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Traumatic Night Navigation

Chip Dodd of Team ThisABILITY Adventure Racing reflects on the first, traumatic night of ARWC from the perspective of a team navigator.

Night set in and navigation got infinitely more complicated. Teams started to lose most terrain association and begin to rely on their "instruments" such as compass, altimeter and pace counting.

A team in the pre-start live feed mentioned that the road intersections are faint on the map. They were darkening them to be sure they could keep track of their turns. If you look at the tracks up until now, it is obvious this was a great strategy. MANY teams made wrong turns and wasted precious time backtracking to nab CPs they passed by. All that effort running fast was wasted in an instant by one missed turn.

In the rain navigators needed to be on their game to stay on track. Everything gets wet, glasses fog and flipping maps becomes way more tedious. Maybe map markups smear. One conversation can distract the navigator(s) and they lose their location and have to find a "handrail" or "guardrail" to reacquire their location. Both of which are time-consuming and chip away at team morale and motivation. In a worst-case scenario, the confidence in their navigator(s) starts to wane.

AR fans, what you witnessed in the night in Spain is just the first extremely stressful night for the navigator(s) on the teams. Keep them in your thoughts as you drift asleep in your comfy bed. They will not have that luxury for a LONG time.

Chip Dodd ARWC 2021 Guest Commentator

Team thisABILITY Adventure Racing

Team thisABILITY Adventure Racing


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