No one who knows Rod would then be surprised to learn he has entered the Florida Ultimate Challenge. This has been called the toughest race in the world. Anyone who understands the heat and humidity of the Florida tropics would have to agree. The race is a nonstop 1200 mile event in which entrants must paddle through and around the entire state of Florida. Beginning in Tampa Bay the racers travel south meeting checkpoints along the gulf coast. At Florida’s tip they see a bit of the Everglades before rounding Key Largo and heading north along the Atlantic Coast. After passing Jacksonville Florida they turn west along the St. Mary’s river on the order of Florida and Georgia. Here they must paddle upstream for 90 miles into the center of Florida and the town of Saint George.
The race next moves to the land for a 40 mile hike up to Fargo Georgia and the headwaters of the Suwannee river, Rod’s old stomping grounds. Of course that hike will include towing his canoe for the 40 miles. Rod’s reward for finishing that trek will be a light 220 mile sprint along the Suwannee river that begins with a run of class three rapids. Eventually Rod will be back looking at the Gulf of Mexico and a checkpoint at Cedar Key. This is the last stop before a 120 mile dash back to the starting point at Fort DeSoto beach Florida.