Here we go, day 2! We're starting after a successful first day, scoring 87% of the available points! We're stoked! And it's our first day moving basecamps, meaning while one person is plotting the points first thing in the morning, the other was quickly packing up the tent, gear, and safely securing it all down in the vehicle before the start time. We had a 0728 start, which seems late considering we were up by 5am, but we assure you, two hours and 28 minutes is not very long when it comes to plotting 19+ points, packing up camp, eating breakfast, downing some cups of coffee, making the morning briefing, packing the car, and the list goes on!
The day began with the dreaded Enduro. After a decent one yesterday, we were feeling pretty good going into this one. Mandy drove today while Irma navigated. This was our first day going from one basecamp to another, which didn't seem like a big deal. We were excited to get to a new area, using our checkpoints to get us there!
If you read the title of this post, you see that this is the best, worst day. How can that be?! Such a solid first day, what could possibly go wrong?! For starters, we didn't look at our plots and the big picture before leaving basecamp, specifically the degree/direction for the first turn out of basecamp. Rookie mistake! The enduro started from basecamp, that should be easy! The first step on the roadbook was to take a right on the highway! We can see the highway from basecamp, we know where we're going! Ha! Rookies!
Per dictionary.com, a highway is defined as:
highway [ hahy-wey ] noun
a main road, especially one between towns or cities:the highway between Los Angeles and Seattle.
We departed basecamp after "3, 2, 1, go!" and headed off towards the highway. Or so we thought. Pro tip: the roadbooks have a heading for each step. You should use them rather than the written words, because you'll end up heading for the highway that isn't the one you're looking for!
We're heading down the highway and working through the directions on the roadbook. Something doesn't feel right as the steps don't align with where we are going. We also realized, no one is going the same direction as us! We quickly whipped out or maps from the previous day, which weren't as within reach as they should have been, to figure out which way we were heading and where we should be going. We quickly realize our mistake and popped a u-turn, heading back to the basecamp turnoff. Morning high, gone!
Our highway, was actually the paved road right outside of basecamp. Not what neither of us would consider a highway, but the joke is on us for not following our heading! What is working in our favor is that the enduro is VERY LONG today. Not all of it is timed, but in total, our roadbook covered 196km. We have some distance to cover for today's Enduro!
If you read our previous posts, you know that there are multiple timing checks along the way for each Enduro. Given the distance we had to travel and the speed limit we had to follow, the roadbook had us traveling slower than the speed limit, meaning we would have a small amount of time to make up for our rookie mistake by driving the speed limit! We embarrassingly passed about three Rebelle vehicles, probably super confused as to why we were traveling past them, but eventually we caught up with our roadbook and the vehicle order we departed basecamp with, and by the end of the enduro, were able to somehow make two of our timing points! Good thing our math was good, even if our direction wasn't first thing in the morning! Major lesson learned, don't just rely on your roadbook!
Following the Enduro, we had up to 18 checkpoints we could find on our way to basecamp. Being the rookies that we were, we had no idea how long it would take us to find those 18 checkpoints, but we had 11 hours to find them, so that should be plenty of time. Silly us!
We were traveling from somewhere in the Nevada backcountry, from basecamp #1 to the Ridgecrest area, very far away. The fact that our checkpoint guide covered FOUR maps should have been a hint as to how far we had to travel, but again, us rookies had no idea how far that was, but we were about to learn! It was also our first time ever navigating to checkpoints using a 200k map. Come to find out, it was everyone else's time too given 200k maps in the past had only been used for distance travel, not checkpoint hunting. Challenge accepted!
Today's other important lesson was treat all checkpoints as if they were black checkpoints. Meaning, make sure you have a solid plan, know the terrain, and navigate as if there is no flag or post you're trying to find. We messed up big time on some greens today, both in missing the closing time by underestimating how long it would take us to get there (an hour is plenty of time! So we thought!) and we also just straight up never found one.
We've also had some casualties equipment-wise the first couple of days as shown in the photo below. First up was poor Irma's glasses. Yes, those glasses that she would need for navigating, smashed in the first couple of days. Packing up the vehicle they fell out of her pocket in the morning and it wasn't until that evening that she found them, near where she dropped her jacket. Smashed. Very smashed. Clearly run over multiple times as they were near the starting line and probably stepped on a time or two as well. This will be interesting when it comes to navigation! The second casualty was Mandy's Hydroflask water bottle. While on the trail, she had refilled waters while Irma planned the next route, and made the terrible mistake of setting the bottle on the bumper. And of course, she drove off with it on her bumper. It's unclear if she ran it over or some vehicles behind her. Either way, the bottle was toast. Thankfully we both had spare bottles! Frustrating at the time, but comical after the fact given how terrible the bottle and glasses looked!
Despite our, errr, hiccups throughout the day, we found our new basecamp. We rolled into the fuel station after talking with the welcome crew, had a huge sigh of relief after a humbling day. We spent over 11 hours in the vehicle during our travel, with 19 checkpoints up for grabs. Much to learn from this very long day. Time to get some grub and hit the sack while we contemplate strategy changes for tomorrow!
- 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.