Our first Florida Xtreme Adventures event was the Rogaine Ocala , an 8-hour race that had us on foot for over 26.7 miles. Some of those miles were ran a couple of times because I got a little disoriented, but what’s new. Click on the map below to follow the action
Check in started at 7AM, we were handed our map, passport, and I committed my first mistake almost instantly. Ana and I have never done a Rogaine before, so before the race I checked out a few blogs to get an idea of what to expect. A rogaine is basically the foot/nav section of an adventure race. You’re given a list of checkpoints, a map, and a finish time. You’re job is to collect as many checkpoints in an alloted time as possible. The order of collection and path is up to you.
Pre-race planning time is always nerve-racking for me. I never feel like I know what I’m doing, unlike the guys below. Look at the Canyoneros, just chillin’ before the race. They’ve got chairs, a lantern, even a floor mat. They probably have coffee brewing somewhere too.
So, I get the map and the first thing I do is highlight all the CPs so I don’t miss one. What I didn’t realize though is that there were more CPs on the map than on the passport. Come to find out, it’s a two-stage race where after completing the first stage, we return to the Start/Finish and grab a second passport. Once I figure this out, I try to “erase” the highlighter marks on the CPs that are not on the first stage and come up with a path plan.
At 8AM Ron yells out, Go! and people start dashing off into the woods. We’re rushing to not get left behind and start bushwhacking to catch up with the other racers that I assumed were on the trail we want. Come to find out, they weren’t on any trail at all, they were bushwhacking to their first checkpoint (probably 31). I realize the mistake I’ve made and we start heading east to CP33. Of course, I’m ticked at myself for feeling pressured to keep up with other teams. We had come out to practice navigation and right out the gate I want to start following others. Race starts always put me in a frenzy until I truly get my bearing and find the first CP or two. It’s hard, being an amateur, to not follow the more experienced teams.
We find CP33 with little trouble and then realize that CP33 is not a checkpoint on the first stage. I had forgotten to erase it and now we had wasted time trying to find it. Three mistakes right off the bat and we hadn’t found our first CP yet. Not a good start at all. The good news is that after the bad start, we actually did pretty well for the rest of the first stage. We found all of the checkpoints with little trouble. What was really fun was that we didn’t end up running into another team that was looking for the same CPs as us. We’ve been in races were lots of teams were looking for the same CPs at the same time, and it gets pretty boring. We cleared the first stage in 5Hrs and 13 minutes. I have no idea if that is a good time or not.
Back at the S/F, we get our second stage passport and start route planning. Then I see Team Night Owls, who came in after us, leaving to go out. Well, if they’re just going to grab their map and head out, then so will we. And look, CP33 is on this stage and we know where it is, right? As we head off to CP33, Ron Eaglin comes up from behind and takes a few photos before heading out to CP33 to get some pics of teams locating that checkpoint. We see where Ron goes in, but it isn’t where we decided to attack the CP from and so we keep going. When we get to our attack point, we take a bearing and head in. I can see Ron sitting behind palmettos but for some reason I don’t go over there. I don’t know if he’s being tricky or if he’s sitting on the CP. Of course, he’s sitting on the CP and I feel like a dumb ass for not just going over there. In the end, he got a good laugh at our inexperience and we got a good team photo 🙂
We knew we were running short on time so we made an abbreviated plan, trying to pick up CP33, 34, 54, 76, and a few more that I can’t remember. Since I seem to have misplaced my map I can’t recall what our original plan was, but I’m sure it was stupendous. It doesn’t really matter because after getting 54, we crashed and burned trying to get 76. I lost my bearing when we hit on a trail while bushwhacking south, and I then spent 40 minutes trying to regain it. I couldn’t figure out what trail we were on, which is pretty stupid in hindsight. Oh well, we had to ditch 76 and could only pick up CP55 before heading back.
We ended up finishing the Rogaine Ocala in 11th out of 18 teams, collected 19 out of 28 CPs and covered 26.7 miles in 7 hours and 39 minutes. More importantly we had a blast and discovered a new event that we definitely look forward to doing in the future. If you haven’t tried a rogaine yet, go do it. You’ll have a great time and meet some truly awesome people.