Visitors take on the South Aussies

“Nick, do you reckon we’re in the outback yet?” asks my team-mate Jackson.
“Nah, I think you’re meant to know you’re there when you get there,” I reply.

Rogainers do it in the dark! Yes we do!
It’s Friday night and we’re cruising up the highway from Adelaide with two Tasmanian rogainers we’d hired a car with, and we’re about to tuck into very traditional Australian food at the Railway Hotel in Peterborough, where you can have your steak ‘surf and turf’ (with prawns on it; don’t worry I hadn’t heard of it either), there is unlimited cauliflower cheese in the bain-marie, and the prices belong in the late 1990s. We make it in our hire-car in to the campsite, pitch tents in Mallee woodland, I discover my sleeping mat blows up like a balloon so can’t be inflated, and we await the morning.

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Team 116 – “Croweaters” in the 2015 Australian Championships

“The Tortoise and the Contours”

This was the rogaine we definitely were not going to do, not because we didn’t want to, but because of finances, work commitments, lack of holidays, etc. etc. etc. Plus, only two months ago during the World Championships in Finland, we said that we would never do another ‘24 hour all-nighter’. But here we were at the airport, with heaps of luggage on our way to the Capertee National Park in NSW, because this was ‘superb rogaining country’, according to the pre-event hype.

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Matters of the heart

My ideal rogaine preparation involves a schedule of some months of regular and frequent running, hiking and generally replicating the physical stresses of a rogaine. In the lead up to the 2015 edition of the Spring 12 hour this didn’t happen. Obligations, temptations, frustrations, life and other inconveniences conspired against my grand preparation designs. Going into the last days before the event all I’d managed was a few short runs in the park. Ah well, I figured at least I wasn’t suffering any major illnesses or injuries: my sometimes troublesome knees weren’t bothering me, I was finally rid of an annoying plantar wart and apart from a mild chest cold I was, I thought, in okay health. The cold had lingered for a while and half threatened to become bronchial so I thought maybe a dose of antibiotics was in order. I booked an appointment with the GP.

A bit over a week out from the Roo-gaine, there I was describing my symptoms to the doctor, expecting a prescription and nothing more. After a modicum of examination the doctor said ‘You might be having an extended heart attack.’ A WHAT?!?! He calmed me by saying that it was probably just an infection but ‘to be sure’ he’d have me do an electrocardiogram (ECG).  I was wired up and tested by a nurse who instructed me to wait to see the doctor for the results. After a longish wait the doctor emerged and appeared a little more concerned than I would have liked. He said the ECG was ‘not quite right’ and that after discussions with a cardiologist colleague of his I was to have a blood test. If the results of that test were positive I was to go straight to hospital; if they were negative I’d undergo more testing and a consult with the cardiologist. And the good news?

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Ran. Walked and waded.

It was time to get a team together for the Kuipto 6 hour Rogaine so my Rogainer team constant Tania put the call out. Very quickly we had a new team together. Tania, Nikki and myself who have a couple of rogaines under our belt, Michelle and Kerry who were game enough to join us for the first one. So nominated team captain Tania registered The YUMmy Chicks! Aptly named as we are all doing Yurrebilla Ultra Marathon this year! Let the planning begin!

Lot’s of communication about required food and supplies for the day and how we were getting there. Most importantly Michelle volunteered to supply the bubbles for the finish! Awesome!  All set! And the day arrived!

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Kiilopaa – Saturday 21st August – World Rogaine Championship to Sunday 22nd August

Woke up in the Arctic Circle, at Kiilopaa, Finland, to fine sunny day with an expected maximum temperature of about 20 degrees. Slightly warmer than what we were hoping for. Transferred our entire route planning gear to our tent in the restricted “Planning Area” and collected our “non waterproof paper” maps at just after 9am. Spent about an hour planning our course and marking up our maps based on a very conservative 60km straight-line distance.

