February 7th, 2024
The Rebelle Rally is an extreme outdoor endurance event. It reaches far beyond motorsports.
The rally is an exceptionally unique and challenging competition with many layers and elements. But often, people don’t understand the scope and try to put it into a box of “motorsports.” While it is a competition in vehicles, it is much more – a motorsport event, a navigation event, a women’s empowerment and community event with a dose of overlanding. But at its core, it’s an extreme outdoor endurance event. Let’s break it down:
Competitors camp for ten nights in their own tents, setting them up and down five times during the rally. Two of those times, they are on their own in the backcountry without the support of base camp. And yes, eating freeze-dried food. This year, the rally temperatures ranged from 14° to 107°. No support crews or staff help the teams, despite the many tasks they have to do. No GPS, no cell phone, no comfort of social media scrolling, no phone to call home at night, no refuge of a nice motorsport team RV or hotel.
Very few events and competitions are of this duration. It goes beyond the standard beat down. We’ve endured all the elements, including one exceptional windstorm that hit the western U.S., serving up 35-70 mile-per-hour sustained winds for 21 hours, wiping out our base camp. Tents were laid over, exposing the outlines of everyone in their sleeping bags as the wind continued to relentlessly pound. And yes, it even snowed that day.
This year, there was no water in camp for three mornings as everything was frozen solid. Now, wake up, pack up, load your gear, plot 25 latitude and longitude waypoints on a map, do a series of math calculations while you can barely feel your hands, attend a mandatory briefing, then start your competition, all while the sun has barely begun to shine. Now contrast that with the finish, with brutal heat in the dunes of the southern Mojave Desert. The kind of heat that zaps every ounce of energy and electrolyte from one’s body. Now, put on your goggles and dig your car out of that hot sand yet again as you search for those final coveted points. Hopefully sans sand storm. This is the Rebelle Rally. And this is part of what makes it such a badge of honor. (I am not sure I’m making it sound too appealing!).
Given the course is confidential, competitors don’t know where they are going until the morning of the next stage, it adds in a layer most underestimate. It means they can’t prepare for something specific, they must prepare for all the options, all conditions, for the unknown. And of course, Rebelles must carry 24 hours of survival supplies in case of emergency. They balance competition and the quest for the best score, yet making smart decisions in the face of the elements — usually on minimal sleep.
Rebelles are badass. So when you meet a Rebelle, know that she does more than put her cell phone away, read a map and drive to checkpoints across beautiful landscapes documented by stunning photos and video. She has completed a grueling endurance challenge that many in motorsports wouldn’t even dream of tackling.