July 31-Aug 1st, 2010
Watkins Glen, NY
What is Rogaining?
Rogaining is the sport of long distance cross-country navigation. Rogaining involves both route planning and navigation between checkpoints using a variety of map types. In a rogaine, teams of 2-5 people choose which checkpoints to visit within a time limit with the intent of maximizing their score. Teamwork, endurance, competition and an appreciation for the natural environment are features of the sport. Championship rogaines are 24 hours long, however rogaines can be as short as 2 hours.
ROGAINE is also a backronym for “Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance”.
Now on to the good stuff.
Team Granite took on the US Rogaine Championships as a team of 5 (Dave Lamb, Jenny Johnson, Dave Romilly, Erik Grimm and Chad Denning). Most teams would tell you that participating as a team of five is downright suicidal as that increases the variables for something to go terribly wrong in 24 hours. None the less we like a challenge and know that we all have similar strengths and compensate for each others weaknesses very well.
We arrived in the Watkins Glen area of New York on Saturday, July 31st after a good 7 hour car drive…. Yikes those hurt a bit. We had originally signed up as two teams (one of 3 and one of 2) to compete in the event, after good team deliberation we decided to bite the bullet and go for the big team of 5. The great thing about Team Granite is that we are all pretty strong with a map and compass so this would be a great opportunity to juggle different people at the helm guiding the team. (TEAMWORK)
We were each given a very detailed topographic map at 10am so that we could strategize and come up with different route options. The area that we were travelling was rather remote, hilly and had lots of different challenging terrain so it was very important to study the maps carefully to maximize the amount of effort that we put into each checkpoint. This year’s event featured 56 checkpoints for a maximum of 3,120 points. There are many different trains of thought when coming up with a strategy. Take enough food for all 24 hours and never come back to the start point or do several clover leafs out and back coming back to the start line to grab additional food, water, etc. We as a team immediately chose to take everything that we would need for all 24 hours from the start. The real disadvantage to this is that the pack can get pretty heavy from the get-go. We all decided to go out the eastern side of the map and work from North to South maximizing the team’s strengths of speed and endurance.
What to wear and bring to something like this???
We all wore wicking clothing as the day was rather humid. We all wore Inov-8 shoes as there is no better shoe made that can deal with the varied terrain that was dealt out over the next 24 hours… Streams, rocks, pavement, roots, thorns, etc.
We all lathered our feet in sportslick and pulled on our trusty Darn Tough Vermont socks. These babies are exactly like the name which is why we always wear them in any event that we do. If your feet start failing you in an event like this your race is basically over. Team Granite has come up with the optimum combination of Darn Tough socks and Inov-8 footwear to keep our feet happy for anything Mother Nature can throw at us. In addition, all of us had either our 2XU tights and or calf guards to wear for this race. You may ask why we would need these… in a nutshell there is lots of poison ivy, razor sharp thorns and thistle out there to make your legs look like hamburger otherwise.
What’s in the pack?
Light in Motion headlamps (Secas and Stellas) — no better light systems on the planet. Enough food for 24 hours (GU, Cliff Bars, etc). Water, waterproof jacket, hat, gloves, Ibuprofen, salt tabs, water purification, whistle, and extra Darn Tough socks!
Highs and Lows?
I won’t go into everything that happened out there on the course but will feature a few highs and lows. We figured that we needed to average about 13 checkpoints every 6 hours to either clear the course or be very competitive when all was said and done. A major high for us was when we realized that we had already picked up 30 checkpoints in 12 hours! We were moving rather quickly and having little to no navigational errors along the way making for extremely efficient movement thru the woods. Now onto the next 12 hours….. Darkness always makes an event like this slow down and it creates for much harder navigation. We really slowed down once it got dark but found that once we switched on our Light & Motion headlamps we were able to keep a decent pace and really pick up the reflectors on the checkpoints from quite a distance. These lights are powerful!
I think that all my teammates would agree we definitely had a few bumps in the road and it revolved around stomach issues. Jenny and Erik were the team’s rocks and had zero issues the entire race. I (Chad) started the race with stomach issues and thought that I must had eaten something bad to start the race. I basically dealt with it all race and am still dealing with it today as it was determined that I had contracted Giardia sometime in the last few weeks. Dave Romilly and Dave Lamb also had their stomach issues this event. Eating synthetic foods for a long period of time can really upset the system which is why we try to carry as much real food as possible… only problem is that it is very heavy (the trade off). In true Team Granite Teamwork we all were able to pitch in and help each other get through the hard times!
We ended up staying out on the course for 23 out of the 24 hours we were given to get as many checkpoints that we could. Team Granite was able to grab 50 out of the possible 56 checkpoints and log 2700 points enough to take the US ROGAINE National Championship title for 2010. A huge shout out and congratulations to all the great teams that came out and participated! Amazing group of people.
Until next year!
Team Granite AR (Chad Denning)