During our visit to Scotland in the lead up to this event, we did a number of walks over the Scottish moors encountering lots of slow boggy ground. Expecting the Finland terrain to be similar we didn’t want to overset our course and were initially only going to work on about 50km. However after trialling a bit of the Rogaine practice map we upped our route distance to 60km as the ground was considerably firmer and in general very pleasant to traverse, a lot of it with a small amount of sponginess underfoot, unlike the bone jarring hardness we normally have.

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One day touted as an ‘expert’, the next day humbled by my stupidity.

Yes, I’m one of those SARA volunteers who loves to teach novices how to rogaine. At the Asthma Foundation rogaine on the Saturday in Kuitpo Forest I was one of the ‘experts’ assisting teams understand what a rogaine was, and assisted one of the top fund-raising teams in their route planning.

I always tell novice teams to ‘look carefully at what’s around the control. Look at the contours, any tracks, creeks and high points. And don’t forget that the control is in the exact centre of the circle.’ Great advice – you’d think I’d remember to take that advice myself, wouldn’t you?

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A good day’s outing

I’ve been rogaining since 2004 (ironically, my first event was set by Mark and Ella as well) and have never been fortunate enough to come 1st overall. My desire to improve has pushed me into running, both trail and road running. Many years later I’ve now run three Yurebilla Ultra-Marathons, two road marathons and managed 185km at the Yumigo 24hr event in 2014.

With this in mind, it was time to build a 6 hr team that could do some damage at Kuitpo.

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Goolwa in an afternoon

This being my fourth Rogaine, and my ‘regular’ partner being injured, I put the word out and came up trumps with Pieter de Wit and we had not previously met. But that’s the beauty of Rogaining, you have the opportunity to engineer your team for whatever you want to achieve on the day.

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Renmark rogainers

We came from Renmark to try out Rogaining and Goolwa sounded like the perfect place to start, with the hope that we couldn’t get too lost, and that if we did our bright orange T shirts would make us easy to find.

We planned our course having no real idea of how far we would get, so we headed over to Hindmarsh Island to get some of the furthest controls out of the way first. This involved a lot of road running but we managed to get in a couple of dashes across some paddocks to justify wearing our trail shoes. Back across the bridge, stopping for some photos and a lot of discussion on the best way to do a ‘selfie’ we finally made it back to the mainland. From there we headed up to do a loop through Goolwa North where we found that the controls were a little harder to spot. Perhaps we should have worn team shirts more suited to searching through the bushes, maybe less road-worker orange and more camo green. We had planned to do central Goolwa and then head out for a final loop along the beach but soon realised we weren’t going to make it, so decided to finish as many of the central Goolwa controls as we could in the time we had left before heading back to the Hash House.

We really enjoyed our Rogaining adventure, and with lots of laughs along the way we travelled 25km in about 3 hours 40min, marked off 23 controls and ended up with 1020 points. Thank you to everyone for such a friendly and welcoming day and we really enjoyed the pizza (and a glass or two of champagne!) afterwards. We will be back!

Megan, Deanna, Andrea and Lara

Team 107 – ‘Somewhat vague’ in the 2014 Australian Championships

The Victorian Rogaine Association hosted the 2014 Australasian Championship and set the event in some excellent rogaining country, south of Castlemaine, over the second weekend of October. The Hash House site was in a beautiful location along Vaughan Springs Road, adjacent the Loddon River. Many competitors used the bunk bed option with hot showers. Others camped in a paddock across the road. We opted for a cottage in the nearby historical town of Maldon that we had visited on a previous Orienteering Carnival.

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Saunder’s Saunter Setter’s Report, by Evelyn Colwell

Craig and I put our hands up to set the 6hr bush/Asthma rogaine for this year. Craig had partnered Steve Cooper in this task a few years ago, and has also been event organiser but I thought it was time I also got involved. When considering the locations, Saunders Gorge jumped to mind, as it ticked all the necessaries and had the bonus of being the location where we had set the Upside/ Down event in 2010, which meant we already knew the landowners, or thought we did.

