Autumn Rogaine May 2014

I’m sure there are some weary legs this afternoon after the 6 and 12 Hour Autumn Rogaine that took in parts of Gibraltar Rock NP, Kanangra NP, and Jenolan State Forest. particularly for this teams that dropped down to #93 at the river before climbing the 6ft track up to the Pluviometer.

Toni and Smiffy set a great course! and hung flags for us in the rain and snow last weekend. I was not out for 6 or 12 hours, but i was lucky enough to spend a few hours on the course this morning collecting flags (in the sun) and take in a loop that let me climb up on Gibraltar Rocks for some great views. I had a great time picking up 90, 55, 101, 91, 64, 81, 45 and 56.

Please let us know how you found the course?

Welcome to Rogaining – 2014 style

There’s a large bubble in my compass which has appeared from nowhere over summer. However as the first two events of the year have both been on tracks it has not yet been an issue.

The Boardwalk Bonanza Minigaine on the 29 March was at 1:10,000 scale and the detail of the Orienteering maps was appreciated as competitors zoomed (at least those doing some running) around the map which took in Boronia Park, East and North Ryde. There were plenty of pockets of bush and no shortage of contours. Course setters Jeremy Fowler and Steve Ryan had done an excellent job and there was sufficient route choice and variety to keep everyone thinking. Winner Andrew Hill got the lot (2750) with 6 minutes to spare and 4 minutes ahead of 2nd placed Richard Mountstephens. Outstanding! Personally I scored many less points and with just 30 seconds up my sleeve.

I only made one real error which arose due to avoiding the NPWS closed track. I cut off Pittwater Road too early and ending up squelching across mangroves to join the boardwalk. With unfortunate timing I was met by President Gill running past – “it’s an on track event Mr Ledger”! Gill, our brave and fearless leader who would not dob in a mate, was first woman and sixth overall with score of 2720.

Somewhat distracting was being repeatedly either overtaken or met by the winning women’s team, Jess Baker and Mel Criniti. They would go past then cruise off to get some additional control and then be going past again always cheerful, brightly coloured in orange and blue.

The event was well subscribed and any concerns that numbers would be down with it being out of the Orienteering Summer Series this year were not realised. In fact with the Summer Series just finished last week there seemed to be even more lycra, strider and 45 minute runner types eating up the ground.

I sometimes smile at the meeting of the social rogaining team and the serious orienteer at the same time and place – usually a control. The rogaining team is rather pleased and even surprised to have found the flag and this is an excuse for a rest. One team member might be starting a bit of lunch, another explaining the features of a rare orchid and a third disappeared in the bushes for a call of nature. Associated infants may be jumping around (first hour), holding a large stick (second hour) or looking for a carry (end of the event). Meanwhile the orienteer has already, within 50 metres of the control, sorted out something called an ‘exit strategy’. Then on punching is already balanced with weight on the push off foot to take them running in the direction of the next control. The only pause might be to double check the punch has registered as they miss the audible confirmation of the orienteering Sportident system.

Former Australian Rogaining Champion Mike Hotchkis was there and posted an excellent score. His wife Debbie, a more social rogainer, forgot to register the time when her team left and spent the event trying to work out when they had started. They failed and were late back. A highlight for Debbie was being invited into somebody’s garden which she said was remarkable. Meanwhile things might have been a bit tetchy comparing route choice at the Shingler household where both partners scored over 2000 points in individual efforts but with Paula just 30 points ahead of Mark. Just wait until the kids grow even bigger with those genes they’ll be fast for sure.

If the Minigaine was steamy and the vegetation lush the Metrogaine – Hornsbygaine on February 9th – was hot and dry. Some said too hot, hold it later but in fact you never know – had it been on the following Sunday there was a torrential day. The conditions are the same for all and you have to adapt.

Ted Woodley is to be congratulated for the course – nearly all in the bush. This was Ted’s first 6 hour Metrogaine after terrific service setting the 3 hour Minigaine for the past three years and building that event’s great reputation.

It was very warm and I had to slow down to deal with it and even took the opportunity for a swim at the delightful rockpool near # 71 taking care to keep head out of water. This brought body temperature down for a while but climbing out of the valley twice soon got me hot again.

It was a tricky question as usual knowing what to leave out. Partner Anne Newman who has a habit of building up speed as an event progresses was striding on as we struggled up the return track which was rough and tough – we had been warned at the start. Past # 83 at the top of a waterfall we speeded up and after some confusion leaving the last control made it back with three minutes to spare. Super fit Anne had not broken a sweat the whole way.

The use of electronic controls and flags has made a big difference to the administration (managed these days by ever competent Belinda Mclean and Anne Bickle) and now we are getting used to very quick results at the event and on the website. In the good old days we had clues, multiple choice, historical features, debates, ambiguity, letter box removed by a resident (what colour was it if it had still been there!), signs taken down between the vetting and the event, etc etc. I kind of miss that whimsical nature of at least the Metrogaine. Keep in mind the big amount of extra work for course setter, flag hanger and picker upper now that every control must be hung and collected. We are all grateful for your efforts.

