Typically, the Rogaining World Championships is held in far flung Eastern European countries like Russia, Czech Republic, or Finland…so when it was announced that the 2014 version was going to be held in North Dakota, I started making real plans. I teamed up with my friend Dennis who is an amazing endurance athlete, and killer navigator. This guy is razorsharp when it comes to reading maps, and we work extremely well together when navigating difficult courses. I stick to compass work, and often catch little mistakes he makes before they become big mistakes. We complement eachother well…when I falter, he takes my pack, when he gets sleepy in the middle of the night, I take over. It’s a fairly good dynamic (though we usually have a 30s blow up each race…that ends up in us racing harder and proof that we roll with punches well).
We had a goal for Worlds…to be the top North American team, and to try and be in the top 10 overall. It’s stiff competition. This 24h race started at noon, with a few hours of planning on our maps beforehand. We took an aggressive approach, but were a little surprised to realize there was no way to clear the course (we were used to clearing courses we raced). We hit a few speed bumps on the course, between my water bladder springing a leak, and me bonking about 6h into the event. Once again I relied on Dennis being strong and taking my pack for a few hours. The one point in the race we lost our way a bit, I managed to recognize our mistake, and we were back on track probably having lost only 15mins.
When we crossed the finish line 23:44 into the race, we had covered 96km (60mi), 1 583m (5,224ft) and a lot of checkpoints. It was enough to place 8th overall, and be the top North American team! No small feat for 24h on your feet, largely off trail.