Conversations

Rogaining in 1971 – a memoir

Written by Jim Lee

With John driving us through Adelaide suburbs on our way to Mt. Torrens, Peter and I took the new Silva orienteering compass out of its box and read the instructions on how to align the compass on the map and make allowance for the magnetic deviation. We were all experienced bush-walkers, but a competitive walk was new to each of us. As members of the Flinders University Bushwalking Club we had accepted a challenge from the much more established Adelaide University Mountaineering Club (AUMC) to compete in the “South Australian Orienteering Championships” – but orienteering was virtually unknown in Australia, and rogaining was yet to be named.

We arrived early, about an hour before the start at noon to find around 10 teams there to compete. The rules were: 24 hours to complete the course with penalties for late return; teams of at least two; team members could be dropped, but only at a hash house, and there must be two remaining to continue. There were two hash houses, and it was compulsory to visit both. There would have been no competitors older than about 30. I don’t recall any female teams/competitors but there may have been. There was at least one other team from Flinders, who we did not expect to beat, and talk of a ‘hot’ team from AUMC that was expected to be unbeatable. Peter, John and I agreed that we would just see how we went, but we were not going to run at all.

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World Rogaining Championships – Catalunya, Spain

Written by Craig Colwell

There are some magical moments in life when everything goes right and your body is in tune with the moment, you feel invincible and un-stoppable. I’ve been blessed with this sensation only a couple of times in my life, once on a long-distance run, the other playing a game of basketball.

Unfortunately, at La Molena, on 27 July this year, competing in the 16th World Rogaining Championship was not one of those rare moments. It was more a case of enduring physically and mentally, knowing that we had done this before and could do it again, but realising that we had to limit our goals due to a curtailed preparation.

We began planning for this event in November 2018, but just after entering the event, Evelyn, when running across North Tce on the way to work, ran into the side of a moving car and ended up in hospital with a broken hand and badly cut knee. A few weeks later I badly tore my achilles tendon. Neither of these events were an ideal start to our World Championship preparation, especially as the general advice on my achilles tendon was a 12-month recovery period.

Undaunted, we continued with overseas booking including an 8-day hiking tour through the Pyrenees villages as a warm-up just before the event, as well planning a short visit to the mountainous principality of Andorra to acclimatise ourselves to hiking in the big mountains.

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Conquering Cave Country – 15-hour race report

CAVE COUNTRY CONQUERED!

Written by Stephen Gray – one half of the winning team

I like the 15-hour roving rogaines in SA. Love them! 15 hours in 24. All the good bits of the 24 hour events without all that sleep deprivation. Hide and seek, chatting around the campfire, a good sleep, and a chance to go out again in the morning. Better than two rogaines in one weekend!

I tried to get my rogaining partner, Cath, to write a quick race report. She threatened to take a photo of my back and just write that she followed this. That’s not entirely true, but didn’t change who would write this.

The forests around Naracoorte gave us a significantly different rogaine. Soft underfoot, great! The feet thanked the setters for that. Electric fences, and plenty of them. Hmmm…  Lots of trees, not so sure about ‘A pine tree’, in a sea of green. Some of the controls were challenging to find more so from certain directions than others. One presented us with quite a challenge when collecting it after the event.

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Bendleby Ranges State Champs – Race Report

BENDLEBY RANGES – A PERSONAL REFLECTION

Prelude

It was a welcome surprise when long time climbing and bush walking friend, Shaw Callen, messaged me in April to see if I was interested in tackling the upcoming Bendleby Ranges Rogaine. I had previously been there in 2008 with Steve Frigo coming a respectable 7th out of 28 teams.

I had rogained with Shaw in three 24-hour events previously with varied success. Our best result had been coming 6th out of 36 teams in 2009.

