Team You Either Do Stuff or You Don't Race to Alaska 2019

Team You Either Do Stuff or You Don’t

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Team members: John Guider
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Race vessel: Chesapeake Light Craft the Guider
LOA: 18′
Human propulsion: Oars
Connect: facebook, website, instagram
R2AK cred: 2017 Flu ridden (or something health related) DNF

There are three things we love to hate here at the R2AK:

  1. People who are more impressive than us
  2. Friendly do-gooders who are impossible to hate
  3. Potato salad with too much mayo. Just gross, gross in the best way, like MSG, and that chili on Fritos they serve at the state fair. So gross/good.

We have yet to taste his potato salad, but we’re positive that the sole crew member of Team You Either Do Stuff or You Don’t for sure embodies at least two of these three deadly sins. If it was possible we’d hate this guy because of #1, but, well, see #2.

The impressive bit? 15 summers ago John put his canoe in the water at the creek behind his Tennessee home and three months later he had made it all the way down the Mississippi to New Orleans. His next trip of note was a 6,500 mile Odyssey circumnavigating the Eastern half of the U.S. Down the Miss, up the seaboard, up the Hudson, down the Great Lakes, down the Miss. 6,500.

Somewhere in there he took 20,000 pictures, helped make a documentary, re-enacted a historic journey or two, started a book—his last yawner was 260 miles as part of a re-enactment of a historic something or another to help raise the consciousness of local history (point #2).

Long trips in a canoe, starting in Tennessee and ending in wherever we end up? John’s a weird mash-up of Deliverance and Forest Gump.

In 2009 John upgraded his Mississippi floatin’ canoe for a stitch and glue, sail and oar kit boat that is small enough to build in your garage and big enough to hug the edge of the Eastern side of the US and keep turning left until you get back to where you started from, like NASCAR but one long slow lap; 6,500 miles is like 13 Indy 500s back to back… but two knots, no pit crew, and 100,000 fewer people holding keg cups shouting “woo.” (People of Indiana: we hear you. Indy 500 is not NASCAR—it is thousands of people drinking beer and yelling woo at cars going really fast and only left—but we’ll cede the point: totally different.)

Regardless of the left speeding “woo” you care about, in 2017 we pledged allegiance to the checkered flag of John’s multiyear, dozen-plus oar-driven Indys, and welcomed him to the R2AK. He did well. He avoided the full gale that smashed the fleet on day one, then rowed well in the flat calm that followed, then got the flu or something….anyway, he didn’t finish. No shame. He exited the race before the hard-to-find-a-highway wilds north of Seymour Narrows, so prudence gets a checkered flag even if John didn’t.

His new boat is the newest custom kit to flatpack off of the CLC showroom: the Guider measures in at 18’ and is said to sail well under a single lug rigged sail, row well with a pair of oars, and reefs down to a sea-kindly handkerchief if it blows up fierce. It’s got all of the creature comforts of a pickup bed: level cockpit for camping, compartments for storage, and a tent you can attach to alternately keep out the spray or rain/mosquitoes depending on the situation. Given the name of the guy and the name of the design, this was either named in honor of the sole member of this team or the best boat selling long con Chesapeake Light Craft has ever created: “…and here’s a boat that I think would be perfect for you. What’s it called? Well, that is a coincidence…”

Welcome back to the R2AK, Team You Either Do Stuff Or You Don’t. Given your life of accomplishments we think you used too many words. We’d edit it down to ‘Team Does Stuff.’