Like the people we know and love who are living with physical and mental disabilities, the best way to view the world is by focusing on what we can do and not what we can't. Team thisABILITY is made up of 40+ year old weekend warriors, so finishing the full course of a three-day expedition adventure race is a huge undertaking. Our goals were to 1) Have fun, 2) move forward with haste as long as injury or illness were not significant concerns 3) Cross the finish line together as a full team. Our plans were almost thwarted before we even got to the start line when Andrea was diagnosed with the flu at an urgent care shortly after landing in JAX. After sleeping nonstop for 18 hours, amazingly she was willing to give it a go with a smile just after the worst has passed. Early in the race, Brent was next in the hurt locker after the first bike leg when his legs about fell off and taint exploded. Chip was next in line to crash and burn when he suffered the consequences of eating nuts that were saturated with Florida river water. First came the colon eruption followed by orally spewing a green mix of power bars, gummy bears and mixed nuts far enough to make Linda Blair proud. He powered on as lead navigator on the nighttime bike leg up until sleep monsters attacked at the crux of the race. Brent and JJ took over to navigate through the infamous Sand Pit of Confusion where we hike-a-bike through too many hours of 6" of soft powdery soul crushing sand. JJ was the last in the pain cave when the bottoms of his feet peeled off during the final O course and taint ruptured on the last bike leg. Through all this hardship and pain, we supported each other using middle school humor, lots of laughter, taking turns navigating, carrying each other’s weight, and towing when needed. With teary eyes and an immense sense of accomplishment, we crossed the finish line together as one unified team and friends forever. It’s amazing what you can do when you stay focused on your ability!
Team thisABILITY would like to give a huge shout out to Jeff Leininger and his team at AR Georgia for hosting such an awesome race. We know putting on a race of this magnitude is extremely difficult, and we appreciate you giving racers such a truly once in a lifetime experience. See ya next year.