The willies sent in a race report from the 2014 Sea 2 Sea AR. Enjoy...
Sea 2 Sea: 3 Day Florida Adventure Race Report
When Jim first mentioned doing the 3 day race in Florida I thought he was crazy. Obviously he forgot how much I suffered in Maine during our 4 day race. Eventually he convinced me, Florida is flat, it will be warm, he said we will have a good time just racing as a two person team. Well we thought it would be more fun to race with our two boys as a four person team. The Willies last hoorah. We spent weekends training in Bastrop, since that was centrally located for Christopher and us. Race fees were paid, gear was bought, tickets purchased, training was at its peak, and the team felt really good. However, Christopher’s daughter had other plans for team Willie. She decided to be born a month early, so our youngest son had to sit the race out--for a very good reason--our first grandchild.
It’s a 15 hour drive from Houston to Orlando. An easy two day event. Along the way we stopped for dinner in Jacksonville to visit an old friend of ours that we hadn't seen in years. Her eyes about popped out of her head when she heard we were going to be canoeing across central Florida--in fact she said, “You’re canoeing?! You know we have gators!” Great, just what I wanted to hear from someone living in Florida, gators are running the streets and just waiting to attack me. Actually she said I had nothing to worry about. LeaAnn said they will move out of the way after they hiss at you. But what about the snakes?
We pick Jason up at the Orlando airport and head to the host hotel for check in and gear drop. We get our clue booklet. It takes a few minutes to make sense of everything. We drop our bikes and bins off and wait for the pre race meeting. We were told the race director, Greg, is running late so check back in. Jason needs a few more things at Walmart so off they go. I’m over-analyzing and worrying about gators and snakes so I stay at the hotel. When Jim & Jason get back from the store the pre race meeting was over! What, when did it start? We meet up with Greg and a few other teams and have a small meeting. It’s clear we didn't miss anything, as not much info was given out.
We get on the bus at 6:30am and head out to the start about 2 hours away. We get a bunch of very large maps and our first passport. Jim and I spend the next 1.5 hrs going over the maps and try to make sense of them. The race is strictly how many cp’s you can acquire between the race start and the finish. We already know we won’t clear the course, so we want to be strategic on which points we skip. The first leg is a paddle.
When the bus pulls into Yankee Town and where we are suppose to start the race the winds are blowing and the water looks incredibly rough. I already know what point we are skipping first. We had discussed skipping the first point if the water was too rough, no reason to fight against the winds and current for one point. Lucky for us, Greg, decided that it was too rough for anyone to paddle in the open water so he moves inland a bit.
Greg has a pre race meeting with all teams. He introduces all the teams and makes silly comments about most of them. There is actually a team with a 12 year old boy on it--what?? Are you kidding me? It’s clear that most of the teams are from Florida and do Pangea’s races throughout the year. We are at a disadvantage being from Texas, but we love a challenge. We are actually excited to see Florida from a race point of view.
We start off with a short run to the canoes. We are not runners so we more or less jog to the boats. I think we get in our canoe close to last. We are the only team with single blade paddles. We hear a lot of “hut hut” as we pass several teams. Jason is in front as the motor, I’m in the middle, and Jim at the back. We are paddling up river to a cp and then returning to the start--an easy out and back. Jim & Jason bicker back and forth about how to steer and draw strokes. Typically my knee jerk reaction is to get on Jim and tell him to leave Jason alone, however, this time I sit and wait it out and eventually father and son work together and we start passing a lot of teams. We’ve made up a lot of time and feel pretty good getting out of the water.
It’s windy, overcast, and a little cold, so I’m glad to be jogging. We have to go and pick up several cp’s. We hit them all relatively easy. We notice a few teams that are leaving the slowest member behind while the rest go and find the cp. Seems to early in the race to be seeing this. We’ve only been at it for about 3 hours. One teams leaves their member so far back that she gets lost and they can’t find her. Jim can’t help but to make a remark about staying together.
We pick up all the cp’s and head to TA where we transition to our bikes. We weren’t supposed to see our main gear bins at this TA. I’m overjoyed when I see them because clearly I didn’t dress warm enough. I grab my tights and second jacket, along with some more food. The guys do the same. The weather is not going to cooperate with us today and I’m going to be cold. But, as Gabe has said time and time again, no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. So much for warm Florida weather.
On the bikes we are blazing. All three of us have aero bars on our mountain bikes. Not something you typically see, but makes so much sense considering we are on the roads a lot when adventure racing. Jim is doing great with the nav, and Jason is pulling us down the road in the front. He and Jim switch out along the way. We pick up one cp and head to our next TA.
Next is a paddle along Rainbow River to a boat drop and then we have to walk around a park and pick up three cp’s. The paddle is beautiful, we can see all the way to the bottom of the river. I’m waiting and hoping to see some manatee--no luck this time. We pull up to the boat drop and are told we have to walk the park and it has to take us 25 minutes to get the cp’s. It’s a beautiful park with waterfalls and lush vegetation. I’m taking a lot of pictures. Jason is naving and not wanting to stop. He keeps calling back for me and Jim to hurry up.
We finish around 25 minutes and get back in the canoe, backwards. We are pulling away, the guys are too frantic and I say to them something is not right with the boat. They quickly realise we are backwards, back to the dock and a quick spin around, now we are headed off back down the river to the next TA.
Next up is a bike leg. There are no cp’s to get just have to bike to the next TA along the road. I don’t remember this leg, either because I was too tired or because it was uneventful. We had already planned on racing through the night and not sleeping until day two or around 40 hours in. It was good that we planned that because it was going to get down around 32 degrees this night. I was cold and starting to bonk and just not feel real well when we got to our next TA at Pruitt. Here we just had to walk and get three cps. The walk was about 4 miles, not too bad, but by the time we walked up to TA I was really down and not looking forward to getting on the bikes. We stayed in TA for 20 minutes or so. I used the bathroom, several times. I was wondering what the hell I was doing out here and why did I enjoy torturing myself like this. I just remained quiet and the guys must have felt my pain, but didn’t ask how I was doing--pretty obvious. I think it was around midnight. I was cold.
We biked to Ross TA and had to ride on Santos single track. Normally I’d be happy to ride single track, but it was night and I was cold and still feeling terrible. My stomach was getting sick of eating anything, but I kept shoveling it in. There were 11 cps to get. We went for all of them but got all but two. We had to stop hunting for several just because it was dark, we were tired, and we just couldn’t find them. Along the way we hitched up with two other teams. One them had the 12 year old on it. They were going strong and looking good. Jim and Jason split the nav. Jim started bonking about ¾ of the way through. He just needed a mental break and Jason was happy to pick it up. The single track was fun, but not as much fun as it would have been had we hit it during the day. We made the note that we wanted to come back here and ride it when we weren’t racing. Near the end of the leg we came across a team at the bathrooms and they were out and trying to decide how to get to the finish. They were going to bike straight there. I’m not sure if they did or not, but they were cold and not looking too good.
Leg 10 was a trek. I think it was around 2am or so. I was feeling a little better, at least I was able to talk and begin helping the guys find the points. The nav was getting tougher or we were just getting more tired, but it seemed like some the of the points were intentionally hidden. We were trying to hit them all, but not getting some. At some point you have to give in and move on, especially at night when its hard to know exactly where you are. The sun finally started to rise and I was so happy to see it. It lifted everyone. Night one down.
Leg 11 was a paddle along the Silver & Ocklawaha Rivers. It was 32 outside and the water was spring fed so there was a lot of steam coming off the river. Super cool paddle on the most beautiful river (Silver River) I’ve ever paddled on. Once again we could see to the bottom. There were three cps to pick up along the way. We passed a long ago tourist island that had a King Kong movie set on it. It had long ago been abandoned, or at least it looked that way. We were told by a park officer that the man that had owned that island imported monkeys for the set. He learned the hard way that monkeys can swim, and they swam off his island and now live wild in the surrounding trees. This is also where they filmed the Tarzan show way back when. We were on the hunt to see some monkeys, and we did, playing around in the trees. We saw all kinds of birds too. It was fantastic paddle. I almost forgot we were racing. We got two of the three cps. Thankfully we hit this paddle at dawn, navigating those rivers at night would have been a nightmare. This paddle took us around 5-6 hours.