Before the next event on 10 May at Gibraltor Rocks near Jenolan I’m going to invest in a luminescent compass with dampened needle. As I have explained to the family, I could have an expensive hobby like racing hotrods but I don’t and all I need are a few dollars for the best footwear and outdoor gear to be had for use in some remote bush in the middle of the night! Also bring some thermals – I’ve rogained before on that road – it reaches 1200 metres and can get chilly.

Finally, Webmaster Graeme, surely it is time to remove from the website those photographs of aging rogainers at dawn on some remote mountain top and find some pictures of younger attractive people who may bring more people to the sport. I recommend women’s champs Jess Baker and Mel Criniti!

By the way is there any rogainer out there with search engine optimisation skills who when you google NSWRA can get Rogaining placed ahead of the NSW Rifle Association. Their website is not as good as ours and they probably support hunting in national parks.

Julian Ledger

2013 – A great year for Rogaining in New South Wales

Julian Ledger reflects on the past year’s events in NSW …

There is a bit of space at the front of our place and for the past few years it has been home to the two rogaining box trailers. They are known affectionately as the Admin trailer and the Catering trailer and act as mobile storage containers for all the stuff it takes to put on a rogaine. They go off to rogaines and then more often than not travel directly on to the next one. Recently, like migrating birds, they have both returned home for the first time since before the Paddy Pallin rogaine in June. This means it is the end of the rogaining year.

What a stellar rogaining year it has been for New South Wales; and I feel I can speak with some authority having made it to all bar one event. There is a great sense of satisfaction despite a twinge of weary legs at the memory of some of the tougher moments.

Congratulations go to all the organisers and course setters and of course the Committee who provide the coordination and leadership that makes it all happen..

Gareth Denyer’s November Socialgaine Woronorogaine had a myriad of route choice and no shortage of bushy options with route finding to do. Although we missed out on seeing this scenic area on a sunny day, the wet and cool conditions suited our veteran team and the navigation kept us occupied. We were enjoying ourselves so much we were a little late back (91 to HH direct) and could have done with eight hours to do the course justice. The tracks and unmarked tracks were tricky but we had been warned at the start. With the number of controls and route choice the course rarely felt crowded despite over 300 hundred competitors.

The idea of taking the bus/train during the event was appealing but mentions of track work maintenance put us off. The public transport concept was consistent with the original idea of the Socialgaine being an end of year relaxed event to take the kids out for a stroll with early finish for a BBQ. It still has that element and is still social but there are also a fair share of gun teams running hard. That mixture is one of the enduring and endearing features of our sport.

What a contrast were the NSW Championships in October. It was a gutsy decision by Ian, Bert and the other organisers to go ahead despite major bushfires in the Blue Mountains and parched conditions. As it turned out going ahead was the right call and it was an enjoyable event (although we were lucky as the Putty Road was affected by fire a few days later).

We took the plunge and stayed out for the 24 hours with a reasonable nap from 2am to 4am under the big moon. I’ve always found the way to not waste time thinking about going back to the Hash House is to make sure that you are at least 10 km away at midnight and so we were! Water was the challenging issue – not enough of it – and not risking the non flowing Boggy Swamp Creek as per instructions we had to make a big swing back east for water at dusk. After dark the wheels started falling off with some seriously faulty navigation. However, come dawn we started firing again with a climb through the westerly controls. We were down to one map by this stage with the other lost near a log feature christened the bridge of death by partner Chris. Around 10.30am we lost time and missed one control and finished with a long route march back. Returning at 23.57 we definitely got our money’s worth.

Prior to that it was the Lake Macquarie 6/12 hour event where we only had time for the 6 hour. Overambitious would be the best word to describe our route. At least we went all the way down to the canyon creek and saw what it was like. Then it was a scamper back missing some controls but arriving just in time even if not by a very efficient route. A review of the map showed alternatives which gave a better score with much less effort. It may be that it is the frequent knowledge we could have done better which keeps bringing us back.

At the Paddy Pallin 6 hour rogaine I was an organiser and spent most the day replenishing water drops although consumption was modest in the cool June conditions. I spent time early in the year scoping the course and later vetting controls and also picking them up. Glenbrook National Park is an old favourite and in 1991 was the home of the first 400 competitors plus Paddy Pallin rogaine. Some years later there was an Upsidedownogaine which started at midnight. The area is deceptive – looks quite modest – but the bush can be challenging and organiser Michael Watts and course setter, Warwick Dougherty, did just that. Especially if you ventured south to some of the thick stuff which in retrospect took too much time for a six hour event.

