On Sunday, Dec 14, FlxAdventures officially hosted their first race, keeping the adventure racing scene alive after the retirement of Pangea Adventure Racing in November. The venue was Gemini Springs in Debary, Fl, and there were two races offered, a 1-2 hour “Family Sprint” race, and a 4 hour “Sport” race.  I, Amanda, and my friend Jonathan raced as “The Prepsters” while Bill sat this one out so that he could watch the kiddos.

The race began at 9:00 with the sprint and sport divisions both starting out on a foot segment.  We realized at the first control that we had been given the wrong punchcard. Ah well, just one of our setbacks on the day!  We simply punched the controls on the card we had, and went on with our business. The navigation in this part was pretty straight forward, and though we were one of the slower teams through the course, we were feeling pretty good, and we came back into transition excited to head out on to the water.

It was a beautiful morning to paddle!  Unfortunately, in our rush to get going, we missed the clear turn right at the start and headed the wrong way down the river.  We quickly discovered our mistake and headed back in the right direction.  Once going the correct way, navigation around the little island was quite simple, and we collected all of the controls easily, and our mistake only cost only a few minutes.  

The sprint and sport races separated on the bike leg.  It started off with two very easy controls near the entrance to the park.  We then got off the paved bike path and on the trail to find a control on the “tree N end of camping area.”  Here is where things started to go south.  Heading to BCP 4 I started to look for the trail on the left to find an “Oak near water.”  Jonathan took a look at the map and though we had gone way to far, so backtracking we went.  We headed in to every trail, found lots of Oaks in and near the water, but no control.  We finally ran into our friends Chris and Sonia who were looking for the same control, but in the sprint race.  They told us we had turned in way too early, and sent us off in the right direction.  We found it pretty easily from there, but cost ourselves at least 20 minutes searching.  BCP 5 and 6 were pretty straight forward, (though we discovered at BCP 5 that we again had been given the wrong punch card) and we found both controls easily.  

Heading to BCP 7 looked simple enough.  We were looking for a muddy area at a sharp corner of a grassy fire road that looked like it punched through to the main bike path.  Well, we found the corner, we found the mud in the trees, but no control.  We were in and out of the muddy creek/woods for at least 20 minutes.  We finally decided to call it and punched through to the trail on the other side of the woods to head to the next checkpoint.  I decided to ride a few meters the other way on that trail, just to be thorough. Defeated, I turned around and there it was 30 meters in front of me, on the left side of the muddy trail we were currently on.Turns out the grassy fire road was not the marked trail, but was a mere 15 meters to the north of it.  That small mistake made all of the difference in the world.

From there we easily found BCP 8 and then hoofed it back to the transition area.  We got there with 45 minutes remaining, and two legs left to complete.  We decided to forgo the second paddle, as there were only four controls, and most were a considerable distance away.  We headed out on foot with time to visit five of the seven controls, the other two being too far away for us to collect and get back before time expired.  We finished with 12 minutes to spare, collecting 22 of the available 29 points, good for a fourth place finish.  

While it wasn't a stellar performance as far as results go, I am pretty proud of our efforts. I have only ever navigated a few times before, and I learned so much from this experience. Just as importantly, I had an absolute blast playing in the outdoors for a few hours on a beautiful Florida day.