We finished along the shore and hoisted the canoe up the bank. Jason through his paddle to the side and we never went back to get it. We didn’t realize this until the race was over that we were missing his paddle. Fortunately for Jason, Greg drove over after the race and picked it up for him. Nothing like losing a $250 paddle. We didn’t know it at the time, but this was our teams last paddle. On the banks I quickly changed all my clothes and brushed my teeth. It’s a new day! In fact it was Valentines day and I had bought the guys some candy hearts that I gave them. Jim actually had a card for me as well. He hadn’t signed it, but I didn’t hold that against him, its the thought that counts.
Leg 12 was a bike. We rode out and were about 20 minutes from TA when Jason realized he forgot the clue booklet. He had been laying out the course with the maps and reading the book and forgot to put it back in the map case. He tried to convince us that we didn’t need it--sorry Jason, go back and get it. Once we get it we are back on track to the largest Magnolia tree I’ve ever seen. I only wish it would have been in bloom. I think sleep deprivation started to get Jim. This was a very easy point to pick up but he couldn’t figure it out. I was running though cockabur bushes and ended up with a million on my jacket. Eventually we rode off without getting it. On to the next point. The clue was southside depression. We looked and looked for it. Another team came up and they couldn’t find it either. During this time Jim realized how to find the first cp of this leg, so we went back for it and picked it up easily. Back to the next one and the team that was looking for it was gone. We searched and searched again, but couldn’t find it. Onto the next cp which was at an intersection going into a very large tree farm with incredibly sandy roads. We had three other teams with us at this point. We were all doing well. Jim had the nav and I was using my bike computer and yelling out where we were. There were so many roads that were not on the maps. It was a mess. The sand just zapped your legs. I told the guys that at 40 hours in I need to sleep for at least an hour. I wanted to sleep from 4:30pm to 5:30pm. Everyone agreed that was a good idea. We pulled over to take a break from the sand and eat. Jason was standing off to the side of the road straddling his bike, Jim and I were sitting on the ground. Another team was approaching us and one of the members called out to Jason, “douchbag get off the road”. WHAT?! Are you kidding me! Jim and I immediately start yelling at the guy and had I not been so tired I would have ran him down and pushed him off his bike. Another teammate came up to us and apologized profusely for the other one, stating he was in a lot of pain and not himself. To which our response was, who outhere is not in pain, but we don’t take it out on each other. While we appreciated the apology from the one teammate, it was and is really poor sportsmanship. We continued on for another hour and then pulled over to sleep at 4:30pm. We laid down in the sand and I immediately realized it was going to be too cold to really sleep. The cold sand zapped your body of any heat. We got up an hour later, all of us shaking. At least we got to escape the race for an hour. The biking in deep sand got us heated up again. We went out for the last two cps and could not find them. We attacked them over and over again from different points to no avail. It was dark by this point and all three of us were getting tired and wanting to sleep. We carried on to the next TA. Along the way we saw a bunch of bear tracks. Apparently Florida has brown bears. We also saw some bright lights in the sky that Jason and Jim tried to convince me that they were ufo’s. No, they werent. It was all in fun and we were laughing and joking around just like when Jason was a kid. I really enjoyed this section of the race, not that we didn’t find the cps. But I loved being with these two men that always bring me such joy and laughter. But it was a sad feeling as well because Christopher should have been there with us.
