Aqua-Bound Sting Ray 4-piece carbon kayak paddle review

Here’s my first video gear review.  They’ll probably get better as I do more of these…or not.  Anyway, if you want any more info on the paddles, shoot me a comment.  Hope you enjoy the video.

Advertisements

G.D.F.R.

90 days until USARA Nationals and we just completed the first month of our new training cycle.  I’ll call it the easy month, although it never felt easy.  Our training plan has been based on Don Fink’s book, “IronFit Secrets for Half Iron-Distance Triathlon Success” but modified to fit adventure racing activities.

ironfit

In Fink’s book, he has three workouts: The Competitive Program, The Intermediate Program, and the Just Finish Program. Given our commitments and available free time, we are doing the Intermediate Program with an average of 9.4 hours per week spent training and a max week of 11.8 hours.  Some of the changes we made were swapping the swimming workouts for canoeing and the road biking for either spin biking or mountain biking.  With two small boys, we don’t want to eat into our evening family time so our longest workout during the week is 1.5 hours with one long workout every Saturday.  This is very similar to what I did to prepare for the Blue Ridge Mountain AR and I felt well prepared for that event.

However, I’ve reluctantly come around to addressing nutrition. So, for month 2 of our 4-month plan we’ll start looking at food.  I’ve recently read Matt Fitzgerlad’s, “Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance” which has led me to his follow-on book, “Racing Weight Cookbook: Lean, Light Recipes for Athletes

racingweight

cookbook

 

I’m pretty sure that this is going to be the tougher month.  I don’t know why it is so hard to eat nutritious meals.  I guess it’s more of an issue of how convenient it is to eat bad meals.  Since I wasn’t sure if the first cookbook would have enough good stuff in it, I also ordered “The Runner’s World Cookbook.”  It was also highly recommended on Amazon.

runners

What I really want is a cookbook that is 1 month of recipes, breakfast lunch and dinner with an attached weekly grocery list and calorie count/nutritional facts.  In other words, I don’t want to have to think about it.  Just tell me what to buy for the week and then give me daily recipes to follow.  Oh, and don’t include sweet potatoes…those things are disgusting.

If you’ve found a good workout or nutritional plan, I’d love to hear about it.  Post in the comments below.  And if you know of a good cookbook for athletes, post that as well. If you really want to know how our workout schedule is progressing, check out The Motivator box on the sidebar—>

It links to our training log on Attackpoint AR, training and competition logs for adventure athletes.

Lastly, if you want to check out these books, click on the links above and buy from Amazon.  They’ll send us a couple of nickels and that will go towards Nationals.

 

 

Teammates Wanted!

Finding good teammates is rather difficult. Not only do you have to find people committed to adventure racing, but candidates have to be a good fit physically and socially. Ideally, they would also live in the same area so that the team can train together.

wanted

We think that there are 3 main traits a good team member must have:

  1. Gotta have passion: If there is no passion for adventure racing then there is little commitment for it either. Given the time and money required to race, passion is paramount—which leads me to my other two traits.
  2. Gotta have time: Racing takes time. There is training time and racing time. Most sprint races are on a Saturday, which means we’re traveling Friday evening, racing on Saturday and traveling home Saturday evening. That makes for a pretty long couple of days, but it gets us back to our families sooner. We also train 6 days a week with weekday sessions lasting an hour and one long training session either Saturday or Sunday that can be from 2-5 hours long.
  3. Gotta have money: Adventure racing can be expensive, especially if you’re just starting out. There is gear to acquire to cover the multi-sport aspect and then there are race entry fees, transportation costs, hotel or camping costs, food, etc. We plan on one race per month and these races can cost between $50/person to $350/person. We typically limit ourselves to 1 or 2 expensive races per season. Lodging and travel costs are divided equally among the team members.

DSCN5058

While the three items above may dissuade you from getting into adventure racing, let me be the first to encourage you to give it a try. For us, there is no other sport like adventure racing. I have tried to describe it, but my words never capture the essence of it. It is something that you have to try and then decide for yourself. All I can tell you is that we were hooked from our very first race. The combination of the physical and mental challenge mixed with team dynamics, the beauty of the natural environment and exploration of the unknown are what makes these more experiences than races.

Intrigued? Want to give it a try? We’re looking for teammates. We are not Ironman fit podium placers. Ideally, we are mid-pack finishers but sometimes we fall short of that goal as well. If you’d like to know what we’re about, check out our Team Creed. If you’d like to train or race with us, drop us an email at teamdisoriented@gmail.com

Florida Xtreme – Reunion with Rice Creek AR

Rice Creek

 We came in 1st!

