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Extreme Fitness and Self-Discovery: It’s time YOU tried an Adventure Race!

Members of PAFB’s Team Florida Xtreme/US Air Force prepare to take part in the “Lighter Knot Adventure Race” in Princess Place Preserve, Palm Bay, Fl.  Team members (L to R) are 1st. Lt. Jonathan Paz, Lt. Col. Dave "Dash" Ashley, and Maj. Melissa "Thumper" Krambeck.

Members of PAFB’s Team Florida Xtreme/US Air Force prepare to take part in the “Lighter Knot Adventure Race” in Princess Place Preserve, Palm Bay, Fl. Team members (L to R) are 1st. Lt. Jonathan Paz, Lt. Col. Dave "Dash" Ashley, and Maj. Melissa "Thumper" Krambeck.

Lt. Col. Dave Ashley, commander, 5th Space Launch Squadron, takes part in the Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing National Championship race in Oak Hill, West Virginia, September 28-29.  The race was 110 miles long, had a 30 hour time limit, and included white water rafting on the Gauley river (Class III-V rapids!), mountain biking, trail running, and river boarding on the New river.  Captain of my team, we finished 4th in the race and ended up 3rd in the 2012 national points race.

Lt. Col. Dave Ashley, commander, 5th Space Launch Squadron, takes part in the Checkpoint Tracker Adventure Racing National Championship race in Oak Hill, West Virginia, September 28-29. The race was 110 miles long, had a 30 hour time limit, and included white water rafting on the Gauley river (Class III-V rapids!), mountain biking, trail running, and river boarding on the New river. Captain of my team, we finished 4th in the race and ended up 3rd in the 2012 national points race.

The team canoeing in the same race.  They finished 2nd overall, and are currently ranked #1 in the Pangea Adventure Racing 2012 series (14 races in 2012).

The team canoeing in the same race. They finished 2nd overall, and are currently ranked #1 in the Pangea Adventure Racing 2012 series (14 races in 2012).

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- With only 20 minutes left until the cut-off time of an eight-hour Adventure Race, our three-person coed team has a critical decision to make: Run for another checkpoint... or head back to the finish line.

The finish line is only 1km away and it's an easy route, follow a sandy trail until it intersects a road then turn right, go 200 meters, and we're done, finished, and can finally rest after covering nearly 40 miles of mountain biking, canoeing, and trail running.

And we really need to rest.

But getting one more checkpoint could be the difference between 3rd and 2nd place overall, as the team with the most checkpoints wins and we're currently tied for 3rd. It won't be easy; we'll have to blaze a trail through thick underbrush around a swamp and follow our compass to a hilltop 500 meters away, find the blaze orange flag hanging from a tree and punch our passport, and still have a 1k run back to the finish.

We're low on water, one team member is suffering leg cramps (we may have to carry him part of the way), and if we are late to the finish line we'll be disqualified. The clock is ticking and we need to decide now....

Welcome to the sport of Adventure Racing!

Adventure Racing consists of trail running, mountain biking, and canoeing using a map and compass to find checkpoints in races typically four to 12 hours long.

It's perfect for triathletes, cyclists, runners, paddlers and anybody who enjoys pushing to their physical and mental limits. It's not a relay, teams are required to stay together at all times during the race. GPS devices are not allowed so navigation skill with a map and compass is critical. Slower team members are often towed while biking or running in an effort to keep the overall team speed as fast as possible.

While a team sport, Adventure Racing has been said to allow an individual to find his or her limits and push through them. Races often take participants out of their comfort zone with unfamiliar surroundings while experiencing physical and mental exhaustion.

Some people think Adventure Racers are completely nuts. Actually, most people do. But fitness is more important than ever in today's Air force. And for those who are looking for an extreme challenge and desire to find your true physical and mental limits, come join the fun!

PAFB's own Team Florida Xtreme/US Air Force is currently recruiting members for the 2013 racing season. We welcome both experienced and new racers to the sport. Since our inception in late 2011, we've won several races in Florida, are currently ranked as the #1 team in the Pangea Adventure Races series and we have team members who compete in the sport on the national level.

So...what are you waiting for? Get out there!

Contact a Florida Xtreme/US Air Force Team member for information: Lt. Col. Dave Ashley (Team Captain), Lt. Col. Sam Little, Maj. Melissa Krambeck, Lt. Jon Paz, Senior Airman Nick Biersner, or Mr. Mike Jurue

PS: We opted to get the extra checkpoint...and earned a 2nd place finish!