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Saunder’s Saunter Winners’ Race Report

What the setters thought would be the perfect route
Andrew Kennedy and Zara Soden only missed punching two controls at last weekend’s 6 hour rogaine. Read Andrew’s report to gain an insight into how two people achieved such stunning results…

See the winning route here

We’d arranged to meet at 7.30am race day. I arrived at 7.31am and Zara was out, ready and waiting. We were both pretty pumped up for the event after only making a last minute decision to enter while consuming pizza in Burra the previous weekend. We’d strategised during the week and thought a top 5 finish was possible. We arrived at Saunders Gorge just on 8.45am and set up for maps at 9am.

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A late Middleback race report from 11 year old Max – a member of the winning Family category team

My name is Max. I am eleven years old. My first Rogaine was the 25 hour, 25th anniversary at Wirrabara Forest. Since then I’ve been in a few rogaines in Athelston, God’s Country – Beyond Hell’s Gates, Morialta and also the one near Peterborough. I’ve got to say my favourite one though was the one in the Middlebacks. I came along to this event with Ian Grivell (my Dad) and Adam Mclntosh (my cousin). We got up at four o’clock in the morning to go on a four hour and forty minute drive. It took a very long time!

We collected 1400 points in 13 hours and we walked about 39 km. On Saturday we started at midday like everyone else; we were among lots of people for a while until we reached the hills. My legs got a bit tired after climbing the hills, so I talked a lot so I would think about something else. I was very happy my gaiters arrived a few weeks before the event, because I would have had heaps of scratches if I wasn’t wearing them.

When it was dark and cold we decided to give up on a checkpoint we were searching for and head back to the hash house, but then we accidentally ran into that checkpoint! When we got back to the hash house I was so tired I went straight to bed without dinner. The next morning I decided to have one of the left-over dinners. I chose one without meat because I’m vegan. The meal was delicious. I thank the people who made it and the person who recommended it to me. We left straight after breakfast, one of the dogs took us to one of the checkpoints! I didn’t know his name so I called him Middleback because we were in the Middlebacks. It was a good morning till we were looking for a track that did not exist. But in the end we found the checkpoint that was on the track that wasn’t there. Our team arrived back at the hash house with about five to ten minutes left. We had a nice BBQ. I thank the people who cooked the stuff. When they called out the results our team was very happy for coming 15th place and 1st family. It was exciting to win drinking glasses; it was like Christmas. I really enjoyed it and thank the people who organised it. I’m looking forward to coming to the next event!

In The Middle Of The Night In The Middlebacks – 2014 SARA Championships winners report

After I had really enjoyed the 12 hour with Zara last month, I started to get keen on the idea of the 24 hour at Whyalla, because it sounded like the sort of terrain with no nasty surprises and where a careful navigator could do well. I found a willing accomplice in Steve Cooper, although he warned me that he wouldn’t be able to run much because of a bruised heel sustained orienteering in the Flinders a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been wanting to do a 24 hour with Steve for ages and he didn’t disappoint.

We made it to Whyalla by about 10pm Friday and managed to have our rogaine packs sorted the next morning in time to take advantage of the continental buffet breakfast at the motel (rogaine preparation is all about carbo-loading, for me) and then get to the event site on a sheep station near the Middleback Ranges with enough time to put up the tent I didn’t intend to sleep in, before map handout.

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The Middlebacks

A significant part of the trip to Whyalla was discussing our general plan for this event. Having done a couple of Orienteering events in the Middleback Range meant that we had some idea of the terrain. Also knowing that the moon phase was not suited to night rogaining also influenced our thoughts on the event and how we would approach it.

So even before seeing the map we had decided that we would do an initial loop hoping to be back at the HH by 8 or 9pm.  We could have some HH food, get 3 or 4 hours sleep and head out again just before the moon rose at about 2am in the morning.  While coming back into the Hash House has inherent drawbacks, such extra kilometres to travel without visiting controls and the difficulty in getting started again (especially once the legs have started to seize up), we thought minimizing our time during the darkest part of the night together with being able to do our first loop travelling very light was worth trying.  There were also a number of other factors influencing our decision not to do the full 24 hours.

