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.
We struggled physically, especially Evelyn who pinched a ligament in her knee near Control 64 about 7pm at night plus lots of blisters, scratches, sore and cramping muscles etc, etc. I suggested at the time the time when Evelyn had hurt her knee that as the Safety Loop Car was coming to pick up another team who had an injured member, perhaps she should get a lift back to the HH. However as she had already spent a huge amount of effort climbing to that height and collected so many points, retiring wasn’t an option. There was lots of grumbling and we probably both lost our temper at times, especially during the night bush bashing and later agreed it was as well that there wasn’t anyone else in the team with us – not a good look. I’m always amazed how happy and cheerful everyone else is when we meet other teams out there. I always think that they must know the right way to go and have avoided most of the climb I’ve done.
Evelyn was also trying out a new product, which is like a slippery second skin when you spray it on, which is supposed to prevent blisters from forming. As Evelyn said “So I tried it and found it doesn’t work. Unfortunately I didn’t bring a second thin pair of socks to put under my regular sports socks – which I find works a treat and had to suffer the consequences, and I’m sorry, but I don’t suffer quietly” (I can definitely confirm that).
The route we did was HH;66;82;56 (being in the good company of Annika Danielsson & Olivier Fahy);58; 47; 21 ; 84; 59; 57; 83; W3; 62; 92 (killer leg through the scrub to C92); 73 (just before dark about 6.30pm) 64; 71 (probably the hardest control on the course with probably everyone who did it, doing it in the dark); 54; w2 (no fruit left unfortunately); 100 (saw Paul Hoopmann and Des Norman coming the other way just before C80, disappointed we didn’t catch them coming up out of C80) 80;51;40;44;53 (2am) w1; 62; 90; 41; 30; 61 (5.40am) 81; 63; 91; 31;72; 34; 45; 74; 46; 67; 33; 20; 65; 42; 43; HH. Route length approximately 82km with a climb of 292 (2.92km) 10m contours.
Getting to the ridge line (see controls 92 to 80) just before sunset was fantastic – we got the best view of a brilliant sunset and even the views across the water once it got dark were great with the reflections of the lights from Whyalla and the moon going across the water.
We were happy with the way we planned our course, covering the harder navigatable controls (south end) during the day, the ridge walk in the dark and then going down to the flat where it was pretty easy going when we were tired –we even lucked it in the morning, just at sunrise we changed a route choice on approaching a ruin, and as we approached from the north side, down the hill you could see it nestled in amongst some thick bush, not exactly where we were expecting it. Most people spent ages looking for this one, coming from the other side, even the setter had troubles when collecting it.
All in all we were very pleased with our result and were chuffed to be just 10 points behind the Murphy’s (and Randal). All the way home Evelyn was studying the map looking at alternative routes to see how we could have done better, given the time and distance we covered– the best she could come up with was equal points and then they would have beaten us on time anyway. I think I prefer being 10 points less.