Coosa River Challenge XIV

“1…2…3…Jump!” Ana yells.

Jump?  Yeah, you just hold on one stinkin’ second there little lady.

This is no “jump” this is a plummet into an abyss and I’m not sure I’m mentally prepared to plunge my body over the edge just yet.

“Oh my gosh, you didn’t jump?!” Ana says “1…2…3…Jump!  Do it!”

“But, I don’t wanna jump!” I whine before hurling myself over the edge.  I don’t like heights, I never have.  I probably never will.  But, adventure racing has a way of taking you outside of your comfort zone and making you do things you wouldn’t normally do for the sake of your team.

Eventually, I splash into the Coosa River below and after checking that my Man Card is still in my back pocket, we press on with the race.


Way back in 2014, when we just started adventure racing, we did the Coosa River Challenge and had an absolute blast.  We weren’t able to make it back in 2015, but were extremely excited that we would make it in ’16.  The Coosa River Challenge is more than just a race, it’s an event.  It all starts with a pre-race party at Coosa River Adventures the night before.  Racers are treated to a delicious meal provided by the Wind Creek Casino & Hotel, an open keg of beer (Score!), and live entertainment by Sam Marsal.  But, don’t let the party atmosphere fool you.  While some come just for the challenge of completing the race, there are plenty of competitive athletes ready to rock the course in the morning.

Foot 1:

The race starts at the Swayback Bridge Trailhead, a 12-mile network of gnarly single track maintained by the Trail of Legends Association.  230+ competitors started off trail running a short section of switchbacks and hills, making their way to the top of Jordan dam and then returning to the start location to transition to bikes.  

Bike 1:

We quickly transitioned to bikes, shoving down a fig bar and a bottle of Skratch before riding off.  I didn’t want to bonk again like I did at the Cauldron, so we took a little time to get some fluids and food in us.  I don’t like heights, Ana doesn’t like single track.  It’s just the way things work for us.  But, today was the day Ana decided to fly.  Two years ago we struggled to make it up the climbs, but this time she was powering the ups and bombing the downhill sections.  Maybe she had the Eye of the Tiger, maybe I spiked her Skratch with cocaine…I’m not saying.  But I was impressed.


Foot 2:

Back to the start, we transitioned to foot and made a quick dash to the base of Jordan Dam for an orienteering challenge.  For this section we had to answer a few questions on compass use and plot a couple of bearings.  In 2014 there wasn’t an orienteering section and I was happy to see that it was back for this year.  For us, orienteering is one of the reasons we love adventure racing.


The rest of the race was down the Coosa River with stops along the way to do certain challenges.  The first challenge was to swim our kayak across the river.  If there is a good way to swim a kayak across a river, please post it in the comment section below.  Call me kooky, but I’m pretty sure man didn’t create a kayak so that he could hang on to the outside of it and swim it across a river.  I have never felt so inept in my life!  I tried the front crawl.  I tried the side stroke, I tried holding on to the back and just kicking.  The only thing that worked for me was letting Ana swim it across.  That made it a lot easier.

Once Ana, I mean we, swam the kayak across the river we had to execute the leap of death.  From atop a 40 foot rock, we had to jump into the Coosa River below.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t 40 feet, but it was high.  Higher than it was 2 years ago, and higher than in my nightmares of the week leading up to the race.  Needless to say, we did make the jump and I’m alive and I’m pretty thankful for that.

After the rock jump, we got to paddle our boats back to the launch location where we would do the 85 foot rappel.  This was my favorite part, mainly because I didn’t have to do it.  Look, it’s my job to kill all the spiders and roaches.  Ana’s job is to do the high, scary stuff and not tell my buddies that I’m too chicken to do it.  Ana flew down the rope like a Cirque du Soleil acrobat.  It was beautiful to watch, especially with both feet on solid earth.

Back on the boats, we were now in full paddle mode, except that the paddles were more like dumbbells with blades on the end.  Seriously, I think they were made out of driveshafts they weighed so much.  We cruised down to Dead Beaver Island, a perfect place to camp out, drink a few cases of beer, and make 200+ people crawl through a pipe that’s been 90% submerged in muddy water. Lucky for us, they left just enough room at the top of the pipe to breathe…that is if you’re a freakin’ dolphin with a hole in the top of your head.  For us normal humans, not so easy.

After Dead Beaver Island, we made the run down to Moccasin Gap, a Class III rapid and the largest rapid on the Coosa.  We didn’t have any issues with this one and were starting to feel pretty proud of ourselves.  That is until we hit Big House Rapids.

Let’s go left around this rock…

No, no let’s go right!

Ah $hit! Let’s see if we can go over it!

So, there we sat pinned atop some rock in the middle of the river as our good friend Kaitlin comes cruising past.  Why is it that people always arrive just when you’re screwing up?

You need help?

Nah, we got this.  Just wanted to stop for a bite to eat.

We worked ourselves free and headed off to Corn Creek Park for a short orienteering course where we quickly grabbed 3 checkpoints and then headed back onto the water.  We had another 1.5 miles of paddling before the final takeout at Coosa River Adventures.  And, after three and a half hours of solid racing what I really, really wanted to do was a few air squats and burpees.  How about a punch in the gut? Can I get one of those too, please?

Ana could now smell the end of the race…or was that me.  Whatever.  She knew it was close by and after scraping her amazingly handsome husband off the ground, she was ready for the final sprint to the finish.  

“Come on!  This is it!  This is it!”, she yelled.

We burst out of the recently cut trail near Coosa River Adventures and saw our old teammate, Stu, waiting to run the final leg of the race with us.  What a fantastic surprise!  A mad dash through Gold Star Park and we finished, 1st place Co-ed.


We celebrated with peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and the most awesome cookies ever.  Seriously, who made those cookies?!  They were delicious and in a convenient Ziploc bag of 20.  We were supposed to take a bag each, right?


Once again the Coosa River Challenge was awesome.  The race director, Therese Carter, always does an amazing job of putting together a top-notch event.  I don’t know how she does it every year, or where she finds her amazing volunteers.  Maybe she pays them in cookies.  Regardless, I’m not asking questions, I just know we’ll be back as often as we can!  Thanks everyone it really was amazingly fun.


Oh, and one last comment.  Post-race, some buddies and I hit one of the race sponsors, Los Mayas Mexican Restaurant.  The food was excellent and we ended up ordering so much of it that they had to move us to another table because ours was too small to hold all the plates.  Stinky, sweaty, middle-aged men in spandex pants sucking down burritos.  Now that’s a mental image nobody wants.


From First Place to First Loser

Who wouldn’t want to race 36 hours straight in Florida, in September.  What’s not to love about asphalt melting sun pushing temperatures well into the 90’s while you and your team run around in spandex suits sucking hot water out of a plastic straw connected to your backpack.  That, my friends is the definition of fun.  And if you can add in getting lost, dehydration, and the overwhelming desire to puke, well you’ve hit the jackpot and pushed yourself into euphoria.

Off the Grid Racing race directors Erik, Jeanette, and Craig put together a completely new course for us around beautiful Marianna, Florida.  And when I say beautiful, I mean crystal clear springs, limestone outcroppings, numerous caverns, natural sinks and a ton of history and old Florida charm.  For the adventurer, or eco-tourist, Marianna needs to be on your list…just maybe in October or November when the weather is cooler.

