Part 2: T-Minus 3 Months, What Are We Looking For?
So you’ve been Geocaching for a while and you think you are just insane enough to try for “100 caches in 24 hours!”, “As many as we can get before we pass out” or “300 finds or abandoning my car mates in a ditch, whichever comes first”. Caching can be stressful. So can a crush event, where you and your (optional) team race to collect as many smilies as possible.
“Leader” of the Pack (uh, that’s you)
Happy Place, where you will calm down and relax (you’ll be visiting that place shortly)
Now let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the day. We might as well dive right in since Part 2 is where you get to decide “Da Rules”, as one of my favorite cartoons calls them…
1.) Cache Difficulty
This is probably the easiest step in the process. Savor it. If you’re trying for a marathon of Grecian legendary stature you may want to omit the hardest cache types from your search. Having said that, we cache hiders are notoriously bad at judging Geocache difficulty. The number of “easy find” logs on 4.5-star caches should give you a clue. My advice: just go after them all. Embrace the 5-Star. You’re not a novice.
2.) Cache Type(s)
This is the next easiest task, since if you’re going after sheer numbers that leaves Multi-Cache, Earth Cache and most of the rest right out. Your goal is to get in and out quickly, so just think of it like this: if you want to log 10 caches per hour you need to sign a log every 6 minutes. That means sign, travel, search, find, and sign again every six minutes. This is how I recommend you approach it:
Traditional Caches: YES!
Virtual Caches: YES! But only if you know you will have the ability (technology) to log the find properly while at GZ.
Webcam Caches: YES! But only if you know you will have the ability (technology) to log the find properly while at GZ.
Mystery (Puzzle) Caches: YES/MAYBE. Only go after those you can solve and verify well ahead of your visit.
Everything Else: NO. The caveat here is the same for the Mystery caches, but you will not likely solve the time constraint problem easily.
The Mystery (Puzzle) caches are the biggest worry but provide the most potential for some unexpected fun. I find some of the puzzles overly tough to do on my own, so having a team to help out here is quite handy.
If you can’t tell I am building your Pocket Query here for you. Take notes, there will be a quiz.
This is all about the kind of search you are trying to setup and the transportation you will have on offer. Are you off-roading it? Is this a “Bus the City” challenge? Walking? Biking? All car? Only you and your team know.
Much like the Difficulty rating, we cache hiders are notoriously bad at assigning a proper Terrain rating. I can say this: If you are after an urban blitz, Terrain 1.5-1 is probably how you should limit your query since these will all be walk up hides. If you have some specific off road challenge or bicycles will be involved some other terrain types offer themselves up. This one you will need to play with a bit. Again, if this is about the numbers you won’t get far picking out 4-5 star terrain caches to hunt.
Ignore them unless you are doing some wild “bring your baby carriage/pram caching” adventure.
This one is tougher than it sounds. You’ve already set a stake in the ground around this but just in case you’re in some fantasty land or overwhelmed by your pharmacopia, please don’t say things like
“Dude, let’s go for 500 caches in 12 hours!”
You can’t. The table below should give you some sense of the possible. At the top: The interval in the left column is the time you plan to spend from log signing to log signing for each cache, which includes travel and finding the hide, then signing and returning. The Per Hour, Per 12 Hours, etc. are how many caches you can expect to log if you maintain that average pace between caches.
Per 12 Hours
Per 24 Hours
|15 Minutes||4||48||96||🙂 🙂 🙂|
|12 Minutes||5||60||120||🙂 🙂|
|6 Minutes||10||120||240||🙁 🙁|
|5 Minutes||12||144||288||🙁 🙁 🙁|
Find Pace, Time Between Log Signings
I did not account for mandatory food and bio-breaks (potty stops for some of you) for the 12 and 24 hour figures, so unless your space suit is good all day you should expect to perform somewhat worse than the listed numbers. Figure at least 1 hour of down time for every 12. You may take your time off in 5 minute chunks but you’ll spend an hour.
Watch; now you’ll find Johnny Camel Bladder taking food in an IV all day to cache with. 🙂
So look for your goal in the 12 or 24 hour columns and you can find the Interval pace you need to meet the goal. Tougher than you thought, ain’t it? On our Palm Springs run in January, 2009 we kept better than a 7 minute pace and stopped for about an hour, totalling 105 in 10.5 hours. We had all the right mojo and it was a lot of fun. I could have done about 18-20 hours at that pace, max (and I think I would be a little strained after 12 or 13).
You’ll want to have that pizza and beer gathering now, plenty of beer. Discuss reality (as opposed to that fantasy you started with) and agree on the pace. Then you’re ready to get cracking on the Pocket Query itself; next time. By now you’re thinking this might actually be possible and you may even have a few specific routes in mind. That’s great. Prepare to scrap them.
Stay tuned for Part 3, wherein we shape up the PQ.