I am starting to get pretty excited about the Challenge! Maybe it’s the 60 degree temperature shift in the last few days. Here’s some food for thought as you continue your preparation for the 24HfH challenge.
Hopefully by now you have a general idea of your route. You’ve studied google maps and decided on a route that will allow you to move fairly safely in a relatively straight line. For those going for big distances, river crossings/bridges are a key factor. You want to make sure any path you travel allows you to safely keep a distance from speeding cars, i.e. walking on the shoulder of interstates would probably suck. Or two lane roads that see a lot of traffic, not my idea of fun. If you can stick to a non-motor vehicle trail, even better!
Another factor to consider is places along the way that you can use to re-supply. Gas stations, restaurants or bars along the way…or are you heading to more remote areas where you either have to self-support or have someone meet you to re-supply. While travel method is limited to your own legs, I thought about it and if you’d like to take a ferry across a river, that is also an acceptable method of travel for this challenge.
So in the roughly three and a half day window you have to undertake the challenge, you must pick the 24 hour period that will be most conducive to your success. Weather forecast is a huge factor. Unless we luck out and get 4 days of San Diego-like weather, you could face heat, cold, rain or even snow? You’ll probably have a good idea of the expected weather a few days in advance so you can really start planning the specifics of your trip, meet up/re-supply locations and expected finishing time for your picker upper.
If you are planning to continue moving overnight, whether you want to do your overnight at the beginning, middle or end of your trip. Speaking as a MR340 participant, I think travelling all morning, afternoon/evening then finishing your 24 hours with an overnight could lead to some pretty cool hallucinations. But totally up to you!
Your safety throughout the challenge should be your #1 priority. That starts with picking and planning a safe route, always being aware of your surroundings, always being aware of what your body is telling you, and always being able to contact someone should there be an emergency. I’ve added a few items listed below which will contribute to your overall safety, but please be proactive and think ahead, try to anticipate any eventualities and do what you need to do to reduce any risks.
My hwife Sara Fingerhut has graciously volunteered to be the central point of contact during the race. She will have each person’s contact info, you’ll have her info, she’ll have your emergency contact info. She will also have the ability to track each participant’s location in real time. It is very important that she be able to see where you are at any given point in the challenge (see tracking section below), not just to be able to provide updates to the outside world, but for your safety. I will ask that you shoot her a text as soon as you are planning to begin your challenge so she knows who is out on the trail at any given time. Also, it is your responsibility to notify her when you either (A) finish your 24 hours of travel or (B) decide you are done with the challenge. At that point, you must send her your exact finishing location.
As mentioned, the race manager must be able to, at any given time, (A) see where you are on a map and (B) be able to call or text you. This means, you must provide a tracking method to the race manager when you are ready to begin. Some Garmins allow for live tracking, I assume that just involves activating it and sharing a link. Find My Friends does the same, I believe. A very easy option is Google maps. Here is a simple step by step to activate location sharing in GMaps:
- Click on Google Maps
- Click on your picture in the search bar
- Click on Location Sharing
- Click Share Location
- Choose amount of time to share location for – choose at least 1 day or ‘until you turn this off’
- Select who to send it to – In addition to the race manager, I’d recommend sending it to your emergency contact, and anyone else who should be able to track you.
You must also ensure you have enough battery power to keep your phone (or Garmin, etc.) powered for the entire challenge. I highly recommend bringing a battery pack/brick and charging cable. I would expect you will have to charge your device(s) at some point during the challenge. And even more so if you plan to use your phone, watch PornHub or listen to music during the challenge.
Post challenge, I would love to be able to collect each of your gps routes and possibly play around with getting them all on a single map, maybe do some more detailed analysis of the numbers.
It’s up to you to prepare sufficiently for anything you’ll need during the challenge. You’ll either bring items with you that you’ll need, arrange to meet someone to get gear/supplies, or plan to procure gear/supplies along the way.
For clothing, dressing in layers is the key. It will probably be cold in the morning and during the night. You’ll probably be moving so you’ll stay somewhat warm, but please keep in mind that if you stop at all, you’ll cool down very quickly and will want to be warm again. It may get pretty warm during the day, so you’ll want less clothing, keeping in mind you may also sweat through some clothes. If possible, changing into a new set of clothes would be a great way to refresh during the challenge. At least a fresh pair of underwear and socks would be nice. It is highly recommended to wear bright or reflective clothing, especially if you’ll be travelling along roads in low light conditions. You don’t want to blend in to your surroundings on this challenge. You’ll also probably be out in the sun a lot, so a hat, sunscreen, clothing that covers your skin, sunglasses, etc.
I highly HIGHLY recommend the following as required gear: emergency/foil blanket, cranium light (unless your plan only travel during daylight), water, Vaseline (or other lubricant to combat chafing), mask (for going into stores, unforeseen car trips, etc.) and a couple bandages/basic first-aid items. Additionally, a few items that are always a good idea: knife, lighter (in case you need to light an emergency fire or smoke an emergency joint), a buff or two (so many uses!), small rag/towel for cleaning up (or wet wipes), toilet paper, small roll of tape for general use and gear repair, small amount of cash (in case you need to solicit a ride or buy some fresh roadside fruit), a way to carry water (camelbak, bottles, etc.), plastic baggies to keep electronics/other gear dry.
Got to stay hydrated. Even if it won’t be very hot, you’ll be sweating and losing moisture and electrolytes. You’ll need to ensure you can carry enough water, or find enough sources of hydration along the way. I’ve had good luck with little salt tablets on very hot days on the river, where water isn’t enough. I would develop cramps even if I was drinking water consistently due to lack of electrolytes – salt or electrolyte tabs are great. Know what else has a lot of salt? Pickles. And Missouri Man Jerky. I can load you up for the trip. Food-wise, totally up to you how to manage. Food can be heavy, so either plan to get fed when you meet people along the way, or stop into restaurants or stores along the way. Gu packets are instant energy/pick me ups.
I’m sure I am missing some details. As I think of additional things, I’ll continue to post here. Thanks for being a part of this insanity. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.