Writing this nearly 7 months after the fact…. Will keep it short.
After a ~15 year hiatus, I went back to Florida in 2021 for the Sea 2 Sea 72 hour expedition race. That ended tragically, so I went back in 2022 with Will and Ryan for another go.
We finished in 73 hours with something like 58 controls, which isn’t bad but not great. Our only real complaint about this race is the maps — sometimes there’s just so little accuracy, finding a control becomes an “Easter egg hunt.” You know you are in the general vicinity, but you could be 100m away, so we walk all around trying to find it. And it’s just a bit of luck sometimes, or perseverance…
The biggest leg this year was a 45 mile paddle that we started at nearly 11 p.m. on the 2nd night. Going in to the second night, with no sleep on night 1, on the water, is always hard, and a few hours in, we had to find somewhere to rest. We were all falling asleep while trying to paddle! But we are on a river in FL, which is often swamp like. I finally gave in and said let’s just pull over, I’ll sleep on the driest land I can find while you two sleep in the boat… We pull over at what I think is a good spot, and right where I would have laid down was a 4′ gator! That got the adrenaline going a bit and we were able to muster the energy to continue on until we found a “landing” — some sandy beach where we saw a few other S2S boats pulled over. Turns out we had found the beach for a camp ground.
I was so tired I got out and laid right down on the sand. We had one bivy for emergency use, so I put my big black plastic trash bag on my lower body, and put a fleece up top, and fell right asleep. It was low 50’s and after I while I was so cold, I couldn’t stand it. But I was so tired, I didn’t want to get up. I really wanted to wake up to a new reality. It’s the only time I can recall having that feeling — that I just wanted to wake up to something completely different.
I had just read Victor Frankel’s “Man’s Search for Meaning,” and I here I am, a little cold doing something I chose to do “suffering.” But he and millions of others suffered for years in much worse conditions. How could I complain?
After about 3 miserable hours I got up, found the camp rest room, and then wandered a bit trying to find Will and Ryan, which took a while. I finally found them, woke them up and said we had to keep moving, I was too cold to be here any longer.
That’s the one story I’ll share from the race, but Kristen did put this little video together which does capture some great aspects of AR.