Race Maps and Clue Sheet

Google Share Drive with all Maps


The race started at midnight with a foot section from Merritt’s Mill Pond.  Starting a race has always been a problem for us, mainly because there are so many teams heading off in different directions and the pace is always excessively fast.  Not knowing the area, we headed off in one direction along with Ron and his team, FLX Adventures.  But, after hopping a fence and running into thick brush, we decided to take a different route.  We floundered for a few minutes but recovered and started to tick off CPs.  It seemed that many CPs centered on a pump house and by using this as our anchor point, we made short work of this section.

FLX Adventures

One of the CPs was inside of a cave, and when they say “inside a cave” they meant really inside the cave.  We first gave it a cursory look, didn’t see the flag and moved on.  Only to discover minutes later that the flag was in there, just tucked way in the back.

By the time we cleared this section and transitioned to bike, Pangea, FLX Adventures, Canyoneros, and Wet Feet AR had already left on bike.

Bike 1

Let me introduce you to Quadzilla, I mean Erik Wise the race director.

Erik Wise

He likes to run around in his underwear, maybe it has something to do with his days in the Navy.  I don’t know.  But I do know that he likes biking, a lot.  And any race he puts together will have plenty of it.  For this section, we were to bike to the Hinson Conservation Area, collect a few checkpoints on foot and then bike back to Merritt’s Mill Pond.  As we started the bike section, we passed Wet Feet AR and soon caught up with FLX Adventures who were looking for BP2 – NW corner of Chester Rd. & Old Spanish Trail.

After playing Brer Rabbit for 20 minutes, we finally found the checkpoint on the SW corner.  North corner…South corner…whatever.  Who uses their stinkin’ clue sheet anyway.

Sometime during that long, dark bike ride, we met up with the Canyoneros and started a pace line with them.  They ended up falling back for some reason, and when we looked back to see where they were, we heard this snarling, barking and crashing through the woods.  I assumed that it was just a couple of frenzied dogs running out to the end of their fence line.  But once I heard claws hit asphalt, I wet my pants a little and hit turbo.  There is nothing worse than pedaling your ass off and hearing crazed dogs gaining on you.  About the time I got to the fifth line of the Lord’s Prayer, I could hear them backing off.  We were worried for the Canyoneros since they were behind us, but they said by the time they ran into the dogs they were on the side of the road panting their lungs out.

Bwahahaha! I think we made one of them pee their pants!

We finally rolled into the Hinson Conservation Area with FLX Adventures and after transposing the checkpoint locations from a master map to our map, we headed off on the trek.  While Ron’s group decided to attack the trek going south, we took the northern route.

It was dark and we had a hard time locating the karst window (TP5).  What’s a karst window you ask?  Yeah, we wondered the same thing until we saw this huge hole in the ground with an orange flag at the bottom of it.

Canyoneros - Karst Window
Canyoneros – Karst Window

This section seemed to take a really long time and I felt that we were floundering.  There didn’t seem to be anything we could do to speed things up and I could feel our 3rd place standing floating away.

We finally emerged from the woods, having cleared the section and as soon as we reached the transition area to hand in our punch card, FLX Adventures emerged from the opposite woods.  It was crazy to think we went in at the same time, took totally opposite directions, never saw or passed each other, and yet finished the section at exactly the same time.  Crazy I know!

We now had 4 CPs left to collect on our way back to Merritt’s Mill Pond to start Boat 1, and it was only 7 hours into the race.

Boat 1

Merritt’s Mill Pond is absolutely stunning.

Did I mention it was stunning.  Not kinda cool, but absolutely stunning.  We arrived about the same time as FLX Adventures and ended up circling the mill pond with them.  I wish that we had some awesome videos or pictures, but we were slackers on this section and didn’t take any.  Just imagine pure awesomeness in a canoe and you get the idea.  Yeah, just like in the photo below!

Canoe Badassery

Bike 2

Back on the bikes, we tried in vain to chase down Pangea, who we hadn’t seen since the beginning of the race.  This leg was a slog, with long dirt roads and sweltering heat.

We struggled with BP14 (Oak in swamp south side), but after searching both the south and north sides of the swamp, Todd stopped a passing truck and the local told us that the landowner had removed the flag.  Time wasted.

We continued our chase of Pangea, rattling our brains out on the washboard dirt roads.  At one point Todd had a slow-motion crash and laid in the dirt like a flipped turtle with his bike on top of him.  Sorry for laughing dude, it was funny.


One of the last checkpoints was in an abandoned church.  If you want to freak yourself out, head out to Parramore, Florida: A Real Florida Ghost Town, and crawl around an abandoned church.  Dead flowers and religious artifacts in a decaying building, there was no way I was heading in there alone.  “Hey Todd, why don’t you be a good pal and go in and grab that checkpoint while I stay out here and look at the maps?”  Yeah, he wasn’t buying it either.

Cavern’s Trek

We made it to the Marianna Cavern’s State Park at 6:30PM, an hour before the time cutoff.  18 hours into the race and so far we were clearing the course.  Unfortunately, the cavern’s trek was the start of the breakdown.


As the sun was fading, we started off on the Fence Line Trail, a 3 mile loop with a few CPs on it.  After clearing this section, we headed off to the Sink Hole trail where CP25 led us to a bonus CP, 600 meters into the woods on a direct bearing.  After finding the bonus CP, it pointed us to a second bonus CP another 600 meters into the woods on a direct bearing.  I was physically fading fast and all we could think about was the other teams skipping these far out CPs in exchange for collecting more points on the paddle and the Bellamy Foot Section at the end of the paddle.  We decided to skip the second bonus CP and head to the Cavern Trail where there was a greater concentration of points to be collected.

By the time we made it to the Tunnel Cave, I could feel myself really struggling.  We hit the bathroom and I splashed water on my face to recover.  It didn’t work and we decided to crash for 15 minutes on some benches.  Todd and Ana were snoring in seconds, but I couldn’t get any rest.  We soon pressed on.

Ana had to carry my pack and hers as we struggled to clear this section.  I was pretty useless by this point and Todd and Ana had to do all the work.  We made another tactical decision to drop a far out CP to a hidden cave with the hope of making the paddle and the other foot section.  We were sure other teams had moved on long ago.

I stripped down to spandex shorts and running shoes, trying to cool off and stay in the race.  Let me tell you, ain’t nothing pretty about a shirtless man in spandex shorts.

We made it back to the Caverns TA and found Junos from FLX Adventures recuperating from dehydration…it seems the heat had affected a number of racers.  I tried to eat and drink, but couldn’t stomach anything.  I told the team I needed to rest for 45 minutes and then we could figure out our next move.

Cavern Boat

At the Caverns TA, we learned that all of the other teams were still out on the trek portion, and no teams had gone out on the paddle yet.  That was a frustrating blow, since we gave up 2 controls thinking the other teams had pressed ahead.  But that’s part of Adventure Racing, making those tactical decisions in an attempt to maximize points.

