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ErikW
Posts: 7
August 31, 2011
12:35am
Utility Mutant 2011 Nocturnal Challenge Race Report (moral victory)

The race began at 1800, earlier that day the team attended Junos son’s sixth b-day party at DeLeon Springs. Junos, my daughter and I left around 1330 to head to my house to get ready then to his house to pick up his truck and off we went for Hollapaw, arriving right at 1530 for check in. After retrieving our maps we headed for Junos’ truck (A/C) to plan our elite map routes.
So begins an 1800 start. Our strategy is to stay behind upper mid pack. After a cluster situation right out of the start we find ourselves following mass confusion we all quickly realize that we were supposed to take the second right. We continue going around a loop and passing teams as they turned around. We ended up jostling between second and third following Green Paw and the ever alluring Nature Calls. Odyssey was also right there taking spots with FLX 2. We were careful not to overdo it in the beginning as we did in the FL Sunshine.
After easily getting CP’s 1, 2, & 3 on the way to the boat, we were now racing with FLX 2. While Green Paw had turned it up and sped ahead. We arrived at the boats and notice FLX 2 was heading for CP6 first while this fit to be tied duo went for CP 4, 5, and then 6. We hit every CP in a successful endeavor. After arriving at CP 6 we shot or bearing toward CP 7, nailed it. We returned and mastered CP 8. As soon as I punched CP 8 the cockiness, overconfidence, or just plain stupidity set in and we rushed to what we thought was the canoe and CP 6. Lesson number one, when its dusk and you are in the middle of a pretty thick swamp, take your time and KNOW that you are heading in the correct direction. We veered off course heading back to CP6 but thankfully we spotted CP 7. Lesson number 2, if you are “lost” and happened to find a place you have already been, take your time and KNOW that you are heading in the correct direction. However we are idiots and like foiling every chance we get at finishing a race without error. We half ass shot a reverse bearing and ended up going in circles. For those who were there, also realize a storm was on the horizon and it was dusk by now. We ended up criss-crossing the area for an hour wading through what we hoped was the main channel desperately hoping to find CP6 and our boat. Once we decided we were not going to be able to locate our boat we shot a bearing in the general direction of the Boat TA and started bushwhacking, thankfully it was a night race and when we came with a half of a kilometer of the boat TA, we spotted lights. Alas we reach the Boat TA and discuss with Greg that we would like to Venture out with yet another boat back to CP 6. Admiring that we have not fallen all the way to the back, we tow our bad luck omen to the Boat TA and begin our paddle challenge. We ended with the second fastest time (the first of the morale victories).
Off to the foot section, realizing we had sh*t the bed for this race we throttled down our eagerness (slowed down). We now have our moral victories slogan and will try to tackle CP 12 by shooting a north bearing at trail intersection. We see lights inside the cypress dome that we are heading for. We wind up running into Team Odyssey; they feel that the dome they were looking in and we were heading to is not the location of the CP. Junos makes the call that we are right and so we head toward it, they however head in another direction. After our 500 meter bushwhack we discover CP 12 and score another moral victory. We then decide to head due east to intercept the FL Trail bushwhacking through a saw palmetto jungle along the way. It was then when I regretted wearing shorts. Once we got on the FL Trail we quickly pick off CP’s 9, 10, and 11, and the head back to get 13. We end up being one of the last teams to arrive back at the Boat TA. However we have cleared the course so far and we are both feeling pretty good and in good spirits.
The three bike CPs toward the main TA were relatively easy. We wound up battling (not really) CP Bound along the way back to the main TA. After getting CP14 Junos started having issues with one of his bike cleats (it broke off) which slowed our progress but we pushed through. We were torching along the bike when I realized we had passed CP16 by about a kilometer and thus we usurped the lead we had put on CP Bound. We decided that clearing the Elite Course was a priority so we headed back to get it, by now it was Sport Team crazy on the course. As we were punching CP16 we had a few sport teams following us assuming we were punching SCP13. Hopefully it will be a lesson for them to always check the number.
From there we thought the zip was mandatory and decided to do it. Nothing exciting happened after that. We cleared the Sport Trek fairly easily (another moral victory) we decided at this point we were done because Junos didn’t feel like dealing with the broken cleat so we turned in our punch at 11hr and 30min and started packing up our stuff. Congrats to Green Paw who mastered the course, Nature Calls (Lori, Manny and Jason) who ran second and cleared the course, FLX 2 and fellow UCF Alumni AR Militia who took third. We wish we could have been more competition but we have to live up to our new roles as scourges of success.

P.S. to the sport team that urinated right by the CP, please wait until you get out on the trail a ways.
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