Adventure Race 71:00:00 
sea2sea. amazing. i made my usual cheat sheet for race use, and then lost it somewhere on Night 2. so it might take longer than normal to reconstruct the race.
w Sami11, britty327, Sony, and Joe. couldn't have asked for a better set-up. it's been a life goal of mine to race multi-day w Erl and finally got the chance, thanks to Rev3's need for extra teammates. Erl and I raced as On Wednesdays We Wear Pink and totally splurged on every piece of neon pink race gear we could find - including custom sequin visors. so sparkly.
spent Wed prepping gear in Cedar Key. what a lovely town. so fun to ride everywhere, and weather/hotel were perfect. even some delish pre-race ice cream. got on bus Thursday morning at 0700 for ride to Atlantic Ocean
TREK 1 - 6k beach orienteering at Ormond Beach - 1100-1200
Erl "it's hot, let's not wear calf sleeves or arm sleeves"
race starts. 1500m later we are bushwhacking thru palmetto and scrubby brush. blood everywhere. yay. then i fell in the sand and got sand everywhere. couldn't do anything but laugh. fast-paced and HOT.
PADDLE 1 - 14k - 1200-1430
on a grass-lined river. windy. hard for me and Erl to keep up w Rev3's boat, plus I haven't paddled since December. but fun twisty-turny side channels.
we didn't have bins here but i want to mention it bc we ran 200m to a super cool ruin to get the passport. Erl got glitter all over his hands.
BIKE 1 - 43k - 1430-1730
some super fun rooty trails to start. i was loving life. then road riding to Graham Trailhead for a surprise singletrack section. "just follow the trail, it's easy" says race staff. and then 2min later we got lost. but i spotted Ron's shirt in the woods and yelled for help, he got us sorted out. both Odysseys caught us, it was fun to shred together for a bit but we had to let their speedy legs go ahead. then some more roads where Joe's pedal bearings became unhappy. not good but we put chain lube on them and hoped for the best. my BB was creaky too. roads and RR trails into next TA.
PADDLE 2A - 13k - Black Branch/Haw Creek - 1730-2045
put in on side of road. swampy creek full of lily pads and downed logs and cypress knees. Erl schooled all of us on manhandling the boat over every log. sunset. i stayed surprisingly dry until a v muddy portage section. then we had trouble w CP18 "south side of island" and couldn't find it, even after multiple relocations/attacks. decided to bail bc we had an early cut-off to meet at next CP.
TREK 2 - 7k - Russell Landing - 2045-2300
"surprise" trekking points were distributed here but we were expecting them thx to heavy hinting from Ron. had 2hrs to get as much as we could w the 2300 cutoff on Day 1! there were waypoints marked on map which confused Joe and I didn't help him as much as I could in figuring that crazy out. we bushwhacked a lot and bled some more. not the best outcome but maps were a struggle.
PADDLE 2B - 9k - Haw Creek/Dead Lake - 2300-0030
continuing downstream night paddle.
TA - 0030-0100
first w bins! yay! Andy Bacon tried to poison me w bacon.
BIKE 2 - 56k - 0100-0549
roads to Dunns Creek Conservation area. some very rascally CPs. "burnt pine" and "lone pine" gave many many teams trouble, including us. lots of headlamps randomly scanning the woods bc that's about all the map was good for. "burnt pine" i think was a fun Joe/Erl convo..."as your navigator i am asking you to go in those woods and find a swamp" "ok SIR" "is there a swamp" "AFFIRMATIVE!" we finally found the "lone pine" control and Britt and I punched in the middle of a CROWD without giving the placement away. pretty proud of the stealth moves here. then back on bikes for road riding thru San Mateo and Palatka. started raining and v windy and cold. i was SUPER sleepy and embarrassed that it was happening so early. more roads to Rice Creek TA.
TA - Rice Creek - 0549-0618
race staff informed us that a trek/paddle loop has been removed from the race as teams were behind schedule. no big for us, it was getting cold and the thought of more full-immersion boat tetris was not exactly appealing.