Pangea came through the TA, and decided to head out on the paddle to pick up a few points.  I was still passed out on the ground trying to recover.  When 12 Chunky Layers passed through the TA and started heading out on the paddle, I got up and we strategized about our next move.  We could either do a short paddle and hope to collect 3-4 points, do the last bike section of 45-60 miles to collect 6 points, or just bike to the finish and go with what we had.

With the hope of an easy paddle, we set out on the Cavern Boat section…we were idiots.


We soon found out that the water level was down 3-5 feet and the river was filled with downed trees.  We picked up one checkpoint and struggled with multiple portages before abandoning all hope of collecting any more.  We did find the second bonus CP from the Cavern’s Trek section, but that wouldn’t help us any.

We decided to turn back and ran into Pangea along the way back to the boat take out.  We weren’t sure how many CPs they had collected but we knew that they would kill us on the final bike section, so we didn’t try to chase them down.


From the Cavern’s TA, we decided to just bike it in.  The bike points were too far away and my butt couldn’t handle another 45 mile bike ride.  I already felt like someone had been spanking my ass all night, and not in the fun 50 Shades of Gray kinda way.

We pulled into the Finish after 34 hours and 28 minutes of racing.  40 minutes later Pangea rolled in, having collected 1 bike CP along the way.  At the closing ceremonies, we were surprisingly announced as the winner, but a couple of days later the count was re-tallied and we discovered that we had actually come in 2nd place…from 1st place to 1st loser.


I was totally frustrated with myself knowing that I had let the team down and lost the race for us.  A few days after the race, I texted those sentiments to Todd and his reply was, “I race to be a better me, meet great people, and push the possible, not just to win.  I accomplished all that in this race.  Could have been one of the most challenging I’ve done.”

Well said my friend, I couldn’t have phrased it any better!  Thanks for racing with us and being a great teammate.  To be able to race with someone for 36Hrs and laugh throughout the whole damn thing is awesome.  You’re rock solid and we look forward to more races with you and Broccoli #2.


As far as losing.  There’s no better team to lose to than Greg, May-Li, Jake and Allen from Pangea.  They are an amazing group of tough, seasoned racers and some of the friendliest competitors out there.  Good luck at Nationals!

Pangea coming off the canoe section

A big thanks to Erik, Jeanette, and Craig for putting on an amazing race.  Cheers to all those who we competed against, it was a great time and we’ll see you out there soon!  And special thanks to our outstanding sponsors whose products pull us through:



Lupine Piko


We were at the 2015 USARA National Championship when I had finally had it with my headlamps.  Rather than resting at the cabin in preparation for the next day’s race, I was at the bike staging area wrapping my bike helmet with a Walmart bag.  My cheaply made headlamp and batteries were not waterproof, not even water resistant, and they wouldn’t survive the evening’s downpour without protection.  At that moment I decided this was BS and if I was going to take this racing thing seriously, then I needed to be willing to invest in better gear.  First on my list was a great set of lights.

When you think about it, few things will improve your overall course speed better than good lights.  For night sections, you use lights during every event: trail running, biking and canoeing.  Very few pieces of gear cross all 3 of the main domains of adventure racing.  So, in my book, it’s definitely worth the cost.  Cheap lights are simply a frustration to be avoided.  I wanted lights that I could throw in my pack and if I have to swim across a river, or hike for hours in a downpour, I don’t have to worry about them.  I like gear that I can trust.  There is nothing worse than bombing down a muddy mountain bike trail at night, in the rain, and have your headlamp fail on you.  And if you adventure race, you know that you WILL be bombing down a trail, at night, in the rain…every race director has a direct line to the rain gods to make that happen.

So, I asked some racing buddies of mine what lights they recommended and did a few inquiries online and chose the Lupine Piko.


I’m not a professional gear reviewer, I just like sharing what works for me.  If you want to hear the good remarks from the pros then check out the reviews.  But here’s the skinny:

All that in 55 grams.  55 GRAMS!  Oh sorry…1.94 ounces.  Yeah, that doesn’t help either does it.  How about this, it’s freakin’ light, like 2 slices of toast light.  Yeah, I know, that doesn’t include the battery weight.  But, who knows what battery size you’re going to use.   You can choose either the 2.2Ah, 3.3Ah, 6.6Ah, 13.2Ah or the mack daddy 20Ah Bottle Battery.  For me, when I want to attach it to my bike helmet, I use the 3.3Ah


When I’m doing night orienteering and need a lot of light for a long time, I’ll throw the 6.6Ah into my pack and run an extension cable up to my headband.  This means that all the weight is in my pack and I’m kicking out 1500 lumens with only a 55 gram light on my head.  So what does 1500 lumens look like?

BAMM! About like that!  Oh, and did you notice the red lights on the back of the battery pack?  These serve as a visual indication of the battery’s charge level so you know, before you go.  They can also be set to stay on as a taillight.  Not something you’re going to find in those cheap lights and battery packs.

I will say that the biggest negative for the Piko is switching between bike helmet and headband.  I don’t think the designers were thinking about multi-sport applications, like adventure racing, when they designed the mount.  However, there is a simple fix, and that is to get the GoPro Adapter.  Once you have the GoPro Adapter, your mounting options are endless.  Check out what Team Odyssey did for their Lupine Piko using the GoPro Adapter

Psyched?!  Ready to go Lupine!  Then contact the awesome folks at Lupine North America.  Tell them Team Disoriented highly recommended them.  If you have any questions on the Piko or other Lupine lights, contact Bill and he will help you out.

Lupine North America

If you have any questions for us on the Lupine Piko, or any comments in general, drop us a line below.  Oh and BTW, this isn’t a picture of us, I just thought it was bad ass!



Earth Day Adventure Race

How do you prepare for 6 hours of canoeing followed by a 4 hour bike ride.  Pretty easy actually.  Just drop your shorts, sit your bare ass on your driveway, and have your teammate grab you by the ankles and drag you for 30 feet or so.  I stand here writing this, not wanting to sit on anything for the next week.

Butt, enough with the training, let’s get down to the fun stuff. (See what I did there?  Yep, only the best from yours truly)

Maps, instructions and all the other goodies needed to follow along:

Map 1 Map 2 / Map 3 / Map 4 / Passport

Santa Fe O-Course / Passport

Ft. White O-Course / Passport

Foot 1

Ana’s knee has been bothering her since Sea to Sea, so I teamed up with Broccoli Covered Powder Babies for this race.  I registered as a solo, but we would really be running this as a 3-person team.  I didn’t want to be responsible for DQ’ing Broccoli, if I had to fall out for some reason.  Anyway, the Earth Day Adventure Race started at 6PM from the River Rise Preserve State Park and leading from the very start was Good Nuf.  They tore out of the TA like Road Runner from those old Looney Tunes cartoons, you know the ones where the road runner is going so fast that the road flies up in the air behind him.  Yeah, it was pretty much like that.  I think I even heard a faint “Beep Beep” in the distance.

Since we couldn’t go off trail for this section, due to park rules, this was pretty much follow-the-leader and we hit all the CPs without issue.

Boat 1:

Ah, the beginning of the boat section…I remember it fondly.  There I was, staring at the beautiful Santa Fe river and my fiberglass canoe seat, anticipating how intimately connected we would become over the next 3.5 hours.

