Ultraveterans

What a great event was the Woronora Pipe Dreams Rogaine. Excellent map, fine conditions and some refined control placement. Today, comparing the 1:20,000 map with the 1:25,000 Socialgaine map of the same area from 2013 shows a huge amount of additional detail to help the night-time navigator. Congratulations and thanks to course setters Nicole and Brooner, vetter Mike, administrator Anita and organiser, President Trev. Especially for the opportunity to get off track and search out tricky controls with hazards for the unwary. The organising team’s work was rewarded by big numbers and a friendly atmosphere. This weekend was to have been the world championships at Lake Tahoe, California now postponed to 2021. I was happy to settle for pipe dreams instead.

Having just reached the milestone of becoming an Ultravet and having stepped down from the inconvenience of work I thought I was a good prospect to join an Ultravet rogaining team. Ted ‘the technician’ Woodley and John ‘no mistakes’ Anderson were welcoming but it turned out that team membership required participation in training and a series of tests in July.

The first was a march around the local government area of Willoughby. This is a ‘thing’ supported by the Council and is broken down into eight walks. We did it all in one go – about 32 km in just under nine hours and 750 metres of ascent and descent. Highlights included Stringybark Creek, the inlets of Middle Harbour, mangroves, historical interludes and no shortage of fancy houses.

The second was a rerun of the Lane Cove Rivergaine from 2015 set by Ted and taking in a quest to find the source of the Lane Cove River, the headwater creeks of the valley, a little known dam on Avondale Creek and even a volcanic diatreme. We started at 6.30am, walked 35km, climbed over 1000 metres and ‘recorded’ 2200 points.

Sometime during June Chris Stevenson had the idea that we should try a walk down into the Kedumba Valley below Leura Falls returning via Kings Tableland. It was a long day returning after dark with over 30km walked and 1400 metres of ascent. Having survived that we tackled the relatively new Great West Walk, a track which runs from Parramatta to Penrith. We took a break at Rooty Hill and used the train to return. It was two 30km plus days of relatively flat walking and took in some bushland new to us. When we reached the Nepean River I imagined I was Watkin Tench (Governor Phillip’s lieutenant) who, having hiked across the Cumberland Plain, then tried to work out if the river he had reached was the same river as the Hawkesbury.

Surviving this training was combined with pace counting tests. I do it if I really have to but tend to be lazy and, later, regret not being more careful. This team was more committed. Question was how many double paces to 100 metres. Was it 60, 65 or 70. What about gradient, thickness of bush, tiredness. It all depends and I need to practice. Ted with Suunto watch on one wrist and new Apple watch on the other was finding during our training that Apple claimed more distance overall than Suunto, and my Garmin was closer to Apple.

For navigation and route choice I learnt that the teamrule was ‘if in doubt, slow down, discuss and all agree’.

The third training was doing all 30 controls at the Terry’s Creek Moonlight Madness event plus walking there from home. Thanks to Bennelong Orienteers for being patient with my late return about three times the usual 45-minute time limit. The lateness wiped out the whole of my score. We were going to walk home but wisdom took over and we combined walking with train. In total 38 kms over ten hours! Highlights: the amount of water around after recent downpours, the middle reaches of the Lane Cove valley, and pizza on the hoof.

So it was that we arrived at the Pipe Dream battle-hardened and with a little recent night-time navigation under our belts. John and I gently suggested that the absence of other UltraVeteran teams meant we could take it easy. However, Ted ‘victory or doom’ Woodley was having none of it. Overall route choice was not too hard although inevitably our flight-plan proved ambitious and return route missed 150 points, enticingly close but out of reach. All agreeing on every navigational choice proved tricky and a democratic process evolved whereby two votes out of three usually won the day. We were cautious and knew where we were the whole time; lost a few minutes on a few occasions but nothing too serious. Overall result very satisfying. Especially when that old adage is taken into account: ‘it doesn’t matter if you are second last as long as you beat the Webmaster Chris Stevenson’. By the way great Blog post, Chris.

