On Saturday, our friend and survival trainer put us through what he calls a Flickian Challenge. It’s all part of getting us ready – known by the acronym HTFU. Kevin took us to Golden Gardens Park in Seattle and put us to the test. We had incredulous onlookers huddling in parkas, a few lone beach walkers cheering us on, and one wild Alaskan who joined us in the water for a bit (more on that later).
Challenge One was: No eating for 10 hours prior to the challenge. Then a 15 minute swim in Puget Sound wearing only swim trunks while having to solve math problems (mental acuity testing). That was the warm up, or in our case cool down to shivering. The real test came after we exited the water: use teamwork to find wood, make tinder and fire starter, light a fire, keep it together and rewarm yourself with only the pocket knives and flint we had on lanyards around our necks with us on the swim. We also had a “jump bag” of other emergency supplies we plan to take on the Race. We resisted the bag for a long time, but eventually Flick ordered us to open it up.
For 1 hour 4 minutes — from entering the water until Kevin stopped the clock — we were wet, cold, shivering, exposed, dirty, struggling and then huddling very close to our fire to rewarm. We did rewarm and our body temperatures came back up but it was pretty ugly. We survived and the Red Mill Burgers we scarfed down afterwards never tasted so good.
After the challenge we spent the next 20 plus hours living on the boat. More on what we learned from that (also wet) experience, soon…