Pangea Adventure Racing traveled to the Town of Nocatee and its surrounding natural lands for the third year in a row in 2012. Beautiful weather prevailed, although a constant intense wind did up the challenge.
In the theme of the season, last year's event had Elite teams carry stuffed bunnies of different sizes for the duration of the event or risk a penalty point. All teams this year, Sport and Elite, were required to carry a simple everyday egg. If the teams finished the race with their egg unbroken, they received a final point. If a team did happen to crack their egg, they could make up the point by running an additional 600 meters to one more CP.
The twelve-hour Elite race started at 06:00 with a bike ride toward the boats into Guana River WMA. From there, teams had the option to retrieve (5) Bike and (5) Paddle controls in any order they wanted. Also, Paddle CPs could be visited on bike if desired.
While Lake Ponte Vedra did offer some protection, the ESE wind was begining to roar and did make paddling conditions pretty challenging.
Some teams attempted to collect the Paddle CPs on bike and were not rewarded for their long journey. Primal Instinct
on the other hand (the eventual winners), collected only one Paddle CP in the water and remainder on bike. This worked out for them and placed the team ahead of their closest competitors. So as you can see there was a lot of in-race strategy going on during this race with a lot of mixed results.
Primal Instinct has won two races in a row!
After completing the Paddle/Bike section, teams had a Trek course in Guana with six (6) CPs. Some teams chose longer, cleaner routes while others chose to bushwhack the shorter, dirtier ones. It is safe to say the mud was unavoidable with many teams reporting the fun they had getting waist deep in it.
Following the Trek section, it was back to the Main TA where teams received their Bike & Bearing course punch cards. This portion of the course was all within the boundaries of the Town of Nocatee.
This final portion of the course had many options. A Trek course, Bearing course and a many Bike CPs dispersed in between. Teams could complete this portion in any order. With many teams falling off the pace early and staying on the initial foot section to in a attempt to clear course, only one team (Primal Instinct) completed this entire section.
The five-hour Sport race started at 13:00 with teams being spilt evenly on foot, boat and bike. The Trek and Paddle sections required teams to bike to a remote bike-drop along paved roads and trails to complete these segments before returning to the Main TA. The Sport race was all contained within the Town of Nocatee utilizing much of the preserved natural lands which is their signature.
The Sport Trek required teams to navigate selected trails to (5) CPs with a few being well off trail and required more precise orienteering. The (5) Bike CPs were predominantly along the hard packed, grass covered, and limited single-track trails. The (4) Paddle CPs were along the intercoastal waterway with the wind proving to be very challenging for those with limited paddling skills.
When talking with many teams following the event, all their adventure stories were shared. Primal Instinct
stated the race was "awesome with many choices and the mud was great." Caroline
mentioned this was the first race she "felt like puking" which is a testament to how hard they pushed to secure the victory.
Fides et Persevero
said they took a "left turn at Albuquerque" in the Sport race and that seriously affected their placement. All the other great stories were told post race as everyone was tired, happy, and sociable.
And we also like to mention a young team named Flat Tires
, competing at ages 16, 17, & 21, cleared the Sport paddle despite the boat turning wind. We have a feeling everyone, even the teams who didn't clear the whole thing, got a serious paddling lesson that day.
But the big story of the day came from Rub Some Dirt On It
. These guys have been racing Elite for a while now and were all pumped up for the 12 hour challenge. Less than twenty minutes in, however, their teammate Matt
hit a tough spot in the dark and crashed off his bike breaking his collar bone. After taking him to his home hospital, the boys got the bright idea (and Matt's blessing) to come back for the Sport race. They made it back in time and placed second.
With many prizes available for awards & raffle, big thanks to Bikes Direct
for donating that and a Beach Cruiser
for the raffle grand prize.