Now the ultra veteran team is entering the NSW Championships at Gundabooka National Park near Bourke, first weekend of September – an adventure in some very different country.

My wrap of the “Woronora Pipe Dream” event.

I greatly enjoyed last night’s rogaine and thanks to everyone involved in making it happen. I have done over 90 NSW rogaines and this one certainly rates in my top 5. A number of factors contributed to this enjoyment:

The course was really good, there were a lot of bush controls. It certainly was a “navigator’s rogaine”. A lot of the controls were set on subtle features and the small flags were used, mostly hung against the trees. This meant that if you were off your game you could easily walk past a control. Additionally, in some parts of the course there were tracks everywhere so you could not just rely on the tracks for navigation.

The bush was good for rogaining. You could get off track and still move through the bush pretty quickly. Often in rogaines close to Sydney you are confined to tracks by National Parks policy  or if you are not encumbered by these rules then you have to contend with a lot of fight scrub. The only difficult scrub we found last night was upstream of 71. I tried to bag this control by “aiming off”. I intended to join the creek slightly below the control and then walk up the creek. What actually happened was that despite careful navigation and pace counting, we started upstream of the control and kept moving upstream through some pretty thick stuff. We ventured upstream for 9 minutes before retreating to the nearby fire trail to re-think and then bagged it 3 minutes later.

The weather last night was perfect for rogaining. It was nice and cool but not so cold that you thought you were going to die of exposure if you stopped moving. I often find my performance in rogaines hampered by varying degrees of heat stress and last night’s temperature was perfect to get the best out of me.

The hills were hard but not so big that you regretted your own existence half way up. Often in Blue Mountains’ rogaines you plan your rogaine around how many times you can physically manage to climb from the creeks to the hill tops. Last night was certainly hilly but most were under 80m and you could plan your course without being scared of inserting too many climbs.

I really, really enjoy bagging a difficult control in the dark with my headlight off and, once bagged, melting into the bush while others stumble around in circles. A good example last night was control 70 which was a ‘broad gully” with no  easy “handrail” to help you get there. Team mate John Clancy and I walked straight onto the control having done a pace count from the creek to the west of the control. There were a few other teams in the vicinity looking for the control at the time but I don’t think any of them saw us punch the control in complete darkness and move quickly on.

Despite my enjoyment of the course, the great weather and open bash last night my team mate, John Clancy, and I did not do very well. We were badly let down by our route choice. We had planned an unrealistically big route and, once we realised we were not going to achieve that route, we made a “Plan B” route which was rubbish. I hate stopping mid rogaine, but in hindsight a few minutes spent doing a proper replan would have been a good investment.

The other thing I didn’t enjoy last night was being beaten by ex-team mate Julian Ledger. Julian is now an ultra-veteran and sought the company of other ultra veterans last night in the form of Ted Woodley and John Anderson. Not only did Julian, Ted and John beat us soundly by 110 points, they also won the Men’s Ultra Veterans’ category. They also won my category, the Men’s Super Veterans. Julian, Ted and John also came a creditable 2nd in the Men’s Veterans. I hate to say it but, “Nice job guys!” My revenge at being jilted will have to wait until the NSW Championships.

Wonder Compass

Buy the new compass.
While stocks last.

NSW Rogaining has teamed up with to create a revolutionary new “wonder” compass. A traditional compass, in the hands of a skilled operator, will tell you which way to go. This new compass will not only tell you which way to go, but also the direction from which you have come.

Animated Compass

Features

  • Extremely Accurate
  • Back track feature
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Reliable
  • Easy to Use
  • Affordable

  • The "Wonder" compass will be the last compass you will ever buy. It costs a little more but what price do you put on the safety and security for yourself and your loved ones?

    Watch the video below to see the new "Wonder" compass in action.

    Post added 2020

    Animated Compass

    Are you a serious rogainer?

    Are You a Serious Rogainer

    Are you a Serious Rogainer?

