Training for the Ultimate Florida Challenge adventure race has been ramping up around here. Slowly. We all know how long it takes to recover from a simple bout of tendonitis.
Over the summer at the Farm, Captain TwoBeers hiked a few miles every morning (minus a couple of lay-days for fishing and sailboat racing), and each week we tried for at least one tandem kayak trip.
The tandem boat is an excellent addition to our summers. Instead of tethering my kayak shamefully to Jeff's when the mileage on my hinky shoulder is up, I've got built-in rescue propulsion. AND it feels like I am contributing to his fitness regimen.
Each time I set down my paddle and pick up the camera, the binocs, the Googlemaps, it's for the Spawn team effort.
I'm not just dreamily contemplating the scenery, dang it, I'm coaching.
But as summer passed, we stepped up. Jeff hunted down and ordered a racing canoe made of Kevlar®. The supply-chain kinks felt palpable as the small factory in Wisconsin kept us apprised of when/if they were able to start building again.
Our faith in capitalism was rewarded when a nice fella drove up in his truck and unloaded the as-yet-unnamed canoe one sunny October day.
Thanks to the advice of young Chip Clifton, the team will be using kayak paddles on the canoe –– a seemingly small distinction, but one that should save mileage on everyone's hinky shoulders.
So while Moresailesaid and TwoBeers are working on their physical stamina and paddling skills, as well as sailing all sorts of boats in all sorts of events, I am thinking about the ground-control challenges.
It's an unsupported adventure race, which means that between stages, our heroes are on their own. They can stay at hotels if they want (they won't, but they could), or eat at a fancy restaurant along the way (they might, weather dictating). And at the end of each stage, I can meet up with them, replenish their supplies, usher them into hot showers, et cetera.
There will be a lot of road to cover chasing the team, which also translates into a lot of tourist-y opportunity for me. Fort Clinch, for instance, is a race check-in point, and ALSO where they switch from sailing Spawn to paddling the as-yet-unnamed canoe.
What did I know about Fort Clinch? Absolutely nothing. I might guess it's a former military outpost, probably historical, possibly a good spot for making out.
A few clicks later, and I know the fort was first started in around 1847, and it has a bit of a tradition of being not ready for the conflicts that come its way. It was restored by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s (Ooh, I wonder if Grampa Navy worked on it? Note to self: research employment records for the CCC).
And it's right next to Amelia Island. Huh. That leg of my road-trip just planned itself.
The Ultimate Florida Challenge begins on the first Saturday in March at sunrise at Fort Desoto beach. Depending on what time a person keeps, either the clock is ticking or the drums are calling...
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