Each month leading up to the Rebelle Rally, Tiffany and Rori will answer a few questions about themselves and their preparation for the rally.
If you have a question for Tiffany or Rori, visit Team Roads Less Traveled’s Facebook page and submit your question and we’ll try and answer it in an upcoming monthly Q&A!
OCTOBER (PRE-REBELLE) Q&A WITH TIFFANY
1. You’re just days away from your second Rebelle Rally. How are you feeling heading into your second Rebelle versus this same time last year as rookies?
Well, I have started losing sleep again recently. What’s about to come starts playing in my head and I have a hard time shutting it off. Also, I’m not sure if the knowing or the NOT knowing is easier. This time last year I think there was fear of the unknown. This year I likely fear more of what I KNOW is ahead (especially the COLD nights over the first few days). The good news in that Rori and I now have a history and know what to expect from each other and how to work best together. That, more than anything, gives me a huge peace about heading into this week.
2. This year you made some changes to the FJ. What is your favorite modification heading into this year’s Rebelle?
That’s a tough question because Elite Auto Salon (EAS) did some great modifications for me. I do love the new Prinsu roof rack. It’s lower profile and will allow for easier use of the tools on top. But the custom storage system EAS built in the back is pretty slick. It allows to keep things organized and from not having to pull out storage bins over and over. Finally, I would have to say my RCI skid plates are awesome! They replaced my existing skids and added a rear differential skid. They’re way cool and will be a significant benefit for the Rebelle.
3. Does your FJ have a nickname? If so, what is it, and why?
I used to call her ‘The Beast’, mainly because she can do almost anything! But at this year’s FJ Summit in Ouray, Colorado, folks told me she didn’t seem like a ‘Beast’. She’s white and boxy, so she ended up being renamed ‘Sugar Cube’. You can call her Suga’ for short!
OCTOBER (PRE-REBELLE) Q&A WITH RORI
1. You’re just days away from your second Rebelle Rally. How are you feeling going into the event versus this same time last year?
Last year there was nervousness of the unknown. This year is definitely an exciting feeling of, “I get to do it again!” There is a level of nerves but just to do well versus not knowing what to expect last year.
2. Is there something that you can’t live without during the Rebelle (coffee, a photo from home, item of clothing, etc.)?
Coffee everyday and a picture of my Irie dog taped inside my door. Those are the two things that will for sure make me feel better or happier instantly!
3. How has your packing for last year’s event changed for this year’s Rebelle? Did you over-pack last year or is there something you didn’t bring that you wish you had?
Totally over-packed last year. This year we were given the awesome hint to put each day’s outfit in a bag and just bring an extra of whatever you cannot live without. We learned that wearing the same outfit for 3-4 days in a row (minus undergarments) is normal and we all smell the same by that point!
Keep an eye out for post-Rebelle Q&A’s with Tiffany and Rori in November and continue reading below for Q&A’s from past months.
AUGUST Q&A WITH TIFFANY
1. As rookies, you and Rori did extremely well in last year’s Rebelle Rally. How have your expectations changed going into this year’s event with a year under your belt?
I can’t say with confidence that our expectations have changed much since last year. I think we at least know a little more of what to expect related to the format of the rally and some of what each day will look like. However, Emily Miller, founder of the Rebelle, has already shared with 2018 prospective competitors that the terrain and elements will likely be more extreme and to expect more than one marathon leg this year (no base camp and you self-sustain overnight heading into the next day).
Have we set another stretch goal for ourselves? You bet we have! But at the end of the day, we simply want to be our best selves for each other…and we’ll have to see how far that gets us this year!
2. How was the FJ Summit and Rebelle U in Ouray, Colorado earlier this summer?
Going back to the FJ Summit each year feels like a family reunion. There are so many faces you see year over year and it was an extra bonus to have Rori there again. The Rebelle U allowed us to brush up on our navigation skills and do a bit of driving. We met some incredible women who are also planning on competing in the Rebelle this year and were able to encourage them based on our prior experience.
We did take a trail I had never done before that took us up to Kite Lake. There were some sporty, technical spots and it ended up pouring rain on us for the last leg. But the scenery was incredible and it was an awesome day.
Oh, and a bonus for Rori was that she drove another girl’s 4runner down from the summit. So not only is she an expert navigator, she can also take over my job if needed!
3. Tell us what it’s like to completely unplug from technology during the Rebelle Rally?
The first few days feel strange. Early on I would think, ‘Oh, I should check my texts to see if there is anything work needs from me.’ Or, I would really want to connect with my husband to let him know about my day. I felt like I was missing an appendage those first few days. Then it becomes freeing. It’s hard to explain.
I think worse than the withdrawal is the re-entry. Coming into San Diego for the awards gala, my phone was blowing up with emails and texts of congratulations. In truth, I avoided much of it because it felt overwhelming. The traffic, noise, people, and bustle of the city felt a bit claustrophobic. It took me quite a while to engage again with any kind of social media, phone games, etc. It was a great perspective on how reliant and addicted we are. I’m not nearly as much of a ‘phone-fan’ now and I’m guessing year two will only affirm that!