    Well here is your opportunity to find out by answering twenty simple  questions.

    All questions are multiple choice, just choose the single answer that best fits you.

    1. During a rogaine do you?
    2. Do you intuitively know which way is north?
    3. Your good friend is in a different team - do you?
    4. There is an 8 hour and 24 hour event on offer. Do you?
    5. You need a partner for the next rogaine. Do you?
    6. The event has finished, what do you do with the map?
    7. How many rogaines do you do each year?
    8. During the event what do you and your team mate talk about?
    9. Most people have not heard of rogaining. At a party do you?
    10. It's night time and you need to cross a river. Do you?
    11. You end up bleeding at the end of the event. Do you?
    12. How do you choose food for a rogaine?
    13. You partner thinks the next control is this way. You disagree. Do you?
    14. Your friend is a keen orienteer. Do you?
    15. Do you know your stride length?
    16. What is a valid excuse for missing a rogaine?
    17. It starts  to rain heavily during an event. Do you?
    18. The next event is a night one. Do you?
    19. How do you choose footware for your rogaines?
    20. There's an all night café on the course. Do you?

    Nobel Nyctophobia

    Julian Ledger – 6 July 2019

    So swiftly the sun sets in the sky

    You rise up and say goodbye to no one

    Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

    Jokerman

    Dance to the nightingale tune

    Bird fly high by the light of the moon

    Jokerman

    Sometimes my burden is more than I can
    bear

    It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin there

    Not dark yet

    How many roads must a man walk down

    Before you call him a man?

    The answer, my friend is blowin’ in the
    wind

    The answer is blowin in the wind

    Blowin’ in the wind

    Shadows are falling and I have been here
    all day

    It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting
    there

    Well my sense of humanity is going down
    the drain

    Behind every beautiful thing, there’s
    been some kind of pain

    Let the wind blow low, let the wind blow
    high

    Under the red sky full

    I know it looks like I’m movin’ but I’m
    standin’ still

    Every nerve in my body is so naked and
    dumb

    Not dark yet

    Went into the land of the midnight sun

    Searchin high, searchin low

    Searchin everywhere I know

    Chilly wind sharp as a razor blade

    So many roads, so much at stake

    So many dead ends, I’m at the edge of
    the lake

    Sometimes I wonder what it’s gonna take

    To find dignity

    Dignity

    It’s getting dark too dark to see

    Hello darkness my old friend

    Darkness at the break of noon

    How does it feel

    How does it feel

    To be on your own

    With no direction home

    Like a complete unknown

    Like a rolling stone

    Like a rolling stone

    Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
    Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
    I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
    I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
    I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
    I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
    I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
    And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
    And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

    ”Twas in another lifetime

    One of toil and blood

    When blackness was a virtue

    The road was full of mud

    I came in from the wilderness

    A creature void of form

    Come in she said I’ll give ya

    Shelter from the storm

    Shelter from the storm

    Midnight awaits the 24 Hour rogainer

    The bridge at midnight trembles

    The wind howls like a hammer

    The night blows cold and rainy

    Love minus zero, no limit

    I’m searching for phrases

    To sing your praises

    I need to tell someone

    It’s soon after midnight

    And my day has just begun

    Bob Dylan

    Nobel prize for literature

    Bob Dylan receiving his Nobel Award for Literature

    My Wrap of the 2019 Paddlegaine and being on the right side of the Ledger

    I was really looking forward to the Paddlegaine and I am very happy I competed and I will remember the event for the rest of my life.

    I am a semi regular kayaker and have access to a number of different kayaks. Unfortunately, none of the kayaks are racing kayaks, but I had a choice of:

    • 4m flat water fibreglass sit-in (I have two of these)
    • 5.1m sea capable fibreglass touring kayak sit-in
    • 2.5m plastic kayak sit-on

    The immediate temptation was to go for the longest kayak available since speed on the water, all other things being equal, is a product of water line length. We had already been told that there would be some controls that require you to get out of the kayak and there is nothing quick or easy about getting out of a sit in kayak. Also, the longer the kayak the less capable they will be in tight manoeuvres. In the end I decided to go for the 4m flat water fibreglass sit-in since this should have yielded the best combination of water line speed versus manoeuvrability. The other consideration was that I had bought it 2nd hand for $80 so I was no too worried if it got banged about jumping in and out.