Stephen provided the motor in the front, Todd navigated from the middle, and I flung buckets of water on top of their heads for hours from the rear.  Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

It was nighttime when we paddled down to CP10 at Blue Springs Park.  As we struggled against the spring’s current, our headlamps illuminated an aqua-colored pool of the clearest waters I’ve seen.  It was absolutely stunning.

Our next checkpoint, CP11, was a gauging station just east of Ginnie Springs.  We actually nailed the navigation to it and saw a tall piece of wood sticking out of the water.  But, we didn’t see any numbers on it and thought that perhaps the gauging station was little further downstream.  We paddled a little further until we ran into some drunk locals hanging out at Ginnie Springs.

Todd yells across the river, “Have you seen a gauging station around here?”

Y’all lookin’ for a PlayStation?

No, a gauging station!

Todd, they wouldn’t know a gauging station if their 6-pack was hanging from it.

Up river we paddled, back to our original location, where two other teams were marking the level of the Santa Fe river.  Come to find out the numbers were on the back of the board.  Oh well.

Cruising past Ginnie Springs was interesting, part campground, part Rave, part spring break…there was a dude wearing a light suit and people dancing around with glow sticks.  If you’re looking for rednecks, drunk women, beer guzzling and loud music, then Ginnie Springs is your place…Todd was in Nirvana and once Stephen and I wrestled him to the floor of the canoe and tied him to his seat, we commenced paddling down the Santa Fe.  It was straight out of Greek mythology were they tied Odysseus to the mast so that he could withstand the Sirens’ call.

Foot 2:

We arrived at the Santa Fe TA after 3.5 hrs of paddling and began our first orienteering section.

I think we were in 4th place by this time with DeChunkers right in front of us.  The Foot section map shows a beautifully outlined trail following the river.  Some people say there was a trail, some people say there wasn’t.  We fell into the “wasn’t” category.


You can see our track above.  We started with CP1 then a straight south bushwhack to CP6.  From their, straight east to CP2.  We tried to pick up CP5 on the way, which was silly since we were going due east and about 150m too far north to see it.  From CP2, it was straight bearing shots to CP3, then CP4.  Then back up to CP2 to attack CP5.  All this time we kept running into DeChunkers.  They’re like freakin’ Space Ghost.  Here we are in the dark searching for a CP thinking there is no one around and all of a sudden, there they are, at the control ahead of us, as if they could materialize out of thin air.  “Hey DeChunkers you want to work together on the next…hey wait…where’d they go!”  Spppaaaacccceeeee GGGGhhhhhoooossstttt!

We struggled on CP7, having no clear attack point, and no clear trail.  Eventually, by wandering around,  working from the river bend and triangulating off of headlamps, we found it and beat feet to the TA where DeChunkers were once again just ahead of us.

Boat 2

One hour of boating from Santa Fe TA to Tudeen TA with no CPs along the way in the middle of the night.  About as exciting as it sounds.  I’m kidding of course.  It was a really nice paddle and the blisters were forming beautifully on my posterior.

Foot 3

We  arrived at Foot 3 slightly in front of DeChunkers.  I think we were now in 1st place by a good 15 seconds or so.  I don’t know what happened to Todd and Stephen on this section, but once we hit it, they turned into a pair of bloodhounds.

My navigation wasn’t all that great, but man you put those two within 50 yards of a CP and they would sniff it out.  As we were heading to a CP, I’d say something like, “Should be right about here.” and then I’d here “Got it!” and off we’d trot to the next CP.  There’s not much more to say on this section, they were bad ass and I was along for the ride.

Boat 3

Transitioning to the boat, we knew we were in 1st, but had no idea what kind of lead we had on any team.  The race had been really close from the beginning and there were some fast teams out there.  So, we got on the water as quickly as we could for a final 2 hour paddle with one CP along the way.

Some people like 3 in a boat…I say they’re wacko.  I hate it.  I feel like I’m on the verge of capsizing with every paddle stroke and my butt is trying to attach itself to the seat like a sucker fish so that we don’t fling ourselves into the water.  We found the sole CP without issue and made it to the final transition area.

Yep, love this pic!  Middle of the night, headlamps on, rockin the USARA jacket.

Bike 1

Can you believe it, there’s actually a bike section in this race.  We hit the final TA knowing that we had some of the fastest bike teams right on our tail and a 4+ hr ride ahead.  Talk about feeling the pressure.

We knew our navigation had to be spot on if we were going to win this thing, so we decided to screw up the first CP.  When the clue says, “Boat Ramp” and you see a sign on the road that says Boat Ramp –>, you gotta take that turn, even if its 1500 meters too soon.  It’s a really good way to waste 15 minutes and get the adrenal glands pumping.

Once we fixed that issue, we formed a pace line and hit the rest of the CPs without much issue until the second to last CP.

We’re racing down sandy horse trails less than 30 minutes away from winning this 18Hr race, knowing that we have speed freak teams behind us and I can’t find the stupid westbound trail that CP24 is on.  Thank god Stephen and Todd were there to sort it all out.  I got turned around on an unmarked westbound trail and couldn’t make sense of where I was.  After studying the map, they got us pointed on the right trail and we raced off to the finish.


And with that, we took our first win of the season.  Although I tried to keep the trophy, Stephen said he had a special place for it and wouldn’t let it go.

As always Craig and FLXAdventures put on another excellent race.  I always look forward to Craig’s races as he takes the time to find really interesting areas with great history.  Glad to see all of our adventure racing friends out there again.  A big thanks to Broccoli Covered Powder Babies for letting me race with you guys.  Y’all are awesome and I always have a blast racing with you guys.  I only wish that Ana could have been there racing as well, she always adds to the fun plus she let’s me drink her beer.

This was primarily a night race with heavy paddling and I relied heavily on my Epic paddle, Lupine lights, and KanPas compasses.  I’ll be writing a review of my Lupine light in the next week or so, but let me say they are AWESOME!


KanPas Compass Review

KanPas MTB-43-F

Sometimes you spend a lot of money on a piece of kit and it turns out to be a piece of junk.  Other times you spend a little bit of money and find some real treasures.  KanPas compass is one of those unknown treasures for orienteers and adventure racers!


I’ve been considering getting a compass for my bike map board for some time, but I’ve held back due to cost and the fact that I have about 8 compasses already.  Trying to justify an additional compass purchase gets harder each time.  But, when I came across the KanPas Map Board Clip Compass at 38 bucks, I had to give it a try.  In the past, I’ve used a wrist compass to aid in bike navigation, but keeping a firm grip on both handlebars is usually a wise move for me.  Plus, who doesn’t like new gear?


After 75 hours of solid racing at the Sea to Sea, many of those hours spent intimately connected to a bike seat, I can tell you that the KanPas Map Board Clip Compass quickly became one of my favorite new gear items.  It is fast, stable and very easy to read.

The needle is very powerful and as I rode over a bridge that had small metal plates on the ground, I could watch the needle deflect every time.  Just amazing!

