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G'day Rogainers,

NSW Rogaining eNewsletter, 24th December 2019

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Compiled by Tristan White

Christmas Greetings

Photo courtesy Lucy Buhagiar-Spink

Let me take the opportunity to wish all rogainers all across and beyond NSW a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. As many people go away over this period, we wish you all safe travels. Knowing the other interests that rogainers have, this will be no doubt a great period of adventures on foot, wheels, in the water, in the air and everything else.

I want to particularly extend my thoughts to the many rogainers who have been affected by the massive bushfires that are wreaking havoc across the state. There are many that I know live on the edge of the bush near where blazes are burning, so in this difficult time, let us wish you all the very best. I would also like to acknowledge a number of rogainers who are members of the RFS and other emergency services and have been hard at work trying to fight these infernos. On behalf of the rogaining community, I thank them and their families for their time, energy and commitment to protecting our people.

Deceptive Lands Australasian Rogaining Championships, 2020, South Australia

Our South Australian cousins are excited to announce that they will be hosting next year’s instalment of the Australasian Rogaining Championships, to be held in the Mallee country on May 9th and 10th. The event is in the Regional Council of Goyder, an area rich in history.

SA Rogaining Association Secretary Jo Powell describes the area, located near the iconic Flinders Ranges:

“As you leave the Adelaide environment you will quickly notice the changing pattern of terrain as you head to the drier mid-north section of the Flinders Ranges and approach the Goyder line. North of Burra you will pass through vast fields of wheat but as you head north and east of Hallett, the land becomes more arid and only scattered sheep will be seen. There are also numerous wind farms scattered along the ranges either side of the Barrier highway.”

NSW placed highly in several rankings in the recent 2019 Champs in Tasmania, but just missed out on the interstate competition to ACTRA. Why not pull together a team to improve our chances of taking it out next time round?

President’s Message – The Year in Review

I look fondly back at 2019 for some wonderful rogaining experiences but also a touch of despair, knowing that the swathes of bushland that have been burned in the last two months include country we recently enjoyed via rogaines, specifically Yengo and Colo Heights.

Fire is a regular factor to be considered when we create rogaines. Recall the NSW Champs 2013 at Garland Valley which was in jeopardy due to fires approaching through Wollemi from the west. The question was raised then, and similarly at the recent Garingal Socialgaine: “What do we do if a total fire ban, or worse, there are active fires in the area?” The most likely response is that we would cancel, and hopefully use the area and effort at a later date. Another consequence of the current fires is that we have less areas available to us for rogaining, for a few years at least, until the bush is somewhat recovered.

Of course there are counter benefits of the fires. I have pleasant memory of walking on Newnes Plateau a few years after fire and witnessing thousands of waratah blooms. Perhaps we should re-use Yengo in 3-4 years, so Tristan can’t complain about the scratchy scrub.

And on that subject, congratulations to Tristan for winning the overall Point Score competition in what was a very close result. These are our top ten (er, 11) rogainers for 2019:

  1. Tristan White – 779 points
  2. Ivan Koudashev – 773
  3. Gill Fowler – 770
  4. Richard Mountstephens – 766
  5. Mathew Collin – 763
  6. Andrew Brown – 760
  7. John Havranek – 750
  8. Glenn Horrocks – 749
  9. David Williams – 742
  10. Ryan & Chad Armstrong - 738

The Point Score website shows all results for the year, allowing us to each compare our efforts. I enjoyed watching the Chris Stevenson vs Julian Ledger rivalry in Men’s Supervet, decided when Chris edged ahead in his kayak at the Paddlegaine.

In line with our goals to Get People Rogaining we have provided more shorter options, with three events being 3-hours or less in duration. It’s a compromise – shorter events mean we move away from the original spirit of rogaining (that is, “long distance cross-country navigation”) but we know most people can’t get out and walk for 6, 12, let-alone 24 hours without significant training and/or pain.