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Middle Back Roving 12 hours – by Amy Ide

Team 13 Middleback Ranges Report of the 12 hour Roving Rogaine

Team 13. Peter, Elijah and Amy.
With only one 12 hour rogaine behind me (which included a mini nocturnal crisis and a lack of kilometres translating to points) the 12 hour roving event in the Middleback Ranges was an opportunity to redeem myself and get some more experience to improve my rogaining skills.

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The Erskine Valley Escape Route – Craig Colwell

What a great event the 12 hour rogaine is, made even better with some fantastic country to navigate through and perfect rogaining weather. Also competing under a moonless sky certainly added a touch of intrigue which saw some of the more adventurous teams come undone (including us).

As I was involved in some pre-event organisation Evelyn was tasked with the route setting duties and by the time I got back to our camp to get ready she was just finishing off a couple of alternative routes. Her first route choice in an anticlockwise direction totalled about 35km. The two extra options were for a 40km route and a 50km route which would take us into the NE corner of the map. The control locations were well spread with an even point valve but the 81 & 91 pointer in the southern section of the map swayed Evelyn to go south first leaving the more complex terrain in the north for the night time.

The first 6 hrs whizzed by, with us averaging just under 5km per hour (which we thought was pretty fast) and put us up about an hour up on our planned time schedule and encouraged us to attempt the 50km option. One of the unusual thing of this event was that during the daylight hours we were constantly in touch with a number of teams tracking along a similar route. In most events we have found ourselves completely alone after the first couple of controls. Two of the teams we were in touch with were Andrew and Bruce (1st overall) and Randal and Simon (2nd overall). With all of us making slight navigation errors we were constantly leapfrogging ahead of each other. This may have assisted us keeping up such a good pace.

From the Golden Gully Hut (C73) we opted for the middle route through to the Control 70 (the summit) where we arrived just after sunset. As darkness approached we were finally on our own (just as the scary part of the event was starting) as Andrew & Bruce headed for C55 and Randal & Simon had moved ahead of us. Torches were needed to find C65 and we decided to have our first major stop (just after finding 65) on the side of the road for food and to organise ourselves for the night ahead. While eating we roughly figured (by working backwards from the HH) that for our 50km route we needed to be at C35 (in the north) by 11pm giving us an hour to get back hopefully collecting 41, 61 &55. Working back further we needed to be at C80 by 10pm, C47 by 9pm and C37 by 8pm.

Our route choice north to 64 proved to be to be difficult ( and painful on the feet) as we encountered numerous sheep which we had to wait for (or move around them) and the ground was covered with cannon ball size rocks which we stubbed our toes on many times. Getting to 63 was much easier and we nailed the control spot on which raised our confidence and then headed down onto the road to get to the water station (W2). After getting onto the road we relaxed (how hard is to walk on a road) and started working out plans to get the controls to 80. After a period of time we realised we had walked straight pass W2 without seeing it. Noting the creek to the north of the road we realised we a missed the (understated) road/creek crossing, so headed back, nervously looking at our watches, knowing that we didn’t have much spare time. After going back a reasonable distance the creek to the north seemed to fizzle out and we still hadn’t found the water station. Rather waste anymore time we decided to abandon C37 go east on the road to the bend and then head to C46 (confidence stirred but not shaken).

