Pangea Sunshine Sea to Sea 72 hr AR

Posted on February 24, 2012

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Pangea C2C Pre Race

I was sooo excited when Andy and Shane, two of my OdysseyAR / ImOnPoint.org teammates, told me they wanted to travel south from Virginia and kick off our 2012 race season at Pangea Adventure Racing’s Florida Sunshine Sea to Sea 72 Hour Adventure Race. I promised the guys Pangea would put on a superb event, and sure enough, that’s just what they did. We had gorgeous mid-February weather, an excellent course, fantastic race staff and volunteers, and a small, but amazing group of racers. Post race, Kevin Newell from Pangea asked us a few questions and below are our responses.

Jen

You put sleep deprivation as what you like least about AR but what time did you actually go down to sleep after you guys finished? Seemed to me like you were up for a while.

I hung out at PCV for a while after we finished, but I definitely wasn’t ready to rest. I felt like a little fireball, it was awesome! Maybe that’s what happens when a non-drinker has a post race celebratory beer.  Anyway, the rest of the teams were still out there pushing just as hard, so I went back out to the FAM TA to cheer ‘em on and help out. I’d never been in a position to do that before and I had a blast with everyone! The whole event had such a great group of racers and volunteers. Like Greg said at the pre-race meeting, the smaller event makes for more of a community feeling. I finally passed out for few hours in the early am next to the fire in the back of the U-Haul truck at the last TA. It was great! I was much happier there than a hotel bed. It’s all about the experience, right? Needless to say, I pretty much slept the whole day on Monday.

What did you find to be most challenging about this race? I know you guys didn’t rest too much during the race either.

The shortest paddle leg at FAM was the most difficult for me. My sit bones were begging me not to get back on that canoe seat. I’m guessing it was only about a 90 minute section, but it seemed like hours. The sleep monsters were really having their way with me too. I remember telling Shane, after completely missing a paddle stroke and jumping awake, “Shane, I know it may seem like I’m just dipping my blade in the water, but I’m really paddling hard.” Whoa, I was struggling. And all was good again once we hit land.

What did you think about the restart? How did it feeling waiting for the race to start again?

We blasted that first paddle section. Since I don’t live anywhere near these guys, and racing is the only time we all get to paddle together, I didn’t mind. What “IS” is, right? It was a beautiful day. Wish I was out there doing an extra paddle leg now.

What was your favorite part of the race?

My teammates.  They make everything more fun! I LOVE riding singletrack, so I really enjoyed ripping through the Greenway and Santos sections. I also liked Goethe Forrest and the Florida Trail, the paddle from Rodman to Welaka, the Old Brick Road, and the TT’s at the end. OK, so I really liked the WHOLE thing!

Any other comments about the event or Pangea you would like to share.

The race – It’s amazing to see as many volunteers as racers, great job. The pre-race Olive Garden was spot on! The pre-race meeting was short and sweet (a lot of them seem to go on forever). I loved that we didn’t see the maps until race morning. It’s much more exciting to wake up when you’ve gotten 6+hrs of sleep the night before. The charter bus…classy. Not getting the maps for the next section until your done with TA-ing, uhhh…, odd. I was glad we were given the race summary/outline with est times. It gave us an idea of how we should prepare. Would be interesting to see how it affected others. The surprise TTs at the end…nothing like emptying the tank at the end of a race. I dig it. Awesome job coordinating all the gear/bike transport too. I’m sure there were a few times when teams were spread pretty far apart.

Pangea – I love the way you change the background of the website for each event. Thanks for all you guys have done for AR in FL and congrats on the huge amount of teams that raced BOAR this weekend. If I can figure out a team, I may be celebrating my b-day at the Nocatee 12hr.

Andy

You wrote that variety and surprise is what you like best about AR. Did you find those elements to be there for this race?

Absolutely!!!…The Sea to Sea definitely demonstrated “variety and surprise”…which is one of my “top 5 reason why adventure racing is awesome.”

Here are three ways…First, unlike most races where you are handed most or all the maps before the race starts so your team can plan out the route, we received the maps section by section as the race went on.  We got the maps for the next section only after we completed the previous leg of the course.  As the navigator this was particularly challenging because it often required me to route plan on the fly.  In one regard, this was a nice change because there wasn’t much to do the night before the race.  Most races we are frantically plotting points and planning routes until wee hours of the night…but not this race.  We got a good night’s sleep and said…well, I guess we see the course tomorrow when it starts!

Second, the maps themselves added to the variety and surprise…we got maps with common AR scales (1:24,000), maps with NO scales at all, color maps, black and white maps, aerial photography, and detailed orienteering maps…a little bit of everything.  Definitely kept us guessing!