My search for a great MTBO compass is over!  I have no intentions of using anything else while bike orienteering.  The clip felt strong and attached firmly to the map board.  It never felt weak or likely to fall off.  I know some people like to put a baseplate compass in their map case, attached to their map board.  But, I like the freedom of being able to move the compass around when I needed to uncover portions of the map.

I do have one small suggestion on improvements for this compass and I’ll try to illustrate in the picture below.  As you can see, the top clip arm is blunt and can easily catch on the map board, especially if you have multiple maps on the board.


I think if the top clip arm was extended and beveled (see the red outline) it would make for the perfect map board compass.  While trail riding, I don’t want to fight getting the compass onto the map board.  Also, because there is a slight gap between the base plate and the top clip arm, maps can get caught in between.


These are relatively minor complaints on an otherwise excellent compass.

KanPas MA-43-FS

The same strong, fast and stable needle used for the bike compass is also used for the thumb compass.  I was able to try out the thumb compass while orienteering with my family at Oak Mountain State Park permanent orienteering course.


If you’ve never been to Oak Mountain, and live in the area, it is well worth the visit.  The terrain is rugged and the permanent course is a lot of fun.  We’ve recently completed the permanent amateur course and advanced course.  All of the checkpoints are properly marked and still exist.


During this visit, I wanted my sons to learn more about orienteering, and they both did a great job picking routes and using the compass.


There are 3 different styles of thumb compass: rainbow, degree, and clear.  I chose the degree style.  As we raced over mountainous terrain, I found the needle to be extremely fast, stable and accurate.  I’ve been using the Moscompass thumb compass, but I like the KanPas thumb compass better because of its quick, high-visibility needle.  The KanPas thumb plate is very durable and fits well in my hand.  I really liked the well-defined markings on the plate, showing 100m increments on a 1:10k scale O-map.


So far, I’ve been extremely happy with KanPas compasses and currently use the following:

They all use the same compass needle, so you can expect the same high-speed, stable performance.  The cost of the compasses are reasonable, but shipping directly from KanPas can be expensive.

Here’s a quick video showing you the speed and stability of the 43 needle:

KanPas is currently working on a new design, the MA-45-F, and I am very excited to try it out once it’s available.

If you have any questions about KanPas compasses, drop me a comment or email.  Or better yet, stop by any event we’re at and I’ll be more than happy to let you check them out!

2016 Sea to Sea Race Report – Day 3

Segment 9 – Spring to Spring Bike (45 miles)

We finally made it to TA8 where we were to switch from canoes to bike.  Broccoli hit the TA and were gone in a flash.  I needed a cup of noodles, a full body massage and a hot cappuccino to sooth my tired soul…I settled for the cup of noodles.  While I fumbled through the maps plotting our route, almost every other team came and went from the TA.  We definitely need to get faster at transitions, and biking, and running, and just about every damn thing you can imagine.

TA8 – Florida Xtreme

Off we raced to try to catch the pack.  This section took us along the Spring to Spring bike trail with a first stop at Gemini Springs.  It was closed, but there wasn’t a fence so we snuck in to take a quick snapshot.  Up next was Green Springs and it was definitely closed, with a locked gate and everything.  So, I attempted to squeeze through the gate and once Ana dislodged my head from between the two poles I was off and running for the CP.  I guess I should have taken my bike helmet off.

Ain’t nothing better than a little Breaking and Entering for a CP

The remaining checkpoint on this section, other then CP59, were bonus points and the cutoff time to collect them was well past, so we planned to bike straight to TA10.  However, at CP59 we found out that the deadline had been extended.  I guess teams were also allowed to collect CPs 60 & 61 by bike rather than foot.  Who knew?  It seems I wasn’t doing a very good job of making sure that I got all of the race changes at the previous transition areas.

Somewhere along the way to TA10 we met up with the Canyoneros.  We were right behind but making sure not to get on their back wheel because drafting without asking permission is bad cycling mojo…and nobody needs that.  So, I pedaled up to Hien and asked if he wanted to form a pace line.  “If you nav, I’ll pull”, I said.  He was on board so we formed up and away we went.  When I got tired, one of their teammates took over, what was his name…not Nate or Hien, oh yeah Captain America.  So, Captain America is pulling on the front and we’re flying to collect CP62 and make it to TA10 in time for it to count.  Ana, Hien and Nate also took turns pulling and for a brief time we felt like part of a well-oiled machine…thanks guys, that was fun!  We rushed into the TA with 1 bonus checkpoint and 5 minutes to spare.

Segment 11 – Final Trek to Fox Lake (16 miles)

BURGERS!  I could have eaten the tires off the U-Haul but instead we were greeted with burgers.  I may have even cried a little while eating them, they were so good.  A big hearty thank you to all of the volunteers that made this race amazing!

I will put you in my belly!

We met back up with Broccoli at the TA and decided to tackle this next section together.  It was promising to be an epic trek that would take us through the night.  We started the trek at 11:30PM and by the time we collected our first CP we knew we wouldn’t make the next transition, TA11, until 9AM or so.  From TA11 we still had a 35 mile bike ride, a 7 mile canoe and a 2 mile run to do before the race finished at 11AM.  There was no way to do it all.  In hindsight, we should have never tried for any CPs on this section and marched straight to TA11.  In hindsight we should have done a lot of things differently.

Jeff Leininger made the call to the race directors explaining our situation and soon we were in the back of a U-Haul getting a lift to TA11 along with 15 other racers, 30 bikes, 12 paddle bags, and 27 ticks.  Although we’re all smiles in the photo below, I think everyone was pretty disappointed to have to call for rescue.

Oh the gentle lull of carbon monoxide poisoning

But, we weren’t sad to miss the 4AM, 42 degree water crossings…suckers!

You take me to TA, okay?

Segment 11 – Canaveral Bike (35 miles)

At TA11, we were held until 6AM when the teams would be released for the final push to the finish line.  I stayed up to do the map work for the bike and canoe section while Ana took an hour nap.  With 5 hours to complete the race once released, there wasn’t any room for errors.  I also got to break out the JetBoil and make coffee, lots and lots of coffee.  At 6AM I woke Ana, handed her a hot cup of coffee, and subsequently earned the best husband of the year award

TA11 Dark Zone – Little nap before the final push.

After spending a good portion of the race trying to chase down Broccoli, or doing sections with them, we were really happy to finish out the race alongside them.  They made us snort with laughter and we, well, I don’t really know what we brought to the mix.  Charm?  Good looks?  A certain je ne sais quoi.  Who knows.  Anyway, three more sections and we’d be done.

Our first bike CP was a photo of the space shuttle.  You may wonder how someone could miss a 56 meter high space shuttle, but I did.  I vaguely recall Ana yelling, “Hey guys there it is, we don’t have to go all the way around.” But, I was in a total daze.  Look at this stupid picture I took, thinking this was the shuttle they were referring to…


It wasn’t until we rode all the way to the security gate and were turned back that I noticed the extremely large, extremely obvious orange thing…IDIOT!

CP77 – Oh, you mean THIS space shuttle.

The rest of the bike section was cleared and we made our way to the final paddle.

