It’s hard to believe that just over a week ago, myself and my teammate were wrapping up an 8-day competition that started in Northern Nevada and ended in Southern California, with over 2,800 KM traveled, all off-road in a Toyota Tacoma.
As I sit in my office at work staring at my Beyond Clothing Dasche Jacket, reminiscing of my incredible adventure with Beyond Clothing as our 3rd teammate, I can’t help but think about how grateful I am to both my teammate and Beyond Clothing for this incredible experience. So what were we doing? We were competing in Rebelle Rally.
I should start from the beginning. My name is Kelsey Pringle, and I am the Navigator for team #134. My teammate, and principal driver for team 134, is Tasha Kreger. Together we were one of 55 teams from across the globe that competed in Rebelle Rally 2022.
The Rebelle Rally is the first women’s off-road navigation rally in the United States and the longest competitive off-road rally in the country. It is a game of skill, not speed, and isn't a relaxing leisurely drive.
Imagine driving off-road on the epic desert landscape of Nevada and California—rough and rocky terrain everywhere you look. The weather is unpredictable; the terrain is ever-changing due to flash floods which wash out roads. Not even the Rally staff can predict the conditions of the route daily.
These are some of the most iconic off-roading areas in the United States, and we spent over a week navigating nearly three thousand kilometers of the region with only a map and compass.
Tasha and I first connected at a Rally Training event in the Spring of 2021. This 4-day Rally School gave a glimpse of the skills needed to participate in the Rally. I say participate because it's impossible to compete in your first year of Rebelle Rally, as you need more context and experience as to what the competition is.
I am from Vancouver Island, Canada, and Tasha was based in Colorado. We traveled a long way to Southern California for this Rally Training, and we were betrothed to other teams at the time.
Tasha has a 20-year military background and has a unique ability to both intimidate you and draw you in at the same time. She and I started some small talk asking where I was from. I responded that I was from Canada. Her face lit up, and her expression became increasingly animated as she replied, “Dude, I'm from Minnesota; we are going to be friends.” That was it, our friendship immediately blossomed, and we were brought together because we talked funny. In 2021 Tasha and I competed in the Rebelle Rally with other teams. We knew, however, that come 2022, we would become a team which is what we did!
Rebelle Rally is the ultimate test in driving, navigation and mental endurance. The morning comes fast and hard. Typically, you wake between 4:30 am and 5:00 am, and there is a long to-do list before you hit the start line for that morning.
This is where Beyond Clothing became our 3rd teammate. Our minds are already occupied with the jitters and anxieties of what the day may bring. The temperatures are cold and rise rapidly in the late morning. As women, we want to be comfortable and look good. Half asleep, we could grab any pair of Beyond Clothing pants, shirts, pullovers and jackets and know they would look good, keep us warm or cool, and be comfortable! Our minds could remain in the game without those insecurities of “do I look ok?” kicking in.
Tasha and I had separate duties. As a navigator, I would receive between 20 and 35 coordinates for my day's checkpoints. I would be given a list of maps to draw from where I will plot these coordinates. At the beginning of the Rally, they provide each team with 13 maps representing the entire rally. We, however, have no context of these areas until we receive the daily coordinates.
Plotting these coordinates takes roughly an hour of straight concentration. While working on this, Tasha is doing math for our Rally Road Book, packing up our base camp, checking over the Rally vehicle and doting on me, bringing me coffee and breakfast. Yes, I know I sound spoiled, and it’s because I was. I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate. Once we completed our tasks, Tasha and I reviewed our route for the day, gathered our things, and headed to the start line to hunt down checkpoints.
Stay tuned for the next blog that breaks down the competition and how we placed, the types of competitors and the Beyond Clothing we styled during the rally.