Not having an exact point of departure from the road proved our undoing as we came up short on the ruin (C46) and slightly to the east of it. Also as we were approaching our pacing counting distance another team cut across our path from East to West (where had they come from, seemingly from off the map). However when we didn’t find the control, we figured we must be to the west of it, so we headed east and so wasted more time having to relocated and eventually find the ruin. Nerves and confidence considerably under-mined but still being within our time schedule we headed to C47 and C52 with bail out decision to be made at C52. Arriving at C47 at about 9.05pm we were confident that we could make 80 by 10pm and hopefully the last 2 hours would fall in place giving us a good score. After C52 all we needed to do was head NW to the high point, then north down the spur to the creek junction then about 300m onto the control on the ridge line. Strange how some things don’t go quite the way you want them to when time and self imposed pressures are put on you. We ended up going down the wrong spur without realising it (but had a niggling suspicion) missed the creek junction we wanted as we found another one (the terrain here was complex in the dark) found extra creeks in front of us which was starting to confuse us, finally ending up on the ridge line in a saddle but no control. To the left of us there was a small high point which I climbed and saw a large broad saddle (which is what we were looking for) so we headed west to search for the control, alas no control (time now 10pm and we don’t know exactly where we are). We needed to leave the area now to get back on time, but not knowing exactly where we were, didn’t fill us with confidence on getting back via the needed, most efficient “escape” route. Figuring that we might have come down the wrong spur earlier we thought we might be on the broad saddle to the NE on C80 (it seemed to fit with what we could see and what we had crossed, plus if we were right we were heading back to the HH). So all we needed to do was head west to the hill and south around the hill. However after doing this we realised we were on the very steep sided hill to the SW of the control and moving away from it. Back we went finding the control (at 10.27pm) about 90m to the NE of where we arrived on the ridge at half hour earlier.

Figuring we needed two hours to get back to the Hash House, the thought was can we get back before being disqualified at 12.30pm. With confidence well and truly shaken, we worked extremely hard picking up 51, 42 and 35 to get to the road and then bypassing everything else to get back just over 19 minutes late.

Even with the frustrations of hunting for elusive controls in the night and getting back late we thoroughly enjoyed the event. Well done to the setters (Richard & Judy Sprod, Peter & Annie Fisher) and congratulations to all who participated or helped out to make the event such a success.

For those interested in stats, we did approx 53km with 1572m of climb collecting 1610 points (and then losing 200 points for being late).

The route we took between 52 and 80 is shown in purple. Our intended route is shown in dashed red and the green line is a similar route which another team did.

More Than Morialta – 2nd Place Report

Team 23 came in second at the recent More than Morialta! 4 hour rogaine, amassing an amazing 1930 points. How did they do it?! Dion Byas has shed some light on just how he did it.

Competing in a rogaine for the first time only happens once, although I can now see how different a 12 or 24 hour rogaine would be to the 4 hours spent hunting around Morialta on Saturday, 15 March. Having decided to enter the event after speaking to my neighbours, Trent & Jenny McInerney who are seasoned competitors and great advocates for the sport, I wanted to start with a duration that would suit my running background.

Basically I am a keen trail runner, with some previous orienteering experience to boot, which means that I have two of the three skills required to rogaine: endurance and navigation, but not necessarily the strategic wisdom. One other thing I should mention – I have a very competitive nature! So why not give it a crack and try to win outright? To do this I learnt that a ‘team’ requires two or more runners – so who to participate with? Fortunately for me, I had my requests answered fairly quickly by Alex Strachan, a fellow trail runner and experienced rogainer. Alex turned out to be an ideal partner in many respects, and made the 4 hours, plus preparation time, a very memorable experience.

Having entered and done some research via reading and speaking to Trent and Jenny, I was delighted to hear from Alex that he was in possession of a card table, cork board, highlighters, pins etc (I contributed string and a scale rule). We arrived on the afternoon of the event with around 2 hours to spare which seemed excessive to someone that turns up to a race 15 minutes beforehand, does a couple of run-throughs and is off!

Alex was waiting at the Hash House when I arrived, having already pre-filled the indemnity form. We quickly collected our maps and made for the carpark where the planning phase began in earnest. We set up the maps, coloured in the controls, and then started to analyse the course. We were both fairly familiar with Morialta Conservation Park, having done plenty of training runs there and also both having traversed it during the Yurebilla 56km Trail Ultra previously. What went really well in hindsight was that we agreed quickly on the route to take, choosing our path to form a clockwise loop. We pinned the controls and tested the distance with the string, estimating approximately 30km of distance to be covered. Some gear was packed, a bite to eat, and then with 15 minutes remaining we made our way down to the race briefing. Boy did those two hours pass quickly!