We finally get to the next TA at Farles. It was supposed to be a 13 mile trek to the next TA and along the way we were to get three cps. We had already discussed it and decided that 13 miles would be too long on foot for only 3 cps. So when we got there we told the volunteers that we were riding on to the next TA and skipping the three checkpoints along the way. We filled up with water and headed off. Jason was convinced that we were going to go through a town and find a McDonalds or a convenience store where we could buy “real” food. Jim and I laughed but because we will do anything for our kids we went the VERY long way around so we could go through this “town”. Along the way there was some brief bickering about who needed a tow and what speed we should be going. I can’t even remember why it mattered but to keep the peace I told them I needed a tow. Jason hooked me up and pulled me for the next 10 miles. When we got into the “town” we saw a convenience store with two drunks arguing in the parking lot. It was around midnight. We decided not to go in or get anywhere near these two. We sat at a stop sign waiting for the one drunk to drive off because we didn’t want him coming up behind us on the road. Sure enough, he pulls out and drives straight for us and wants to know what we are doing and then tells us we can go buy whatever we want in the store. Ok, thanks. He then pulls out and does a u turn in the middle of the road to tell us one more thing, which I can’t remember, and then speeds off. Just then a lady comes out of her double wide that we are parked in front of and wants to know what we are doing. Good Lord, lets just get out of here. We wish her a good night and ride off to Highland TA. With Jason still towing me I was not generating any body heat and started to shake violently. I had to unhook from him and get moving on my own to warm up. I was glad TA was not far.
We pull into Mud TA and told them we skipped the trekking section and just rode straight to them. No problems a few other teams had done the same. A trekking team came in and stated it had taken them 3.5 hours to get there and they only found one of the cps. Good call on our part. They had hot pasta & meatballs, a nice warm fire, and a very loud concert blaring out of Greg’s rv speakers. We had to practically yell at each other to have any conversation--which was funny, the three of us got a good laugh. We decided to take the rest of the night to sleep, about 3-4 hours. The next leg was an Orienteering course and the first place team took around 9 hours to sweep it. We knew this would be trouble at night, so we would hit it first light. We got the tent, sleeping pads, and bags and went as far down the road as we could to get away from the all night concert. Jim’s sleeping pad had a hole in it, but luckily we brought some pool floats. He and Jason slept on those and I slept on my sleeping pad. It was heaven. I got in my sleeping bag and was asleep in five minutes. We overslept through my alarm by an hour. We weren’t too concerned we still got up and going. We were on the O course by 7:30. Along the way we met a very nice couple Chris & Sonya. We talked with them and decided to hit a few points together. They were only staying on the O course until noon and then heading on. Jim, Jason, & Chris worked really well together on the nav. We hit point after point. Sonya and I chatted about kids and about Florida. It was nice to have a mental break from the race and just be a wife/mom for a few hours. Jim learned that Chris is a pilot and so he asked a million questions about it. Jim has always wanted his pilot's license. We parted ways around noon and we continued on wanting to hit five more cps before we left for the day. We continued doing well until we got to one trail that wasn’t there, but maybe it was there. The trails in the back of the O course were very faint. At some point Jim & Jason were looking at the map and compass checking the direction of the trail. We left and went 5k down the road when Jim realized he didn’t have the compass. Oh shit! It was 3:30pm. The shadows start getting long around 4:30 because of all the trees. Our spare compass was on one of the bikes. We’re in trouble. That’s enough to send me into hyper mode. I tell the guys to stay put and I’ll run the 5k back to where we were last. They decide to start walking the direction I was running so we wouldn’t be too separated. I make it to the last place we were and no compass. CRAP! I turn back around and start running back towards them. I find them after a few minutes and we decide we have to call it quits and get out of the forest on the main roads. We find the compass about 200 meters past where we had originally stopped. We had checked the map with the compass and then turned back. It must have fallen out of Jim’s pack on our way back. Relief! Except we had been out of water for hours. We had soup and boost, so we weren’t completely dehydrated, but we were getting close. We got a few more cp’s on our way out of the O course. I took a picture of us on the last cp on the O course, and I stated this would be the last cp we would ever punch, and it truly was the last cp we punched on this race. Jim & I had already decided that this race was our last race--we were retiring. We’ve been adventure racing almost 10 years and have done everything we have wanted to do. Back to the race: We decided that we would skip the next paddle section. It involved a very large lake paddle (and it was pretty windy) and it had no cp’s, but teams receive three points for completing the paddle. If we had chosen to do the paddle we would have realized that Jason’s paddle was missing and then we would have only had two paddlers--which would have been torture in the wind.
