Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Surviving the Race - Part Two - Gear

Different types of gear are required to handle various types of activities. My recent experience working support for a really great team of runners during the 2009 Texas Independence Relay helped me to realize that there are some basic rules that can be applied to most any activity when it comes to the gear you will need.

Observations on Gear

1. Use what you pack and pack what you use!

Weight and space are primary concerns. If you don’t have a plan to use it or a specific purpose in mind for that gear, it may just be taking up valuable space that could be used for something you may need a lot more. Make sure you’re going to use it before you pack it up.

2. Don’t forget to leave room for people!

A vehicle with a large capacity after it’s loaded with people and their gear will be very cramped and uncomfortable if not done properly. Eight people (6 runners, 1 driver, and 1 navigator-relief driver) with their gear made for a full load but still allowed everyone a decent amount of space to be comfortable. A seat was even removed to make sure we had adequate space for gear AND people.

3. Check your gear and make sure it’s working properly beforehand!

When checking my gear prior to starting out, I found an emergency light that had some corrosion that caused it to malfunction. A wire brush and some fresh batteries fixed the problem quickly and it worked great afterwards. Check it before you need it! Always!
Just like the heater never quits in the summer and the A/C never quits in the winter. Gear and equipment only fails when you need it. Checking to make sure it is functioning properly beforehand will help you avoid equipment failure.

4. Gear is going to break!

We had headlamps fail for no apparent reason at all while the runners were using them during the night. Headlamps that had been working great suddenly stopped working. This is where our backups came into play. We made sure all the runners had a backup light source; no exceptions. Always have a backup!

5. Match your gear to your activity!

If you are going to be involved in an activity that is going to require a lot of night time activity, you’d better have plenty of gear to provide extra light. If you plan to rely on cell phones for your communication, you’d better have radio backup for when you hit a dead zone.

6. Always have a first aid kit handy!

Little things like scratches and blisters can make your life completely miserable when it doesn’t have to be that way. A little first aid goes a long way!

7. Don’t skip on the amount of water and food you carry!

Traveling after ten o’clock at night in rural areas will leave you thirsty and hungry if you were expecting some place to be open. We’re not talking about during a hurricane or some other emergency. After a certain time of night in a lot of rural areas, there just aren’t any places to get ANYTHING to eat or drink!

8. Gear and equipment that hasn’t been tested in a real life situation may fail when you need it the most!

With proper planning and organization, any activity can be a success. The team I was working support for during The Texas Independence Relay finished extremely well and was in the top 10%. Through a great team effort, some very dedicated runners with great skill and ability, great planning and organization we were very successful in the race.

Congratulations on a great race to all the runners! Thanks to all the others who helped work support for the team! It was a great effort on everybody’s part!

You can get the 2009 Texas Independence Relay Race results here: 2009_TIR_Results_Overall.pdf

You can read part one here: Surviving the Race-Part One

Staying above the water line!



Mo said...

Great post! Thanks for posting.

scoutinlife said...

Exceptional Post Thanks River!

riverwalker said...

To: Mo

Nothing better than a little "real life" experience.Thanks.


riverwalker said...

To: scoutinlife

It's amazing what things you can learn from such a simple activity. Thanks scout.


Related Posts with Thumbnails