Unfortunately, about a week before heading out to the camp, I badly sprained my ankle playing soccer. It swelled up significantly, and I had to go in for xrays for fear of having broken a bone; fortunately, it was just a bad sprain, and I was on crutches for 4 days. But, I wasn't going to let this stop me from going; I wasn't going to be racing, but I wasn't going to miss the training.
I landed in Denver at around 10:00pm on Thursday, May 23 at about 10pm, in the midst of heavy snowfall. It was about a 3 hour drive (in these blizzard-like conditions) up to the mountains of Estes Park, which is where the camp was held. I nearly turned around a few times for fear of getting stuck in the snow; stupidly, I rented a car instead of an SUV. But, I made it at around 2am.
The camp consisted of about 2 days of training, and a final 17 hour race. The training was great: Ian and friends gave us lots of great advice about orienteering, nutrition, sleep management, equipment, and general race strategy. We got to go out on several little mini-exercises, including a nighttime orienteering session, some kayaking on a nearby lake, and a toodle around on mountain bikes. There were about 8 or 9 of us that signed up for the camp, including two folks from Mexico that are signed up for the 2002 Eco Challenge.
After the training sessions, it was time to decide whether to go for the race: my ankle was still swollen, and even though I managed to scramble up and down some good hills during the orienteering training, I decided discretion was the better part of valour, and I bowed out. (Sorry teammates, but it was the right thing to do, even in retrospect.)
Some photos from the experience (click on these thumbnail images to see larger versions):
a 180-degree panorama of the campsite
Danelle and a fellow camp-goer on top of a mountain during the nighttime orienteering session
a ropework training session (we did both ascending with jumars and rapelling)
Ian giving us kayaking tips