Odyssey AR first to cross state at 2012 Sunshine Sea 2 Sea

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(This is part one of a series looking back at the 2012 Sunshine Sea 2 Sea AR)
 
FLORIDA -- Odyssey Adventure Racing - ImOnPoint.org mastered the sunshine once again by winning Pangea Adventure Racing's first ever three-day Sea 2 Sea AR in just over 50 hours.
 
In much the same way that they won the inagural 30 hour Sunshine in 2011, Odyssey methodically pulled away from the competition with machine-like consistency.
 
The 2012 Sunshine Sea 2 Sea AR was Pangea's first race across the state and at some points during the event they had trouble keeping up with the eventual winners.
 
"They were moving so quickly through the course," said Race Director Greg Owens. "They definitely made my job harder at times."
 
Because Pangea provided all support for the event, it was their responsibility to get a team's gear to the next transition area on time which proved difficult once separation set in.
 
Odyssey Adventure Racing biking at the 2012 Sunshine Sea 2 Sea AR"Approaching the Rodman TA, Odyssey and Florida Xtreme (the eventual second place finishers) had really separated themselves," Owens said. "After that Odyssey just took off. It was impressive to watch but we had to call on all our resources to keep up."
 
The three racers that made up Odyssey's team were (Captain) Shane Hagerman, (Biker) Jennifer Moos, and (Navigator) Andy Bacon. Moos and Bacon had raced with Pangea before, but for Hagerman this was a first.
 
"When we heard Pangea was going to produce this event we were very excited," said Hagerman. "We certainly weren't let down. The weather was nearly perfect; the course was fast, interesting and well thought out; and the scenery was beautiful."
 
It wasn't all perfect though. Right off the bat it looked like it would all fall apart when it was discovered that CP 1 on the paddle had been misplaced which eventually lead to a modified restart.
 
"Having started over 100 adventure races, I had never pondered a restart," Owens said. "That really hurt my confidence early on but the racers regrouped and really stayed in high spirits."
 
"To be honest, we were upset for about three minutes," said Bacon of the restart. "Then we said heck with it. Everyone was in the same situation we were in, and it's a very long race."
 
Odyssey Adventure Racing paddling at the 2012 Sunshine Sea 2 Sea AR "Since I don't live anywhere near these guys and racing is the only time we all get to paddle together, I didn't mind," Moos said. "It was a beautiful day. Wish I was out there right now doing an extra paddle."
 
 
With the restart in the rear view, the rest of the event went off without a hitch. And while teams like Florida Xtreme, Endeavor Racing, and Layer 3 hung with them, eventually Odyssey just pulled away.
 
"Andy's navigation was stellar and I guarantee Jen was the strongest biker in the race," said Hagerman. "All told, in a race of this magnitude and complexity we didn't have any issues!"
 
Bacon, who notes "variety and surprise" as what he likes most about adventure racing, really liked the 'navigation on the go' system Pangea utilized.
 
"We got the maps for the next section only after we completed the previous leg of the course.," Bacon said. "As the navigator this was particularly challenging because it often required me to route plan on the fly. We got a good night's sleep and said...well, I guess we see the course tomorrow when it starts!"
 
That good night's sleep paid off because the team was able to clear the course in just over 50 hours with only 35 minutes of shuteye throughout.
 
"On a long 100K bike leg late in the second night we started to get very sleepy and were all having trouble focusing," Bacon recalled. "We decided to stop and lay down for five minutes along an empty stretch of road. We knew that we would wake up cold and that would get us moving again. Five short minutes later, we woke up shivering, hopped back on the bikes and pedaled away."
 
Odyssey Adventure Racing transitioning at the 2012 Sunshine Sea 2 Sea AR Waking up cold wasn't the only tactic they used to keep going. Toeing the line the between feeling cold and warm also helped.
 
"To combat the tiredness (sleepiness) during the race, we used a combination of wearing just enough clothes to keep us warm enough at night when we were moving, but little enough that we got cold very fast whenever we stopped," Bacon continued. "This kept us moving...always."
 
In a pre race interview, Hagerman said that adventure racing was like a snapshot of life because so many ups and downs are compressed in a very short timeframe. Here he recounts one of his favorite snapshots from this race during one of those sleepy moments:
About 15km into the long bike ride, we did a map check and we were exactly where we had been when we started the leg. We told Andy he had made a big loop - same gas station, same sidewalk, same bench where some locals had acted silly, definitely the same place. Andy looks around, looks a bit befuddled, and then starts problem solving. "We went North to here, took a right..." Thankfully, we were wrong. Although everything looked the same, it wasn't. We were exactly where Andy wanted us to be. The look on his face was unforgettable, his approach to solving the problem was priceless.
Moos, who listed sleep deprivation as what she likes least about adventure racing, wasn't quite ready to hit the sack as soon as they finished. She stayed awake into the morning hours still cheering teams on.
 
"I felt like a little fireball, it was awesome!" she said of her post race activity. "The rest of the teams were still out there pushing just as hard, so I went back out to the FAM TA to cheer ‘em on and help out. I’d never been in a position to do that before and I had a blast with everyone!"
 
But a fireball must extinguish at some point and eventually she did give in to the sleep monsters while still out at the transition area.
 
"I finally passed out for few hours in the early am next to the fire in the back of the U-Haul truck," she said. "It was great. I was much happier there than a hotel bed."
 
All told, the event rebounded from a rough start to be a special couple days for so many people involved.
 
"Pangea puts on great events and I'll be making southern trips for I hope years to come," Bacon said. "One thing that I really appreciate is the sense of community that the Pangea staff and volunteers create at the events. That sense of community is really what adventure racing is all about."
 
And while Pangea had trouble keeping up with the team's pace, apparently even their family does as well.
 
"My wife came for the finish," Hagerman said. "Of note, she arrived less than ten minutes after we finished"
 
Pangea Adventure Racing: Odyssey Adventure Racing winners of the 2012 Sea 2 Sea AR
Odyssey Adventure Racing - ImOnPoint.org winners of the 2012 Sunshine Sea 2 Sea AR
 
Stay tuned for part two of our series where we highlight some more stories from the 2012 Sunshine Sea 2 Sea...

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