We told Greg that we were going to bike from Mud TA (the O course) straight to the finish line. We skipped the last paddle & 10k trek along the beach. Jason had suggested if we finished by midnight on Saturday could we go to Universal Studios and ride the rollercoasters on Sunday. What a great idea! Jim thought we were nuts, but was willing to go along. So now we had a new purpose--get to the finish line by midnight Saturday. It was around 5pm Saturday when we left for the finish line. I figured we would be in bed by 10pm, wrong. We had three cps to go and get. We rode, and rode, and rode until we got to the first one. We searched and searched and searched and gave up. It was another cold night and I was freezing. Most nights I wore: shorts, tights, wind pants, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, down jacket, waterproof jacket over that, hat and gloves. And I was still cold when we stopped. I was bonked out and cold so we stopped to eat. We rode down the road and I got some piece of metal in my tire. Jim fixed it with a plug. It took all of 1 minute. It was the only flat we had. We were riding along a pretty busy highway and got buzzed by a truck hauling a race car on a trailer. We figured he got black flagged at the racecourse and had to leave and was pissed, so he buzzed us. Probably not at all what happened but we had a good laugh about it. We hit speeds of 25mph on the road. Jim and Jason were hammering it and I was doing all I could do to hang on. I had to stop and eat. I was bonking out. We pulled over and ate. Not much further down the road Jim had to stop and put on more clothes. The entire bike leg home was an 85k. I never thought we were going to get to the finish line.
Once we started seeing city life again we talked about all the food we were going to eat. Jim had been carrying $20 on him so we could eat once we got back to civilization, but he left it at the last TA by accident. We decided it was better that we didn’t have the money anyway, because we would have overate and felt terrible and not want to ride the 85k home. Once we got into the city limits it still took a long time to get to the hotel. We were anxious to be finished. We crossed the finish line at 58 hours. Of that 58 hours we slept four. Out of the 25 teams that started we finished 16th. We would have needed 7 more cps to move into 15th place, and we would have had to finish in under 62 hours, which we wouldn’t have done. So in that respect, it was a perfect race for us.
I (Jim) have written some more technical stuff below about training and preparation.
Training - 12 weeks
How do you train for a 3-4 day adventure race? Good question! I’m sure every team has its own methods. Here is ours.
First off knowing Florida was relatively flat and that there was 200K of biking we knew we had to spend a lot of time on the bike seat to make it through this race. So from the very beginning we biked and we biked. Do 2-4 workouts during the week, at least one strength day in the gym (2 if you feel strong) and one long workout on the weekend. In the gym focus on legs, stair stepper, hamstrings, and core. For the first 4 weeks we did relatively short durations 1-2 hours 2-3 times a week during the week then with longer workouts on the weekends of 2-4 hours. We always combined running/walking either before or after sometimes before and after with each of these early workouts. Just building a base fitness level at this point. Its important to determine at this point if you are going to RUN or WALK this race. You might think if you are a runner that you are trained to walk - think again - completely different set of muscles. We had determined that we where going to walk the trekking legs. Our goal was to finish mid pack - which we did. If you are going to run this race - then do all running before and/or after your workouts. For the rest of this report I will use “trekking” in place of run/walk. If you are going to walk push your pace to at least a 20 min mile for ALL your workouts. For example if you planned to do a 3 hour workout on Saturday - it would go like this. 2 hours of biking with 1 hour of trekking. Always do your work outs in the EXACT clothing you are going to race in - including the shoes. Blisters are a BIG issue - so start toughening up your feet early so by race day you wont have any issues. There are several 4-8 hour treks in this race.
The next 4 weeks we pushed harder. Wear your packs starting now. Slowly increase the weight load form 8 lbs to 15 lbs over the next 6 weeks. Wear you pack on EVERY workout. If you dont - come race day your legs are going to not like you for not preparing them for the extra weight - and you will feel it if you dont train with weight now. We use store bought bags of rice and beans in our packs for weight. Eventually we put gear and clothing in them also to get more weight and simulate the bulk. Remember your training now should mimic race conditions - so there are no surprises during the race. At this point during the week workouts were 1-3 hours minimum 2-3 days per week. We included speed intervals on the bikes once per week. Basically 5 min warm up, 30 secs fast spin (dont bounce on your seat) 30 secs slow - do that 5 times, next 3 min fast spin, then 3 min slow (recover) do this 3 times. These workouts do two things, increase aerobic capacity and train fast twitch muscles (which you need for SPEED). Your pace should be all out spinning without bouncing on your seat - NEVER PUSH A GEAR - meaning you should not feel like you're climbing a hill. Do this once a week - if you're in your 20’s or 30’s you could get away with doing this twice a week.
