The VINCE - Very Interesting Navigation Challenge Event
Previously known as the Horizons Unlimited Mountain Madness, the VINCE (as was the HUMM) is the brainchild of the infamous adventurer Austin Vince.
Essentially a two-day team trail bike orienteering event, riders are tasked with finding a number of waypoints strewn about an area in the Spanish Pyrenees, locating small brass plaques which Austin has placed there, and noting down the numbers stamped into them. The plaques can be on trees, rocks, walls, signs, telegraph poles, small mammals… Rather than tallying the number of plaques you find, each is worth a certain number of points and you have a time limit to find as many as possible.
To help you, Austin sends out a map of the area, and a photo-book showing the general location of each waypoint, two months in advance. Whether you study the map in detail, studiously researching the area on Google Earth and working out a plan of action, or simply turn-up and wing-it (as we did) is up to you. But it will have a direct bearing on your result!
The Pyrenean trails (and the roads for that matter) are wonderful, though you’re unlikely to use any that are so tough you couldn’t get a big trailie along ‘em. So expect to see everything from Serows to Adventures taking part. Indeed, Austin also runs a twin-shock only event (called the Twin-Shock Trailfinder) in September, to exactly the same format.
The event is as much a social gathering as it is a competition, and evenings are usually spent with a group meal and a mid-event standings update from Austin, before everyone hits the bar!
Event: Trail orienteering
Where: Oliana, Spanish Pyreneans
When: September 5 and 6 September 2018
RUST Tip: If you’re in-it-to-win-it then you’ll need good preparation, fantastic organisation and fine map-reading skills. It’s also worth knowing that Spanish cops are sticklers for detail. You must have your headlight switched on during the day and having at least one mirror on your bike is a good idea if you want to avoid a tug.