    As it turned out this was probably the wrong choice. The wind and waves were quite strong at several stages of the event and it was a real fight to keep the rudderless flat water kayak above the water and on course against a maelstrom of wind, chop and tide. Having looked at my GPS track I was quite pleased with how straight my lines were given this challenge.

    Me in my chosen kayak for the event. On this occasion I had my own navigator on board.

    My other pre-event consideration was do I lend my spare kayak to my usual team mate Julian Ledger. Julian is only 2 points behind me in the 2019 Series Point Score I would never forgive myself if he beat me in the series point score using my own kayak (we are teaming up for the Socialgaine). In any case, in a moment of weakness or insanity, I decided to loan Julian my 2nd, 4m flat water kayak for the event. The race was on.

    When I arrived at the event the first thing to notice was the range of kayaks on offer. I was looking very jealously at some of the sit on and sit in racing kayaks knowing that my only chance of beating them would be if some very tight turning was required. I also looked across to the hire kayaks which were very functional and practical but short plastic kayaks and slow and there was no way that I should be beaten by one of these.

    Another consideration was the promenade rogaine. I had assumed that this would be a 5-10 minute frolic along some grassy foreshores. Instead it turned out to be, for me anyway, over an hour of slogging it out through bush and hills. In fact having picked up my map the promenade rogaine looked very like a Sydney Summer Series orienteering event.

    The event started and Julian I had both decided to avoid any possible traffic at the early controls and go straight across the bay to do the promenade rogaine. Paddling across the bay was quite slow and difficult in the wind, chop and tide. I arrived at the other side about 10 seconds ahead of Julian and took off for my promenade rogaine. I went anti-clockwise around the course while Julian went clockwise so my next indication about how I was travelling was going to be at the half-way point of the run. On the way I missed control number 12. I saw a sign but no control and I was not going to waste time over a 10 pointer. As it turned out the control was just a little bit further up the hill. I also made a really stupid mistake leaving control 73. I went up the hill to the north and got to the top before I realised I should have been heading west (Doh). Julian and I passed each other at control 10, which I figured was pretty much half way, but I knew that Julian would not miss control 12 so even if we arrived back at the kayaks at the same time he would be 10 points ahead of me. My next indication of progress was going to be when I got back to my kayak. Would Julian’s kayak still be there?

    When I eventually got back to my kayak I was a bit panicked to find that Julian’s kayak was no longer there. As I grabbed my kayak and headed back to the water I quickly scanned the horizon and I could not see him. Bugger! He was now at least 10 points and several minutes ahead of me. I jumped in my kayak and started paddling furiously towards control 101. By the time I was about 1/3 of the way there I realised I could see Julian’s (my) kayak in the distance and I figured that he was now 10 points and possibly 4-6 minutes ahead of me.

    There is nothing quite as motivating as trying to beat a good mate, so I paddled as hard as I could and I realised that I was slowly gaining on Julian. To be fair I have done much more kayaking than Julian in recent years and I had gone to the effort to have a few training runs before the event. By the time we got to 101 Julian was only 76 seconds ahead of me. I passed Julian on the traverse from 101 to 62 and that was the last time I saw him for an hour. It is very hard to look directly behind you on a kayak without dropping pace so I just focussed on doing my own thing and paddling as fast as I could.

    After 62, I went and did 20, 64 and 22. I then decided to do 36 and 90. Pre-event I had decided that the out and back from 36 to 90 was not going to be worthwhile, but having experienced the swell, chop and wind in the middle of the bay, I realised that this would be quick, flat water kayaking which was ideally suited to me and my kayak. As it turned out this leg was probably the difference between Julian’s and my course. Julian picked up 61 but in a similar time I had picked up 36 and 90.

