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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take careful note of out of bounds areas
- Listen to the pre-event briefing
- Don’t cheat deliberately and try not to do it accidentally.
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,
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
Howdy all… my 11yo son and I were thinking of doing our first ever rogaine for a bit of fun and were wondering what the general process is.
I was thinking that the 3hr Minigaine at the end of Feb 2019 would be a good place to start… would you advise that we try and find someone to team up with, or could we just give it a crack by ourselves on the day? We’re both pretty fit, so I’m not super worried about the physical side of things… I’m more just thinking about stuff like logistics and knowing the rules, and so on. Are there “practice” courses that we could do in the meantime so we can get a bit better at navigation? Any advice would be great. Thanks heaps.
While the rest of Australia was focussed on a football final of one code or another last weekend, I was hosing off the Abercrombie dust from our vehicle (a rainy day in Katoomba helped) and mentally composing my wrap-up of our NSW champs experience. I very much enjoy reading other teams’ reports but so often they are the top teams and it occurs to me that some people may relate more to the experience of a middle-of-the-pack team. On the off-chance, and at the risk of exposing the enormity of our rogaining ineptitude, here goes.
Having missed so many good rogaines this year for reasons beyond my control, I was determined to make the NSW champs despite the known intimidating topographic relief. As to course planning, we were completely non-plussed to be unable to construct an efficient route comprising 2 loops with a break of up to 6 hours at HH in between, and without long track hikes in and out. (Yes, I see from the results that some teams managed it). Limited easy pickings around HH and/or just off the tracks. What to do?! The SE looked like it could easily swallow us in an unfriendly watercourse system so we eventually settled on a single anti-clockwise loop of 24 controls across the N half of the map that avoided the ‘problematic’ river crossing around 27 and 28, made the most of the cluster NE of HH, finishing…? whenever…? The big unknown was vegetation density, which proved mercifully light!
We decided to save 65 to the end, so started off with the crowd to 16 and 63, but while they mostly headed N from there we cunningly doubled back to 48 (delightful shallow spur), 76 (the first of many killer climbs) and 38 (making good use of the track).
More trackwork to the pleasant spur to 47, no navigational problems to 56 and the non-flashing 15. Decision time – whether to take the straight-up-the-spur route to 72, or include 35 and face a steeper climb to 72. I favoured the latter and we duly set off but I drifted too close to the river and as usual it was Colin who saved us by realising that we were one watercourse junction too far down. Easy river crossing and a zig-zag climb up to the spur line saw us safely to 72, where we faced a particularly daunting descent to the track and across to 23.
Could not have managed this descent in one piece without my trusty trekking pole, as we angled down hoping to locate ourselves on the track for an accurate attack to the potentially tricky 23. Colin correctly identified which saddle we were on on the track and we took great care following a spur/watercourse sequence to the right gully. We were acutely aware of the climb penalty for errors. I was later astonished to see in the control visits that we were one of only 2 teams overall who visited 23, the other team being in the 8-hour event.
On with the story. 5:30 pm now, time to be aware of fading daylight. We were on schedule to get across the vast interior to 61 before dark, and had a satisfactory average of 2 controls per hour. The plan was to follow the high ridge SE then NE to 37, but we were too optimistic about how far we had come across the ridge and I insisted that we were at the right attack spur when in fact we hadn’t even made the SE/NE turn! So it was that we descended on a parallel spur several hundred metres too soon and hit a major watercourse in a huge washed-out sweeping bend that didn’t fit expectations, to say the least. Dark now, headlights out, look around, try to relocate. By matching watercourse bends with the map, we theorised as to our position, and tested the theory by following the watercourse SE. Fortunately the watercourse was broad and easy to walk along and – dare I say – a pleasant, if unintentional, route choice. Our confidence grew as we ticked off each matching tributary and bend. By the time we had made the NE turn and come to a flattish spur we had no doubt we would find 37 there, as indeed we did!
But a greater, inexcusable mistake was yet to come, as in our elation over 37 we overshot 29 by staying too high on the spur and looking in parallel watercourses too far to the E. In fact, so far to the E that in re-climbing the spur to relocate we stumbled across the track! The decision not to go back for 29 proved most regrettable because our final score fell just 10 points under the magic 1,000.
61 was a rare gift, followed by a long track climb to 10 – nice to meet a few teams on this stretch – and then around to 74 just after midnight. We had options for 69, 68, 53, 26 or 36 (most of which weren’t on our original plan though), but were deterred from attempting any of them because we feared becoming drained by the energy-sapping climbs. 54 was doable though, then a lovely moonlit track trek around to 67, by which time we had formulated the plan to rest up till daybreak, to be sure of not erring on the subtle-looking 73.
Spent 10 minutes teasing apart our space blankets to wrap around us for a chilly and uncomfortable hour and a half ‘rest’ – oh for an all-night café – before welcoming the lightening sky at 5:30 am and bagging 45 with sunlight-boosted energy and enthusiasm.
The closing sequence 73-44-58-13-64-14 was navigationally straightforward (despite some confusion over the track position N of 73), and we had plenty of time in hand. I was dreading the descent from 58 and the climb to 64 and both seemed never-ending; I was certainly struggling to get to 14.
Made it at last, on easy street to HH, and with enough time to race down to 65, but absolutely no energy to even contemplate it.
Overall, a worthy area and a worthy course for a championship. Much as the climbs were strenuous, the openness of the vegetation was a huge bonus.
The 2018 Watagans mountains rogaine was the third I’ve attended in this area, and definitely the last. The lack of route choices means everyone is doing the same course, with the only choice being which direction . No navigation was needed at all on this course. When nearing a checkpoint, one is inevitably greeted by someone else emerging from the bush and a well worn track directly to the checkpoint.