More than Morialta! fielded over 120 teams which seemed a large crowd for the race start. We chose to head straight up the Morialta Falls Road towards control 32 before ascending up to the ridge via the easy to grab 80 point controls along the way. At this early stage people seemed to be running in all directions and it took us 20-30 minutes before we felt that we were in clear air on Moore’s Track. But behold! Even as far away as control 40 on Montacute Road we kept catching up to other teams or passing them coming in the other direction! I was beginning to appreciate the social nature of the event, with one other team trying to trick us into thinking that we had passed a control coming up Chapman’s Track, haha! we weren’t fooled (for long).

Forgetting to mention the weather here: it had started to rain intermittently before race start and as we closed in on the eastern edge of the park the drizzle returned making the twilight hour a bit more miserable than it should have felt. At least we weren’t overheating. The roads were greasy and it felt just like winter. We kept pushing the pace along and detoured down to controls 61 and 62 before heading out to Morialta Cottage and backtracking up to Norton Summit. By this stage we needed to don our headlights, being on the Norton Summit Road with some traffic about, but at least it was downhill from here! As I kept track of time, Alex would check our navigation, and we would occasionally swap the punch card duty. I was really enjoying this bit with the conversation flowing, the hard navigation work and climbing done, and I remember commenting to Alex that rogaining felt a bit like an old fashioned hunt. The constant movement, adrenaline, sense of purpose and imposing time limit seemed a condition quite natural to humans although rarely experienced in the modern world. I would like to know how others feel about this.

As darkness settled in we hit the suburbs and took a left turn towards Wattle Park Reservoir in our attempt to sweep the plain clean. Unfortunately, we had spent more time than expected on the elevated section and now needed to press on quickly in order to make it back to the Hash House by 9:00pm. The 40 point control at Fergusson Conservation Park proved to be an instinctive find as we were back on dark trails scanning the verges for the white and orange square. What I learned was that the controls are quite reflective and illuminate well under a head torch beam.

During the last hour we made good progress darting through the regular street grid although the rain once again returned with vigour. We had just punched control 66 at the church and were headed east along Magill Rd when I spotted a couple of teams searching around ANOTHER church! Feeling a bit sorry for them (considering it was raining) I felt compelled to shout out across the road and give them a hint. It seemed like good sportsmanship at the time.

Not surprisingly, we were asked at one stage by a couple in a car whether we were lost? Seeing people racing through the streets at night with maps and head torches can’t be too commonplace in Magill!

In the end, we made it home just over a minute late which was a great effort by both of us; it cost us 20 points, but made no difference to the overall result. This had been the first race that I had ever done where everyone finished at the same time (in theory) and it was a fantastic atmosphere at the Hash House with everyone in a hyper mood. We tallied our score and knew that it was a big achievement, but were sodden and needed a change of clothes so dashed off to the car. Warm clothes: oh what a feeling!

I had been told by Alex not to mention the long neck of Stout in the cooler-bag during the run as this was not good race etiquette. As soon as I was able to get my hands on that thing it was my most valued possession and went down a treat. I thought the post-race festivities surpassed most other events that I’ve entered and I would probably do another rogaine for this alone!! Forgetting my curfew, I arrived home quite late that evening after sticking around for the results to be announced. The fruits of our labour turned out to be a close second place overall and an excellent introduction to rogaining for me. Undoubtedly others had similar enjoyable experiences and will be planning their next event. For me? No promises; the stars will need to align (including a full moon) to make a longer 12 hour rogaine possible, but I would love to try.