Out of the 57 teams that came and raced the Florida Xtreme, Reunion with Rice Creek Adventure Race, we absolutely dominated the competition.  The 2nd place team didn’t even finish until 45 minutes behind us.  Go check out the FLXAdventures website for the latest race results and it’ll show how we obliterated the pack!  What’s that you say, there are no results posted on the FLX website.  Hmm, funny that.  Well, you’ll just have to take my word for it then…guess you should have been there.

11133664_925745070810672_2956517809663074651_n

Actually, the term “Guess you should have been there” was what I was thinking throughout the entire race.  Really, you should have been there.  When FLX announced that they were going to host an AR on remote and unused portions of the Sea to Sea race and that they were limiting it to only 20 teams, I was up at the crack of dawn on registration day to make sure that Team Disoriented would be one of those 20.  I then waited for the race to sell out, but it never did.  In fact, only 6 teams registered for this race.  Six!  So, my initial fear that we wouldn’t be able to register for the race turned into fear that they would cancel it.  Ana and I hadn’t done an AR since October 2014 and we were itching to do one.  Luckily, it wasn’t cancelled and we were rewarded with a beautiful day for racing with temps in the low 80’s and no rain.  You should have been there.

Race maps and descriptions (to be posted)

Bike to Boat

The race started off with a quick bike section where we had to pick up 2 of 4 controls on the way to the boat TA.  It didn’t matter which two, but it was a strategic choice.  3 out of 4 CPs were on the way, but the other one (CP3) required an out and back.  With fresh legs for biking, we opted to go for CP3 and then CP4.  Plus, CP1 was placed high in a tree and racers were getting delayed as they waited their turn to climb the tree and punch it.

 Boat 1

Rice Creek is a very shallow creek that twists and turns through primeval marshland.  We went slow on this section, allowing other teams to go ahead of us and scare away the water moccasins and gators.  Yep, that’s why we were slow…seriously!  With all the turns in the creek, and having to portage over partially submerged logs, it was difficult for me to keep track of distances and we struggled finding CP5.  Once we found it, I fine tuned our canoe navigation.  And by that I mean that I thought, “Boy, it took us much longer than I imagined to get to CP5.  It’ll probably take us even longer to get to CP6.” Yep, that’s about as in-depth as my navigating/orienteering skills in a canoe go.

11193305_926780907373755_511683681467573393_n

Almost to CP9 (the last CP on the boat section) we got passed by 3 teams heading back to the take out.  So, we’re thinking that we’re in 4th place.  But, at the boat take out we learned that one team decided to portage from the power lines close to CP9 all the way back to the take out.  Yeah, that’s right, over 2 miles of carrying a canoe.  Ana would have to beat me with an oar to carry a canoe for 2 miles.

Back at the Boat TA, we grab our bikes and raced to pick up the two CPs that we left.  This is when we found out that Sonia from Dead Reckoning went all Evel Knievel off the Rice Creek Bridge on their way to CP3.

138153111015614200900501197_MeetEvelKnievel

Luckily, Sonia just missed landing on a cypress knee–those roots that stick straight up 1-2 feet and look like little stalagmites.  Undaunted by her test of gravity and hard surfaces, Sonia brushed herself off and continued the race.  Below is a pic of the Rice Creek bridge in case you wanted to imagine launching yourself off of that.

DSC03421

Bike to Foot 1 TA

From the Start/Finish TA, we were to bike to Foot 1 TA picking up either CP10 or CP11 on the way.  We decide to get CP10 and I made the mistake of biking the Florida Trail (red dashed lines) instead of the parallel forest road (red solid line).  Damn maps and their symbols.  Luckily, I realized that we needed to be on the forest road instead and we bailed from the trail just north of CP10.   After finding CP10, we bike-whacked to the hard-pack road (dark red solid line) and raced on to Picknick Table.  At Picknick table we were given the option of doing either Foot 1 or continuing on bike to Foot 2.  Not being able to process options on the fly, we decided to stick with our plan and do Foot 1.

