Needless to say, we’re slowly getting used to adventure racing in Florida’s wilderness. Florida’s terrain makes for a different kind of adventure race where the topography isn’t the challenge. Dickinson State Park, the home of this race, is known for manatee sightings, alligators, birds, and any number of other animal and plant species. While Florida beaches may be white sand fit for a postcard, the interior of the state is a bit like a beautiful bayou. Flat, grassy and filled with water during the rainy season. More than the topography, the vegetation becomes the main challenge. Sawgrass is indeed sharp!
We never quite reached our sweet spot on this race, even the orienteering, which is usually our strongest point felt inadequate and more than once we looked at the map several times before realizing a “cut through”/ “trail” or creek didn’t go through. So much for bushwhacking it to save time.
The real bummer on this race was bike checkpoint 17. There’s always one that gets you, but checkpoint 17 really threw us for a loop. Instead of cutting our losses and getting out of there, we spent more than an hour looking for it, convinced it was just behind the next bramble bush. We weren’t the only ones, we saw several other teams bumbling around the woods for checkpoint 17, many of whom we assume gave up rather than press on. I guess there should be some honor in pressing on, but there wasn’t. Add to that a critical map reading error and well… it wasn’t our best finish.