    After 90 and 36 I went to 74, 28 and 52. At 52 I had a very difficult decision to make. I had 28 minutes left and I felt like I could get to the hash house in that time, but did I have time to get 41, 27 or 40 on the way back? Having been late back on a number of rogaines I know it is not much fun, so I headed straight back to the hash house. By this stage I could see Julian and he could see me and I was confident that if I turned for the hash house he would do so as well.

    As it turned out the run back to the hash house was much quicker then expected and I arrived there 15 minutes early, kicking myself that I had made a bad decision and forgone at least 40 points.

    After the event finished and the points were tallied I found my self 50 points ahead of my friend and rival Julian and I finished a creditable 17th place out of the 58 competitors in the singles event.

    The other thing to note about the Paddlegaine is that the basemap was credited to Russell Rigby who passed away recently. Russell was a fine map maker and orienteer and was of great assistance to me when I was trying to configure RouteGadget. Russell’s widow, Carolyn, was at the event helping out on the weekend. Thanks Russell and condolences to Carolyn from the Rogaining community.

    Many thanks to Geoff and Margaret Peel for putting on a great event. The event was very well organised and the course well set. There were lots of volunteers on hand for every task and I had a great time. I feel a bit sorry for everyone who did not come along as they missed out on a really memorable occasion.

    2013 – A great year for Rogaining in New South Wales

    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

    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 just made it with 30 seconds up my sleeve and many less points.

    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 scamper 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) 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 chose 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 Metrogaine after terrific service setting the 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 we speeded up and after some confusion at 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 Gibraltar 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 brig 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

    A Few Good Men (Team 97) and a lot of rain

    Chris Stevenson

    The 2016 Paddy Pallin did not disappoint. The Bureau of Meteorology delivered the expected amount of rain. It rained 27.8mm during the 6 hours of the event.

    photo2

    Looking around at the start there seemed to be three takes on how to dress for the weather:

    1. Wear very little and go hard to stay warm.
    2. Do what you can to stop the rain from getting in.
    3. Hybrid between 1. and 2. Token raincoat with light weight clothing.

    My team mates and I opted for option 3. I must admit I was mildly amused by some teams trying to keep their feet dry jumping little creeks just after the start, my strategy was don’t bother, get them wet and get used to it. In fact the warmest my feet were during the entire event was when a wave washed over them on the traverse between 32 and 74.

    photo8

    Rogainers you have my respect. Out of 204 teams registered, when entries closed for the event, 181 teams competed so only 12% of teams decided to spend their day in a cafe rather than out in the rain. Just shows what a hardy (or slightly mad) bunch we rogainers are.

    I hadn’t rogained near Catherine Hill Bay before, I was sick for the last rogaine in the area and I admit I was not expecting the amount of bush we encountered, nor was I expecting as much complex navigation as we did. In fact I am embarrassed to admit we duffered control 91. We can see our route below:

    wandering

    Wandering in circles

    Our compass bearing into 91 was pretty good. After skirting around the creek which looked very deep, we followed our compass bearing but stopped just 30 metres from the control and then decided to walk in circles for 30 minutes trying to understand what had gone wrong.  What made matters worse was that I was leading at this stage, so I could not blame my team mates. At least we found the control in the end. I felt better when I spoke to another team at the finish who looked for 91 and didn’t find it. It is amazing what a lonely place a rogaine can be when you are off the main path.

    I am pleased to report that control 91 was our only real error, every other control more or less went to plan and we ended up with 1050 points. I can’t help thinking what might have been if we hadn’t lost that precious 30 minutes. I also can’t help wondering what that event would be like in the dry. It certainly would have been a different experience. The views were spectacular in the rain and the mist, they would have been very special on a nice day.

    coast

    Overall I had a lot of fun and I really appreciate the efforts of all the volunteers for their hard work in making an event like this happen and thanks also to the Catherine Hill Bay Bowling Club who will be spending a lot of tomorrow cleaning rogainer’s mud off their floor.  I normally do not eat much after events but today I stuffed myself with two sausage sandwiches, thanks to Waitara Scouts.