11182057_925744844144028_4819663188114304804_n

Foot 1

At Foot 1 we’re told that we will be given UTM coordinates and we’ll need to plot the CPs on a new map.  UTM stands for Universal Transverse Mercator, which I believe is latin for WTF, but you’ll have to verify that.  I’ve never had to plot UTM for an AR before so I was a little nervous about making a mistake, which I did, but that’s not something we need to talk about.  After plotting the coordinates we were off.  We also had to collect CP10 again on foot which was cool because we already knew where it was.  It also allowed us to take a few minutes to locate CP11, since it was on the same trail along the way to CP10, and we knew we’d have to get it on the race back to the finish line.  We did Foot 1 counterclockwise and didn’t have too many problems locating the CPs.  CP13 gave us a little trouble mainly because the scenery was awesome and I got distracted looking around and lost my pace count.  I did get to see a wild pig though.  The best part was that the CP was inside of a dead cypress and Ana had to crawl in it to punch the control.  During this section we were just behind Nature Calls and got in a couple of their videos:

 Bike to Foot 2

Back at Picknick, before we could bike to Foot 2, we had to run to the Rice Creek Hilton and write our team names in the log book kept in a mailbox.11188480_925744807477365_9114689554283531119_n

Once we did that, we had to run back to Picknick and start a fire using a magnesium fire starting tool that we were given at the beginning of the race.  Having two small boys and being a fan of survival shows, we were pretty fast on this task and it helped us creep up from 3rd to 2nd.

11164588_925744590810720_6496631514282829974_n

Biking to Foot 2 we kept running into Team Jax as they were leading the pack.  They would be coming back from a control as we were just going for it.  We also knew that Nature Calls was closing in on our heels and since some teams opted to do Foot 2 before Foot 1, we weren’t really sure what place we were in and how close the other teams were.  CP19 and CP20 we picked up on bike and then headed onto the Florida National Scenic Trail to pick up CP21 and CP22.  This portion of the trail is beautiful marshland with small raised walking platforms that allows you to traverse it without getting mucky.

IMG_20150328_165534

After clearing Foot 2, we raced back to the Start/Finish TA but had to first check in at Picknick TA and then grab CP11 on the way.  We flew through Picknick TA and Craig or John or somebody, I wasn’t really looking, yelled that Team Jax was just in front of us.  We were racing to catch them and to get CP11.  Having already scoped out the location of CP11, we knew where to go.  I ran into the woods, punched CP11 and popped out just in time to see Off in the Woods right behind us.  Damn!  Where did they come from!  Now, I was concerned about another team passing us right at the end.  We bike-whacked east through some of the muckiest, rutted marsh to the hard-pack road and flew to the finish.  Team Jax had already come in, beating us by 8 minutes or so.  To the winners go the spoils and Team Jax walked away with 2 sweet MS-1 packs from Out There.  Yep, you should have been there!

11129206_10203013393295716_9162007618223558910_n

For a video recap of the race, check out Manny’s video…blatantly stolen by me.

A big thanks to Florida Xtreme for putting on this race.  Craig did an amazing job laying out the course.  In fact, this was our favorite short course so far (less than 24 hours).  The controls were placed in amazing locations requiring us to go inside of a cedar tree, traverse logs that stretched across streams, and climb trees to punch controls.  The location was remote, rugged, and beautiful.  Best of all, the duration of each event was spot on.  There was a perfect mix of bike, foot and canoe without any one section taking so long that we lost interest.  We got to plot UTM coordinates for the first time and the additional surprises of the fire-starting task and the sprint to the mailbox made the race really interesting.  Best of all, socializing with fellow racers, volunteers and race directors at the finish line.

You should have been there!

Team Disoriented’s Creed:

I just got back from volunteering at the Florida Sea to Sea 72 Hour Adventure Race where I saw 30 teams competing in possibly the toughest adventure race in the southeast.  As a volunteer, I was able to see many different team dynamics and it got me thinking about our team and specifically our guiding principles or creed.  I think it’s important that teams have guiding principles so that team members know what to expect from each other.  Some teams are in it to win it at all costs, which is fine so long as every teammate is on the same page.  Anyway, here is our creed:

WN0zuGi

I am here for my teammates and my teammates are here for me.

This is a team sport in its purest form.  There will be times when my teammates will need to rely heavily on me and times when the roles will be reversed.  In the middle of the night, deep in the back country swamp lands, suffering from hypothermia, I want you to know that I will be there to help you in any way that I can.  And I need to trust that you will do the same for me.  If it’s only about you, then maybe you should stick to triathlons.

 

We train as friends, we race as friends, and we finish as friends.

There are no large prize monies or accolades to be gained from winning an adventure race.  There are no lucrative contracts, no immortalization on Sports Illustrated, so there is no race worthy of losing a friendship.  This doesn’t mean that we don’t want to push ourselves to our limits, we do.  The challenge is what drives us.  It also doesn’t mean that we won’t get angry at each other at times, because that happens too.  It just means that there should be some threshold that we don’t pass.  We don’t want to reach the point that our friendship becomes jeopardized.  We may not remain teammates, but we should leave every race as we started it, as friends.

 

We race the course and not other teams.

