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The Goobang Rogaine

8-9 April 2006

24 hour NSW Championships
+
  6 hour &  '15 in 24'  hour

The NSWRA's autumn rogaine for 2006 was held in the Goobang National Park in the central west of NSW.   Goobang National Park is situated on the eastern side of the Newell Highway near Peak Hill.   This event included the NSW Championships.


Photographs

You can view a lot of photos taken at the event by clicking on the links in the yellow panel on the left.  Andrew Introna, who was one of the happy faces behind the desk in the admin tent, also took a lot of photos and you can view these on his web site in the Gallery section at "www.introna.com.au".

Statistics

The numbers of actual starters in the three event durations were ...

  • 24 hour Championship - 93 entrants in 42 teams
  • 15 in 24 hour  -  87 entrants in 39 teams
  • 6 hour  -  49 entrants in 19 teams

The Teams List now shows changes made on the day.

The map was 1:50000 scale with 20m contours. There were 61 controls with a total points value of  2620.  The shortest "as the crow flies" distance around the controls was approximately 80km.


The Winners Report ...

Julie and I teamed up for the NSW rogaine champs last weekend. It was our first rogaine together since the worlds in Arizona nearly 2 years ago when we won the mixed title. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing trying to organize a bus in the week before the rogaine, it finally all collapsed in a heap and we ended up driving up with Jean and Ron - lucky they had a roof basket for all our combined gear! We got away about 4:30pm and after a pretty smooth run through Cowra and Parkes arrived at the event camp in Goobang National Park around 9pm, set up tents, had a hot choccie and went to bed. It was a warm fine evening, with conditions forecast to improve further, so we would be able to travel light overnight in the event.

Saturday dawned fine and clear. People kept telling me it was cold as I wandered around in my running shorts. Julie tried to talk me into taping my ankles, but after putting lots of tape over my hairy legs the pain was unbearable even to walk around, so I pulled it all off again. Maps were to be handed out at 9, so we got everything else organized. After XPD, this was hardly a big deal - making sure we didn't take too much food or clothing was the main thing (still took too much as it turned out). Caught up with a few people around the camp including Mike Hotchkis who was part of the team that would be our main competition - he was teamed with Rob Vincent, a combination that has walked away with the trophy at least 4 times. He joked he was worried that there was no men's trophy separate from the overall winner's trophy if Julie and I won, but I reassured him that at least there would be the veteran's trophy as a consolation, not that I thought we'd have much of a chance of taking them down.

At 9am we got our maps and started planning our course. First the obligatory colouring in - orange for the 70s and 80s, yellow for the 50s and 60s, pink for 30s and 40s and green for 10s and 20s. The orange circles were mostly at the far south end of the map with most of the yellow mixed in, but still 8 yellow and an orange in the north which shouldn't be ignored. The HH (start/finish) was on the NE edge, so an All-Night Cafe (ANC) was positioned in the south to compensate. There were only 2 other water drops on the course and no water in the creeks. The main feature was a large plateau running north-south dropping around 250m over a steep escarpment on each side and dissected by creeks in the north. We decided on a route which took us up to the central water drop on the plateau after only 5 controls where we would drop Julie's pack with spare food to pick up later. Julie would carry a camelbak only in the south part of the course. A loop of 15 controls down the east side and back up onto the plateau to the ANC for some food and a water refill, then another 12 controls off the western escarpment and back up to the central water drop and pick up Julie's pack again would leave us mopping up in the north to finish. We calculated distances and some time cut-offs at each water drop to make sure we stayed on track for the important controls of each section. I didn't want to repeat the mistake of last year's Australian champs where we spent too much time early on bagging low scoring controls before realizing we didn't have time to visit all the higher-scoring ones. At that event Mike's team had executed a brilliant plan that eliminated low scoring controls until later in the course when it would be clear whether there was time to visit them or not - they finished clear winners. Our planning complete, we made final preparations for the start at noon. Mike wandered by and glanced at our planned route - he said theirs was similar but with a few differences.

After a short briefing at which the main message seemed to be that goats may have eaten the flags, we were on our way. Down track to the first 10-pointer, a mixed team rushed past to be first to the flag but then fumbled around with their card. We were first to the next couple of controls with some rough cross country travelling giving us a taste of what was to come, before Mike and Rob came steaming past. At the next control #26 we noted their number (87) and that they were heading to a different control - south direct into the eastern loop, while we were grabbing a few others and dropping Julie's pack before heading that way. Out to a track and a slow jog up the hill with a diversion to #53 and then a quick stop at the water drop to top up our supplies and cache Julie's pack for later. As we started down the hill again I went over on my ankle - not too bad, but the pain lingered for a while. Maybe I should have persisted with the taping? Back down the hill past #55 and around to #43 before we picked up Mike and Rob's scent again at #69. They were taking a different route through 5 controls before our paths would converge again.

