By Bruce Greenhalgh
I’m sure I wasn’t alone in checking out the weather forecast in the lead up to the Velogaine. A week out from the event the predictions were dire and all my checking and hoping didn’t improve things as Saturday neared. On the day, my concerns look set to be realized as the rain arrived as we prepared for the start. I had contemplated an event where I’d be cold, wet and suffering for four hours, but shortly after the start the rain stopped and it stayed fine, with the weather gods, surprisingly, delivering ideal conditions. It was to be a Velogaine remembered for what the weather didn’t do, instead of what it did do.
So, I didn’t get cold and wet, but I still suffered. My cycling form in recent times has ranged from pretty ordinary to pretty awful and as we embarked on the climb up Pennys Hill Road to the range heights it was clear to me that I was on a ‘pretty awful’ day. That might not have been such an issue if my partner, Kerstin, and I weren’t such an ‘odd couple’. Kirsten is so much faster than me (even on my good days) that it’s embarrassing. She sailed up the hill while I cursed every pedal stroke. Kerstin is, though, a novice when it comes to route planning and navigation so that’s where I could contribute. Our pairing wasn’t so much a coincidence of talents, but a combination of them, an exercise in synergy. Importantly, our event mindset remained on par throughout the Velo.
By Bruce Greenhalgh
I have a confession. I don’t really understand gravity. Oh, I know the basics, what goes up must come down, why the apple fell on Isaac Newton’s head, all that stuff. What I don’t understand is why gravity works in such an exaggerated fashion. Let me explain by reference to the ‘Stirling Pump’ 4-hour rogaine. As the record number of participants will attest, the Stirling area affords gravity plenty of opportunity to strut its stuff. The terrain is, to put it mildly, hilly. I can’t recall a truly flat section anywhere on the course. When I was running downhill this was fine. Good, in fact, and I found myself thinking, ‘I can run for four hours. It’s not that hard.’ Unfortunately, when the road or track turned upwards my thoughts ran (at least something was running) along the lines of, ‘Will this climb ever end? I can’t take much more of this.’ It’s such a complete and extreme change in what I experience that it challenges my comprehension. I can appreciate that gravity can help or hinder, I don’t get why it does so in such a dramatic way.
Another thing I don’t fully understand is time: how its passage is so variable. For example, take the five or ten minutes before the start of a rogaine when everybody assembles and last-minute instructions are given. Time almost stands still. At Stirling, the course setter, Guy Schubert, did his best to make the time pass, but no mere mortal can change this phenomenon. Conversely, as soon as the rogaine starts, time begins leaking away faster than water from a Camelbak bladder whose top hasn’t been properly tightened.
By Bruce Greenhalgh
As a frequent contributor to the rogaine email newsletter I now find myself contemplating ideas for reports even before the rogaine is run. ‘The Lakes District’ rogaine, for example, had me entertaining ideas of weaving into a report references to the famous Lake District in England (ignoring the plural/singular discrepancy). I was thinking, in particular, of the poet William Wordsworth who is associated with the Lake District and perhaps contrasting some of his well-known lines about wandering ‘lonely as a cloud’ and discovering ‘golden daffodils’ to the travails of rogaining. On starting the rogaine another contrast presented itself too, that of comparing the beauty of, say, Lake Windemere in England to the first body of water we encountered which was, of course, the Mount Barker effluent ponds. However, the problem with this angle is that while I acknowledge Wordsworth’s place in literature I don’t actually like his work much and so writing about it held little appeal. I also suspected that too many tenuous references to poetry and faraway lakes might turn readers off.
Not to worry, there was always the coincidence of the Twilight rogaine and the State election and so the possibility of writing about rogaine control corflutes that I wanted (desperately) to find as opposed to those election corflutes that I wish would go away. Again, though, there were problems with this theme in that I suspected that a lot of people would be thoroughly sick of election dribble by voting day and reading anything even tangentially about the election would not be appealing.
I’m left then, with the fact that Steve Sullivan and I won (something that occurs with only slightly more frequency than sightings of Halley’s Comet) and trying to anticipate what readers might like to hear from the winners. There is nothing new about a winner writing an event report. Indeed, for a long time it was expected and routinely completed. Those reports often featured detailed descriptions of astute route choice consummated by athletic prowess, intelligent navigation and helpings of grit and determination. As a winner I can attest that those sorts of things are important, but I also have to admit that a win has a lot more to do with luck. Yep. Luck.
Written by Deanna Hutchins
I travelled from Renmark to meet my son who was my team mate, at Mt Crawford on a lovely Saturday afternoon. Witches pointed us to where we should camp and we settled in. To get our maps, it seemed to be overly important that we had a whistle within easy reach so we could blow the ‘safe’ sound as ‘screams will be disregarded’. This seemed a little over the top.
A lot of effort had gone into costumes. A couple of zombies even started the event running with a stiff-legged zombie run; that was commitment to their characters.
We had set our course and scooted off to the north, quickly finding ourselves alone and wondering if we would see anyone else during the event; we need not have worried about that. A couple of checkpoints in and we arrived at “Ruin of despair” where the ghost of a little girl was wandering around in her night dress. Completely freaked out by this, we ducked and weaved around the ruin to avoid her and buzz the checkpoint. As we skedaddled out of the ruin we ran straight into some masked person standing on the other side of the road. Neither of us can tell you what they looked like as we both ran screaming in what we hoped was the right direction.