M2M Maui to Molokai 27 mile with Josh Riccio

Words from a paddle professional 8-6-2014
Team 27 North USA
Josh Riccio-Team Rider

Mahalo & Aloha
Just want to thank you for reading my blog about my preparation and experience of crossing the 27mile Pailolo Channel between Maui and Molokai and the 32mile Ka’iwe channel between Molokai and Oahu. I’m always happy to talk story and share my experience and knowledge when it comes to Surfing, SUP, or the Ocean in general and encourage anybody to reach out to me with any questions they may have.

Maui 2 Molokai
The Pailolo channel is the body of water between West Maui and East Molokai. When the trade winds are blowing the 27mile Maui 2 Molokai Race starting from Honolua Bay, Maui and finishing at Kaunakakai, Molokai offers some of the best downwind conditions in the world. As physically demanding as the Maui to Molokai race is, it’s my favorite race and especially one I hope to get a good result at. Last year was my first time doing the race and I was really stoked to get 3rd place in the 14’ stock class, but really wanted to better that result this year and all the training I was doing leading up to the M2M made me confident that I had a strong chance to win the 14’ stock class.

This year I committed to doing both the Maui 2 Molokai and Molokai 2 Oahu channels, so I really wanted to increase the distance I paddled in my weekly training, and really push my body physically and mentally to prepare myself for these two endurance races. Training for me this year started in March right after the US SUP tour in Huntington Beach. I’m very fortunate to live on the Island of Maui, and have consistent, easy access to excellent downwind conditions. Once a week I’d do (2-3) 10 mile Maliko runs, followed by 20-30 minutes of core and leg exercises, usually with a day of rest afterwards. The goal was to push myself really hard one day a week to prepare the body and mind by simulating the muscle and the mental fatigue you experience during these races especially in the Molokai 2 Oahu race. About 2-3 days a week I’d do a 7mile paddle on the Westside of Maui ½ of it going upwind against the trade winds, followed by 20-30 minutes of core and leg exercises. I do a 3 mile run ¼ of it being uphill about 2-3 times a week year round to always keep the lungs healthy and clear. I surf when there are waves and get a pretty good workout teaching surf and sup lessons, so I definitely factor in and credit surfing and teaching lessons as part of my training, and they both help keep me physically fit. Some weeks I would surf more and paddle less, or go for a run instead of a paddle to keep training fun, I always try to stretch daily to keep my muscles loose and listen to my body and give it rest so it can recover and push harder.

Before any paddle I do whether it is training or racing, I always like to be well hydrated, and have some solid fuel to run off of, usually I’ll eat lots of Pasta the night prior to or 4 hours before. If I don’t have enough time to fill up on carbs I’ll normally eat lots of bananas with a protein bar, which is typically what I do before my daily training workouts. I always try to make sure I have about 30grams of protein in a mixer with water and a banana 10-20 minutes after I race or train to help with muscle recovery. For the Maui 2 Molokai race I ate pasta the night before and then drank a huge banana, peanut butter, and protein smoothie the morning of the race. I also had a 6oz. bottle filled with a cocktail of Hammer Nutrition energy, endurance, and electrolyte supplements which I sipped about every 20-30 minutes followed by some water out of my 100oz. water pack I wore on my back. I felt like my nutrition leading up to the Maui 2 Molokai race and supplements I used during the race really helped my body perform at its best. I really encourage everyone who races SUP especially distance races to experiment and see what nutrition supplements work best for you.

The conditions for the race were ideal with a steady 15-25mph ENE trade-wind which served up some nice bumps from the start at Honolua Bay all the way to the finish at Kaunakakai Wharf. Last year I battled Paul Jackson from Australia all the way across the channel on our 14’ stock boards where I finished just a minute behind him, although we jokingly agreed to avoid each other in the channel before the race, we ended up right next to each other within the first ¼ mile of the race, we battled and leaped frogged each other for about 5 miles when Paul managed to get a really nice run on me and get about a 400 yard gap. I managed to push and make up the gap over the next 5 miles, so at about mile 10 Paul Jackson and I were side by side pretty much riding the same bumps. Once I caught up to Paul I started pushing as hard as I could (110%) for about 2 minutes then rest for 1 minute(80%), then push again for 2 then rest for 1, during each resting time I would look back to see how Paul reacted and if he was pushing to close the gap, or unable to match my pickups. After about 3 pickups I could tell I was gaining a nice lead on Paul and the rest of the 14’ class, so for the last 15 miles I just kept my head down and kept pushing as hard as I could to keep my lead, and focused on catching every bump big or small that came my way until I reached the finish line. I really felt like I found a great rhythm with the 2minute push and 1minute rest interval, which allowed me to really connect some bumps and gain a healthy lead without completely gassing out to early. I’m really happy that I finished the race in a time of 3:37:21 over 5 minutes faster then 2nd place, to accomplish what I set out to do in March and have all my training payoff makes this my sweetest SUP victory yet.

Aloha, Josh Riccio
27 North USA

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We at 27 North USA would like to thank Josh Riccio for taking the time to write this blog. Josh is a dedicated athlete and we could not be more proud to have Josh represent our company. Josh currently rides for Rogue SUP, 27 North USA paddles and a growing list of sponsors.

27 North USA

Michael Mcgann
Michael Mcgann



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