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!

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

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 😉

The Cauldron 36-Hr Adventure Race

There’s a new race in town and it’s called the Cauldron, a 36-Hr race.  I don’t have much information on it other than it is being hosted by Off the Grid Racing and it’s in Hawthorne, FL  Click on the links below to check them out.  I am not affiliated with this race or the race director, I’m just happy to see new adventure races being added in the southeast.

OffTheGrid

The Cauldron Facebook

Yep, that’s all I have for tonight.  Oh alright, one more image that I found cool…

FB-No-Sport-full

Primal Quest Returns

One of the biggest, baddest adventure races has returned–Primal Quest.  This 7-day, 400+ mile race was one of the premier races back in the days when Eco-Challenge set the world ablaze with adventure racing.

Primal Quest cover

https://www.facebook.com/EcoPrimalQuest

Needless to say, I’m super excited for this event and I can only hope that it kindles a resurgence in adventure racing.  I only wish I had $4k to register Ana and myself, oh and the physical ability to survive the race.  But, those are small details.

Team Disoriented YouTube Channel

The long anticipated Team Disoriented YouTube Channel is now online.  Check out https://www.youtube.com/user/TeamDisoriented for all of our latest race videos, gear reviews and most importantly, links to other adventure racing channels.  I have also created a playlist of professional adventure racing videos.

Capture

I like to watch these for inspiration when I’m trudging along on the treadmill.  If you know of any good adventure racing videos or YouTube channels you think I should link to, please leave a comment or send me an email.

I look forward to adding more content in the future.  Stay tuned.

2014 Coosa River Challenge

Can you believe that we actually made it to our first Adventure Race with time to spare?  Yep, it’s true.  We actually arrived early for the 2014 Coosa River Challenge in Wetumpka, AL.  Probably helped that it was only 3.5 hrs away and there wasn’t a time change.  Race check-in started at 4PM at the Coosa River Adventures with a pre-race dinner starting at 6PM.  That’s right, dinner!  Chicken breasts with wild rice, pasta, dinner rolls and steamed veggies.  Oh and did I forget to mention the ice cold beer on tap.  Boom, someone knows how to get a party started right.

CRA
Coosa River Adventures

Not only that, but they had live entertainment too.  Jason Givens from Montgomery came out to play and he sounded fantastic.  Checkout his website and sample his music.  I think you’ll be impressed.

It was a beautiful night to hang out with good friends, eat good food, listen to good music and talk about the adventure race to come.  Hats off Coosa, you started this off right!

Wetumpka-20141003-00633
Lacy & Jamal enjoying the pre-race festivities

This was going to be our first race with my buddy Lacy and his friend Jamal.  This was going to be their first Adventure Race, and Jamal just bought his mountain bike 2 days prior to the race, so we knew it was going to be a true adventure.

Saturday morning we met at the Gold Star park for a pre-race briefing and a short bus ride to the race start.  One of the cool things about the Coosa River Challenge is that they start you off in one of three groups: the “In it to win it” group, the “Competitive but shoes won’t be smoking group” and a 3rd group that I can’t think of the name, but I’m sure it was witty.  We were in the competitive group which meant we wouldn’t be trampled by the kids with the pumped up kicks.

The race started with a 3-3.5 mile trail run.  Jamal led the way with an 8:30/mile pace and we were feeling pretty good.  After a couple of miles of running, we had our first challenge, The Egg Carry, where we had to use a spoon to carry an egg as we went over then under ropes stretched across a bridge.  No eggs were hurt during our traverse and we quickly finished up the challenge and the rest of the foot section.  The run ended at the starting location and we transitioned to mountain biking.  And here’s where the magic began.  During the foot section, we passed a good handful of teams, but we gave the lead right back to them on the bike section.