TA12 – Ana sets the pace line

Segment 13 – Final Paddle (7 miles)

I think we were the first team to make it to the final paddle, and that was probably a good thing because had we seen other teams being tossed about in those waves and winds, we probably would have just ridden our bikes to the finish.  I can’t describe it, it was madness.  Ana and I have become much better paddlers than when we first started racing and this was the ultimate test of our abilities.  We nearly capsized many times but eventually we made it into the shelter of the mangroves.

Out of the wind and waves and into the mangroves

Broccoli was navigating and they could have it.  We had our hands full just trying to stay afloat and keep up with them.  After collecting the first two CPs, we had a small portage by the high school.

Hey Broccoli!  You guys mind carrying my boat too?  Guys?!  Hello?

I think Ana got a little nervous with my canoe reentry, but I know what a good swimmer she is so I wasn’t nervous at all.

Just hang on baby…I know what I’m doing…kinda.

At the old pump CP, we took the time to snap a selfie and it turned out to be my favorite photo of the race.  Good times!

Great people…good times!

Finish – Lori Wilson Park (2 mile)

We could have walked the remaining 2 miles to the finish, but that just didn’t seem right.  I wouldn’t say that what we did was “run” it was more of a shuffle, but I was glad we were giving it everything we had until the end.  And after 75 hours and 19 minutes, we crossed the finish line, completing our very first Florida Sea to Sea Adventure Race and our first multi-day race.  I couldn’t be more proud of my #1 teammate and favorite racing partner, Ana.  She was amazing the entire race, never once complaining or wanting to quit.  I’ve raced with plenty of people and there is no one I’d rather be out on the course with.  Thanks baby, you are amazing!  Oh, and by the way there’s this really sweet bike I’ve been looking at…

U-Hauls…oh yeah, we like U-Hauls!

A big thanks to Todd and Stephen from Broccoli Covered Powder Babies, you guys really made this race fun.  I don’t think we’ve ever laughed so hard during a race!  We hope to race with you guys again someday.

As always, thank you to the race directors, Dave Brault, Junos Reed, Manny Otero and Ron Eaglin.  We could tell that you poured your hearts and souls into this race and we loved every minute of it.  We’ll definitely be back next year!

A huge thank you to the volunteers that make any race like this possible.  You always greeted us with a smile and tried to help out whenever and where ever you could.  Thank you!  We can’t say it often enough.

We’d also like to thank KanPas, Geigerrig, Skratch Labs, Klymit, and Lupine North America.  We only use brands we know and trust, and your products never fail us.  I’ll be doing gear reviews in the next few days to describe the equipment we used and how it performed.

And thanks to our readers.  Your comments make putting together race reports like this worthwhile.  I hope you enjoyed the write up and if you have any questions or comments, drop us a line below.


Day 1 Report

Day 2 Report

2016 Sea to Sea Race Report – Day 2

Segment 6 – Lake Apopka Bike (35+ miles)

The next section was a 35+ mile bike ride.  By now, we were definitely tired of sitting on our bums and opted for the shorter, southern route around Lake Apopka rather than the longer, northern route with more checkpoints.

CP38 – Dead Reckoning

We knew we’d be giving up checkpoints, but we were getting frustrated with trying to chase the time cutoffs and wanted to catch up with the race and not be so pressed by the clock.  For this leg we had a 6PM cutoff to reach the TA to receive credit for CP44, which was on our way.  CP44 was at race director Manny’s house and I really wanted to stop by…mainly hoping he had a cooler full of beer available.  Not that Manny drinks or anything. Bwahaha! Oops, I just fell out of my chair…

BCP44 – Team YERT

With thoughts lingering on a cold frosty one, we searched for Manny’s house in vain.  Unfortunately, the map I was using to navigate, Map 6C, shows Manny’s house at a totally different location than Map 6B.  I guess I should have Googled the address the night before.  Frustrated, and with the looming deadline, we rode off to collect CP43.

Now, if you want some butt-puckering bike riding, just hop off the West Orange Bike Trail and tempt your fate along the roads of Lake Apopka on a Friday night.  Good thing my screams and cursing were drowned out by the roar of speeding cars.  Frazzled, we got to TA6 and instantly invaded the McDonalds.  While we shoved cheese burgers down our throats, they wondered where all these stinky homeless people with super cool bikes were coming from, and more importantly, when we would leave.

TA6 – Broccoli Covered Powder Babies

Segment 7 – Epic Wekiva Trek (22 miles)

Off the bikes at last and onto our feet.  My butt was aglow like a lightning bug and I was thankful to not be sitting on something for awhile.  We had been running into Broccoli throughout the race and here we decided to tackle the foot section together.  The plan was to make it to the Horse Barn TA before daybreak and get a couple of hours of sleep.  Blessed sleep!

Horse Barn TA

We estimated that we would make it to the TA by 4AM, but with a promised water-crossing followed by a 6-7 mile hike, this was shaping up to be a cold evening.  At the water crossing, we met up with Off the Grid and a couple of other teams.  Not wanting to be wet and cold all night, we stripped down and forged across the stream.  Eric, from Off the Grid, crossed first wrapped only in a trash bag for a loin cloth and a buff for a turban.  Someone remarked, “You look like an Indian god” to which he replied, “I should wear this more often!”  I’m just glad there aren’t any pictures because no one wants to see my dangling bits.

CP47 – Off the Grid

After collecting CP47 at the Indian Twin Mounds, we trudged into the Horse Barn TA, pitched our tent, and crashed for a couple hours of sleep.

Ana kept trying to wake me saying, “Hey, there’s something going on outside.  We need to check it out!”  Whatever lady, just let me sleep!  Well, come to find out she was right…as usual.  It seems that the O-Course cutoff, which had been 10PM the night before, had been extended.  No one had told us before we crashed for the night and by the time we figured out what was going on there wasn’t enough time to collect any of the CPs…no bueno!

I was pretty ticked that we lost the chance to get 4 CPs, so we stomped off to finish the remaining 10 miles of the trek with Broccoli who had recently returned from the O-course.

Somewhere north of Wekiva Camp there is a magical “abandoned track” where the race directors hid a control marker.  It’s a mystical place that is not truly here nor there.  It exists to those that have the eyes to see.  We did not have the eyes to see and the woods still ring from my languished curses!  And that’s all I want to say about that.

Segment 8 – Blackwater Creek/St. Johns Paddle (12 miles)

Blackwater creek is a beautiful paddle through tannin stained waters that knot into hairpin turns and switchbacks.  Cedar and cypress trees encroach on the sides with outreached branches casting deep shadows across the creek.

TA7 – Team Super Frogs

With a swift flowing current, teams with strong paddlers and good steering are rewarded, while those lacking are tossed into overhanging branches and partially submerged obstacles.

Lil’ Chomper

We thoroughly enjoyed this section as the many turns and beautiful scenery kept us awake and in the moment.

Unfortunately, once we paddled onto the St Johns, the serenity of the creek was soon supplanted by rednecks in speed boats playing Let’s Capsize the Canoe.  I assure you that it’s an amazing spectator sport as canoeists attempt to surf down boat wakes without spilling over or being cast upon the embankment.

Broccoli was setting a fierce pace on the canoe and we struggled to keep up.  We paddled north to the Swamp House Riverfront Grill to pick up a checkpoint and then backtracked south for another CP before reaching the TA and the next bike leg.