This year we introduced a mid-winter, short event with some darkness included, to encourage new people into the night and hopefully consider other night-time events. The Nyctophobia Buster was a resounding success, in spite of (or perhaps due to) the ghouls and nasties on the course.

Melissa Robertson dressed to impress in the Nyctophobia Buster

The Surprise event was something that Geoff and Margaret Peel have been planning for several years, and we were very happy to incorporate their Paddlegaine into our calendar. Next year we’ll have another surprise, not a paddlegaine, but I do expect we’ll get the canoes and kayaks out again in the next few years.

A major point of stress for some of us was the total loss of our website and server in August. This is our primary mode for communicating with you, for managing events and keeping our history. I must congratulate and express gratitude for the efforts of Chris Stevenson in providing an alternate server and for recovering most of the data. Earlier in the year we moved to a different registration system hosted by QRA, which is why you may see Queensland Rogaining Association in the headers when you enter an event. Computer systems and hosting are a continual work-in-progress.

It has been impressive to see the number of NSW rogainers participating in the major events outside NSW. The World Rogaining Champs, held in August in northern Spain, had 13 from NSW. The Australasian Champs were in November in Tasmania’s Bay of Fires, attracted 44 NSW participants. We should acknowledge Mike Hotchkis as being the best NSW competitor at both championships; with Jonathan Worswick in Spain, and with Tristan White in Tassie. Also on the competitive side of the sport, congratulations to Ronnie Taib and Dave Williams for retaining their NSW Championships title.

At the last rogaine of the year – the very pleasant Socialgaine at Belrose – I declared that the next NSW rogaine will be the Lake Macquarie 12-hour in August 2020. Let that thought sink in… August 2020. It was a true statement in that we didn’t have any course setters or coordinators for the first six events of the year. Since that call-to-arms there have been a few people step forward, including Martin Dearnley for the Minigaine in February, but there remains massive gaps in our calendar for next year. We need people to organise. It’s a quid pro quo, chase-your-tail situation, where the sport depends on you to create events so that you get to participate in other events. Please think about how you can help – talk with committee members, chat with experienced rogainers and/or nominate yourself via our Volunteers website.

Thank you to the many people who contributed their time and energy to create rogaines this year, and a special thank you to the Committee for their role in managing the sport. I wish all rogainers a safe and happy holiday season. Stay fit, take some long walks, or runs, and let’s map-compass-explore more of NSW in 2020.

Trevor Gollan

Volunteers Update & Picnic

Thank you to the 140 people who have been on either an event organising team or the committee in the past year and have subsequently made our rogaines happen. If you are one of those people, you should now have received the details to the Volunteers’ picnic on the afternoon/evening of Saturday January 18th. If you have volunteered and not gotten an email, please let Graham Field the volunteer coordinator know ASAP.

Also a massive thank you to those who have already expressed interest or officially put up their hand to serve at an event or on the committee for 2020. However there are still dozens of gaps for all sorts of roles, so if you feel like you could help out in some way please seriously consider it as this is essential for keeping rogaining going.

2020 Event Calendar Preview

The first event on the 2020 calendar is the Minigaine, which will be brought to you by Martin Dearnley and Graham Field on Sunday February 23rd. The location is yet to be announced but is likely to publicised on the website shortly. Now in its 11th year, the minigaine is a special event on our calendar as it allows both solo and group entries, and a great opportunity for regulars to test their navigation skills at a fast pace.

I am very much looking forward to seeing what the rest of 2020’s event calendar looks like. For the first time there are ten events scheduled, promising sufficient variety to keep everyone engaged. The Socialgaine is due to return to the 8/4-hr options to distinguish it from a Metrogaine; the winter Night Rogaine is set to proceed after a highly successful coronation last year; Gill Fowler is putting together another navigation skills workshop, another “surprise” rogaine will be held and talk amongst the committee indicates the NSW Champs are planned to be in a very, very special location.