MTB

Lacy was the dominator on this section of the race.  He bounded over the course but then had to wait for the rest of us to catch up.  I never considered us to be bad mountain bikers, but I bet many of the teams behind us considered us to be bad mountain bikers.  Perhaps if someone could take out a few of the rocks and roots and perhaps lessen the steepness of some of the uphills then we’d do alright.  In our defense, there just aren’t that many hills in Florida to practice on.  We tried to pull over and let faster teams through.  At one point I think there must have been 8 riders behind us waiting to pass.  Our slow train chugged along the trail and we counted the miles until we got to finish the biking section.  Truthfully, the single track was amazingly fun and I can’t wait to go up there and ride it again.

After the mountain bike section, we ran down to the river to start the kayak leg.  Since there was not going to be a rappelling or bouldering section, the race committee thought it would be “fun” to give us our kayaks and paddles on one side of the river but not allow us to use them until we swam them across the river.  You ever try swimming with a life jacket on while pulling a kayak.  Words can’t describe how much “fun” I was having.  Actually words can describe it, not very nice words.

Once we swam our kayaks across the river, we had to scramble to the top of a boulder and leap off it before being able to kayak down the river.  First, I don’t like heights.  Second, I really don’t like jumping from anything high.  Third, I really don’t like it when the safety guy is telling me to, “make sure you really jump out far because it ain’t too deep unless you get out a ways.”  Now, I don’t know how high this rock is but I can tell you that once I jumped I had enough time to think, “Oh Crap!!! This thing is really high…wow it’s higher than I thought…wonder when I’ll hit the water…hmm i’m not so scared anymo SPLASH!!”

Rock jump
Leap of Death
Rock jump 2
Bottom of Leap of Death

After the jump of death, we got in our kayaks and set off down the river.  Since there wasn’t an orienteering section in this race, the organizers had us stopping along the river at certain locations where they posted signs guiding us to the next point.  The first stop was Blue Mushroom Island where a map directed us to kayak upstream around an island and then downstream to Dead Beaver Island.  Let me tell you, paddling upstream against the Coosa River current at this particular location was impossible.  When we rounded the corner to head upstream, there were 3 or 4 teams in front of us, pointed into the current paddling as hard as they could and going nowhere.  It was comical.  To cross this particular section we all ended up jumping off our kayaks and walking across the channel.  Luckily, it was only thigh deep, but it was grueling walking up current pulling our kayaks.  We rounded the corner and could get back on our kayaks and head downstream.

On the way to Dead Beaver Island, we had to go through Moccasin Gap, the only Class III rapids on the Coosa.  Check out this pamphlet that describes the river and rapids.

The Coosa River Guide Book

Lacy and Jamal hadn’t kayaked in years, if ever, and here we were throwing them into Class III rapids, cue evil laughing BWAHAHAHA!  After Ana and I ran the rapids, we would turn the boat around and wait for Lacy and Jamal to run the rapids hoping for a capsize…I mean to cheer them on.  Unbelievably, they crushed Moccasin Gap.

rapids
Moccasin Gap, Class III

But then they capsized on the Pipeline, a smaller Class II rapid further down the river.  Downstream we went, on towards Dead Beaver Island where they had us get off the kayaks and run to a spot where we had to crawl through a pipe that was 3/4 submerged in muddy water…yum!  Back on the boats, we headed to our next checkpoint where we got to do some CrossFit games; monkey bars, log run, and 20 box jumps.

Back on the boat one more time and our next stop had us doing a small jog to a set of obstacles; a balance beam crossing, a wooden pyramid climb, and scaling an 8 foot high Berlin Wall.  After these obstacles we went back in the water but this time without our boats.  Instead they had us swim the final leg, passing under the bridge and ending in Gold Star Park.  I have never known Ana to be a swimmer but on this section she was gone.  I was doing everything I could to catch up to her but every time I did, she just took off again.  There I was banging up my knees on the submerged rocks scrambling to catch up and she’s sailing down the river offering advice to me on how to go faster.  What a sweetheart!

