of landing in Antigua; up to this point, he's tried to keep his focus almost entirely on the challenges of each individual day. It's been fascinating to see him manage the mental game of this row - the guidance and mentoring he received from other rowers and his training team really seem to have paid off. Thanks, everyone!

Beyond the celebrating in Antigua, Paul is planning on recuperating a bit back in Connecticut and looking forward to returning to his job at Greenwich Associates. But he's also thinking about the future for Row for Hope. The fund-raising mission won't end when the rowing ends; he's already thinking about speaking engagements and other ways to keep the cause in the public eye. He's a man on a mission!

Let me just add a word as Paul's father: Paul's family (which includes his sister, Joy, and his step-mom, Nadine) has really been sustained by the knowledge that so many people have been rooting for Paul and keeping him in their prayers. Thank you so much for your encouragement and your care for him. No matter how far from shore Paul has been, he's never been alone. Thank you!



Thanks to all who have supported this expedition and important research at Yale Cancer Center with a donation to Row for Hope. If you haven't donated, or if you would consider donating again, it would be much appreciated. To donate online use the link in the upper right-hand corner of this page or visit



Melissa M said...


I saw Eric Church on Friday in the Boston area and came home tonight to find my pre-ordered CD in the mail. I have it loaded on my ipod and will bring CD to Antigua! You will love it. He played the new song that I sent the lyrics for. He is coming back to NY in May. I am recruiting a group to go :)

Anonymous said...

May God Speed be with all of you ... and all of those lucky enough to travel to Antigua!!!

Be well, be safe, row hard ... one more week!!!

PS - your 'Gate Crew team got a small taste of "waves" on their Spring Training Trip to San Diego. Cross wakes and winds ... 3foot swells (oh my!!) left them soaking, salty and thinking of you!

Susan T. said...

SO excited to hear how close you are to the finish line!!!

I am settled into Virginia Beach, VA now and job hunting... but also spending a great deal of time at the bedside of a cousin who's body is literally decomposing daily from the ravages of Stage IV skin cancer.

If you ever doubt what you are doing was worth it, I'm here to tell you it was worth every pull of the oar. Thank you, thank you, again, for all you are doing for this cause.

I'm just sorry I'll have to miss the party(ies)!!! :)

Susan T.

Anonymous said...

K-Rock and #1 Wild Bill said...

Hi Buddy - Focus, focus, focus. That's what got you this far and what will keep you safe until you climb out of the boat. You may have some weather challenges to work through this week, you need to be aware of your position as you approach land, you need to figure out how best to balance your remaing supplies - all that stuff. Then, focus on the things you'll miss - those great night skies, the silence, the amazing colors of the ocean, the sunsets, the critters that have been there only for you. It's kind of like that one last episode of Survivor where the remaining players walk through fire and reflect on all the people and experiences that they have beaten - and plan how to finish the game. You're almost there and this trip has been worth so much more than the cheesey fame of Survivor! Haed in the game, ass in the boat - almost there!xxoo -