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AR World Championships 2017: Dan's Story

September 4, 2017

 

My biggest struggle in this race was around navigational handoffs - where Jason or I switch into the navigator role. 

 

As Stephen put really well after the race, being navigator comes with a stack of

 

responsibilities - and you don't really get to pick and choose which ones you like and which ones you don't want.  When you give those responsibilities to someone else, you also have to fully give them (even if there's a changeover period). 

 

We experimented with some success with both Jason and I navigating simultaneously, one with a detail map, and the other with an overview.  It may have saved us some time here and there, but splitting the role probably cost us more than it saved.

 

During the long bike section, I was doing most of the navigation.  It was a brutally boring section of course, where there were sometimes hours-long spaces between even needing to look at the map. This is hard for everybody on the team - and I probably could have done a better job of articulating just how long this particular segment was. 

 

Jason kept wanting to find shortcuts across the vast desert that separated us from the checkpoint.  The map showed no better routes than the one we were on, but it is always tempting to find a way to cheat the terrain. 

 

One particularly promising road showed up, well traveled and heading in exactly the right direction.  Jason convinced us; it could save us a few miles of riding, and so it seemed like it was worth checking out. 

 

It dead-ended at a farming reservoir a mile down. 

 

We nearly decided to follow even worse roads in the vague direction of the checkpoint...  Thank goodness we didn't - backtracking took only a few minutes, and we pushed on to the real road, which wound up being in a completely different place than our intuitions placed it based on looking at the terrain. 

 

If we had tried to bike-whack to the checkpoint, we would have lost countless hours in the punishing heat.

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