Team members: Dameon Colbry
Hometown: Belfast, ME, USA
Race vessel: Savo 575 Rowboat
LOA: 18′ 6″
Human propulsion: Row
A special kind of more is more, uniquely American salivation takes hold when you pass through the doors of a Sizzler’s, an Olive Garden, a Golden Corral Buffet. As long as there is an endless breadstick, a sneeze guard, and ever refreshing case of rotating pies—get a whiff of even the parking lot and your glands engorge to bursting, releasing such streams of liquid that any amount of heat-lamp-desiccated pizza can’t stand up to the deluge.
Dameon Colbry of Team “Of One” drools that very same juice on his pillow while dreaming of the smorgasbord that is the Inside Passage. He’s drunk endless refills from this bottomless cup before, and with belly bulging goes for another scoop. But out of what we can only call selfishness, this year he plans to keep every cramp and blister-filled bite to himself, casting out all teammates from his corner booth.
Translation: He’s done R2AK before (great story, check it out here: Team Backwards AF), but this year, Dameon is rowing to Alaska—by himself.
We sat down with Team Of One over a bowl of ranch dressing to talk about sequels, the word puuvenepiste, and a borderline case of narcolepsy.
What are the necessary components of a good adventure?
I want to try something new that is challenging enough for me to wonder if I will pull it off. When I completed the R2AK in 2019 (in Team Backwards AF) I was in a 2-person rowboat and it was hard, so exactly how much more difficult it will be with one less person, I don’t know. I think having a little bit of uncertainty about whether or not I will complete the task is necessary.
The recipe also includes a healthy portion of discomfort and finding out new physical limits, just how hard can I push it.
One last critical component is the mental challenge. I enjoy solving the logistics problems of something like the R2AK. In this scenario, I’ll have one less person to help with the boat and all the camping tasks that need to be completed. This requires a different game plan and a lot of thinking through the day to be properly prepared.
What’s a lesson you learned the hard way?
Give yourself way, way more time than you think is needed to build a boat before the race. Leading up to the R2AK in 2019 there were lots of late, and even later nights finishing the boat to get ready. Whatever time is allotted is never enough. It’s only the first of March but I’ve got a long way to go before I have a boat that’s ready to launch. I’m trying to work on the boat as often as possible.
What’s your favorite kind of bracket?
Extruded Aluminum T-Slotted bracket, they’re super versatile. Check ’em out. Seriously I don’t know what kind of bracket we’re talking about…sports brackets, grammatical brackets, hardware?
It’s drizzling, freezing cold, and you’ve missed the tide. The cabin is leaky and the stove won’t light. How do you keep the good vibes going?
Well, since I’ll be alone on this trip I don’t have to worry about keeping the morale up with all the other campers, just myself to entertain. In this situation it sounds like it’s time to eat whatever unpleasant cold food is available and sleep away the misery. One thing I am really, really good at is sleeping just about anywhere, anytime. Cold, leaky cabin, no problem. Take a nap and let the tide roll back in. Or option two, get out the bear spray and go for a walk, I’ll be in British Columbia!
Forget the 10k or the steak knives. What does success look like for you and your team?
Completing the race course without getting swept. That’s really it. If I finish in the time allowed then I have accomplished my goal of putting together a solid plan that gets me to Ketchikan in a timely and safe way.
Defend your vessel. What makes it worthy?
The Savo is a great boat. It’s fast, seaworthy and pretty darn attractive. We’ve used the same Savo 650 to complete the R2AK twice, rowed it up and down the coast of Maine in all kinds of conditions and it never lets us down. It’s fast on flat water and stays dry in big waves, what else could you want? And with two people it’s light enough to pick up and carry up the beach.
For all of the hype about competitive eating, as far as we know there isn’t a buffet all-star hall of fame. If there was one, and if Race to Alaska’s buffet of pain was more than a metaphor, we’re pretty sure that Dameon would be up there just for signing up for this thing a second time. Welcome back to the R2AK, Team Of One. Right this way sir, we have your usual table waiting for you.