I was sorry to miss the Bungonia event but had a good run at the three hour Minigaine around Mosman – a little local knowledge from orienteering maps proved handy in optimising the route choice. Before that it was the Metrogaine up at Swansea. Spectacular coastal scenery but also some great forest legs. I think we took on a bit too much road work which wore the feet and might have better as hard core rogaining sort of people to have chosen more in the bush. The event also featured the spot of the famous water crossing pictured on the website where sad to say we wimped out (team mates mobile phone to protect) and went around the long way. We also did not attempt a channel crossing taken but the winning womens’ team.

Finally I have a question. It arises from those memories of rugged ground, thick bush, sticks down neck and in ears, scratches, 20 metre contours hiding huge features, cliffs, ravines lawyer vines and swamps.

Is rogaining in NSW too hard?

I only ask because I started my rogaining career in Western Australia, have since also rogained in Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory, New Zealand and Canada. All these places had their moments (eg risk of bears (Canada), electric fences (NZ), mineshafts (Victoria), parrot bush (WA) but none was as hard as New South Wales. Now if the answer is yes or sometimes it is too hard then the solution is not so easy. The way to less thick bush is further west and we know that more kms means fewer entrants. However an appeal to the course setters of 2014 – not too many controls with clues like “Middle of thicket in shallow indistinct gully”

Julian Ledger

 

The Biggest Loser Award

The Biggest Loser (TBL)

I propose the following categories and examples as suggestions to the award of TBL.

Category 1: Lost Time

Due to planning and communication failures much time was lost. Despite being awake at 4 am on 17 August, I still managed to arrive after muster. Lame excuses include not taking into account:
a) the time lost by being distracted in the Korean bakery in Eastwood before driving north
b) the time lost by several changes of mind about what to put in the car
c) that there was any distance to be driven between Coorangbong and the event which would definitely increase travel time.
d) the time lost due to the number of times going backwards and forwards between the registration tent and the car to get stuff, before getting registered.

Category 2: Lost Team Member

Out team was still in establishment phase, hovering between tense and suspended animation long after the other competitors were sirened off at midday. At 12.20 pm, registration and intention map handed in, Team Members #2 and #3, had lost Team Member #1, before we even started. After wandering about the carpark and checking back at the registration desk, Team Member #1 was spotted emerging from the amenities block, equally bewildered as to why #2 and #3 weren’t listening when he announced his intentions.

Category 3: Lost Property

a) Team Member #2 lost sunglasses, gloves and map. Sunglasses were found by another team.
b) Team Member #3 lost sunglasses.
c) Team Member #3 thought a back pack was lost for about one hour.

Feel free to chip in your own suggestions – loss of face, confidence, keys etc. We could add a new competitive dimension to Rogaining.

Christine Young

50th Paddy Pallin Rogaine 6hr

The 50th Paddy Pallin 6hour Rogaine was held Sunday 16 June 2013. The Hash House was located at Euroka Clearing, Glenbrook, Blue Mountains just one hour from Sydney. This was the same location as the very first one. Many thanks to Michael Watts, Warwick Dougherty and their band of volunteers for putting on a great event. We had approximately 600 participants. It was great to have the Pallin family support us on the day, including helping at the Finish and the Prize Givings.

Let us know what you thought of the event.

Just in time Rogaine …. Bungonia 2013

The ‘just in time’ Rogaine at Bungonia, was a huge success this weekend! Thanks Trev and team! Over 200 people set out to walk or run (or a bit of both) in the fantastic open bushland (a lot less scratches) from Inverary Park. The terrain was not as hilly as many rogaines, which meant great on the legs, just a bit trickier on the nav, particularly in the dark, picking out the features, but the openness was a great help. How did your team fare? Did you get all the controls you set out to?

Metrogaine 2013

This year’s Metrogaine at Swansea introduced a few new twists for this series of events.  The course took in more bush than streets and houses and the “Question & Answer” type controls gave way to NavLight electronic scoring.  As part of the organising team,  to me it was very successful.  Please give us your thoughts on the event.

Graeme Cooper

2012 Spring Rogaine

Wombeyan Caves (Blue Mountains National Park) was the site of the 2012 Spring Rogaine. Approximately 200 participants enjoyed a wet and wild 15 or 24hours out in steep country surrounding the Hash House at Wombeyan Caves Camping Ground. From my perspective as a course setting volunteer and All Night Cafe chef, the map was large, the weather demoralising and the vegetation and going varied for a very challenging Rogaine. How did you find it?

Workshop on course setting

Have you thought about setting a Rogaine course?
If so, what’s holding you back….
Are you worried about not having the skills?
Not quite sure what’s involved?
Time?

We are proposing to hold a workshop early in the new year.
It will cover the key roles in organising a Rogaine and go through the
steps of setting/mapping a rogaine course, and hopefully answer
questions you may have.

The 2013 calendar is on the website and there are a number of gaps to fill.
Anyone keen to put their hand up for a role?