The Summer Rogaine Series is around the corner. Get amongst it and get ready with these seven lessons FurtherFaster athlete, Odelios “I love to win” Rüegg, has learnt on and off the trails.
Ode loves to do adventures ... and is famous for the quote, "Why are we doing this if we aren't going to win?", while the rest of us just like to go for a good time!
Yeah, so when I said the “no-surprise guide”, I lied ‘cause there’s really no such thing. No matter how many lists and plans and courses you plot, there will always be surprises. For instance, I’ve met with an unmarked patch of thorny bushes someone didn’t include on the map (or was it that I thought our team could quickly scramble though 500m of it unscathed?). I’ve lost precious time and pride looking for controls on the wrong spur. I’ve underestimated the size of a course, or my ability, and our team crossed the finish line late, in the dark and we managed to accrue negative points.
To arm yourself as best you can against surprises, learn to roll with the punches and follow my hard-won lessons below.
Don’t get lost.
This one seems obvious, but learn to read a map and practice compass navigation!
When I started rogaining as a teenager I couldn’t do either. My map and compass are still are still a work in progress, and the more rogaines I compete in, the more I learn from my teammates and the better navigator I become (though my teammates might still give me a B grade).
When starting out with rogaining, find a topographical map and carry it on training runs and weekend walks. Familiarizing yourself will pay dividends in the heat of the moment when you’re racing.
Practice at night, it’s daunting but fun! Practice with a head torch. Practice using your compass and map to hold a bearing. Practice, practice, practice.
Food. You can’t eat, or carry, too much.
No one wants to go hungry while racing, whether it’s a 1-hour event close to home or 24-hour event on farther shores. Food = energy, and no one I’ve ever competed with has ever complained about too much energy, or too much food.
Be sure, though, to make a plan to eat every thirty minutes or so, and be a good teammate and make sure they’re all eating too. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the race and forget to eat. Not enough food = low/no energy = not winning.
Teamwork makes the dream work.
Team leader. Navigator. Gopher. Packhorse. Pick a team with diverse skills (with any combination of the above), and know how to use those skills as you work harmoniously together to reach the finish line.
- The team leader needs to be bossy and able to call the hard shots.
- The navigator is the scapegoat when navigation goes wrong.
- The gopher should be your fastest runner who does all the extra steep, technical and tricky bits to get to the controls (remember to stay within the event’s required proximity).
- The packhorse can carry all food and compulsory gear. Note picture below... Rocky is often the packhorse!
Have the right toys and know how, and when, to use them. Rogaining goes ahead regardless of weather and there’s nothing more miserable than being caught out with a cheap rain jacket (ie have a good one) or not enough batteries. Each rogaine will supply a gear list and that list is always a lifesaver. Read it! And make sure you’ve ticked every single item off!
Rogainers are a social bunch. As far as competitive sports go, the typical rogainer is happy to give you a hand and a few tips! Don’t be surprised if you find yourself tracking along on the same route as another team and sharing a few yarns. And don’t be surprised if you make a few friends along the way.
- You might find love. Despite my lack of success in this category, I know numerous good people who have found love (and eventual marriage) whilst on the rogaine trail. It happens! There may be hope for me yet! #rogainetinder
Rogaines introduced me to the epic New Zealand outdoors after I moved to Christchurch from the United States in 2006. I’m now an adventure sport athlete, having competed in countless 2 – 24-hour adventure races, Coast to Coast, Heights of Winter and I’m now training for the 2018 Red Bull Defiance and Coast to Coast. The skills I pick up during each and every rogaine—whether our team wins or loses (although winning is best!)—I take those skills into every adventure sport.
Get amongst it and be radical!
Written by Odelios Rüegg.