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Worth The Waite – Race Report

As I write this with sore legs, aching shoulders and tired mind that’s contemplating a third coffee; I think back to the energetic optimism before the Rogaine. All memories of pain from previous events has conveniently magically disappeared, I somehow think this will be different. It’s only 4 hours! But somehow the last hour always has me questioning my motivations. With cramping legs, fading light and a futile race against the clock; the temptation to throw it in and crash one of the many suburban BBQ’s polluting the street with their heavenly scent was overwhelming. Despite the pain, it won’t be long before I’ll want to do it all over again.

There’s a reason we keep coming back and this event is a prime example. Set in the beautiful leafy suburbs and steep foothills of south-eastern Adelaide; Worth the Waite was bound to offer a combination of pleasant easy walking/running/pram pushing, mixed with grueling hills and incredible views over Adelaide. The afternoon was a warm one, but the gully breeze was ever present ready to cool sweat encrusted Rogainer faces. As everyone gathered for the briefing on the lush lawns of Waite Campus, we all observed a minutes’ silence to honor the victims of the recent New Zealand shooting massacre. The start that followed was a somber and silent one, with none of the usual rushing excitement.

It was apparent that most teams were out to get the painful and grueling hills out of the way first, with a mass migration of Rogainers heading straight up the steep rocky single track to 81. Things were only going to get better from there with incredible, uninterrupted views over Adelaide and a cooling breeze off the coast. The field thinned out quickly as everyone dispersed on their carefully planned routes, some opting for the mansion lined leafy streets of Springfield, while others headed to the steep, dry scrubland and open paddocks of Brown Hill. Some gluttons for punishment (like us) decided that 1 major hill wasn’t enough and pushed up Pony Ridge track or Randell Park up to Belair. Others (perhaps more sensibly) chose to keep to the foothills and suburbs of Lynton and Shepherds Hill, opting for distance over climb.

We originally planned to pick up every control except the three in Randell Park. It became apparent at the top of Brown Hill, then 100% confirmed going up Pony Ridge track that we’d have to miss a significant portion of the southwest corner. The top of Pony Ridge saw us rapidly flagging with just under 2 hours to go, so a new route was planned which involved a more direct route back through Randell Park. As energy, light and time dwindled, more controls were sacrificed in the vain attempt to get back in time. The slight incline to the hash house from the West seemed to go on forever, but eventually we reached the wonderful beacon of light, 6 minutes late but happy. Pizza, watermelon, coffee, doughnuts awaited tired and hungry Rogainers. A perfect ending to another fantastic Rogaine.

Thanks go to the incredible course setters, organisers and volunteers that made it all happen. It was a challenging but thoroughly enjoyable day and I think a lot of the other smiling faces out there would agree. See you at the Velogaine!

Brett Merchant

Treasurers Report, March 2019

Thank you to everyone who stayed around for the very speedy AGM after the Twilight event in March.

 

In 2018, SARA made a loss of $300, and had an annual turnover of $62 000. That leaves us with $40 000 in the cash reserves. Our books have been audited and a copy of the financial statement is available today on paper, and on our website.

 

Throughout the year we continued to financially support rural communities in South Australia. Principally this was through our bush events at Almerta and Holowiliena stations. We also supported the Flinders Ranges branch of the Isolated Childrens’ Parents Association. They fundraised by doing some catering for us and then we made an additional small donation to them. They works to provide equity in access to education for children in rural and remote Australia, and was a cause that we felt was important to support, as SARA as an organisation, continue to be connected with those families and communities in rural Australia.

 

In the first half of the year, we finished the upgrade to our website, which included launching our new entry system. The new system includes credit card payments and self managed team changes. Hopefully you have benefited from the improved efficiency of this system, but certainly be sure those of us working behind the scenes are appreciating the flexibility and automation the new system is offering.

 

Late in the year, we purchased a new marquee. We see this as an investment that will last us a long time and hopefully you have all noticed it today. Of course, it comes with a great new colour scheme. If this one works out well, we will purchase a second one to use for the hash house at bush events.

 

Looking forward, we will need to spend some money to prepare for and in the lead up to the National Championships in 2020, which Craig is going to say a few words about that event. Other than that we are moving along quite nicely, and our finances continues to be stable year to year.

