Monday, September 30, 2013

License to Suck

The Out of Steam Punks finally did their first Elite (6 hour) Pangea Adventure Race. And lived to tell the tale. I'm not going to lie, I only went along with this because Dave really wanted to...and as I've mentioned before, I've dragged him into enough stuff over the years, I owed him.

The day dawned bright and sunny. It rained off and on a lot of the day. But honestly, since it's still hot as balls in Florida, it was nice. We pulled Boat to start. I like the canoe well enough, I think it's actually my strongest of the three, but that doesn't mean I necessarily love it. But the water was beautiful, calm and the best part of moving up to Elite came into play: we got to use our kayak paddles! Yay! That made for a really pleasant paddle. We noticed that not only were we going faster with less effort, we were tracking much straighter as well.  It took us a few more minutes to find CP 13 than I would have liked,  (it was on an island, in from the shore line a bit) but not too bad. CP 14 was up a little creek and feeling pretty confident that we would NOT clear the course on our first Elite anyways, we let it go to save time to use elsewhere.

I'm sure there were lots of gators and turtles on the river here, but I didn't see a damn thing. I did startle a heron on the island near CP 13, so there's that.

Back to the Main TA and off on the Foot/Tube section. Tube? Whaaaaa? Yup, the race was held at Blue Springs State Park. So after grabbing a few CPs on foot, we had to grab a tube and find four CPs near the boil and along the spring run. As a result, I saw something I have never seen, nor likely will ever see again. Dave, who is usually the biggest weenie in the history of ever when it comes to getting in the cold, spring water, jumped right in! It was way refreshing and a great little addition to the race. Not that it was a relaxing float. Unless you have ever wandered too close to a gator, I doubt you realize how difficult it is too move swiftly on a tube. And I didn't even get to see the manatees the other teams reported were in the area. Dang.

A tragedy, really.

After that it was time for the Bike portion. Blue Springs has several miles of really nice, beginner friendly single-track. Earlier in the summer we went there with our son and we all really dug the trails. Of course, we could have done without all the "tiny spiders" back then. Every time we stopped for a quick break my son would say, "I've got these little spiders on me." I, not paying attention because I am a failure as a parent, would say "Oh, just brush them off." It wasn't till we stopped for a snack I looked down at my feet and the "little spiders" were ticks! Lots and lots of them. Needless to say I think we rode the last bit of the trail that day faster than I did on Saturday. Well, I know I did. The gearing on my bike was frozen and as a result when were weren't on the single track (pavement or hard dirt road) I couldn't ride anywhere near as fast I would have normally because I couldn't change gears most of the time.

I felt like reenacting the Bike Toss from the Boar AR.

Onward and upward, we got all the CPs and headed back. Seriously though you guys, those trail were really cool. Great for families and those wanting some single track but aren't ready for big obstacles and challenges, like yours truly.

After getting our final punch card we took off on the bike again. Not gonna lie, I wasn't tired really, or cramping up or anything. I was just over the bike. Between the gears not working properly and that dang tiny seat turning me into a...what's the female equivalent of a eunuch? And let's be honest, I hadn't even ridden my bike for the past couple months. No, I'm not kidding. And I only run two or three miles every week or two. But as you know if you are a regular reader of this blog, I Crossfit. So it was a bit of an experiment personally, to see just how far Crossfit alone would get me. 

I'm so sorry, guys. 
No, I'm not.

So we rode the couple of miles on a grassy/sandy road. Not my finest moment, but we got there. Dave and I switched bikes about a mile in, and oh sweet relief! Once we got to the Bike TA we got additional coordinates and took off into the swamp. Fine, only part of the trail was swampy, and the water was cool at least. So I had that going for me at least. Which is nice.

On the way to the swamp we did our good deed of the day for another team who may or may not have lost the slip of paper with the additional CP coordinates/clues on it. As if I can say no to cute Adventure Racers. 

No. No, I cannot.

The next bit Dave really dug. It was some real orienteering where you had to find one CP, and then take a new heading from that point to find another, and then another. I understand how he did it, but it was definitely one of those times when I felt like, "Yeah, if you didn't do this with me, I wouldn't find half these CPs." Which, I dunno, might not be totally true. I've been tempted to grab a girlfriend and try a Sport Race without Dave, and do the navigating. One of these days, maybe. It kinda bugs me that I don't really do anything besides try to keep up and be the rabbit. I do hold the punch card and read the clues, ya know the same job our son could do when he races with us. 

Anywhine, time started getting short, so we left two CPs out there and headed for home. It was on that two (?) miles back to the Bike TA that I would say the length of the race made itself known to us. Neither of us could maintain our Adventure Race Shuffle (easy jog we usually maintain for all of the Trek portion of Sport Races) due to our legs starting to cramp up/general muscle fatigue. But we still kept a move-on. I can do a pretty quick power walk, faster than Dave can keep up with. He would jog ahead and then walk, so we kept leap frogging each other until we hit the Bike TA. It wasn't pretty, but it worked.

I stole Dave's bike again on the way back. My legs were definitely getting fatigued by now, but my Crossfitter brain (I'm so, so sorry. No, I'm not.) kicked in, "15 more minutes, tops. You can do anything for 15 minutes." We nabbed CP 34 on the way back. Kinda proud of myself for figuring that one out myself, thank you very much. Then took off for home. It was (literally) all down hill from there.

We ended up in 16th. Out of 24 teams. Hence, the title to this post. Had we placed that low in a Sport Class Race, not gonna fib, we'd be pretty disappointed. But for our first Elite? We'll take it. Since it was our first go and we hadn't done any additional training, hell -we hadn't done any specific training, I figured we'd earned the license to suck. Next time, not so much. 

Will we do another Elite? I wouldn't rule it out by any means. But for now, the Sport Class is more fun and still provides me with a sense of accomplishment upon completion. The Elite's pain to fun/accomplishment scale tipped a wee bit far onto the pain side for my liking, without additional training anyways. So why not do a little more dedicated training? Because life. I really, really enjoy doing Crossfit. That really takes up all of my "fitness" time. And the thing is, regardless of the fact that I actually look forward to going every day, I really do think it gives me, personally, the most bang for my buck in relation to what it allows me to do vs time spent at the gym. Last year, when we started doing Crossfit, we quit regularly just going for runs and riding the bicycles, and that's (oddly) when we started seeing real improvements in our Sport Class finishes. But to place well at Elite? No, I don't think Crossfit alone is enough. A little more endurance work is called for, I think. More work I just don't have the time, nor frankly desire, to do.

All that said, the Super Hero was another wonderfully well organized race by the Pangea Team. Everyone is so super friendly and supportive, the staff and the fellow racers. A shout out to the Canyoneros  for their kind words of welcome to the Elite Class while we were on the Foot/Tube trail and congrats on your awesome finish! 

Also, a big way to go to You're Dead to Me on their great Sport Class finish. They are local friends of ours and we love having a beer with them post race. They rock...and kick my ass when I occasionally get down to Vero for one of the Adventure Training Classes they coach.

We are adorable. And sweaty. And sandy. A lovely combination. 

Till next time, stay dirty my friends. And remember this:


  1. Great to see you guys out there! Finding 32/34 CPs in an Elite race is admirable, no doubt. Maybe we'll see you in another elite race in the future!

  2. Congrats on taking the plunge! I remember how almost-too-intimidated-to-show-up I felt before my first time trying one. And I agree with Hien, 32/34 hardly qualifies as "sucking at something". You beat almost 1/2 the field in your first time out...that's not too shabby in my book.