The Gemini Springs AR was the first official race for FL Xtreme Adventures. Dr. Ron put together a nice race that was aimed at introducing adventure racing to anyone who had never done an AR before. So, I asked my brother (Cesar) and my brother-in-law (David) to race with me as Team, Nature Calls. Both of them had expressed interest in AR before but had never actually raced. This was the perfect opportunity...
The point of this race was for me to teach my teammates what AR is all about. So I decided I wasn't just going to grab the map and go, with them just following me. Sure I could have done that, but what would be the point? So as soon as we got the maps, I started telling about reading the map, understanding the passport and clues, etc. And I would continue to do that throughout the race.
We started the race with a short trekking section. I explained to our team which way we would go, and why. Near each CP, I would show them where we were and the route we would take to find the CP. Sometimes I would let them tell me.
We quickly found all the CPs on the run, and headed off towards the boats. Already both of them were loving the race and having a great time.
We quickly got on the boat and headed off towards the first CP. Unfortunately on the boat it is a little harder to share the map and show them what we were doing, so we had gone over it beforehand at the TA. We paddled around the island finding the four CPs with ease. Along the way I tried to give them a few paddling hints.
We transitioned from the boats to the bikes quickly and headed off towards CP13. When we arrived at CP13, my brother told me that the number on top of the CP did not match with any number on the punch card, so I told them we must have come across a different CP. We were confused because we were sure it was the right place, but we moved on.
We looked around for CP13 for 5-10 minutes. Finally I decided to go back to the original spot. I thought it must have been mis-labeled. When my brother went to punch we noticed we had received the wrong punch card. We had the punch card for the "Sport" race bike leg, not the "Sprint" race bike leg. That was why he couldn't find the number on the card. So we punched it and moved on.
That was a great lesson for both of them... always check to make sure you have the right punch card.
So lesson learned, we continued on the bike leg. At each CP I would continue to share the map with them, showing them where we were, and the route we would take to reach the next CP, making sure they understood.
We finished the race in 2nd place, just a few minutes behind the 1st place team. My brother immediately started telling us how if it wasn't for getting the wrong punch card, we would have finished 1st. He is probably right, but what is funny is that this is when I knew I had succeeded in creating two new adventure racers. They were addicted and already talking like the rest of us experienced racers talk after our races. Later on that afternoon at a family event, he was telling everyone how we really should have finished 1st. Hilarious!
So in summary, the race was a complete success. I did what I had accomplished to do, introduce two new people to the sport. They are already taking about the next race. David even told his wife he wants a new bike.