On the same day you do your bike speed intervals - do some trekking hill repeats. Find a hill you can trek up and down on. For 30 minutes trek fast for 2 min - up and down - then slow for 30 seconds - do this for 30 minutes. You can adjust the time intervals based on your fitness level.
Your long workouts on the weekends should be 3-8 hours. Example trek 1 hour, bike 4 hours, trek 2 hours, bike 1 hour. Any combination works - anything that keeps you from boredom. We also included local endurance events as part of our weekend long workouts. We did a 60 mile bike race on gravel roads and single track then trekked for an hour afterwards - wearing our packs of course. Anything to get the hours in. Its all about the hours.
Your during the week rides are just about getting you on the bike and feet on the ground, with the exception of the bike intervals, hill workouts, and the gym. So don't over do it. Strength and speed come from recovery. Again strength and speed come from recovery. If you notice you are not sleeping well at night this is a clear sign of overtraining - which most of us will always do. So if that happens take a few days off and then start working out again at little slower pace.
8 weeks out from the race start plan 3 long weekend workout spaced two weeks apart. Don't do one of these workouts within 2 weeks of race start. A 8 hour, a 12 hour, and a 24 hour. You could also do a 12,24,36. These workouts will be mini mach adventure races you set up yourself OR maybe there are some local races you can actually do. The point of these races is test gear, food, clothing, lights, compatibility, ect. For an 8 hour event start in the morning and go for 8 hours switching between trekking, biking, and paddling(if you want to paddle) we paddle for a total of 2 hours leading up to this race and that was just to get the logistics of the gear situated and who was going to sit where in the canoe. We use carbon fiber Zav single blades to paddle with - they are SUPER light. Jason comes from a Texas Water Safari background - a 400 mile paddling race. We where the only team with single blades and where faster than half the field and never trained. For a 12 hour - start on a Friday or saturday evening and go all night to get the feel of sleep deprivation. Finish the next morning like nothing happened and go about your day - or sleep! For a 24 or 36 hour workout start in the morning and at night use your sleeping gear to test it out. An example of one of these workouts would be: Trek 1 hour, bike 3 hours, paddle 1 hour, trek for 2 hours, bike for 6 hours, ect - just keep switching it up to make it as interesting as possible. We would do these workouts at out local state parks. Kinda like camping - but we were never at the campsite - we used it as a TA.
The last 4 weeks keep your weekly workouts the same as the 2nd four weeks. Make your long workouts on the weekends 6-8 hours. 2 weeks prior to the race start tapering down the intensity of your workouts. Keep the frequency up 2-4 workouts during the week, a longer workout on the weekend before the race, but less intensity - a recovery type workout. The week of the race just do short 30 -45 minute workouts with some short burst of intensity - but nothing that will make you sore the next day. Then go RACE!
A note about bike training - Jason did ALL his during the week workouts in a spin class - in weeks 4-8 he did two a day - one morning - one evening. Whatever works.