AUGUST Q&A WITH RORI
1. What are you most looking forward to at the 2018 Rebelle Rally?
– Harry W. on Facebook
Thanks for your question, Harry. I am most looking forward to shutting off reality for the week. I really do miss my dog and husband out there but there is something about a true escape of technology and not having to deal with the public for a week that is such an amazing feeling. Coming home and back to reality is a very tough time but remembering what we are capable of when we just turn it off is what I strive for!
2. Do you and Tiffany swap roles at all during the rally, or do you each keep to your particular driving and navigation tasks.
Tiffany and I do NOT switch roles during the rally. We decided early on that we will both have some knowledge about the other’s job but we chose to stick to our roles and give it 100%. I was able to focus on knowing what I needed to do for my team and so is she with no questions asked.
3. You and Tiffany saw each other for the first time since last year’s Rebelle Rally at this summer’s FJ Summit in Ouray, Colorado. How was it seeing each other again?
To see Tiffany truly makes me happy. Usually we see each other when it is Rebelle time but this is just a bonus. She is such an amazing motivator/cheerleader/friend and never fails to make me blush. She has so much confidence in me it shines through and helps me with my own confidence. Being around ‘TBird’ really makes me feel like the ‘Queen Bee’ (that’s what she calls me).
JULY Q&A WITH RORI
1. What’s it like working for Rebelle Rally sponsor, Total Chaos Fabrication?
It is definitely an adventure in itself working for Total Chaos. I am going on about two and a half years and I get to go to new events and meet new people quite often.
For the most part I work 3-4 days a week with a small group of guys and two other females who make off road parts for me and friends to enjoy. It’s a pretty sweet gig. It’s a pretty cool family to work with.
2. What other interests do you have outside of offroad/4×4?
My other interests outside of off-roading consist of hiking, exploring, taking my dog Irie anywhere she can swim, doing hair, indoor rock climbing, enjoying most music, cooking, and finding any new challenge or adventure that seems exciting and mainly with my best friend/husband.
3. The Rebelle Rally is a little less than three months away? At this point, what are you doing to prepare for this year’s event?
Every weekend it is my goal to practice something I know I am good at with navigation and something I am not so familiar with. Refresh after refresh is what is going to help me get better at my job. Putting your skills to the test is the only way to improve them and to be the blood hound Tiffany knows me to be my mindset has already become Rally mode.
JULY Q&A WITH TIFFANY
1. You’re roughly three months from the 2018 Rebelle Rally. Tell us about preparations so far.
My husband and I have been hitting the trail more regularly to get my ‘feet’ back under me after having taken several months off over the winter. We tried out a new trail over the 4th of July that was incredible – and likely one of the most technical trails I’ve ever done. It felt good to be back out and ‘stretching my legs’ a bit! The FJ did great and the driver did pretty good, too!
Additionally, when you register for the Rebelle, they are great at equipping you with resources to help you train and prepare. There is an online navigation class that will walk you through the basics of compass use, plotting latitude and longitude, using a plotter and triangulation. Thank goodness this is Rori’s job because she’s incredibly gifted at it while it’s a LOT of hard work for my brain to comprehend it as good as hers does. But it’s a valuable skill for anyone to have and I’m grateful for the tools the Rebelle provides for us in preparation for the rally.
2. You’re attending Rebelle University in Ouray, Colorado this month. What is Rebelle University and what do you hope to take away from the event?
Thursday, July 19 and Friday, July 20 will be our Rebelle U training in Ouray. The two-day training will consist of navigation courses, driving/vehicle courses and a ‘gear’ class. The class will be taught by Emily Miller, founder of the Rebelle, and Nicole Pitell, owner of Total Chaos Fabrication.
Emily has been teaching these Rebelle U courses at events all over the country and even internationally. She is excellent at equipping women with the knowledge and skills they would need not only to compete in the Rebelle, but with skills they can use in everyday life.
Side note: a year ago this time was my first face-to-face meeting with Rori, so it will be our one-year anniversary! J I can’t wait to see her again and I’m certain we will pick up right where we left off…just a little less smelly and a lot more rested!
3. Do you drive your Toyota FJ Cruiser daily? Have you made any changes to the FJ since last year’s event or do you expect to before this year’s event?
For the last seven years, the FJ has been my daily driver. Recently, my husband and I got a sedan to share (better gas mileage and a bit of a smoother ride!), so I switch back and forth. While the car is nice, every time I get into the FJ it feels like ‘home’.
There are a few more minor modifications I’ll be making to the FJ this year. Orders are in and I’m just waiting on shipping! (Prinsu roof rack, DeeZee ladder, Switch-Pro main light control, etc.) I’ll work with Elite Auto Salon here in Colorado Springs to help me put on the finishing touches.
Also, Rori and I learned our lesson last year related to packing. I’ve already gone through all the equipment I had last year and have purged one entire box! You don’t know what you don’t know until you’ve experienced it. There are things I packed last year that just make me roll my eyes! I had to realize we’re not necessarily Overlanding…so I might have been a bit ambitious in 2017!