CP55 – Canyoneros

And to whoever gave me that Werther’s Caramel Coffee candy on the paddle…bless you! You are an angel.  It was worth almost capsizing my canoe for.

End of Day 2

Day 1 Report

Day 3 Report


2016 Sea to Sea Race Report – Day 1

I can always tell how amazing an adventure race is by how long it takes me to break out of my funk once I get back.  Upon returning from a race, life seems a little more mundane and monotonous and my mind relentlessly replays the highs and lows of the event with a longing to be back out there.  Work duties are met with sighs of resignation and just getting to the office is almost a monumental task itself.  Usually, after a day or two passes, and the excitement from the race wears down, the nose is reapplied to the grindstone and life assumes it’s normal pattern.  But, here it is a week later and all I can think about is Sea to Sea in 2017.

How do you even begin to write a race report on a 72Hr non-stop event?  There is so much to take in that it seems a monumental task.  Many people have asked us about the race now that we have returned, and every time we try to describe it, I can tell that we’re just not capturing it.  The descriptions seem pale and empty even to us and what was lived in Technicolor is relayed in muted grays.  There is no way that I can relate, either in words or in script, how absolutely amazing an adventure like this is.  It’s the actualization of a goal, something that you’ve trained for and committed to. Something that you have pledge valuable time and money to.  And here you are, in the midst of it all, racing for everything you’re worth–sometimes joyous, sometimes angry, sometimes beaten, sometimes elated, but most importantly always in the moment.

Race Passport

Race Maps

Team Tracking

Race Photos


40 freaking maps!  Seriously, my map case is on the verge of popping, along with the aneurism in my head.  I have no idea how to take in and parse this much information.  Do we detail plan?  Do we wing it during the race?  So many time cutoffs and decision points.  What CPs do we skip?  Do we try to clear it?  Ana tries to keep me focused and moving through the maps to get an overall sense, but I’m lost.  I’ll be up all night if I try to detail plan and that plan will probably change as the race progresses anyway.  Forget it! I decide to plan for the first day and try to get some sleep.  Ha! Sleep.  Who sleeps before a race like this?

 Start – Honeymoon Island Trek (8 miles, trail)

Super Frogs

We wake up early and are bussed to the other side of Florida, where the race will begin with an 8-mile trek for 4 checkpoint.  The race starts and ain’t nobody trekking.  When the lead teams start off running, we all go running.  Stupid, maybe…but fun none the less.  Our highlight for this section is when Ana gets within a stride of stepping on this beauty…

Now thars a snake!

I guess we didn’t notice the signs coming into Honeymoon Island.  Well, we’re awake and ready to race now.

Nice sign to see on the way out.

Segment 1: Urban Trails Bike (45 miles)

On a good day, we can maintain 15-18mph on a mountain bike, so this leg would be about 3 hours for us, and quite possibly the longest non-stop ride we’ve done.  We’re not cyclists and my butt scabs can attest to that.  There were 4 CPs here and if I would have remembered to take our photo at the Flatwoods Trailhead sign, we wouldn’t have had to turn around and add a few more miles to this leg.  But, we were enjoying the ride so much…

CP8 – Broccoli Covered Powder Babies

Segment 3 – Lower Hillsborough Trek (18 miles)

The race directors had made a change, cancelling out the Lettuce Lake Park and Hillsborough River Paddle, so we were to collect CP9 on the way to Morris Bridge Park.

CP9 – Florida Xtreme

At Morris Bridge, we had to decide whether to complete the next section by foot or canoe.  If you chose to do the next section on foot, then you had to make a water crossing to get to the next transition area.  Otherwise, you could take a canoe, miss a few checkpoints, but paddle to the next TA.  Our plan was to take the canoe, but then Super Frogs were heading out on foot and so was Broccoli Covered Powder Babies…what to do, what to do!  We waffled on our approach and decided in the end to do this section on foot.  It took us 3 tries to leave the TA as 1) I left the passport at the water station and 2) we had to backtrack and let the race directors know that we changed our mind and were going out on foot.  The catch was, we had to be at the next TA by 10PM or we would start losing points.  Ana was nervous about the late night water crossing, but it looked like we would be able to clear this section in time.

CP17 – Team Disoriented

We were doing fine on this section until we got to CP14, probably one of the easiest CPs in the race.  I thought it was further up the trail then it was and we wasted 20 minutes going too far.  By now, we knew we were in trouble and made a dash for the water crossing, skipping CP11 entirely.  But, the trails gods were not playing kindly and  we entered a maddening labyrinth of mountain bike trails.  Night had come and the dreaded water crossing was getting nearer, Ana was getting more anxious and I just wanted out of the maze.  As soon as we turned the corner to start the crossing, Florida Xtreme and Epoch Adventure Racing showed up and we made the crossing in numbers.  Ana was almost giddy, and I was too.

CP13 Water Crossing…Ana’s favorite!

The powerlines that we followed led us to the back of a neighborhood and we couldn’t find our way out.  As our headlamps looked for an exit, we must have pissed off someone because the next thing we hear is a shotgun being fired.  Good time to run!  We pushed as hard as we could, but missed the cutoff by 8 minutes and lost a point…bummer.

Segment 4 – Green Swamp Bike Crossing (75 miles)

75 bum-busting miles on a mountain bike.  Oh the joy!  This would be by far the longest bike ride we’ve ever done.  For next year, maybe I’ll look into getting one of these to prepare better.

Buns ‘O Steel

I might even rock the beard too because nothing says kickass adventure racer like a full grown squirrel wrapped around your chin.

Out of the stack of 40+ maps, Map 4A was the only one that I had problem with.  I just couldn’t make out the street markings from TA3 to CP18, luckily it was easy navigating, and the rest of the maps were excellent.  We were tripped up trying to find the entrance to the Blackwater Creek Nature Preserve for CP19 and when a lady busted out of her mobile home and started yelling at us, we decided to bail on this control before the shotguns were brought out.

We were now feeling like we were trying to play catch-up with the rest of the racers, so we decided to skip any of the bonus controls.  We didn’t even try for BCP20 or BCP21, plus I couldn’t figure out from the map how to get to BCP20.  What’s that you say?  “Supplemental Map 4B?”  Hmm, yeah that probably would have helped…it looks so easy now.

MCP24 – Wet Feet

Off to the Green Swamp Main Entrance where we met up with some other teams and began to bang out CPs.  For CP26, we were to record the last 2 digits of the site ID on a gauging station on the other side of a marsh.  We attempted to bushwhack in from the west, but then Chunk had a great idea that there must be an access road somewhere close.  Sure enough there was and we punched the CP and pressed.  Daybreak was coming, temperatures were dropping, and we were pretty sick of being on our bikes.  A few more miles and we could trade our bike saddles for canoe seats…the bliss! (That’s called sarcasm for those that didn’t catch it)

PCP29 – Team Disoriented

Segment 5 – Palatlakaha River Paddle (6.5 miles)

We didn’t make the 8AM cutoff to do the orienteering course so we went straight to paddling across the Atlantic, I mean Lake Minnehaha.  Now, my friends, if you suffer from insomnia, do I have a cure for you.  Simply race for 20 solid hours and then try paddling across a featureless lake for 2 hours.  We had a fierce headwind with waves crashing into us, wanting to capsize the little canoe.  But the warmth of the sun and the rhythmic beat of the paddles was an irresistible lullaby.  I slightly recall thinking, I’m going to fall asleep and drown right here, and I’m kinda okay with that.