A mountain bike with a front fork will suffice. Its what you put on your bike that's important. Michele has done an Ironman on a road bike with aero bars. Sooooooo why not put them on a mountain bike? So we did and what a difference it made. 2-4 mph hour faster with the same or less effort. They take some getting use to - the bending over part that is. When first installed you feel a bit uncomfortable in the aero position. So ride a bit upright then in the aero - so this on each ride and in no time you will ONLY be riding in your aero position. Obviously this is for road and jeep road riding not single track. There was plenty of road riding in this race for it to be a worthwhile addition. Dont waste your money on the carbon fiber ones either - they almost the same as the aluminum ones. The other change you need to make in your bike is the tires. This is as or more important than the aero bars. Get a light weight tire that has a low rolling resistance - this race does not require a true mountain bike tire. They are heavy and slow. I have the Schwalbe Thunder Burt - 400 gms, Michele had the lightest mtb tire on the planet Schwable Furious Freds - 310 gms. I used the Fred's for a while and got too many flats - I weigh 185 - they are better suited for lighter riders. We have used these tires for hundreds of miles and only an occasional flat. For the speed you gain - its well worth it. There is also a Specialized tire that is about 400 gms that really good too called - Renegade (don't get the control its heavier). We also run tubeless with Stans. It makes for fixing a flat a lot easier than with a tube. Weight wise its about a wash. 3 scoops of stans is about the weight of a good lite tube, but you get the flat protection of stans. We also use PLUGS. Thats right rubber plugs for bike tires. The same principle as a tire plug, except they are alot smaller. Same principle stick the rubber plug in the hole - provided stans has not already stopped the leak - and off you go. You are often not stopped for longer than a minute or two at the most. Incredible! Amazon - Innovations Tubless Tire Repair Kit. Bike computer a must have of course - set it on KM
There are alot of light options out there - cheap and expensive - and we have used alot of them. We have settled on these two - one for trekking one for biking. On the bike we use Fenix BT20 750 Lumens, it has 4 settings and runs forever on 4 CR123. Mounts nice and is very durable - $100 on Amazon - this is the last light you will ever need for your bike. For trekking we use Fenix PD32 with the Fenix flashlight headband - on amazon also - both for about $100. They too use CR123. See a pattern here - all the lights use the same battery. So buy a box on - you guessed it - Amazon and you are set to race for days and days or maybe nights and nights. I have used nite rider and the other rechargeables - they are HEAVY and unless you invest a fortune in spare batteries you wont make it to the end of the race with lights. We used only 6 batteries per person for the entire race. You can buy them on Amazon for less in packs of 40. The ones at Walgreens are EXPENSIVE. Same battery.
I personally wear hiking shorts - the entire race - the kind with the zip off legs - academy sells them pretty cheap. Michele wears those also when trekking and tri-shorts when biking. Jason wore Hammer nutrition tri shorts and tights the entire race. The zip off pants legs lets you go from day to night without a full clothes change. Depending on weather - it got down to 32 both nights. So it was cold. We all had to put tights on a some point. Layer your clothing, its warm in the day and cold at night. From 70-30.
Is a big topic - basically we try to eat as natural of a product as possible. LaraBars (all natural), Homemade Rice balls from “Feed Zone Portables” book. We also make our own date based balls - dates, chocolate, nuts and whatever else you want to put in them - they don't need refrigeration and are very good. Look them up. We also carried flour tortillas and spread peanut butter and honey on them from little packets. We also “brought” freeze fried foods - Mountain house brand - and a jet boil - but never had the time to eat them. Another staple if mine is BACON. It keeps well and taste great. We made up 3 one gallon bags of food labeled day 1, day2, day3 and put about 3000 calories worth of food in each bag. Those went in our bins. It makes it easier to grab food as you are racing. We also used the usual gels and gu’s every now and then. We also take Glutamine, BCAA’s, Vitamin C, Multi Vitamin, and an occasional 5 hour energy (usually at night)
There is always the debate of sleep, how much, how long, how often. Our experience says a little each night is best. We didn't sleep the first night and we paid for it the next day. We ended up sleeping right at dusk for about an hour which gave us alot of energy. We have done other multi day races and sleeping was always are part of our race. Best to try and sleep so that when you wake up the sun is coming up. The sun awakens you bodys natural energy system. So sleep 1-2 hours per night - every night. You will be glad you did.
PANGEA ADVENTURE RACING
Pangea Adventure Racing is the #1 producer of adventure races in Florida. We’re not just about high quality races, we’re about adventure—like navigating historic coastal waterways to cycling through the mud to ziplining across the treetops in the moonlight. We offer an easy crossover for mountain bikers, cyclists, runners, hikers, triathletes, water sport enthusiasts and even gym-goers looking for a little outdoor adventure.