We’re not here to beat other team.  Adventure racers are some of the coolest people around, they’re active, they’re outgoing, they’re risk takers, they’re usually sociable. Most of them are probably people we’d like to get to know better and hang out with.  Why then, would we take a cut-throat attitude about beating other teams?  Why celebrate at another team’s loss? What if we did beat Team Ultimate Adventure Racers United.  No one on this planet cares, no one.  Unless of course that team is composed of a bunch of smack-talking assholes, then yes, we do want them to lose and so does everyone else.

 

We race at the speed of fun.

It’s not always fun.  In fact, having to “embrace the suck” leads to some of the most memorable moments.  But, at the end of the day I always want to walk away with the feeling that it was fun.  Sometimes I have to dig really deep to admit that it was fun, sometimes I need a few beers to numb the pain before anything fun comes to mind.  But, in the end, adventure racing should always be one notch higher on the fun meter than the suck meter.  And, if I’m not having fun, it’s usually my own fault and I need to change my attitude about something, or eat another GU pack.

 

There’s no quit in here.

I don’t want to quit and I don’t want you to quit either.  I want us to train hard and to race harder.  I want us to leave it all on the course and come across the finish line running on fumes.  And if I can’t make it across the finish line then I want you to grab my stinking carcass and pull me across the finish line.  I want to train hard for my teammates and I want them to train hard for the team.  If we’ve prepared ourselves as best as possible, given our real-life constraints and commitments, then well do as best as we can do and that’s all that we can ask of each other.

 

I’d love to hear from any of you on your own guiding principles…post a comment.

We’re going to Nationals!

Team Disoriented is going to the USARA Adventure Race National Championship!

13754_700x

What!  That’s right folks, we’re going to Nationals.  One of the goals that I had for our team this year was to qualify for the USARA Adventure Race National Championship.  USARA sponsors regional adventure races throughout the year and teams that place high enough at one of these events gets invited to race the nationals.  We performed well enough at one of the races to qualify and we’re super excited, and nervous.

natl_2011_logo

Many of the top adventure racing teams in North America will be at the USARA Nationals.  We, of course, will not be competing at their level.  But, it will be exciting to be in a race with so many high performing teams.  Did I mention we were nervous?  Yep, it’s going to be pretty tough and it will really test the limits of our skills (we’ve got skills, right?) .  But, ultimately, these races are done for the experience of getting out and testing ourselves, seeing some amazing scenery and meeting some of the coolest people around…like us!

host_2015_2

Just by participating, we’ve already won.  Yeah, I know, cheesy right.  But, it’s true.  We race against ourselves and against the course, not against other teams.  Which is good because other teams just blow us away.

The race takes place at Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Kentucky.  I’ve heard rumors that they have mountains.  We’ll see how this flat-land Florida team handles those.  There is a 30-hour cutoff time for all teams, and I’m sure we’ll need every minute, and more, to complete it.  The setting is going to be spectacular and it’s close enough that we can make the drive in a day.

location_2015

Anyway, we don’t have time now to keep chit-chatting with all of you, we got some training to do.  Plus, I gotta go figure out what this UTM thingy is.  By the way, you may have noticed a Donate button on the right side bar (yeah you can’t pretend to ignore it now).  We hate to be beggars, but the Nationals are going to cost a pretty penny, and a lot of ugly one’s too, so if you like the site and want to contribute to the team going to nationals, we’d truly appreciate it.

Logo

Mo’ Pain…Rogaine!

Our first Florida Xtreme Adventures event was the Rogaine Ocala , an 8-hour race that had us on foot for over 26.7 miles.  Some of those miles were ran a couple of times because I got a little disoriented, but what’s new.  Click on the map below to follow the action

Rogaine Map Small

Check in started at 7AM, we were handed our map, passport, and I committed my first mistake almost instantly.  Ana and I have never done a Rogaine before, so before the race I checked out a few blogs to get an idea of what to expect.  A rogaine is basically the foot/nav section of an adventure race.  You’re given a list of checkpoints, a map, and a finish time.  You’re job is to collect as many checkpoints in an alloted time as possible.  The order of collection and path is up to you.

10954317_883322988386214_8825884388006682665_n

Pre-race planning time is always nerve-racking for me.  I never feel like I know what I’m doing, unlike the guys below.  Look at the Canyoneros, just chillin’ before the race.  They’ve got chairs, a lantern, even a floor mat.  They probably have coffee brewing somewhere too.

