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Eco Challenge in Central Florida

Craig O'Neal, 11/7/98

The November 7th Eco Challenge was the last event for 1998 season and
proved to be the most challenging with all of the compositions, which  included
running, canoeing, and biking -- reaching the maximum length allowed by
the race director for this event.

The event took place in the beautiful Wekiva State Park near Orlando
at 7:30am in 45 degree temperature with no wind. Perfect conditions
for a long race.

After the Captains meeting we found that the first leg of the race
would be a running event and were told to take PLENTY of water.

The co-ed division started first with the all-male and all-female
divisions having a 15 minute delay.  The run took us though all types of
terrain starting with pine woods, both up and down hills and turning into
dense forest with no passing due to the narrow trail's stumps, roots, and
underbrush. Our team finished strong at 26 min. for a 3k trail run.  We
were stopped and told to take a canoe and portage it down to the river
about 300 feet to the embarking point. (6 min.)

The canoe race was long and intense as teams tried to pass each other
on the narrow, spring fed, cold river.  We took every advantage we
could to pass teams that either launched their crafts onto the shore
or became stuck on a sand bar and tried to push them selves off with
their paddles instead of getting out and running with the their
canoes.  After about 50 minutes into this leg one of our members had
to disembark and run 1/4 mile and we were to pick them up on our return
UP the river.  Team member Joanna jumped out of the canoe and miss
judged the depth of the water. She went completely under and had to
swim to shore and run the 1/4 mile.  Mystery event #1: Joanna had to
find a plastic bug and a bean in a pile of sand before running back to
our canoe.  When she returned she was cold and shivering.  The canoe
leg took 1 hour and 18 minutes to complete before the next challenge.

After disembarking from the canoe we took off running for another
several miles. (20:40 min.) and now mystery event #2.  We were given
a piece of paper with a list of items we had to complete starting with
15 pushups, 15 setups, quacking like a duck, etc. I then noticed that
last item on the list -- and it said to ignore the above items and keep
running to the transition point. So we were off again!

Now the real challenge: biking! My two teammate pulled out their new
Cannondales and we were off. After 41 minutes into this event we were
told to get off and climb a 20 foot wall then continue biking.  This
event took us 1 hour and 48 minutes to complete with the last two miles
in deep sand and uphill.

After returning to the transition area we had one more mystery event.
Each member had to climb up on top of a 10 foot platform. This
was done by using 2 ropes that run parallel from the ground to the top
of the platform. Using your feet on one of the ropes and your hands on
the top rope you guide yourself up to the top and then using your
hands slide down a rope on the other side.

Now you can cross the finish line as we did in 4 hours and 1 minute --
our team finished another long and grueling race.

After a recovery day we are already looking forward the 1999 schedule.
This plan includes some local Eco events in Hanna Park in Atlantic 
Beach and Ameila Island (both NE Florida), along with several 2 day events
to be located in the Swannee area.

If you have not tried adventure racing, it is a challenge you won't
soon forget and I'm sure you will have a great time.

Anyone interested can contact me and I'll help you set up team or give you
more information.

Craig O'Neal
Beaches Endurance Sports Team (BEST)
If you are a multisport athlete of any age or ability and live in the Beaches area of Northeast Florida, consider joining Beach Endurance Sports Team, the First Coast's multisport organization for cycling, running, swimming, mountain biking, walking, triathlon, inline skating... well, you get the idea.

For events coming up in the North Florida area, check out our Events Calendar. If you have ideas for additional Adventure Racing links and resources, please contact us with your suggestion and Website address.

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