Trinidad and Tobago survive Frosty Florida from Sea to Sea

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The Sunshine State is known for it’s hot days and muggy nights but that doesn’t always hold true and at the 2013 Sea 2 Sea AR a couple of guys from Trinidad and Tobago found that out the hard way.
 
"Weather was definitely our biggest problem and was a major factor in the race," an understatement said by Trinidad and Tobago team member Jason Costelloe.
 
Expecting warm Florida weather, he packed one long sleeve cycling shirt and one waterproof jacket to go along with the cycling pants he was wearing.
 
"My girlfriend did warn me that temperatures may drop a little during the race," Costelloe continued. "But as most stubborn men, I didn't take her advice seriously."
 
His teammate Ryan Mendes wasn't much better off.
 
"The weather really surprised me," he said. "Honestly I didn't even check the forecast and I was just going off of my experience racing in Florida. But in hindsight the racing I did was in the summer, so shame on me."
 

 
The two originally met at a race Mendes was putting on called the Trinidad Coast 2 Coast; a multisport race spanning two days and five stages of running, cycling, and kayaking.
 
"The first time he (Costelloe) did it it took him all day," Mendes recalled. "The next year he was up in the front with the pros until his nutrition failed him on the final paddle leg and he dropped out. Since then he has a vengeance to excel in adventure sport."
 
Costelloe described his improvement.
 
"When I first started training with Ryan I was barely able to keep up with him and would always lag behind and sometimes, even have to pull off the trail /road and have a quick vomit or sleep," he recalled. "But now I am able to keep up to his standards and both of us are very evenly matched and work very well together."
 
While his endurance is now at a very high level, adventure racing is still a new thing to him.
 
"Previous to this the only other adventure race that I competed in was in Trinidad where it was 3-5 hours, basic map reading, and in a location where you are familiar with the surrounding areas," he said. "So this was truly an experience and very challenging when it came to navigation."
 
Mendes, on the other hand, has experience in many multi-day adventure races internationally including competing in the original Florida Coast to Coast AR twice put on by Adventurous Concepts.
 
"I like adventure racing and the places you see, but I get a little frustrated with the navigation," he said.
 

 
The team knew pretty quickly that the elements were going to give them trouble. The volunteers in charge of team gear also quickly realized that the guys were traveling noticeably lighter than anyone else.
 
Eventually, their main focus was just getting to the finish line. By the second day they were the first ones to arrive at every new transition area ready to warm up or keep moving.
 
"We really needed to finish on Saturday night because we couldn't take another cold night out there with our limited clothes," Mendes recalled.
 
"On the second night going into the third day, I was generously given two pairs of long pants from a volunteer that made the world of difference to me," Costelloe said. "I guess he saw me come into the transition, sit down in front of the fire and shiver for 10 minutes straight while falling asleep. I was literally freezing for the first two days but warmed up in the third with the aid of the long pants."
 
To their credit, the guys got to the end (first) in over 55 hours on their own power and got nearly half of all the CPs.
 
"The last 16 miles into the finish was probably the worst part of the race and the worst ride of my life as we got hit with serious head winds, cold temperatures, and my body was just exhausted," Costelloe said. "But it also felt great to have a hot shower after, eat a meal in a warm restaurant while sipping a beer and still see teams riding towards the finish line."
 

 
Mendes said the highlights of the race were the long cycling sections where they hammered and closed some gaps, and also on the last paddle section where they went at a really good pace and found the controls with relative ease.
 
"The lows were losing all the time on the foot orienteering sections though," he said. "The nav was way hard for us as we don't have any maps in Trinidad that even resemble a good orienteering map, and thus we can't really practice that skill."
 
The team proudly represented their home country and showed great potential overall in this difficult sport.
 
"Ryan and I believe that we are capable of winning times and speed but lack a lot experience and knowledge in the orienteering and map reading sections," Costelloe said. “Hopefully we can gain some experience in this during the next few races and be more competitive."
 
"Our goal was to be out there for two days or more and cross the state for the experience," said Mendes. "When we get proficient at map reading then we can start racing."
 
We at Pangea look forward to that day or any other day the guys make the trip to visit us.
 
Pangea Adventure Racing: Trinidad And Tobago finish the Sea 2 Sea AR
Trinidad And Tobago finish the 2013 Sea 2 Sea AR

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