Third, the course design was awesome and definitely had a ton of variety to it.  Awesome paddling sections, great treks, sweet single track riding…some pavement, some sugar sand…ahhh Florida!

As far as I know you are now 2 for 2 in Florida races. Can you comment on your experiences coming down south?

I’ve really enjoyed the two races that I’ve done in Florida.  The main reason is that the landscape is so different than in Virginia.  The orienteering is challenging because there aren’t many big land features to use, so it forces you to really stay on your compass just as you need to at night.  I’ve really loved the paddling sections at both races.  The twisty, turvy rivers are really fun to paddle on…and very beautiful.  The wildlife is amazing …tons of birds, fish, and of course gators!  Pangea puts on great events and I’ll be making southern trips for I hope years to come.  Another thing that I really appreciate is the sense of community that the Pangea staff and volunteers create at the events.  That sense of community is really what adventure racing is all about.

I spoke to you almost 30 hours in at Rodman TA about sleep. You looked glazed over at the time but not ready to stop. You told me you guys may rest before the FAM Orienteering course but may not at all. Can you tell me how much you guys eventually rested during the race? Also how you (team) combat the tiredness to keep on going?

We knew fairly early on in the race that we could finish the race in less than three days…and we figured that we had a good chance of being able to finish it in about 48 to 55 hours.  That meant that we MAY not have had to sleep at all and that was our plan.  Push as hard as we could for as long as we could.  On a long 100K bike leg late in the second night we started to get very sleepy and were all having trouble focusing.  At midnight we decided to stop and lay down for 5 minutes along an empty stretch of road.  We knew that we would wake up cold and that would get us moving again.  So, we layed down on the grass, set our alarms for 5 minutes and fell asleep.  5 short minutes later, we woke up shivering, hopped back on the bikes and pedaled away.  I knew that an orienteering section was coming up and told Shane and Jen that I really needed to sleep before we got on the o-course, especially because it was at night and we needed to focus.  So when we pulled into the TA at 3am for the orienteering course we got all ready go first and then slept for 30 minutes.  We woke up feeling refreshed (sort of) and went off on our way.  So, 35 minutes was all we slept in the two days.

To combat the tiredness (sleepiness) during the race, we used a combination of wearing just enough clothes to keep us warm enough at night when we were moving, but little enough that we got cold very fast whenever we stopped. This kept us moving…always;  Caffeine pills and drank cokes at transitions.  I use these little caffeine/tourine pills that have a great minty flavor called Foosh. They do the job.  And sleep when we really, really needed it.  It’s amazing what just 30 minutes of sleep can do.

Thanks for a great event.  We’ll be back next year!

Shane

Was this your first Florida race? If so, what did you think or notice about it?

This was my second Florida race.  Our team competed in the last Coast to Coast race about 18 months ago, when Pangea won it.  We really enjoyed the concept of the race.  A point to point race with a very delineated start and finish.  Plus, it just sounds cool!  When we heard Pangea was going to produce this event, we were very excited.  Couple that with an opportunity to enjoy warm Florida weather in February and points in both CP Tracker and USARA and this quickly became a priority event.  We certainly weren’t let down.  The weather was nearly perfect, the course was fast, interesting and well thought out and the scenery was beautiful.

What proved to be the most challenging part for you and your team? 

The most challenging part of the race was on staying focussed on racing hard, especially as we got further into the race.  Sleep deprivation and the physical exertion take their toll, making it difficult to continually push yourselves.  This is something we have all been working on, so usually whenever we would lose a bit of momentum, one of us would notice and “remind” the rest of us to focus.

You wrote that AR is like a ‘snapshot of life’. What snapshots will you take with you from this race?

Beating the volunteers to CP 3.  That was the furthest CP on the first paddle, the one on the island in the Gulf.  We saw the volunteers paddling ahead of us, and were able to overtake them just before the island.  I don’t think they anticipated that!

The second paddle (the longest one):  Dawn is breaking, there is a stillness to the swamp.  We are paddling on crystal clear water in a light rain as another grey heron takes off in front of our canoe.

About 15km into the long bike ride, we did a map check and we were exactly where we had been when we started the leg.  We told Andy he had made a big loop – same gas station, same sidewalk, same bench where some locals had acted silly, definitely the same place.  Andy looks around, looks a bit befuddled, and then starts problem solving.  ”We went North to here, took a right…”  Thankfully, we were wrong.  Although everything looked the same, it wasn’t.  We were exactly where Andy wanted us to be.  The look on his face was unforgettable; his approach to solving the problem was priceless.

Andy, Shane, and I had such a great time. And for winning, we received an entry into next year’s race and the opportunity to come back and playing the woods again with Pangea and friends. Woohoo! We can’t wait!

For full results, additional photos, and upcoming Pangea events, visit www.pangeaadventureracing.com.

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