TREK 3 - 17k - Rice Creek - 0618-
aka "boardwalks may be slippery when wet". TA was kind of slow, just before dawn. slow sunrise to start this trek and a hard time finding initial trailhead (more trails in real life than on map). but finally got it and had a sweet swampy trek. fun CPs w the balancing act palm-to-cypress and back again.then Joe playing point-and-shoot off a platform w me and Britt...and correcting our attack angle after his own pee break. feet getting pretty beat down towards the end of this
TREK 4 - 12k - Marjorie Harris Carr Greenway
surprise! you get to follow up this trek with ANOTHER trek! yay! mostly logging roads for this. we saw 5 wild boars (3 babies). wet and cold and feet continued to hurt.
BIKE 3 - 67k
roads thru Interlachen, stop at McDonald's. i got chicken sammy, fries, small coffee, small hot chocolate. as we were ordering Journey rolled in. fun times!!! so nice to have hot food and friends. then more roads thru Hawthorne and into Newnans Lake TA
TA - Newnans Lake
we got the maps for the rest of the course here. told by race staff no access to bins which was not what race book said. minor freakout then we realized we had enough food as a team to see us thru next trek. went about TA-ing as Yogis arrived to same news. "are you expecting us to starve to death!!?!"...they were more vocal with their disappointment. but after a few minutes the bin truck arrived and everyone was happy. wore Hokas to sooth my tired feet and they were so comf. also race staff provided hot pizza. YUM.
TREK 5 - 30k - Newnans Lake Conservation Area
this was a big trek and we did most of it in the dark. a few cool CPs to start in the dusky swamp, but still we could not get in a rhythm w finding flags inside the circle - seemed like every flag was hidden behind tree or half-crumpled. chose a 2k trek instead of 100m creek swim - it was getting pretty cold. had a long road run in the middle where Joe started to get a bit delirious. we helped him out as much as possible, and in hindsight it was pretty funny to see him half-drunk w tiredness, only to emerge for 30-seconds of lucidity for a nav instruction, then back in the tank for stumbling and mumbling. a few ks later we decided on a team sleep - 10min cuddled on a pine forest floor. helped a lot. then some more night trekking on gravel roads - shuffled what we could to stay warm, hiked what we couldn't. saw Lattanzi and Bacon for a quick happy chat.
TA - Newnans Lake
layered up for a short but seriously cold/windy paddle across Newnan Lake. got hot oatmeal from race staff and hot turkey tettrazini from our bin.
PADDLE 3 - 9k - Newnans Lake
first had to negotiate a super cool cypress swamp which i loved. like tetris in boats. that spit us out onto Newnans Lake, at first it was calm and the full moon was beautiful. Erl and I played the cloud game. then as we moved away from shore, the wind picked up and it was FIERCE. also i experienced total mind-bending optical illusions. not sure if it was the full moon or just lack of sleep but it was like we were paddling on a water treadmill and not moving forward. then Rev3's boat was ahead and they were doing boat acrobatics but somehow staying upright. it was RAD!! then we got to Palm Point Park which looked NOTHING like it had earlier in the day. mind-bending continuing. finally Joe and I found the flag (thanks to Britt) and got back in the boats. more treadmill paddling. the trees on shore became brick houses with iron balconies like in New Orleans. the wind was intense and i fought to stay awake, stressed that a lapse would put me in the water. got the last CP and had to negotiate some gnarly cold cross winds into the final channel to TA. if it wasn't Erl in the back of the boat I would have freaked out but I trust his paddling so much that it wasn't an issue.
TA - Kate's Fish Camp
we were all frozen, stressed, and tense. honestly wasn't sure if we would be continuing the race as a 5-some. but we all got our crap together and trekked out at sunrise.
TREK 6 - 12k - Pet Cemetery
9 CPs here, separated in groups of 6 and 3. the group of 3 was far away so we decided to skip the whole thing, attacking the group of 6 instead. no one was really talking as we hiked out of TA. but we stumbled on the first CP by accident (mis-hung) and soldiered through 3 more in a swamp. my feet started to get bad - Hokas hold water like sponges and maceration was happening. Britt, Erl, and Joe were better so they did most of the trekking while Jeff and I straggled behind. i wore 6 layers on top (base, jersey, LS shirt, fleece, wisp jacket, rain vest) and 2 hats and and was still not warm. the final 2 CPs in this section were horrible. we attacked again and again, but nothing was matching up on the map. i don't even know how Joe did it but we relocated to a completely new area of the park for another attack and found both CPs. our stubbornness was rewarded. limped back into TA. this whole section was in a natural pet cemetery which i thought was really beautiful and peaceful. turns out both CPs we had trouble with were mis-printed on the race maps.
