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Adam Nagler Goes Extra Miles to Raise Funds for Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue

His self-supported endurance events include a recently completed, 1,000-mile trek with running, skating, biking and stand-up paddling

Adam Nagler with his wheels and board. Click to view larger
Adam Nagler rode his mountain bike, inline skates and stand-up paddleboard for 1,000 miles in 10 days to raise funds for Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Adam Nagler likes to take his endurance sports to the extreme.

“As I described to my friends who do more traditional things like marathons, I said, ‘You’ve done the New York City Marathon. I’m the guy who shows up the day after the marathon and as they’re sweeping up where everyone went left to run the marathon, I take a right turn and go 100 miles,’” he said.

Whether he’s running, inline skating, biking or stand-up paddling, Nagler pushes himself to the limits his body can handle. To him, the term comfort zone is a foreign concept.

His attitude is go long and longer.

Nagler recently went a long way to raise funds for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Search & Rescue team.

He completed what he called the “150 Hours of Santa Barbara,” a self-organized and self-supported endeavor that covered 1,000 miles in the area.

“I took the sports I enjoy doing — running, inline skating, stand-up paddle and mountain biking — packaged them together and said, ‘I’m going to go long,’” he explained over breakfast at On the Alley in the Santa Barbara Harbor, a couple of doors down from the Santa Barbara Stand-Up Paddle Center, where he works part time.  

“At first, I was going to do eight days and 850 miles, which is three-quarters of an Ironman triathlon a day, for eight days. On Day 5, I realize I’m in better shape than I thought I was, so I said, ‘Why don’t I go for a round number, and that round number was 10.’”

Adam Nagler finishes solo endurance event at Leadbetter Beach. Click to view larger
Adam Nagler pours a beer over his head to celebrate the completion of his 1,000-mile, 10-day solo endurance endeavor in Santa Barbara. (Courtesy photo)

He started his ultra endurance event with inline skating at 6 a.m. April 2 and completed it with a run at 6 p.m. April 12. He finished on the beach near the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.

After crunching the numbers, he said he averaged 14.30 hours on the course, and his total time came out to 149 hours and 50 minutes.

His breakdown of the event: 63 stages that included 106.9 miles of running (32 hours, 25 minutes, 58 seconds), 113.7 of skating (23:43.19), 60.3 miles of stand-up paddling in the ocean (28:22.13), 719.8 miles of mountain bike riding (65.59.10), during which he lost two toenails and 13 pounds.

His longest mileage day was 126.87 miles on Day 9 and his shortest was 71.8 miles on Day 2. His longest day on the course was 16 hours.

“I was on course the minute I left the house in the morning,” he said.

Taking in all the disciplines, he averaged his speed at 11.7 mph.

The course for his one-man undertaking followed 12 variations of a 7.40-mile round-trip loop between Padaro Lane and Goleta Pier.

He took a hit on the first day, crashing while inline skating.

“I was pretty banged up that day. You have to make up those hours,” Nagler said. “The days are really long, which compounds the pain of resupply and reorganization the next morning. But I like that, I like the suffering, To me, it’s counter to this coddled life. This is earning everything the hard way.”

As part of his training, he inline skated to Malibu and back, a distance of 140 miles with 8,000 feet of elevation gain.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve done,” he said.

Adam Nagler at Montauk Point in New York Click to view larger
Adam Nagler did a 140-mile stand-up board paddle from the Brooklyn Bridge to Montauk Point on Long Island in New York. (Courtesy photo)

Nagler planned his endurance fundraising feat for some time. When the Thomas Fire and devastating mudslides hit the area, he felt the sense of urgency to put his plan into action.

“The need became much more apparent, obviously,” he said. “I discovered this group county Search & Rescue, which is nonprofit, all volunteer. They get their mandate from the sheriff’s department. They are there for us all the time. And they were on the front lines of the mudslides the minute they happened.”

He plans to do two more solo events in other parts of the country as part of his “Sufferfest Tour 2018.”

His second will be in about nine weeks in the New York area. In a 10-day period, he plans to run 140 miles in the heat and high humidity — "my nemesis," he says — of an East Coast summer, ride a bike 420 miles in 30 hours (it will qualify him for the Race Across America) and finish with a dangerous open-ocean stand-up paddle from New York City to Nantucket Island, a distance of 240 miles.

“The next one is going to be considerably harder than the first one,” he said.

As a warm-up, last summer he paddled from the Brooklyn Bridge to Montauk Point in Long Island, unsupported. He covered the 140 open-ocean miles in 4- to 6-foot chop, dodging oil tankers and freighters along the way.

"I almost died a few times," he said.

The paddle to Nantucket “will be the single most important thing I’ve ever done in an athletic endeavor,” he said.

The New York area ultra-challenge will be a fundraiser for the families of first responders of the 106th Rescue Wing of the New York Air National Guard, an elite search and rescue unit that is deployed to disasters around the world.

The group recently experienced tragedy when a helicopter crashed in a war zone in Iraq and several responders were killed.

Nagler said he’s raising funds specifically for the National Outdoors Leadership School so the kids of the downed airmen can attend and learn wilderness skills.

“They can have great skills and adventures that their parents would love to see them have.”

Like he did in Santa Barbara, Nagler will be doing the challenge solo.

“The mental challenge, which I enjoy, is being totally self supported,” he said. “That means at the end of a 15-hour day, when you’ve done 100 miles through your various sports, you make sure your equipment is ready to go for the next day — that your hydration packs are ready to go, that you’re feeding yourself, patching up all your injuries. Completely unsupported or self-supported, which is another level of that, I love the mental challenge to do that and the math that is involved in doing that.”

Nagler avoids the boredom by running calculations in his head while doing long legs on his challenges

“I’m thinking about my cadence, my hydration and my nutrition and where I need to be. What am I doing right or doing wrong, logistics and navigation. My mantra: ‘Do the math.’ I’m fascinated by testing the outside limits of human performance,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to meet some people who, when other people have said that’s impossible, they’ve made the impossible possible. They have been an inspiration to me.”

Click here to make a contribution to Nagler’s fundraising effort for the Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue Team

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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