Monday, July 28, 2014

The Luminescent 8-Hour AR (2014)

The 2014 8-Hour Luminescent Adventure Race returned to River Breeze Park (where it was held in 2012). Having raced there before, I knew the paddle would be pretty tough, and I was not really looking forward to it. But things turned out much better than I had expected...

The Paddle

The paddle was going to be long. We knew that going in. There were a total of 15 CPs to find and we actually had a 4-hour time limit. In other words, we had to finish the paddle in under 4-hours or risk getting penalties.

Paddling Mosquito Lagoon requires some good navigational skills. There are tons of small islands everywhere. So you have to stay on the right track in order to find the one you want. To make it worse, the race takes place during a 'new moon' which means there is no moonlight to help you navigate. Without moonlight, you can not see the islands until you are basically right on them.

We knew we ween't going to be able to get all 15 CPs in the 4-hour time limit, so we decided to skip the five furthest points.

We ended up finding all the 10 CPs we went after, and with little issues. Finding CP4 was probably the only one that gave us a hard time, but even then it was only a few minutes lost. Also CP1, in the middle of the island, was kinda hard to find, but again, only a few minutes lost.

We ended up with the fastest paddling split of the race (3:40). And we tied a few teams for the most points in the paddling section (10).

The Bio-Luminescense

This race is called the Luminescent because of the possibility of experiencing the bio-luminescent effects in the water. And I will tell you, it was amazing! We noticed it really well on our paddle from CP05 to CP06, and again on the paddle from CP03 to CP02. Each paddle stroke stirred the water enough to produce this bright, florescent like color. The wake of the boat did the same thing. But the best part was the fish. They were swimming just below the surface, and they would leave a bright fluorescent trail behind them. It's hard to explain, but it really was incredible to experience.

The Bike (part 1)

After returning to the TA off the paddle, we quickly transitioned to our bikes and went off on a 2-hour bike ride looking for CPs 16-21.

We did very well in this section. We were the only team to get all the bike points, including the very hard to find, CP20.

Then we biked down to the Grove TA to start what we knew was going to be a very tough trekking section.

The Trek

There were a total of 17 different points on this trekking leg. We only had about 2.5 hours to make it back to the finish line, so we knew we would have to skip a few.

We did not get the trekking map at the start of the race. It was handed to us at the Grove TA. So I only had a few minutes to look at it before we took off. I decided to attack the points in a counter-clockwise fashion, only because I knew exactly where CP38 was, so I figured better start off with an easy one and go from there.

After quickly finding CP38 we struggled looking for CP36 and 37. Spent a good amount of time looking for the right trail, but eventually decided to skip them and move on.

We ended up teaming up with Jeff and Hunter (Team Florida Xtreme/Hunter) for a few of the points in this section. Because of our limited time we only ended up collecting a total of 9 points before we had to get back to the Grove TA as we still had an 11km bike ride to the finish line.

The Bike (part 2)

After leaving Grove TA we only had one more point to collect on our bikes before heading to the finish line. This point was the same as CP13 on the paddle, so we knew exactly where it was and getting it was very easy.

The Finish

We finished the race in 7:46 and ended up with 2nd place overall. We were very happy with that!

So thank you to my teammates, Scott, and Chris. And thanks to Pangea and all the great volunteers!

See you all at the Nocturnal 18-Hour Adventure Race next month!