No real choice of route selection possible, no navigation necessary, and large queues at every control. This is not rogaining. Unfortunately, it has been the same every time in the Watagans. Please , please, change the area and the course setter!
After the Wingello wingaine (great event thanks all) I can’t help but wonder about the process of awarding wins in multiple categories. I have wondered about this for a while and can’t see the logic. Perhaps there could be some consideration to teams nominating their chosen category and also an open category, but seeing the same team trotted out for four categories does seem a bit dull.
I also feel as an aside that the sport is incredibly cheap for what is provided. Do you know an ironman triathlon entry rates above 1000 dollars currently? UTA may as well be 1000 dollars. Im pretty sure cost is not keeping people away. Could mean ,ore money in the coffers to think about some remuneration to prevent volunteer burnout.
Anyway this is not a Wingello inspired whinge just some thoughts I have had for some time. I think the strategic plan is a solid piece of work. Well done all.
On Saturday Renae Martin (M &D – Team 61) had the misfortune to break her leg near Control 73. This is the bad news.
The good news is that Renae is alive, well and recuperating. The other good news is that Renae broke here leg near control 73, shortly after the event started, where help was reasonably easily and quickly obtained.
Aside from the photos (below) Renae shared the following with us
“I was briefly in the rogaine on Saturday but broke my ankle at control 73. I just wanted to pass on my thanks to the teams that stopped and helped. I didn’t get any names or numbers, but they were amazing. I ended up breaking my ankle in three places and dislocated it. (Trimalleolar fracture)
I had surgery on Sunday to put in plates and pins.
Thanks also to Ian and others of SES getting me back to camp and calling the ambulance.
I am so grateful for the help and humour on the day so would appreciate it if you could pass on my thanks. “
I am sure the whole rogaining family wishes Renae a speedy and painless recovery and we look forward to seeing her on another rogaine very soon.
I really enjoyed the 2018 Paddy Pallin event at Kitchener. I had not rogained in the area before, but I look forward to competing there again if the opportunity arises.
The course was interesting because it was large and very well mapped. The map included detail from three Newcastle Orienteering Clubs’ maps and it showed. There was a lot of detail built into the 1:25000 scale. In many respects it was a orienteerer’s course because you needed to constantly check the fine detail on the map to score well.
My team mates and I had a pretty good rogaine. We really only made two errors that cost us more than a minute or so. The first mistake was mine and it was a bit embarrassing. We were looking for control 76 “The Bridge – East side of tunnel”. Because we were looking for a bridge I switched off mentally, because how could anyone walk over a bridge and not notice. Team mate Julian suggested we had just crossed “the bridge” and I ignored him, but I had to eat humble pie about a minute later when I saw a side trail which told me that Julian was right (again). In fairness it wasn’t much of a bridge, it was just a pipe with dirt over it, but this was one of those courses where you just cannot afford to switch off.
The landscape was interesting. There had been mining in the area up until the 60’s and there were many remnants of mining works. There were also many tracks, most of them seemed to be kept open by trail bikes. The course also resembled a bit of a used car cemetery as there were many very old abandoned cars on the course. There were also a lot of controls on the course and they were not so far apart which kept us constantly scanning the map.
The vegetation was almost perfect for rogaining. Much of it was open forest and the thick stuff was marked with the accuracy of an orienteering map. The ground was easy underfoot and notably neither my team mates or I fell over during the event, which is a bit unusual. The weather was also perfect for rogaining it was a cool 15C which is perfect going hard and avoiding heat stress.
Team mate Julian camped at the Kitchener public school on Saturday night while John Clancy and I spent a very civilised night in a motel in Aberdare. I do not mind camping, but with 4C forecasted and lots of motels near by, it was an easy decision. We also got to watch France down Australia in the World Cup in our motel room. We even let Julian watch since his 30+ year old tent did not include a television. In fact the arrangement was perfect, Julian picked up the maps first thing in the morning, and then drove to our motel room to pick us up. We then spent a pleasant hour course planning in McDonalds at Cessnock. My theory is that Julian likes camping just so he can show off his very old tent with dual chimneys. To be fair it is the only tent I know that has dual chimneys, it is also Australian made (Wilderness Equipment), but takes about two days to erect and it’s time he bought himself a new one, without the bloody chimneys.
The day was also notable because the event included many competitors who are legends of our sport. At the end of the event, Peter Tuft, one of the founders of rogaining in NSW spoke about the 2019 Australian Champs which he is organising in Tasmania (book your holiday now). Another one of the founders of our sport, Bert van Netten, competed and he and his partner, Ted Woodley, beat my team. Not only did they score 190 points more than we did, they also walked about 2 kms less. We will get them next time. Another founder of our sport, Ian Dempsey, vetted the course.
Historically rogaine maps were off the shelf maps (the Navshield event still is) with red circles drawn on freehand. The 2018 PP rogaine has set a new standard in terms of mapping detail and accuracy for a 1:25000 map. Is this the natural evolution of our sport or are we in danger of going overboard? Certainly this event set a mapping standard that can only be maintained with the aid of orienteering base maps. Having said that, the fine detail was appreciated when trying to find controls in a complex jigsaw of eroded gulleys.
Overall, we had a really enjoyable event and we hope everyone else did as well. Sam Howe did a great job with the course. There was a heap of route choice and teams spread out nicely across the course. Bob Gilbert did a great job coordinating the event and acting as MC at the presentation. Bob and the Newcastle team are very active supporters of rogaining and their work is greatly appreciated. Also a big thank you to the Paddy Pallin organisation for their ongoing support of our sport.
The only thing that could have made the day better would have been beating Ted and Bert, but we will have to wait to the next event to do that.