Donation to Isolated Children’s Parent’s Assoc

One of the key elements (and to be honest, difficulties) in running rogaines is land owner access. SARA plans carefully to provide interesting and often unique access for rogainers to enjoy. This only comes after much work building a long term reputation for caring about the land as much as the owners do. To assist in making and maintaining this SARA often asks local community groups to be involved. Mostly this is in the purchase and preparation of food or running the hash house.

One of the more important rogaining relationships has been in the southern Flinders Ranges, where the members of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (ICPA) are often the actual landowners we are working with. Over time more access has become available as more neighbours get involved!

Each year SARA makes a modest donation from the income derived from events to a good cause related to our sport. The Committee is very pleased to say that our 2018 donation was $200 to the Isolated Children’s Parent’s Association, SA branch (ICPA). Most recently the ICPA helped out by running the hash house for the Holowiliena 24 hr State Champs. This included not only cooking and food, but firewood, water and the gun shot to start the event.

You can see the ICPA’s activities on their website: https://sa.icpa.com.au/.

Rogainer of the Year Award 2018

2018 Rogainer of the Year

Evelyn Colwell
Evelyn has had a memorable year full of highs and lows. Some rogaines were completed with grit and determination, such as the 6-hour Lofty Explorer where Evelyn found herself at the bottom of the mountain with half an hour to go, experiencing severe cramping in her legs. With her focus being on just making it back to the Hash House, she and her husband, Craig, managed to walk straight past a 50-point control on the track then, still breathing heavily once she had finished, 11 minutes late, Evelyn hyperventilated and required some medical assistance. They still managed to win 1st in the Mixed Supervet category and come 10th overall.

At the Velogaine, Evelyn was in a moon-boot so settled with helping on Admin while Craig rode away into the sunset. Valuable RoY points were still accrued by volunteering.

At the roving 15-hour Gum Creek Country and the 4-hour St Patrick’s Day Saunter, Evelyn and Craig raced around the maps, coming a handy 3rd overall and 1st in Mixed Supervet in both events.

The grit and determination certainly came into play in Evelyn’s final rogaine, the Tea Tree Minigaine, where she competed with a knee that had only been operated on two days prior to competing, and a broken wrist. Yes, she’d lost a fight with a moving vehicle only days before, but still managed to compete with the aid of a walking stick and her patient husband, Craig. They came in 8th Mixed Supervet and 79th overall. Not a bad effort, when most sane people would have stayed home!

The highlight of Evelyn’s year was her role as the primary setter for the 24-hour State Champs, Hello-wiliena Again. All teams were hard-pushed to complete an error-free course on a map that encompassed areas of very tricky navigation and well-placed controls. Many experienced rogainers have tales to tell of lost time spent wandering around the landscape searching for orange and white controls.

Congratulations to a rogainer who consistently did her best, whether competing or volunteering.

 

2018 Runner-up Rogainer of the Year
Craig Colwell

What a year Craig has had! As a partner to his wife, Evelyn, he’s experienced the same highs and lows as her and has been a fantastic competitor in his own right. We think he should actually win a ‘Best and Fairest’ award for his selfless and long-suffering support of Evelyn!

At the 4-hour Velogaine, Craig competed with a friend – neither would be considered dedicated cyclists – but they still managed to crack 1000 points to finish 2nd Male Supervets. Then at the 24-Hour State Champs, he ably assisted with the setting and produced the map, gaining him valuable RoY points.

Congratulations, Craig, for a stellar year.

URGENTLY WANTED – SETTERS

We have the rogaines scheduled, but we need some setters to do their magic and assist setting/vetting some of the longer events. If you’ve ever considered setting or wondered how to do it, now is your opportunity to give it a go. Full support and direction will be provided by members of the committee.

Beware though – setting can become quite addictive. There’s a lot of power in deciding exactly where those controls will be placed! (If you ever want pay-back for hard-to-find controls, this is how you do it…)

Want to know more about setting? > READ MORE

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

They are part of life; sometimes the number of decisions we need to make can be paralyzing. Some decisions we make are great; some awful (I’ll bet you had a particularly bad one spring to mind with that statement!)