More Than Morialta Interview

Reuben – just turned 7, Steph – aged 8 and Maddy – aged 10 are rogaining ‘veterans’, having competed in their first rogaine at the 24 hour State Champs last year. Their parents don’t have a background in anything remotely to do with rogaining, but they’re up for some fun and physical activity, and don’t mind dragging the kids along for the ride. The kids were interviewed after the recent More than Morialta! rogaine.

How did you go at the Morialta rogaine?

Steph: We got a map each and it was really hard to find the Hash House. Mum and dad didn’t do much planning but we went straight up the really big hill to Control 81 and then stayed in the hills.

Reuben: I liked running up the hills ahead of mum and dad, but dad had to piggy back me a bit because it was too steep and slippery.

Maddy: We took heaps of short cuts and other teams were really surprised when they saw us. We kept getting in front of them. Bush bashing gives you energy – we don’t like sticking to trails.

Steph: We tricked one team and made them think they missed a control when we were going up the other steep track (Chapman’s Track).

How far did you travel?

Reuben: 7 kms

Mum and dad: estimate about 17kms

How many points did you get?

We got 800 points but because we were 20 minutes late we only got 600 points. We came 81st we could have come 52nd

What’s the best thing about rogaining?

Reuben: Getting lollies at controls and making movies. (See ‘A novices guide to rogaining’ on YouTube)

Steph: Staying up past our bedtimes.

Maddy: I like walking!

So do you like rogaining?

Girls: YES!

Reuben: No! I get sore feet, but I like the lollies!

God’s Country….

And wasn’t it? It was Craig who set our cracking pace (and he says I’m the competitive one), but it was also him who actually stopped several times during the event to photograph the breathtaking views.

Once we got our maps, we did our usual string bit and didn’t take long to work out a suitable course. We only had two contentions, the first being how far we would go – Craig estimating 50km (based on his last 12hr event at Rynie, partnered with John Soden) and me estimating 40km (also based on Rynie where I went with Tarnya and comfortably completed around 36km). Craig won out as he was the one working the string, but I made sure we had several cop out route choices if we got too far behind. As it turned out, we didn’t need these. As previously mentioned, Craig set a cracking pace, especially during the first 8 controls where younger teams or those doing the 6hr, seemed to be flying past us (sometimes more than once).

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Anyone can Rogaine! Trust me…

Our family had never been rogaining before, but once we learnt what rogaining was, we immediately knew we would love it. All of us feel happy when we are outdoors, especially somewhere in the middle of nowhere. We love the way tramping through the bush makes us lose our inhibitions, coercing us to compose silly songs, talk nonsense and simulate man vs wild survival scenarios. It really is a time of bonding and creating unforgettable memories.

We were ready for adventure when we arrived at Argadells. We would not be disappointed. The maps were distributed. All was quiet as competitors everywhere planned and schemed. Our family eagerly poured over the map and discussed which route would give us maximum points. After marking out a very ambitious plan of attack, we sat back and waited. It was not long before the mingling began. There was a hive of activity as  friendly veterans came by to check out what we had planned. It was helpful to discuss our route and receive advice from our competitors. We settled on a revised plan of attack and locked it in.

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A few reflections of an average rogainer

You hear the wise, navigationally non-challenged, older rogainers bandy about phrases such as ‘It’s all in the route planning’, or ‘Stay on the ridges’, or ‘Always keep your map orientated to the north’, or ‘Travelling fast on the flats is better than slogging through the ranges’.

My daughter, Bethany, and I are now in our fifth year of rogaining, and I have to say that we’re slow learners. Every time we set off on a new rogaine, we’re convinced that we’ve got the best possible route. We plan carefully, navigate to the best of our ability (which is slowly improving), and hope for the best. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Those sweet controls, where you fear the worst, but nail them are just as memorable as those buggers that you search and search for and never find.

The recent State Champs in Argadells brought into clear focus all of the wise words of the rogaining elite. Our team, consisting of Bethany, my sister – Karen, and I can now verify their accuracy.

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Control 55 – Where are you?

