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Pangea
Posts: 21
April 7, 2014
10:40pm
Jeannette from Mojitos on Monday sent in a race report from the 2014 Sea 2 Sea AR. Enjoy...

Sea 2 Sea AR - From a First-Timer's Perspective

Team Mojitos on Monday : Jim Carr, Jeanette Ciesla, Erik Wise

Race time - 69 hours 15 minutes
My best estimates:
Total Paddle distance, 4 legs ~ 28 miles
Trek distance ~40 miles
Bike distance ~ 200 miles
Sleep time < 3 hours

When Erik asked me if I wanted to do Sea2Sea this year, I told him he was crazy for even suggesting such a thing, there was no way I was going to torture myself for 3 days. 30 hours was my max. Then he signed me up anyway...

I had a few 30 hour races under my belt, but this was my first attempt at a multi-day event. I was a slightly nervous to say the least and ready to drop out all the way up until race day. All I could think was that there was no way I was going to be able to keep up with Erik and Jim (they are superstars on bikes). Lucky for me Erik had devised a clever towing contraption that helped us keep pace for a lot of the race and I was in good hands with two experienced long racers.

We weren't sure where the race would start only the finish @ Ormond Beach. In the morning we all loaded up and were bused across state to Inglis. The race started out well, with a couple of beautiful paddles along the Withlacoochee & spring fed Rainbow Rivers with some trekking & biking in between.

After dark we reached the Ross TA. I really enjoyed riding Santos at night and was secretly hoping we would be routed through ErnNBurn, but Shangri-La was fun too. A lot of teams had trouble with the vent CP but Jim knew exactly where it was. Good for us, because we had some trouble locating the infamous plow. After searching for 45 minutes we had a "shit or get off the pot" moment and decided to move on without it.

We dropped off bikes and continued on foot to the Silver River. On our way out to the trek there was a note on the table warning that an upcoming CP was surrounded by water - none of us wanted cold wet feet (temps were near freezing at this point), so we decided to skip it. I think next time it would be wise to carry a couple trash bags for those situations. The hour before sunrise was the most tired I felt the entire race. I never knew it was possible to doze off while walking - I bet we looked like we just shut down the bar, stumbling around, but once the sun rose all energy was back.

We reached the Silver river at sunrise & it was beautiful with the mist rising from the river. Along the way Jim pointed out the Tarzan monkeys which were quietly watching us from the trees.

Later down the river we missed our third CP - the canal. It looked obvious on the map (I was navigating), but by the time I was certain we overshot we decided save time & skip it. I keep telling myself it wasn't really there and was wrong on the map ;)

Then we were off to the Ocala National Forest ATV trails - YAY. I love walking bikes through sand.

By the time we made it to Alexander Springs TA my feet were starting to hurt. I thought it was blisters, but I had taped my feet and it was actually cutting into my skin as my feet swelled. Mental note - if taping feet, be sure to re-tape during the race. We had an out & back paddle before we could get to our gear. It was a beautiful but COLD full moon Valentines day midnight paddle (xoxo --> Erik). Here is were I experienced my first hallucinations - cartoon gator heads in the lily pads.

Then we "slept" for a few hours, but it was more like tossing & turning until sunrise.

The next section was a long orienteering course and I knew Jim could easily clear it, but he was worried about not having enough drinking water. I didn't care if I had to drink from a sinkhole or walk barefoot, but there was no way we were missing any points in sunny Ocala National Forest. I wish I had the same enthusiasm at the start of the race... We did get them all and ended up posting the best time - probably because some teams slept here.

Then we could either bike home or bike to an extra credit paddle along Lake Woodruff & the St. Johns. I had never been so happy to get out of sneakers and into bike shoes - too bad my feet were too fat to fit in them.

There was a note on the table warning us of high winds & waves in the lake and I was nervous, but at least we had super paddler Jim in the back of the boat. It was around midnight when we hit the lake and the winds had died down some. We were dead set on a gator in front of us which didn't' seem to want to move. It stayed motionless on top of the water watching us and finally submerged when we were on top of it. So, with the gator & waves it was a bit scary. The rest of the paddle was lovely and I really appreciated the warm heaters after all the cold night paddles - Thank you Pangea!

After that we swerved our way to the finish. We ran into TeamHalfwayThere at CP49. We had both been looking for a while and they were kind enough to point us in the right direction, saving us some time. Then it was off to the finish line. I tried to grab tow so we could hammer out the last bike section, but decided against it. Sleep-biking and tow ropes don't mix!
It was a perfect sunrise ending on the beach...

We met up with TeamHalfwayThere again and chatted with them for a while on our way to the finish. We played leap frog most of the race and I was glad to hear they cleared it.

My overall impression of the race was great. There were some kinks in the logistics, none of which affected us much.We ended up a respectable 7th out or 24 teams - way better than I was expecting. I was grateful to hold the map a few times and I think Jim did a great job of showing us where we were & communicating his plans. Erik did the job of 3 people - towing, carrying extra gear, and running the punch. With a near flawless navigator and a mega-mule anything is possible!

Things to improve on: I need to get faster on the bike. Quicker transitions - we spent 6+ hours at Alex TA and the most sleep any of us got was less than 3 hours due to the cold & noise. Maybe it's better to continue on during the cold nights and sleep on the course when it's warmer.

I was glad to see our fellow Florida team Super Frogs finish strong and of course kudos to Hunter. I felt the course was well designed and I especially enjoyed the spring fed river paddles. AND the food at the end was Superb!
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