We started to see a few teams here and there as we cruised through the flat terrain. It was mostly smooth underfoot, and the scrub wasn't too much of a problem to get through. The whole area had been burnt about 4 years ago - it was regenerating strongly but there were numerous places where old dead saplings were looped over or lying on the ground to slow progress. As we headed into the SE corner, team 87 were nearly 2 hours ahead of us. We lost a bit of time at #62 which was at the junction of a side creek with the main creek. We'd aimed off, but picked an unmarked side creek about 100m short of the control and headed downstream for about 5 mins before realizing our error. A short hop to #82 then a steep climb up the escarpment in the fading light to #74, then north along the ridge line. It was dark now, so we started pace-counting to be sure we stayed on top of the navigation. By the time we got to #67 we were pretty sure of our distances. We hit it dead-on, but the shallow gully was pretty vague and could have caused problems. With 20m contours and 1:50 000 scale, the setters had taken the liberty of mapping control features not in the original photogrammetry, but elsewhere there was no room for subtle interpretations! At last we hit the ANC just before 8pm.

Our schedule had a "worst-case" of 8:30pm to still clean the course, so we stuck to our guns and headed for #25 and #29 after a 15 min stop for soup and cheese toasties. After punching #29 we headed south along the ridge to #59 - a distance of nearly 2km, but with such horrendous scrub it took us nearly an hour! #42 was further in, and with a descent of the escarpment, so we headed east to the main track and took the long way around, adding nearly 3km more. Even so, it only took us 56 min since we could cruise along on the track. The escarpment track was very steep and eroded. At #42 we'd closed the gap to team 87 to a bit over 1 hour, and we made up a bit more ground as we headed up the west side to #80. The country was quick rough and slow going with lots of steep slopes, loose rock and patches of spinifex. My ankle was starting to get a bit sore, so I popped a couple of Nurofens which calmed it down.

After #80 we had a long 2.5km leg to #33 on a bearing across a featureless hillside to a knoll. We pace counted carefully until reaching a creek just before the control, but with the setting moon and a sparse tree cover we couldn't pick the knoll. After heading east for a while the slope started to climb, and after a while we realized we were at the foot of the main escarpment again, and well on our way to #44. It was now after 1:30am which was our "worst-case" time to be back at the water drop and still have a chance to clean the course. No point in going back for 30 points now - we headed on to #44 with some very steep and loose slopes to traverse before reaching the control on a saddle on a sharp ridge. The moon was set now, and the stars were blazing and lights of Peak Hill and a few other towns in sight on the plain.

Mike's team had headed north across the steep hillside to a 30 pointer, but we headed straight up the steep hill, scrambling up rocky outcrops until we reached the plateau again. Fortunately the scrub was pretty open here, and after 500m we came to a tower, trig station and track which led us straight to the water drop. A brief stop to refill here and eat some food. Unfortunately the water didn't taste too good, coming out of a fire hose on a fire truck. We headed on down the road for a bit, briefly meeting Jean and Ron who weren't having a good time, then dived off down the hillside on a bearing towards #61. We hit our attack point just as we saw torches wandering around. Who should it be but Mike and Rob! We followed our bearing to the flag, they'd just got away before we got there, and were heading up to the water. That would place them where they could get 3 controls we'd already got, but after that it would be lean pickings for them for a while - 20s, 30s and 40s. In contrast, 8 of the next 10 controls on our route were 50s, 60s and a 70! I was quietly confident we had them on wood, but we still had nearly 8 hours of work to do.

Down the creek to #60 then we headed north again and daylight found us at #63. The country was still pretty rough going, and each control was taking us around 40 mins. We were keeping a close eye on the time to make sure we didn't over commit ourselves and get penalized for being late. Another 4 controls and 210 points, we decided we'd drop #50 and head for the water drop then back east towards the HH. We refilled with fresh water and took off our tights which had been keeping us warm but more importantly protecting us from the savage scrub. There was a fire trail to follow with #65 and #70 to pick up dropping off the hill and back up. There was even a small waterfall to negotiate on the way down to #65. Neither presented any difficulty, in fact we were picking up time. Now I was starting to wonder how many more controls we could fit in and whether we'd break 2000 points. We cut across some beautiful open forest past #21 then hit a fire trail again. This led to the HH, but we had time to drop down into the creek and pick up #20 and #10. A short run to the HH and we still had 20 mins, so dropped our packs and trotted out to #12 before finishing with 12 mins to spare - perfect!

We added up our score and were very pleased to get a total of 2100. A nice round figure. We cleaned our soot-blackened hands and faces then tucked into some food. Mike and Rob finished with a few minutes to spare, but hadn't got as far as #65 or #70. After a while the results were posted, and we were very pleased to see we'd come out on top! Mike and Rob scored 1960, Leanne Wilkinson and her sister Carolyn were 3rd overall, and Christine Butzer and Mark Leonard were 4th, so a great weekend for the ACT teams! I've got the usual spreadsheet of splits, distances, etc if anyone is interested.

David Baldwin


For general information about this event, contact  ...

Graeme Cooper
phone:  02 6772 3584
email:   [email protected]

For entry related matters contact ...

Andrew & Belinda Pope
phone:  02 9484 1736
email:   [email protected]

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