Recent conversations with others about getting lost while rogaining brought back memories of our ‘mind numbing’ experience at last year’s Australian Championship at Angorichina in the Flinders Ranges. Set by a very experienced team, led by Rob Tucker and Peter Milnes, there was plenty of scope for various route choices. It also punished those, especially at night, whose concentration to map reading lapsed at any time.

After a slow and painstaking journey from C92 (where we also had a ‘being in the wrong place, but not knowing why’ problem that lost us about two hours) to C66, our course planning had us turning west to go to C55. This leg of just under 2km (as the crow flies) was an interesting one and needed a reasonable level of concentration. However, given that we arrived at C66 just before midnight, after almost 12 hours of solid toil, meant that we didn’t have a great reserve of brain power left.

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Over & Out in the Stirling 3hr Minigaine by Craig Colwell

The SA Rogaining Association held their annual 3 hour minigaine event in and around the Stirling Hills district on Saturday 20th October in ideal weather between 3pm and 6pm. Bethany and Jo Powell set an enjoyable course giving competitors the opportunity to visit the bakeries and coffee shops in Stirling, pubs in Crafers, Bridgewater and Aldgate as well as smell the flowers in the Botanic gardens and stroll blissfully along the banks of the Cox Creek from Mt George to Bridgewater. With the mental simulation of the Answer & Question format and numerous route choices with the controls set a challenging distance apart from each other a good day out was had by all.

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Wirrabara 2012 Craig and Evelyn Colwell

Annika & Olivier at the big tree Evelyn being “Big” in the background
The course was a good mix with some really hard physical legs and then some nice open forest area (nice and soft underfoot with-out too much rubbish off-cuts etc) and with a good track network. Anton and Cameron set an event giving plenty of controls close in visiting a number of local land-marks (Big tree, cave entrances, ruins, old well site etc) which was appreciated by the less fleet of foot and the 12 hour teams, but further out there were numerous long legs, steep terrain and thick scrub to contend with giving various route choices. The map was a high quality 1:40,000 scale A3 Ocad map on waterproof teslin material, with exceptional detail in relation to the Forestry pine blocks and native scrub. Well done to the setters.

As both Evelyn and myself started with a head cold we didn’t give a lot of thought with the route plan, first choice was it, thinking we would come in during the night at some stage. With a fuzzy brain, Evelyn worked out long how it would take us to finish our first loop back to the HH (unfortunately back around 9.30am Sunday morning) and rather than work out something easier we just agreed that it would be an overnighter. Cured the head colds brilliantly. Evelyn also planned where we should be during the event to be on time, however she forgot the extra hour allowed (and that we would start at 11am) so we were up on time from the word go, not that we realised this until we were approaching our 1st ‘time check’ position about 2 hours in. Also we decided to work on a 3km/hr speed overall (easier to calculate) rather than working out probable speeds for different terrain types and day/night time speeds. With runny noses and thick heads excessive brain activity while course planning was not encouraged. Surprisingly, given a couple of poor night’s sleep and head colds, this event was possibly the cleanest Rogaine we have done. Only a couple of minor navigation errors for the whole event, and spiking all 12 or so controls done at night. We did change our original route slightly on course to add extra controls during the night and re-arranged the morning route in to get all the controls close to the HH finishing with about 18 minutes to spare.

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Take a Breather 6hr Rogaine/4 hr Cyclogaine Wrapup

The Second Valley Forest billed as the wettest location in South Australia lived up to its name with heavy rain and hail greeting the organisers on the day before the event, causing some concern for the setters and helpers getting all the controls and goodies to the correct locations.

However, braving muddy tracks, swollen creeks and fallen trees, the job was done by mid-afternoon.  Meanwhile back at the Hash House site, the Asthma staff with a number of SARA helpers were busy getting the Hash House and Administration areas in order and decking the huge Santos marquee with posters and signage. The marquee proved an outstanding success and was packed during team course planning, after maps were distributed, as well as after the event for the meal and results.

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