10151124_883419845043195_7655683484017905648_n

So, I get the map and the first thing I do is highlight all the CPs so I don’t miss one.  What I didn’t realize though is that there were more CPs on the map than on the passport. Come to find out, it’s a two-stage race where after completing the first stage, we return to the Start/Finish and grab a second passport.  Once I figure this out, I try to “erase” the highlighter marks on the CPs that are not on the first stage and come up with a path plan.

running

At 8AM Ron yells out, Go! and people start dashing off into the woods.  We’re rushing to not get left behind and start bushwhacking to catch up with the other racers that I assumed were on the trail we want.  Come to find out, they weren’t on any trail at all, they were bushwhacking to their first checkpoint (probably 31).  I realize the mistake I’ve made and we start heading east to CP33.  Of course, I’m ticked at myself for feeling pressured to keep up with other teams.  We had come out to practice navigation and right out the gate I want to start following others.  Race starts always put me in a frenzy until I truly get my bearing and find the first CP or two.  It’s hard, being an amateur, to not follow the more experienced teams.

FLX

We find CP33 with little trouble and then realize that CP33 is not a checkpoint on the first stage.  I had forgotten to erase it and now we had wasted time trying to find it.  Three mistakes right off the bat and we hadn’t found our first CP yet.  Not a good start at all.  The good news is that after the bad start, we actually did pretty well for the rest of the first stage.  We found all of the checkpoints with little trouble.  What was really fun was that we didn’t end up running into another team that was looking for the same CPs as us.  We’ve been in races were lots of teams were looking for the same CPs at the same time, and it gets pretty boring.  We cleared the first stage in 5Hrs and 13 minutes.  I have no idea if that is a good time or not.

10947272_883576521694194_1141466297187299691_n

Back at the S/F, we get our second stage passport and start route planning.  Then I see Team Night Owls, who came in after us, leaving to go out.  Well, if they’re just going to grab their map and head out, then so will we.  And look, CP33 is on this stage and we know where it is, right?  As we head off to CP33, Ron Eaglin comes up from behind and takes a few photos before heading out to CP33 to get some pics of teams locating that checkpoint.  We see where Ron goes in, but it isn’t where we decided to attack the CP from and so we keep going.  When we get to our attack point, we take a bearing and head in.  I can see Ron sitting behind palmettos but for some reason I don’t go over there.  I don’t know if he’s being tricky or if he’s sitting on the CP.  Of course, he’s sitting on the CP and I feel like a dumb ass for not just going over there.  In the end, he got a good laugh at our inexperience and we got a good team photo 🙂

10372786_883576455027534_7536453551457009642_n

We knew we were running short on time so we made an abbreviated plan, trying to pick up CP33, 34, 54, 76, and a few more that I can’t remember.   Since I seem to have misplaced my map I can’t recall what our original plan was, but I’m sure it was stupendous.  It doesn’t really matter because after getting 54, we crashed and burned trying to get 76.  I lost my bearing when we hit on a trail while bushwhacking south, and I then spent 40 minutes trying to regain it.  I couldn’t figure out what trail we were on, which is pretty stupid in hindsight.  Oh well, we had to ditch 76 and could only pick up CP55 before heading back.

10978559_883056838412829_3795579185350626053_n

We ended up finishing the Rogaine Ocala in 11th out of 18 teams, collected 19 out of 28 CPs and covered 26.7 miles in 7 hours and 39 minutes.  More importantly we had a blast and discovered a new event that we definitely look forward to doing in the future.  If you haven’t tried a rogaine yet, go do it.  You’ll have a great time and meet some truly awesome people.

10897896_883575188360994_6144995023862491464_n

Rogaine Ocala here we come.

ROGAINE OCALA

badhair_mm

Nope, not that kind of Rogaine.  More like the, “pay money to go run and get lost in the woods for 8 hours” Rogaine.  Confused, yeah so are we.  We haven’t done one before but we’re actually pretty excited about it.  We figure it will give us a chance to practice our navigation skills, which are dearly lacking.  Most importantly, it will give us a chance to reconnect with our adventure racing friends that we haven’t seen for a long time.

So, my friend, slick back that comb-over and come get lost with us in the woods.  More info can be found here: Florida Extreme Rogaine Ocala and tell them Team Disoriented referred you…we’ll gladly take the race credits 😉

TA 1 Podcast

I just ran across TA 1 Adventure Racing Podcast, everything you ever wanted to know about Adventure Racing…and then some.  Interviews with cool people in the adventure race world.  I’ve listened to a couple of podcasts by Randy and they’re really informative, entertaining, and put together well.

If you’re an AR Junkie like me, check it out here: http://adventureraceworld.podomatic.com/ or click the image below.

TA1

You can also check it out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TA1podcast

TA1_Facebook

Tell them Team Disoriented sent you.  He won’t know who you’re talking about, but that’s half the fun 😉