“The More I Practice… The Luckier I Get”

Written by Jonathan Schubert, one half of the winning team at Witchitie 15-hour

‘The more I practice… the luckier I get.’ Popularised by golfer, Gary Player

There were many things that went right over the course of this event. I think that some of those were the result of practice and learnings put into place over the last few years. Some of them were pure luck. And possibly some of it was that by doing enough things right we put ourselves in a position to get lucky.

I have been reflecting on this event over the last couple of weeks and I have no idea which of these options is more true about this wonderful weekend.

To get things started here are two things about me.

The Process Refiner

 My brain is happy when there is a process to refine and optimise. I enjoy learning the hows and whys of things. I love a well refined process that can lead to a consistently good outcome. I tend not to mind ‘mistakes’ too much as long as there is something that can be learnt from and a process can be refined.  This is true in a general sense as well as applicable to fairly small things.

After a discussion in the car on the drive up to the event the mindset that we took into this event as a team was: to be in the moment, to enjoy the process and see what we can learn.

Playful Banter

‘Tribalism implies the possession of a strong cultural or ethnic identity that separates one member of a group from the members of another group’. Wikipedia: Tribalism

One element of my personality is that I enjoy a bit of playful banter. To help with this banter it is always helpful to identify a tribe to stick with and in doing so also identify this opposing tribe to act as a pantomime villain. A good solid bit of rivalry. The Adelaide Crows vs Port Adelaide Power.  Tribalism can have its issues but it can also be a part of some playful fun.

I haven’t been around rogaining a great deal but in the period that I have been involved it has seemed that there is some playful tribalism in the rogaining world … the Rogainers vs the Trail Runners.

The trail running tribe has their identifying uniform: running shorts, light weight shoes and a running pack. They also seem to move a bit faster but are prone to poor planning and navigation errors.

The rogaining tribe has their uniform: pants, gaiters, shoes with leather uppers and a daypack style pack. They move at a consistent ‘march’ regardless of terrain along with solid planning and exceptional navigation.

In the past I have always identified as a part of the trail running tribe. I have made jokes to my teammates about the silliness of cork boards, pins and string.

In the lead up to this event these elements of my personality sat in conflict with each other. I can see that there is value in the processes of the rogaining tribe, but I have been reluctant to betray my tribe and move to the dark side. In the end the process refiner won the battle. I got my hands on some gaiters and tried them a couple times to get used to them. My teammate (Barry McBride) and I discussed tactics and planning, and that ended with him buying a cork board and pins and sourcing some string.

I hoped to find a place to exist in between the two tribes.

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Fifteen Hours of Fame?

SARA’s roving reporter, Bruce Greenhalgh, reflects on fame and the 15-hour roving, Witchitie, event

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” – Andy Warhol

There it was at the entrance to the Art Gallery of SA’s recent Andy Warhol exhibition, his famous quote. Indeed, Warhol is as famous for that statement as he is for his Campbell Soup can paintings and his Marilyn Monroe silk screen prints. Me being me, the (very slight) coincidence of it being fifteen minutes of fame and the next rogaine being a fifteen hour event had me pondering the question of whether Warhol had considered the possibility of rogainers (as part of ‘everybody’) achieving brief world-wide fame when he made his much celebrated utterance.

The answer, especially after the Witchitie 15/8 hour rogaine, has to be an emphatic ‘No’. Here’s why; firstly, the sport of rogaining is far from well known. If you want to be famous it’s best to engage in something that lots of people know about or are interested in – football, cricket, music etc. My experience is that to tell somebody that you rogaine is to then, invariably, have to explain the sport. You don’t even have the out, as practiced by Greens leader, Adam Bandt, of telling somebody to ‘Google it’. If they do the most likely conclusion they’ll reach is that you’re involved in something that promotes hair regrowth, as a Google search takes you to sites selling a hair replacement treatment. As I now have a bald spot I can see some advantage if this was the case but, it clearly isn’t, and there were moments on the weekend when I could have torn my hair out so… So, it’s strike one against getting famous through rogaining.

If you’re going to be famous it’s also advisable to carry out your fame generating activity at a well-known and populous spot, like New York or Paris. Carrieton is a fine little town (and the pub reopening seems to have given it more life) but it doesn’t have the recognition factor or population of, say, London or Rome, and telling somebody you’re going to Carrieton usually, again, requires some explaining. To compound things the Witchitie rogaine was 50 plus kilometres from this not-well-known small town. And to make this an unequivocal ‘strike two’, rogainers, once the event starts, are hell bent on getting more remote, even from fellow rogainers (we had a period of about 4 hours on Saturday afternoon when we didn’t see any other teams) making the acquisition of fame unlikely.

Still, after the whip crack and as we jogged away, I was hopeful of doing something notable in the 15 hours. As it turned out, by late afternoon I had attracted a crowd of eager followers and was well and truly in the spotlight. Unfortunately, the followers were flies and the spotlight was a blinding low winter sun as we headed west. As if endless loose rocks and Copper Burr prickles weren’t enough.

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Calculation, it’s the name of the game!

By Bruce Greenhalgh

I was about to begin this piece with an invitation to rogainers to get their slide rules out in preparation for the Bundaleer 15-hour event, Ngadjuri Dreaming. Then I thought it wasn’t such a great opening since a good number of potential entrants wouldn’t even not what a slide rule was, let alone own one. I have one; it dates back to my high school years which makes it, well, let’s just say ‘old’. It’s a relic from a time before calculators and computers when slide rules were the go-to device for mathematical computation. Mention of slide rules was, then, an allusion to serious calculation activity. But while slide rules are quite wonderous instruments, they were never cool. Indeed, slide rule enthusiasts tended to be a bit on the nerdy side. They were the kind of guys (almost always guys) who wore white, short sleeved, polyester business shirts with the top button done up, even though they didn’t wear a tie, and had a battalion of pens safely kept in the shirt pocket thanks to a ‘pocket protector’ (remember them?) (if you’re young, probably not).

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Conquering Cave Country – 15-hour race report


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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