BIKE 4 - 120k
roads. stoked to get into dry socks and shoes and an obnoxious pink and blue jersey. morning was nice temps but as we continued, it got hot and we were mostly on flat, exposed bike lanes. some streets busier than others, but we were all a bit sleepy so tried to take sidewalks/protected lanes when we could to avoid disaster. stopped to help a kid fix the chain on his BMX bike. got chased by Hunter's team and they glommed onto our paceline which did not please me. lost them as we bobbled the Little Blue Spring CP. tough to keep spirits up as the section never seemed to end. we rolled thru Chiefland and stopped at a gas station - Erl and I had envisioned a 20min shoes-off stop but Britt cracked the whip and we were there for 5, just enough time to get cold Gatorade and ice cream Snickers. had a little bit of trouble finding CP76 (bridge over Suwannee) but got help from locals. pretty sleepy at the end of this.
TA - SP
we agreed to all take a 10min nap in TA. Erl and I got most of our tasks done and then laid down under a tree. temps were perfect and i felt so refreshed after we got up. race staff also fed us hotdogs (none for me) and oatmeal (mega yum).
PADDLE 4 - 35k - Suwannee River
first we went upstream to an unmapped canal and searched it for the CP - nothing. discouraging, but the Night 3 optical illusions were in full force - felt like we were floating in a house of mirrors w the submerged trees and flat water. surreal and v v cool. popped back into the main channel for a fast downstream ride and watched the moon rise. lights off. good chat. this is why we AR. then we got to the attackpoint for the next CP "Catfish Hotel" thru a cathedral-like cypress grove. played boat tetris again (my fave) while birds overhead flapped and pooped on us. the next 3 CPs were the most bizarre of my entire life and i'm still not sure if I was out of it, or my teammates, or the rest of the world. it's a whole other post's worth so i'll share later. but regardless, we got the punches and proceeded to the take-out beneath a beautiful full moon.
changed into dry clothes and struggled thru a 25min nap as we waited for Erl's bike to be delivered.
BIKE 5 - 63k
bundled up and got on bikes for most frustrating nav of the whole race for Joe. it looked like a simple trail-o section on grassy double-track but every CP was a struggle. some unmapped stuff, some mis-hung flags, some crumpled and non-reflective flags. mojo went into the tank. skipped the optional Cedar Key Scrub trekking points. sunrise and a very very slow pedal back to Cedar Key.
PADDLE 5/TREK 7 - 6k - Atsena Otie Key
once we got to the TA, we had enough time for the final paddle so TA'd super fast and got on the choppy Gulf for short paddle to Atsena Otie Key. got to the breakwater as tide was going out so only 6" water to work with - meant I sat in the boat and Erl pushed. v princess-y but really the fastest way to travel. negotiated muddy barnacle-y beach and got onto the island. Joe nailed the the nav here and we all ran joyfully and fast. then the last paddle to the finish like was choppy but easier.
so thankful to our friends on Rev3 for letting us tag along. we certainly slowed their paddle times down, but hopefully were able to make up for it w 5-person bike pacelines and general OWWWP humor.
sleep deprivation went way better than i expected. i got super tired on the first night (embarrassing) but surprised that Nights 2 and 3 were easier. the 10min nap at sunset on Night 2 was the best for me. even stayed up after the finish line for dinner w Odyssey. pretty comical tho.
food was great too. Erl and I shared almost everything and kept each other eating and drinking really well. I tried to feed Joe as much as possible - it is so hard for (angry) navi-GATORS to keep up on intake. turkey sammies and Girl Scout Cookies FTW!
and finally Erl deserves so much of the credit for this super-positive experience. he walked me thru every step in prepping for a multi-day race and supported me and the team on every leg. thx buddy :)
trek 86k = 53mi
bike 349k = 217mi
paddle 84k = 52mi