August 7, 2012
NEW CASTLE, VA -- Team Pangea headed north to take second place overall at the 24 hour Odyssey One Day Adventure Race earning an automatic berth in this year's USARA Adventure Racing National Championship on October 11-13, 2012 in the Catskill Mountain region of New York.
The team, comprised of Jeff Leininger, Wanda Timmons, and Jim Gorton, became the second squad from Florida to qualify for USARA championship. Team Florida Xtreme previously qualified by placing second in our 72 hour Sunshine Sea to Sea AR in February of this year.
We are very proud of the team and are continually impressed with their performances. This was an awesome showing for Team Pangea. The rest of this article is written from their perspective. Again great job guys.
Wilderness Adventure at Eagles Landing hosted the Odyssey One Day Adventure Race. The facility is a group of rustic lodges from which a myriad of outdoor activities are offered; including whitewater paddling, climbing, zip lines, MTB biking and wilderness survival experiences. The adjacent Jefferson National Forest was utilized extensively throughout the race.
Many of the Elite teams were housed together in an on-site lodge the night before the race, which created an Olympic village feel. Teams commingled in the common room for much of the evening while preparing for the race, which provided time to make new friends, compare gear, and swap stories of races gone by.
Check in was late Friday night, and teams were provided with a large poster sized map with the 8 mandatory CPs preplotted. The remainder of the 25 optional CPs were left to us to be plotted by the supplied UTM coordinates.
The rules stated that only the mandatory CPs had to be collected in order, otherwise there were no sequential specifications on the optional ones. We were told in the prerace meeting that the horseshoe rapids two thirds of the way into the paddle were fairly manky and should be addressed in the daylight hours. We estimated when we had to be in the water to get past those rapids and wrote the requisite times of departure from each leg directly on the map.
The opening leg was a trek with two mandatory CPs and ten optional CPs. Many teams, concerned with getting past the Class II rapids in the daylight, opted to get just the two mandatory CPs and hopefully get back at the end of the race to find some of them if time allowed. Our strategy was to collect the CPs during the daylight hours because we thought that trekking at the end of the race in the dark would be infinitely more difficult. We utilized the maximum amount of our estimated time to collect as many as possible, then moved on to the first bike phase.
The first bike leg began with fording a creek while carrying the bikes over our heads. The cold clear water was a welcome change from our tepid tannin-toned water in Florida. We then biked on jeep roads over rolling terrain for the better part of 3-4 hours to the canoe launch.
At the launch we were outfitted with a 16’ canoe and a hybrid SOT whitewater kayak. The race rules dictated that we had to transport our bikes in the boats, so we removed the front tires and stowed them on the back of the kayak. The three bikes were loaded into the canoe, and we strapped them down to prevent us from losing them in the event of capsizing. Legroom was limited, and our regal royalex canoe was transformed into a tippy tug with an uneven load.
The kayak's handling was a mixed bag, very responsive in the rapids, but poor tracking in the slow-moving flat sections. If we had the option to do it over, two canoes may have performed better with the bikes riding shotgun in the solo canoe. We paddled approximately 6 miles through several class I rapids to the second trek section.
The second trek section included four CPs, none of which were mandatory. Soon after arriving, we passed a team leaving this section and learned the disconcerting news that they, and several other teams, had spent hours on this leg without finding a single CP. Unabashed, we forged ahead and found two of them before returning to the boats approximately an hour past the drop dead time that we had calculated to get through the horseshoe rapids in the daylight.
Back in the boats, we paddled for hours without seeing any other teams. We passed numerous bass fishing locals and it appeared that most of them were having good luck with the small mouth. The locals were friendly and we were offered many beers during the trip. Sadly, we did not partake in the frivolity, preferring instead to become inebriated with the stunningly beautiful environment surrounding us.
Dusk came and went and soon after we arrived at the horseshoe rapids while it was still marginally light enough to see. We successfully maneuvered the challenging rapids, then full dark set in with over five miles and several rapids left to paddle. Our team paddled in the dark the rest of the way because of the fog of flying insects that obscured our headlamps.
Class II rapids sound like raging waterfalls when you approach them blind. We made it through the rest of the section in the dark, but were the third from last team to arrive at the take out. We later learned that many teams, including the eventual winners, completely skipped the second trek section to ensure that they made it through the entire paddle in the daylight.
The second bike leg was predominantly on paved roads with significant elevation gain. There were no CPs, it was just a means to get the 20 miles to the next trek section. The bikes all exhibited new creaks and groans from the rough portage, certainly worse for the wear from their fantastic voyage.
We were one of the last teams to arrive at the final trek leg but were encouraged to find out that the top teams were still on this leg after 5+ hours. We knew then that our gamble on the second trek had paid off, and that we were behind on time but up on CPs.
We quickly collected two CPs before departing for the final eight-mile bike leg back to the Main TA. There was a climb of over 800 feet to start this leg, but the screaming downhill on paved roads at speeds in excess of 25 MPH made for an exhilarating end to the race.
All of the teams that competed in the race completed it by collecting at least the minimum eight mandatory CPs. Odyssey AR put on a well-managed race in a spectacular setting. The next race designed by Odyssey AR is the Checkpoint Tracker National Championship Adventure Race September 29, 2012 in Oak Hill, WV.
Thanks to everyone for a great time and we'll see you out there racing.