It was a cool night in western Kentucky. The start of the Adventure Racing Championship event by Checkpoint Tracker was still 12 hours away, but our entire team had a sinking feeling — the race director had just announced that the course would essentially be decided early on by a massive traditional orienteering “race within a race.” An hour later, as we plotted the checkpoints in our hotel room, we got a better sense of the scope of the difficulties ahead. Teams would have 10 hours to get as many of the section’s 23 checkpoints as they could amidst the crisscrossing trails, broad ridges, and little gullies that flank the land.
Our team captain Stephen Regenold, founder of GearJunkie.com, is an experienced orienteer, regularly competing (and occasionally winning) regional orienteering events. Unfortunately, Regenold had been unable to join the team for this race as our big annual “Treasure Hunt: Roanoke” event coincided with the CP Tracker race. Regenold’s absence left us still with a strong team, though as demonstrated in the video here, none of us are experts in the intricate skill of traditional orienteering.
In addition to our tough go with the orienteering, a major bike breakdown that cost us an hour in repair time, and a lack of food on the course (we ended up eating found gummy candies off the ground and a piece of hard corn on the cob!) added drama to the event. But in the end, Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers was one of only eight teams (out of 70 total) to complete the entire course in Kentucky, putting us in 6th place for the nationally-attended event. Next time, we’ll make sure Regenold is leading the charge on the “O course,” and we plan to hone that discipline alone to broaden our quiver of skills. Oh, and we’ll bring more food next time so we don’t have to eat gummy chews dropped in the dirt!
—Jason Magness is a founder of Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers.