Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Nocturnal 12-Hr AR (2011)

A couple weeks ago Team Nature Calls was back together to take on the 12-Hour Nocturnal Adventure Race down in Forever Florida.  Jason, Lori and I were pretty excited, and it would turn out to be a pretty good race.

The Bike (1)

The race started at exactly 6:00PM on Saturday evening.  The first section was to be a bike ride down to the Bull Cree TA.  Along the way we had three checkpoints to find.  Because of all the rain we had the days prior to the race, the entire area was wet.  Very, very wet.

Because it was a mass bike start, Jason, Lori and I knew we had to get up front to try and avoid the congestion on the trail and at the CP's.  And so we did.  We hammered out of the gate on the front, I even crashed 2 minutes into the race as I was trying to make a sharp turn on soft sand. We stayed near the fron and quickly made it to CP1 which was very easy to find.  Then the trails turned to shit.  Nasty uprooted, wet shit.  It was very tough riding.  My heart rate shot through the roof in this area. It took us about 1:15 to collect the three CP's and make it down to Bull Creek TA.  Now it was time to paddle.

The Paddle (1)

At Bull Creek TA we quickly transitioned to the canoes and headed off on the river.  Lucky for people like me (who hate paddling), there isn't much water down in Forever Florida, so the paddle section is fairly short.

We started Paddling north on the river.  We had one checkpoint on the water, and two other which we had to shoot bearings to from that same location.  We got there and found all three points easy enough.

Then we turned around and went back south to find the other two points in the river.  Again, this was fairly easy.  Once back at the TA, we had to turn around and do a quick paddling 'time trial'.  This is mainly just so that we could have more time on the boats. It took us about 45 minutes total to complete the paddle.

The Trek (1)

Now it was time to run. We left Bull Creek TA on foot to find five checkpoints in the area. By now the sun was almost gone and it was getting dark. Time for our headlamps.

We went after CP13 first, then CP12, which is the only point that really gave us a hard time (as you can see by our track below).  But once we found CP12, the rest was basically easy.  We ran as much as we could to try and stay near the front.  Jason carried my pack most of the way since I am just not as great a runner as him and Lori are.  And every little bit helps.

We found all points and made it back to Bull Creek TA at 10:40PM.  The whole trek section took us about 2.5 hours.  We were the third team back.  First place was about 10 minutes ahead, and second place was just about 2 minutes ahead.

So far we had raced for 6.5 hours.

Here's a close up of our track trying to find CP12.  As you can tell, we got a little turned around trying to find this point. At one point I came within a couple feet of it before turning around without finding it. Doh!

The Bike (2)

Back on the bikes we had a few points to find before making it back to the main TA and completing the first part of the race.

It was during this section that I started to hurt.  My stomach was killing me.  We pushed on and made it to CP14 where we ran into the second place team.  They were still looking for CP14.  We got there and within a couple minutes found it, but of course, we kept quiet and got the hell out of there as quickly as we could. We left and they were still looking for it.  Score!

Since I was hurting I asked Jason if he could tow me.  He broke out the handy tow rope and off we went.  We found the last two CP's very easily and made it back to the TA at around 12:30AM.  The last bike took us about 1:30 hours.

The Sports Course

Now that we had finished the first part of the Elite race, we had to complete the second part, which meant we had to complete the entire 5-hour Sports Course.  This is the course that the beginner teams would be doing.  The Short Course race started at 1:00AM, so we tried to get our maps and get out of there as quickly as possible to avoid the mess of riding with the sports course teams.  We left at 12:50AM.

The Sports Course Bike (1)

Our first leg of the sport course was a bike section with just a few checkpoints.  This turned out to be much tougher than we expected for a short course race. But we moved fast and started picking off the points.  Eventually some of the sports course people caught up to us.  It was actually kinda funny watching them run around in circles on some areas. There were some areas of this leg that were pretty tough to ride on.  Basically there was no trail at all.  We were just riding over logs and roots and other crap.  Slow moving, but we eventually found all the points and made it back to the TA.

The Zip Lines

After we finished the bike leg we decided to go do the zip line section.  Forever Florida has several zip line towers in the woods.  It is cool as shit.  We went up, got geared up and headed to the towers to complete our zip lines.  The race tok place during a full moon, so no headlamps were allowed at the zip lines.  It was all done by moonlight.  Very freaking cool!  We were the only ones out there at the time so we made it through all the towers in about 20 minutes.  It was fairly quick, and very fun!

Everyone had one hour to complete the zip line section. If you did it faster, you would have to sit and wait before you were allowed to continue with your race.  This was our case.  But it worked out well, because we got back to the TA and were able to hang out for about 20 minutes before heading back out on the course. It was a much needed rest.

The Sports Course Paddle

We jumped on our bike and took a 10 minute bike ride down to another very short, and very congested little river.  Here we dropped off our bikes and carried a canoe down to the river.  We only had three CP's to find, but because the river was so congested (branches, logs and all sorts of debris) it was tough moving around. And also, there were a good handful of Sports Course team also in the water with us.

But, we were able to find all the points quickly and without issue, and in almost not ime at all we were back at the bikes.

The Sports Course Bike (2)

After getting off the boat we had to pick up our bikes and back back acros the river with them.  Luckily the river was only about 4 feet deep so crossing it was not a big deal.  On the other side of the river we had one CP to get.  it was very easy to find and not long afterwards we were back at the Main TA, about to start the last leg of the race.

The Sports Course Trek

The last thing left to do was a trekking section with about 5 checkpoints.  I was really hurting, so once again Jason helped me out.  We ran as much as we could and found all the points almost without issue.  By this time there were a shitload of people out there.  Long course teams mixed in with Sports Course teams.  There were people everywhere.  But we did our own thing and Jason's awesome navigation led us right to every checkpoint.

The Finish

We finished the race at 5:38AM.  We raced for 11 hours and 38 minutes.  And come to find out, we finished in 2nd Place Overall!  First place, Team Greenpaw, was about an hour ahead of us.  Those guys are pretty bad ass.  Also, us and Greenpaw were the only two teams that cleared the entire course!  Al other teams missed at least one checkpoint.  So that was very cool.

As always, I first want to thank my amazing team mates Jason and Lori.  We realy work really well as a team.  We help each other out when someone is in need and that's one of the reason we are able to do so well.  Jason' was awesome, not only was his navigation spot on the entire race, but he towed me a huge portion of the race. The dude is just a fucking machine!  And of course Lori is just bad ass.  She always is.

And thank you to Pangea and all the volunteers for another awesome race!