The NSW Championship last weekend was an event not to be missed, if you didn’t make it you missed out on a superb, classic rogaine. We had 200 starters which was 41 teams in the 8 hour event and 46 teams in the 24 hour championship event.
I was very excited to be rogaining in the Kanangra area. It is an area in which I have bushwalked over years and I was keen to get to see more of it and having completed the event I will have memories that will endure as long as I do.
Having arrived at the event, the first challenge after setting up the tent was to cover the map. The map for the event were two A3 maps arranged in the perpendicular. In general there seems to be three different approaches to map management:
1. Cover with contact
2. Use a map case
3. Au naturel
In days gone by, covering a map or using a map case was essential because maps were printed on normal paper and were unlikely to last the event. Over recent years the quality of the paper has improved dramatically and it is feasible for a map to last a 24 hour event unprotected.
I would not risk using an unprotected map, there is too much risk of it being a damaged from abrasion or spills such as blood, sweat or water. My team mate, Julian, is a keen student of the contacting approach and covering two joined A3 maps in the outdoors, without air bubbles the size of a small planet, is a tricky task. There are many factors to be considered such as wind conditions, the curl of the contact, the size and flatness of the table, as well as the competence and manual dexterity of the assistant. I am very pleased to report that Julian’s map was covered perfectly which is an achievement only rivalled by finding a 100 pointer in a poorly defined gully, in the rain, at 3am, on a moonless night.
Personally, I cannot be bothered with the artistry of contacting. Having said that, there are clear advantages to contacting a map. About 5-6 times during the event I was forced to try and re-arrange my maps in the map case, while Julian looked on with impatience and a touch of superiority.
The area of the event (western side of Kanangra Walls road) is truly beautiful. It is a high at 1,300 m in parts and lightly forested with lots of beautiful grassy plains, punctuated with swamp land. Every 5-10 minutes I would pass a natural grassy area in which I would have loved to stop and have a lie down to take in the serenity. The swamps were, in some cases, surrounded by a bit of dense scrub but typically this was only a few metres thick so it didn’t become frustrating. The course was full of wombats and kangaroos as well as black cockatoos.
From a rogaining perspective the course was magnificent. There were lots of controls on offer and lots of route choice. Julian and I had an objective of setting a course with not too many hills (we are getting soft) and one that got us back to the hash house for a well-earned, mid competition sleep. There were enough controls on offer that we could return to the hash house and set out again without much unproductive time.
All of the controls we visited were set to test participants, at a standard appropriate for a NSW Championship. Interestingly, there were no novice teams entered in the event, which is probably a good thing, because a real novice team (not a just social climbing orienteerer) would have struggled to find anything. Lots of controls were set in shallow gullies or subtle knolls and if your concentration lapsed you were going to be wandering in circles for a long time.
I am proud to report that Julian and I found every control we went for and only really wasted material amounts of time at control 50. Control 50 was a rocky knoll. The knoll and its rocks were so subtle it was hard to find it from 20 metres away. That is, the “rocky knoll” was neither very “rocky” nor was it very “knolly”, but having said that all rocky knolls are hard to find if you are looking in the wrong spot, which is what Julian and I were doing having done a compass bearing from 63 which was 700m away.
On the subject of knolls there was control 56 – The knoll, on an outstanding natural feature made up of huge pink granite boulders with a great outlook. (Recommended for control picker uppers which are still needed over next two weeks – those who would like a bush walk on the map should contact Trevor Gollan on 0408 230 593 )
The weather during the event was about as close to perfect as you could get the day was not too hot and the night not too cold and the wind at the start of the event was perfect for contacting excellence.
Julian and I were content with our 17th out of 41 teams in the Championship event. We scored 1860 points which is just over half of our overall winners, Julie Quinn and Susan Sprague, who scored an impressive 3,600 points. How many sports are there where a women’s veteran team can win an open competition?
In fact our results are a bit of a tribute to diversity:
|3rd||Men’s Super Veteran|
And in the 8 hour event, Hugh Stodart and Jamie Stodart, a family team, finished 2nd.
It is interesting that average age of competitor was 41 years old.
|Count||24 hour Championship
|8 hour event
The Organisers / Volunteers
I am in awe of the people who volunteered to support this event. If you think about all the roles that rely on volunteers in our sport you will appreciate the effort that goes into an event like this. We had:
• Event co-ordinator – Trevor Gollan (Excellent organisation as always)
• Course setters – Ronnie Taib and David Williams (Great map guys)
• Course vetters – Trevor Gollan, Vivien de Remy de Courcelles and Emmanuelle Covert
• Flag hangers – Vivien de Remy de Courcelles and Emmanuelle Covert
• Flag retrievers (I hope there are some volunteers)
• Administration staff – Vivien de Remy de Courcelles, Corinna Lueg and Oliver Pitman
• Safety – Dug Floyd (A fairly incident free weekend, fortunately)
• Catering (Alan Mansfield, Somia Kupina and 2nd Enfield Scouts)
There was plenty of room on the course for more people, in fact Julian and I went 7 hours without seeing anybody at all. If we didn’t see everybody at the start, we would have thought we were doing it on the wrong day.
Thanks to everyone involved, It was a memorable event.