swim to the bridge

On to the finish line and a post-race reception at Gold Star Park where Ms. Lew Sievers and Ms. Muriel Belmont had provided sandwiches, fruit, Gatorade and cookies for all the race participants and volunteers.  Thank you ladies!

finish

For this race, they group your team by combined age and have 2 divisions 0-79 and 80+.  Since we’re both in our f..f..f..forties 😦 we fell into the 80+ group and got 2nd place.  On stage, we received our awards, two very nice hand painted tiles.  We weren’t out racing for results in this challenge.  Since this was Lacy’s and Jamal’s first race, we just wanted to make sure that everyone had a great time, which we did.  You can check out all the race results here:

2014 Coosa River Challenge Results

IMG951317
David, Ana, Lacy, Jamal

I can’t recommend this race enough.  It was an awesome experience.  The race committee did a great job laying out the course.  The volunteers were excellent.  The pre- and post-race were top notch.  We loved the mix of events.  We only wish that they would have been able to keep the rappel and bouldering and I really wish they had an orienteering section.  Other than those small gripes, this is an A+ event and we plan on going next year as well.  Hope to see you there.

 logo

Stolen goods!

This blog post blatantly stolen from The Adventure Blog.  Go checkout their site after you read this post

Gold Rush Expedition Adventure Race to Air on Universal Sports Network in October

Adventure racing fans listen up, you’re going to want to set your DVRs to record soon. The Universal Sports Network will begin airing a three-part documentary focused on the Gold Rush expedition-length adventure race in October, bringing the sport into the homes of millions of viewers across the U.S. Each of the three self-contained documentaries is 90 minutes in length, and captures some of the top adventure racing athletes from across the globe as they take part in one of best races in North America, and a qualifying event for the AR World Championship.

The first episode will air at 6PM ET on Thursday, October 16 and will feature the 2012 Gold Rush Expedition Race. The following week, at 6:30 PM ET on Friday October 24, the network will premiere the 2013 edition of the Gold Rush documentary. Meanwhile, the film for the 2014 edition of the race, which was greatly shortened in length due to wildfires in California, is currently in post-production, and will air in May of 2015. Additional airings will be announced at a later time.

If anyone has ever been a part of the team that produces adventure races, you probably already know how difficult it can be to capture all of the action out on the course. There are simply too many teams, spread out across too much territory. Throw in the fact that these events usually take place in remote and rugged locations, and it can become a logistical nightmare. But, the team behind these documentaries have taken a unique approach to how they are made, and that is a great story in and of itself.

For the past three years, the Gold Rush AR event has been filmed by a team of University of Cincinnati students, who are studying media production. For the 2014 edition of the race, 16 students, under the direction of professional television director and U.C. alum Brian Leitten, and E-media Professor Kevin Burke, traveled to California to shoot the documentary and witness the incredible sport of adventure racing first hand. As a result, their work is now going to be shown on Universal, and we’ll all get the opportunity to see the Gold Rush as well.

I’m trying to remember the last time adventure racing was on television here in the U.S. It has been many years since we actually saw a network air anything AR related. This will be great exposure for the sport, and hopefully introduce a new audience to what adventure racing is all about.

To get an idea of what to expect from the documentaries, check out the promo video below which was shot at the 2013 Gold Rush.

Coosa River Challenge

Just signed up for the Coosa River Challenge and we are super excited.  3-6 hours of mountain biking, trail running, river paddling with lots of special tests throughout.  The format is 2-person teams male/female/co-ed or individual and the course is friendly enough to be finished by the novice racer, while challenging enough for the veteran adventure racer.

Check out the video above to see some of the events that will be part of the race.  There will be Class II-III rapids, rope work such as rappelling, bouldering and some pretty sweet single track.  We already ran the rapids on the Coosa River a few weeks back and had a blast.

Cooler weather, beautiful scenery, multi-sport challenges and the opportunity to hang out with the most awesomest adventure racing team…what more could you ask for?

Go here for more info: Coosa River Challenge