Rogaining is a sport based on strategy, decision making, navigation and stamina. It’s a sport where average participants can compete well against naturally gifted athletes. Of course, if you can run fast and long AND make great decisions when navigating, you are probably going to do very well.

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Just head north!

The 2018 Australian Rogaining Championships, or ‘Sun SEQer rogaine’, was held in the Gympie Region of Queensland. My rogaining partner and I were lucky enough to receive support from the Nigel Aylott Memorial Fund to cover our travel expenses to and from the event. We represented the University of Adelaide, and have participated in a few 24-hour events before, so knew what we were getting into. We are by no means a highly competitive team. However, even the Australian Championships is not an event only for the elites… every-day people can enter it as well and still have fun!

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2018 National Championships, Gympie Queensland

We decided to make a holiday of this year’s National Champs being held in Gympie Queensland, driving via Brisbane to spend a couple of days with our youngest daughter.

We made our way to Gympie to arriving early enough to set up before Craig was to attend the ARA Delegates meeting at 2 pm. Doug Gillott, also from the SARA committee turned up for this in good time, so I was let off and could prepare my backpack and spend the rest of my time relaxing. A thunderstorm was forecast for the afternoon, and though some thunderous clouds came by, nothing came of them. This was quite fortunate as the grasses were very dry and lightning strikes could have been disastrous.

Saturday once again dawned clear and very warm and 9 am came all too soon to collect our maps. There were some very notable features regarding the map;
1. It was large, the size of a small tablecloth, though still a 1:40,000 scale;
2. There was an All-night cafe (ANC), yay;
3. The controls were really, really spread apart averaging 2.2 ks, we even had a 4k leg (groan); and
4. There were plenty of water stations (yay), only a few had controls nearby and none had points (groan).

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A license to set

Setting the Hello-Wiliena rogaine was an amazing experience that I shared with my two boys. This was the first bush rogaine event that I had been involved in organising. In the early stages of the event preparation, my contribution to the setting / vetting process was limited; providing input at the armchair stage in Adelaide.  However, because my sons were still on school holidays in the week leading up to the event, there was a great opportunity for them to be involved in the process and go hiking around the Flinders Ranges.

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The “Why” and “How” of the Intention Sheet

Rogaining is a relatively simple sport with a few basic rules which have evolved since its inception.  One of these rules relates to the Intention Sheet which is attached to each Control.

The Rules of Rogaining state:

R19. Teams shall fill in any intention sheet at the checkpoint with the time of arrival, the team number and the number of the checkpoint that they intend to next visit.

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What is on a map, by Todd

Leading up to our 2018 State Championship event, the son of the landowners of Holowiliena, Todd just starting a mapping assignment for a school subject.  As such the rogaine map became a focal point for Todd and his family and they were all keen to learn about the map symbols, contour lines, the various north lines and how to use a compass.

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Water for courses

Don’t let anyone tell you different. Finding an orange and white marker with the value of 90 points, in the dark, late at night after pace counting on bearing for a kilometre[s] gives you the biggest rush, it is like winning your very own lottery!

If you want to explore our state’s jaw-dropping vistas. Then take a look at this crazy sport called Rogaining, because the organisers supply the location and you get to create your very own adventure!

NIGHT NAVIGATION TIPS

Night time can be the best part of a rogaine – to me, rogaining at night is the most enjoyable part of any event. Watching a huge golden full moon rise, navigating under its light all night, then watching it slowly set again is awesome. Everyone should experience this at least once.

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Preparing for a Velogaine

To ensure you have a lot of fun at the Velogaine, we have compiled some handy resources to help you enjoy your time out on course.

Velogaines are a great way to explore our state, they are fun and challenging all at the same time! An incredible relationship-building experience and perfect for every age group and you can ride your bike! No walking or running on tired legs.

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