TA5 – Team Disoriented

We paddled and paddled and paddled some more.  Ana and I played mind games like, Go from A to Z naming a rock band…Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, The Cure, Depeche Mode…you get the idea.  This was fun for about 30 minutes, not 2 hours.  The problem with racing with your spouse is that you already know how all their stories end.  So, we decided next race we’ll retell our same stories to each other but make up new endings.  I’m going to be an astronaut!

TA5 – Clermont Boat Ramp

We finally made it to TA5 where we waited anxiously for our bikes to begin another 35 mile bike ride.  Day 1 of a 3-day race was complete, and we couldn’t wait to begin day 2, if only my posterior didn’t look like…

End of Day 1

Day 2 Report

Day 3 Report

2016 Sea to Sea 72Hr Adventure Race

Starting on 3/3/16, you can track Team Disoriented and all the other teams participating in the 2016 Florida Sea to Sea 72Hr Adventure Race here:

A big thank you to Klymit, Skratch Labs, Lupine Lights North America, Geigerrig, and KanPas for helping us get ready for this adventure!

More information about the race can be found here:

Pictures will be posted in real time using the Gemspots app and can be viewed here:


Resolution 8Hr

Three months without Adventure Racing is almost as bad as three months without sex.


Actually, no it’s not…not even close.  But, now that I’ve got you reading this, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and read on.

Although we’ve been training in preparation for the Sea to Sea, Ana hadn’t raced since October and we were feeling a little rusty.  So, we drove down to Bushnell, Florida, stayed the night at a skanky hotel, and prepared to compete against 23 other teams in the 8-hour elite race.

Manny Otero from Florida Xtreme Adventures had put in a lot of effort on this race and with the weather forecasted to be 73 and partly sunny, it was going to be a good day no matter how we did.

Pre-race kicked off at 6AM.  Check out this cool pic of pre-race planning.

Damn, where the hell did that double chin come from…stupid mid-life body changes.  Anyway, here are the maps and such if you’d like to follow along:

Resolution AR (2016) Elite

Race Passport (Elite)

The race kicked off with a short sprint to a couple of volunteers handing out the punch cards, and then we were off on bikes for CP1.  The first three stages: Prologue, Bike 1, and Trek 1 were very fast sections really set up to separate the teams somewhat before hitting Paddle 1.

The canoe section had us launch at Silver Lake and paddle north along the Withlacoochee River to collect CP5-CP9.  CP5 was a straightforward paddle to the end of the backwater but it probably would have been faster if we had landed the canoes and bushwhacked from the west to get it.


After CP5, we met up with our good friends, the Canyoneros, and paddled together to CP6.  Lucky for us, Hien had a better feel for where the CP was, or else I would have overshot it.  From the map, I was expecting there to be a bridge crossing the river, or something, but the tracks had been removed long ago.  Onward to CP7 and our big blunder of the day.CP7

You see the picture above?  See that CP right in the middle of the picture?  Well guess what wasn’t there when we arrived? MmmHmm.  It seems some bear, or drunken fisherman, decided to decorate his den with an orange and white flag.  Now stare at that flag for 45 minutes and you’ll get the idea of how much time I wasted hunting for it.  Yep, pretty stupid.

Back in the canoe, we headed off and collected CP8 without issue.  But, when we got to where CP9 was supposed to be, that control was missing too.  I was starting to doubt my nav skills.  We pressed northward to Hog Island before calling it off and heading to Iron Bridge TA for the O-Course.


Unfortunately, my GPS was turned off or I would show you how well I botched this section.  We knew that CP11 was the same as CP7 (the one that wasn’t there on the canoe) so we weren’t even going to try for that one.  Since I knew where the powerlines were, the plan of attack was CP14, 15, 13, and 12.  Let me tell you how uncool it was to have every other team running this section in the opposite direction as us.  Not a good feeling.


We did okay finding the controls, but I missed the southwest trail leading to CP13.  I mean I saw it, but I guess I didn’t feel like taking it the first time.  Nope, what I really wanted to do was climb over that big hill to the north and then turn around, run over that big hill again, and then take the correct road.  That’s called gumption…or something.  After getting CP13 and CP12, we backtracked to the main north-south road and took off for the Iron Bridge TA.  It was at this point that Ana said something about CP10 and I looked at her like she was crazy.  I hadn’t realized that CP10 wasn’t plotted on the map and we almost skipped it entirely.

We transitioned back to the boats and paddled to the Main TA, where we had a quick foot section for 3 CPs (Trek 2).  It was here that we met up with Florida Xtreme and Epoch Adventure Racing.  It was also here that I lost my nice Gerber knife.  It seems that I really enjoy donating sweet gear to the woodland fairies.  We all cleared this section quickly and went to the W. Trail TA to transition to bikes.

While we fiddled around at the TA, Florida Xtreme and Epoch blasted off down the Croom mountain biking section.  We weren’t going to see them again until the finish.

Croom MTB Map

If you haven’t ridden Croom, you should go now.  Seriously, just turn off the computer and go now.  Still here?  I understand, with a race report this awesome it’s almost impossible to tear yourself away.

(20)-X3 (22)-X3 (24)-X3

Croom is a blast and we had lots of fun riding it.  Most of the controls were straightforward but we had a hard time locating CP25 (Lowest point inside Volcano Rim) because honestly I couldn’t tell you where Volcano Rim was and with all of the crevasses or cracks or whatever the hell you call the deep drop offs, I couldn’t tell you where the lowest point was either.  Lucky for us we met up with Erik from Chunk and Craig and crew from Wet Feet and they helped point us in the right direction.  CP26 gave us a little grief as well because I just couldn’t make out distances with the map.  Eventually we found it and life was all good.  We collected the remaining bike CPs without too much of an issue and transitioned once more to foot in order to collect the final controls.

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We started the foot section off by going down the wrong trail, traveling southeast instead of west.  You may wonder how someone could mistake such opposing directions but let me tell you, to be on this team you’ve gotta earn the name Disoriented.  We quickly got on the right trail and dashed to collect CP29, 30 and 31 before getting back on the bikes and making the final push to the finish line.  We cleared the course in 7hrs and 41 minutes, coming in 6th out of 22 teams.  I was really proud of our effort, feeling like we kept the pace up the entire time.  Of course, the winning team cleared the course in 6hrs and 17 minutes, but they’re freaks and nobody likes them either.  I’m kidding, they’re awesome and we’re jealous…why do you think our jerseys are green😉


Awesome job again to Manny and crew.  What a great race.  You put a lot of effort into it and it showed.  We loved the mix of sections.  It was a fast-paced race that kept us moving from one event to the next.

Want to join in on the fun?  You’re next opportunity is at the Heart Breaker where Craig and Ron are sure to put on another awesome event.

Race video produced by Jared & Brianne: