Updated: Sep 24
So. Many. Roads.
That was our challenge today with Irma driving and Mandy navigating. Such an understatement for the terrain we covered today! We were primarily in the Dove Springs area, which only had a handful of dirt roads on the map, but upon arriving we saw a much different scene! The weather was also beginning to get a little bit warmer - anything warmer than the 30 degrees we started with is a bonus!
But before we get to all the roads, let's do a quick recap on today's Enduro. After a pretty bad one yesterday, we talked through our strategy and had a much better plan going into today. Thankfully it paid off and we were able to get 9 of the available 15 points on the Enduro. Not the best, but drastically better than yesterday. Make sure you take notes of what didn't go well and then don't let it happen again. Learn from those mistakes!
Now back to the roads. The picture above does not do it justice. There's a slightly better picture on the Rebelle Rally Instagram Page from November 11, 2020. Imagine that picture, but EVERYWHERE! It was an open OHV area, which contributed to the many paths. Today was challenging in the sense that if you saw a dirt road on your map in the Dove Springs area, you're best to ignore it and focus on your distance and headings to get you to your checkpoints. While training with Nena Barlow of Barlow Adventures prior to the rally, she discussed how relying on the roads, especially the dirt roads, usually wasn't a good plan unless you knew the area. This was a text book example of that statement. Trust yourself and your compass.
Today was a 10 hour day with more than 20 checkpoints. Given the distance we were traveling, this was far more checkpoints than any team would be able to find in a day, so it meant strategizing your route plan and sticking to your time limits for finding checkpoints. We primarily stuck to green and blue checkpoints today to manage our time wisely. Despite our plan, we managed to get two wide misses - one on a black checkpoint and another on a blue checkpoint, where we had been searching so long for the darn checkpoint, that by the time we found one, we (wrongly) assumed it was ours and clicked the tracker. Another lesson learned for the books.
One of today's highlights was getting to know the part of the media crew, Richard Giordano of Desk to Glory and Harry Wagner of Harry Situations. These two were hilarious and were thrilled to catch us preparing our Mountain House lunches, given they needed to capture some photos of the sponsors. We happily obliged, given we had decided early on that we would not skip lunch because both of us are prone to hanger. Yes, it took some time away from checkpoint hunting, but as rookies, we were trying to control what we could and this was one of the few things we could control! Many veteran Rebelles warned of the afternoon slump that you're prone to, when you're tired and hungry after a long day, so we figured if we actually ate our lunches and didn't just snack, this would help. It definitely did! And provided some great laughs, as you can tell by the fantastic picture snapped by Richard. In case you didn't know, this is how happy Mountain House meals can make you, especially if you've ever experienced military MREs!
Today's final lesson learned was pushing it too close to return time for basecamp. There was one blue, we were certain we could find on the way back to basecamp. We didn't find it. And spending more time than we should have trying to find it resulted in returning to basecamp a few minutes late. If you didn't know, returning to basecamp on time means points (like a green checkpoint), so we threw and easy 10 points out the window. This will be a lesson learned both for this year and avoided by all means next year!
- Disclaimer -
Please remember, this recollection of each day is our view alone. Others definitely had different experiences. We wanted to share ours with you from our perspective, but definitely ask questions of other Rebelles and/or the Rebelle Staff if you are unsure of something. Also do your homework and read the rule book! Although we pulled snippets from the rule book, it changes some each year and is what you should refer to for the official Rebelle Rally rules and guidance.