Saturday, April 01, 2006

Day30: Across the Finish Line !

...as reported by DancesWithSandyBottom

Sunday (Day30) is the day SandyBottom and DrKayak arrived at the finish line on the beach in Ft. DeSoto Park on Mullet Key in Tampa Bay. About seven folks, friends and family, were on hand to provide a warm welcome and congratulations to these two intrepid challengers.

SandyBottom and DrKayak finally arrived at 8:33 PM. It was a happy occasion filled with a sense of relief and accomplishment. They had paddled all night long except for a brief rest and made the best time they could. A times the wind was helpful but during most of the final 24 hours it was not.

As the sun set they came into view for the family and friends stationed on the pier next to old Ft. DeSoto. They were traveling south against a strong tide and heavy chop but with a west-northwest wind in their favor. As they passed the pier there were happy greetings and encouragements to round the point of Mullet Key and go the last mile to the finish line near the bay-side pier.

After showering and stowing gear there was a brief celebration. Chief presented SandyBottom and DrKayak their awards for the EC and UFC. SandyBottom, DrKayak and family and friends eventually found their way to an IHOP Restaurant for some wonderful "real food" and happy story telling.

For those of you who were wondering if SandyBottom, and DrKayak, would make it to the finish line by noon, it turned out that they did not. Chief posted this note regarding the time limit for the UFC:

"The time limit is perfect as is. Five challengers finished with time to spare. Two Challengers needed a few extra hours, but they gave it their best shot and really pushed at the end. For those of you new to WaterTribe you should understand that we ALWAYS let finishers have their actual time instead of a DNF if they miss the last deadline but are trying like hell to finish on time. This is nothing new. I didn't publicly explain this while they were still out there because their actions must come from their own inner character. SandyBottom and DrKayak showed true WaterTribe spirit because even when they knew it was hopeless to meet the deadline they refused to stop and kept trying. They did their best today and therefore earned their finishing time instead of the dreaded DNF. My hat is off to them. The overall time limit will be the same in UF2008, but I may adjust the time limits for S2, S3, and S4 by a day or two."

My opinion: The Chief has spoken. He makes the rules, it is his race that challengers may choose to enter (or not), and in this role his contributions are great and are greatly appreciated. Now it happens that he is wise and knowledgeable about all things having to do with the adventure racing and WaterTribe challenges. And so, although folks will certainly disagree with him sometimes, it is fair to say that he is held in very high esteem by the WaterTribe as a good leader and is well-deserving of his name.


While SandyBottom and DrKayak push it to the limit to come on in, the beach waited for their arrival......






And the sun sets....






Then they came into view as specks on the horizon...









And got closer as the the sky darkened....








Finally close enough to talk to ("Go to next pier") ....









Headed off to round the point of Mullet Key; with the tide and wind after that all the way in.






All the push-pins on the map...












First and last push-pins on the beach at Ft. DeSoto Park.....












On the way home...









SandyBottom and DWSB have now safely returned to their home in Chapel Hill, NC.

5 comments:

Sheila said...

Dear SB and DWSB,
Thank you for the vicarious adventure. I'm sorry it's over because the posts have been so fun to read, like a suspense story. Can't wait to hear more. Well done, Dawn!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Dawn!

--Thomas

Dee said...

Congratulations Dawn, and welcome home both of you! What an accomplishment! Dawn, you have more "stick-to-it-iveness" than a truck load of glue. Wonderful posts along the way Paul.

- Dee

Amanda (from spinning) said...

Way to go, Dawn! You rock!

Now come on back to spinning...

;)

Paul said...

Hi Dawn,

I followed your trip almost from the beginning (I found out about Ultimate Challenge from Marek's posts), and found your story both interesting, and compelling. You (and Paul) made your trip exciting to follow, and your example shamed me into kicking up my own training at least a few notches. I've only been kayaking for two years so there's lot of stuff to learn and practice, but you have given me (and I suspect other vicarious adventurers) a clear path. Thank you again for keeping such a frank and well-written account both of your preparation, and the actual adventure itself.

Paul (yes, another paul...)