Unsporting Conduct

It has been brought to my attention that several teams, including some good ones, crossed out of bounds on the weekend. If this was deliberate then this is very unsporting conduct. If this was unwitting, then I am sure they feel guilty and will be a little more careful next time.

As a rule, I try not to cheat on rogaines but let me give you a few scenarios that involve me cheating and nearly cheating from the weekend:

  1. I actually went out of bounds on the weekend. I visited control 30. I didn’t realise that at the last minute this control was made out of bounds. (That will teach me for socialising and not listening to the course setter briefing). I got to where control 30 should have been and was cranky because there was no flag. I even stopped and took a photo to prove I had been there. It wasn’t until the event finished that I realised that the control had been made out of bounds and I could have (should have?) been disqualified then and there.
  2. Just before the event started I was also planning to break the rules. My starting course was planned to be 46-32-24-74. This would have meant crossing the out of bounds area. I hadn’t realised the road had an out of bounds corridor next to it. By chance I was talking to Ted Woodley before the event and he pointed out the fact that my planned course was breaking the rules, so I changed my course to make it legal.
  3. I wore a GPS watch. Rule 7 states: “The possession of other navigational aids, including pedometers, altimeters and GPS receivers on the course is prohibited except when event organisers provide a means by which information on the devices cannot be accessed whilst on the course.” I do not wear my GPS watch to cheat and for most of us there is no on course benefit to having a GPS watch during a day time event (night time is a different matter where distance is more difficult to judge). I love wearing a GPS watch so I can review my track afterwards. In a championship events we make provision for bagging GPS devices, but we do not provide sealable bags for non championship events, mainly due to the admin overhead.

I have competed in over 80 rogaining events and I too cheated on the weekend and intended to cheat more, but in two of the cases, inadvertently. I suspect the other teams that cheated also failed to notice the out of bounds. Is not noticing a good excuse? Not really, but in the absence of a team lodging a formal protest the results will stand. If the offending teams crossed the out of bounds knowingly then that is very unsporting.

My message:

  1. Take careful note of out of bounds areas
  2. Listen to the pre-event briefing
  3. Don’t cheat deliberately and try not to do it accidentally.
The planned course of an unwitting cheat.

better contours with ‘nswtopo’ software

Just a quick note for any NSW setters who have used my ‘nswtopo’ software to make their maps.

I have just put out a tentative v2.0 of this software. The headline addition is a new feature for contours and spot heights. There is now really good, publicly available elevation for all of NSW, so I added a facility to make contours from this data very easily.

Obviously this is significant because contours are our bread and butter. We are used to contours from the NSW database, which are mostly manually created contours dating back decades. 5-metre contours from this new elevation data (derived from lidar) give a far more accurate depiction of terrain. (Also, they look fantastic. I suggest adding shaded relief for the full experience.)

OK, hope this is useful,
— Matthew

Tenth Mingaine Coming Up

Tenth Minigaine coming up

It’s that time of the year when injured toenails from past rogaines are growing out, February is nearly half gone, Mardi Gras is coming up and its Minigaine time.

2019 is the tenth annual Minigaine to be included in the NSW Rogaining Association annual program in and around Sydney. I remember the first one at Manly Dam. It was a bit controversial. Such a short event and with the option of going with a team or on your own. Would anyone come? It was the time of the first iPhone – everything was getting smaller and faster. In retrospect the NSWRA timing was pretty good. The popularity of the event took off – it was accessible, good for first timers and didn’t take over the whole weekend. At the competitive end it was suited to sharp navigators with a strong spring in their step. When the result came out sole combatants had done pretty well. Maybe two or more heads wasn’t an advantage after all. No oxygen wasted on discussing route choice, no conversations affecting concentration and causing navigational lapses. No one to blame. Any mistakes mine and mine alone.

This year the event is at Western Sydney Parklands. An expansive area. Given recent rains should be quite green. The 9.00am start will avoid some of the warmth of the day. I’m hoping for some bush as these days I like the navigational challenge as am not quick on the open spaces.

Last year the Hawkesbury Skygaine Mingaine was also west of Sydney and it was great. David Williams and crew did a good job first of all in finding yet another new area in Scheyville National Park. Can’t say there were ocean beaches like 2017 at Cronulla or harbour views like when we went to Mosman or the river views of when we went to Cooks River one year and Lane Cove River another. But what the Skygaine did have was a nice mix of open ground and forest, plenty of tracks but also opportunities for the odd short cut. There was also abundant route choice and a few traps for the unwary. The map itself was a fine piece of work at 1:15000 scale and 6 metre contours. There were chunks of out of bound but controls were judiciously set around them with no temptation to encroach. The whole map was surrounded by private land small holdings in a gentle mustard colour.

What can expect at the Parklands? The organisers say a mix of parkland and urban area with features of grassy fields, woodlands and lookouts. Sounds good to me.

Now, Rogaining started as a 24 hour event. Not by orienteers as many assume. It was bushwalkers down in Melbourne, Australia who invented the now worldwide sport of rogaining. It always had a strong social element and not to mention that the taking part was more important than the winning. Food provided during the event was a key. Some time later 12 hour events were introduced, then 8 hour and 6 hour. None of them ‘real’ 24 hour rogaines but hard to argue with what the people wanted through proof numbers entered. I would recommend the longer events to all. They take a different approach, no need to rush, take your time and enjoy the scenery. Come back to the Hash House for a meal, a rest or a sleep. The tortoise often does better than the hare.

However, at the short and speedy end of things and as its Minigaine time on February 24th, I forecast it is only a matter of time before the Committee comes up with the Microgaine – 90 minutes! Such an event would complete the virtuous circle right down to the Orienteering 45 minute ‘score’ event. Made hugely popular in Sydney through the Sydney Summer Series developed by Ross Barr and now in its 20 something year. In the event of the Microgaine (you read it here first) I would request that the Series Points Score introduced in 2018 have some kind of handicap or reduced score for the short event – we don’t want any gaming of the system!

Don’t forget to enter the Minigaine by deadline

Julian Ledger