Roz Savage and Telluride Inside… and Out in the Big Apple

Roz Savage and Telluride Inside… and Out in the Big Apple

Roz jpeg Let's play a game of subtraction. When the subject is Telluride, we are talking only two degrees of separation. Case in point: Clint and I were strolling up Broadway en route to our New York digs, when I decided we might want some books on tape for a drive to Pittsburgh. We have passed that Barnes & Noble many times, but never stopped in. Who wants to carry books onto an airplane when the Internet delivers? The sign at the entrance to the store announced a book signing: British ocean rower Roz Savage would be on hand to sign copies of her just released "Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean" (Simon & Schuster).

The posted time for Roz Savage's appearance, 6:30 p.m., was in direct conflict with the Michael Palm Concert Series, a house concert in support of the non-profit Classical Actions, which taps into talent from the world of classical music, jazz and Broadway to raise funds for AIDS-related services. We were to be guests of part-time, longtime Telluride locals Steven and Judy Gluckstern. Arriving late was not an option.

However, Clint and I wanted to hook up with Roz, whom I had interviewed when she visited Telluride for the first time in 2007, a guest of Telluride Mountainfilm. Roz is a poster child for Mountainfilm, embodying as she does the indominitable spirit the event celebrates.

Picture yourself, a never-ever, alone and unsupported in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, on a tricked out rowboat on a 2,935-mile trip.  On Valentine’s Day, four guys in an inflatable visit with a card, but otherwise your only company for 103 days is the occasional whale or school of dolphins and a friendly turtle, who bangs your boat to let you know he is around. Within weeks, equipment began to fail – first your stove, then your navigation system, eventually your iPod. All four oars break in big water and you have to figure out a patch. With just over three weeks left to go, your satellite phone crashes, cutting the umbilical cord to your mom and the outside world. For the last 24 days, the movement detected by your positional transponder provides the only indication you are still alive. When you finally arrive in Antigua alive and well, you are pleased as punch, but most of the voyage you would have rather been anywhere else. Now imagine starting all over again in the Pacific, but more than doubling the mileage. Picture Roz Savage, a woman on a mission to help save our oceans. Now Roz is well on her way to becoming the first woman ever to row solo across the Pacific. To date, she has bagged the first leg, San Francisco to Hawaii, May – September 2007, and the second leg, Hawaii to Kiribati (pronounced Kira-Bahs), May – September 2008, about 3,000 miles each. Only one leg to go: Kiribati to Australia, which she begins in April 2010.

Thousands of miles alone in a rowboat? Isn't that overkill to develop great biceps? Turns out biceps, fame and fortune are not the point. Roz is rowing towards a greener future.

Roz Savage is a United Nations Climate Hero, a trained presenter for Al Gore’s Climate Project, and an Athlete Ambassador for She is supported by the Dot Eco campaign and the Blue Planet Foundation. Her Pacific row is a project of the Blue Frontier Campaign and she is an Ambassador for the BLUE Project.

Clint and I left a note for Roz at the service desk, sent an e-mail just to be sure, letting her know we were in town. Roz called just before the concert began, and we made plans to hook up the next day. Roz and I renewed our friendship over coffee at Sarabeth's Kitchen. Her message to me and to the world: walk more, drive less. If she takes 11,000 oar strokes a day, there is no excuse for landlubbers.

Telluride Inside… and Out plans to post ongoing stories about Roz's environmental work. Stay tuned…

More small world stuff: Later that same day, we ran into part-time local Marc Schauer, now married to superstar Laura Linney, whom he met while working for the Telluride Film Festival. The couple were in New York because Laura is in talks with Showtime about her upcoming TV series, a dark comedy about a woman with cancer (Linney).

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