The Rebelle is about accuracy and consistency. For the 2016 edition, everyone was new to the game. As the team that set the course, it was interesting for us to watch as competitors tackled this new format. As you prepare for your 2017 adventure, here is an overview for the navigation challenge and capturing points in this “highest score wins” rally.
THE CHECKPOINTS (CPs)
The Rebelle focuses primarily on compass and map navigation. The checkpoints are rated as green, blue, and black, indicating the level of difficulty in finding the CP and what to expect then they “see” it. A green CP is marked with a prominent green flag and course official. A blue CP is marked with a smaller blue flag or marking such as a blue, Rebelle branded stake. A black CP bears no physical marking, and competitors must get within the “bullseye” to get points.
All Green CPs are mandatory and must be collected in order. Blue and black CPs are optional. You may skip a blue or black CP but then continue on to the next CP, but it must be in chronological order. Competitors cannot go back to a missed CP or check off CPs out of order.
All competitors have a handheld Iridium tracking device to signal when at the CP. You only have one chance to signal the tracker. The tracker gives a time stamp and latitude/longitude coordinate which the team records on their scorecard.
Signaling the tracker more than once at the location to “try again” or to get a coordinate to help pinpointing your location results in a penalty.
Each day, the competitors are given a CP Guide. The CP Guide lists the CPs by number, rating (green, blue, or black) and the points value. It also gives the coordinate and/or a heading or distance from a known location, as well as other pertinent information.
MAPS, SCALES, & PLOTTERS
The maps we provide are US Topo maps and are very detailed and accurate. The scales we use are 1:50,000, 1:100,000, and 1:200,000. This gives our competitors a good challenge to work with different scale maps, but also gives more close up detail in some areas where it is helpful. When a route is mandatory, we place blue hash marks on the maps to denote the road or trail. In some areas, we also provide an accompanying roadbook to provide additional reference.
From that CP Guide information, you plot (locate with precision) the CPs on the appropriate map. You do this by using a “minute ruler” graduated in the appropriate scale. We recommend using Map Tools’ scales, as they are very easy to work with and also include a handy distance scale on the opposite side. However, if you lose a scale or don’t prefer to use one, you can use math, or make your own scale. Plotting CPs may sound difficult, but it does not take long to learn, and once you do, you will become quick and accurate with practice.
A compass tells you where you are in relationship to north (true or magnetic depending upon your compass). You use your compass to do some of the following key tasks:
Confirm the direction you should be going
To make sure the road you see on the map is the one you are on
To place your eyes in the direction you want to travel
To evaluate what geographic features you see are which ones on the map
To triangulate (to accurately locate your position on land to your position on the map if you are not sure your exact position, or accurately locate a geographic feature if you know your position).
PUTTING TOGETHER THE PIECES OF COMPASS MAP NAVIGATION
So the system is, plot your CPs, examine your route, use a map scale or ruler to accurately measure roads, trails, etc., and use your compass to confirm or determine your direction and/or location. Now this may sound like a tall order, but with practice and precision, you will become a proficient navigator with some basic practice. (Registered Rebelles have access to our online training course.) What is of critical importance is accuracy. When you become tired, do not go through the proper steps, daydream, it is easy to get confused or lost. However, as we always say, “You are not as lost as you think you are.”
The TSD challenge of the rally is not necessarily extensive (in the 2016 edition, we had 3 TSDs), but it does make the Rebelle more challenging for the all-around competitor. TSD stands for Time, Speed, Distance. TSD sections involve a specific prescribed route with an assigned start time and assigned target average speeds through the route. Time controls are encountered along the route, indicated by a sign at the right side of the road, (not necessarily noted in the route book) where competitors’ time of passage will be recorded by control workers. The goal of competitors is to follow the route and maintain assigned target speeds as closely as possible, points are awarded for being “on time” at each time control. Competitors continue at the prescribed average speed without stopping or slowing at or immediately after a passage timing control. Each TSD section finishes at a Green Checkpoint, which is dealt with in the usual manner, and after which the time constraints no longer apply. Points are awarded for ideal “on-time” passage at each timing control.
PUTTING TOGETHER THE PIECES OF THE FULL REBELLE CHALLENGE
While the skills are not difficult to learn, what becomes a challenge on the Rebelle is “management.” …Managing time, communication between teammates, managing lack of sleep, fueling the body and mind, managing expectations, managing efficiency, etc. It is important to stay sharp, listen intently in competitor briefings, read all documents, asking questions if something is not clear, and ensure you come to the rally ready to follow the daily instruction as given in the CP Guides and notifications. Manage your time! This is not a race for speed, but wasting time will bite you.
Be prepared to be the best teammate you can be. A positive attitude in the face of challenges can make or break your experience. If you want to win or place in the top ranks, from our perspective, don’t focus on other teams and what they are doing, or the CPs they are getting. FOCUS on your own competition, and enjoy the journey. In Year 1, many black CPs were left on the table. So hone your navigation skills, practice with your partner, and take great care of your third teammate – your vehicle.
See you in the dirt!