    Also thanks to the Paddy Pallin organisation and Chris Mein for their continued support of our sport.

    images

    Blisters for Vistas

    The Socialgaine was developed to give the regular rogainer a different perspective on the environment. ¼ way between the, all urbane Metrogaine and the largely bush Rogaine. You can go all out and sprint for the 6 hours, or perhaps sip a leisurely coffee at a conveniently located checkpoint coffee house, or slip into the ocean for a refreshing dip, or laze on a large rock shelf at the top of a summit taking in the panoramic views while chatting to your companions, while warmed by the sun at the same time as cooled by the sea breeze. It seems to me a delightful way to renew your feeling of oneness with paradise. For me when I hear paradise described I recognise the east coast of Australia. If you live in paradise why not enjoy the facilities, they were put here for our convenience!

    This Socialgaine starts and finishes at the hash house at the park and children’s playground behind the Umina Surf Club House. A most pleasant place to be. I was particularly pleased to see the selection of “adventure” playground equipment, a flying fox to slide out along, a large network of ropes to represent anything you would imagine from sailing ship with masts, to jungle, to trampoline, to skyway, to ……..

    Eowyn and other competitors on Umina Beach just after the start

    We arrived at about 7:30 on a now beautiful sunny day (after the overcast drizzle of yesterday) and collected the map and instructions, so we could plot out a course. This is Eowyns first Rogaine, so it was pleasing to see that she suggested the same route that interested me. I prefer the scenic, interesting, challenging, rather than the highest score. I find rogaining a great way to explore a section of landscape in a most unusual way. At 9:30 Eowyn grabbed our control card from the “clothes line”, (few rogaines other than Navshield start this way nowadays). And we were on our way down to walk along the Umina Beach for {Check Point 30, a sign beside the beach}, {CP 20, a survey marker at the headland}, {CP 21, a sign}. Very pleasant walking with the sun tempered by the cool sea breeze and stunning scenery, Broken Bay sea stretching out to the Pacific Ocean beyond, bounded by the rocky headlands, with the forested hills behind, many sailing craft on the water. Such a delightful day many people enjoying the beach, the small surf, or out strolling, every where a grin or a laugh.

    Rounding the second headland on track, beautiful Bay before us.

    Onward, enjoying even more, Pearl Beach to {CP 31, the sign}. As the song said “sign, sign, every where a sign”. Even that sentiment can’t prevent enjoyment, just ignore the sign:). Around the headland by way of the ocean rock platform to {CP 45, the survey mark}. Our way inland now, along delightfully named Crystal Avenue. Eowyn shows she is more alert than me, as she takes the side Parks Service road. Someone had drawn a line to indicate our intended route and I assumed it was a track :~). {CP 60, the rock shelf on the spur 40m from the track}. We did chat to the flushed competitors who had just scrambled up the much steeper direct route, good choice Eowyn. Still on the track up to {CP 80, the lookout}. Great location for a morning snack while we look south over Broken Bay, past all the racing yachts, to the forests of Kuring-gai Chase, then beyond to the skyline of Sydney far to the south.

    Eowyn prefers the shorter steeper foot track to the trig point where we a shushed by a couple watching an echidna eating ants, like they should do 🙂 We keep on, using the short section of track shown on the map, to locate the dogleg spur that leads to {CP 50, scenic end of rock outcrop the spur}. A trifle prickly blackened scrub this way. Back to the track and on to Patonga Drive, where we head down the road, carefully dodging the traffic, to collect {CP 35, end of rock platform}. Again a throng of people sitting enjoying the moment, while they re-fuel ready for the next burst of energy.

    Broken Bay from CP 80, lookout.

    We have been travelling this remarkable sandstone ridge plateau for a while now absolutely fascinating country. Low but prickly scrub, many oddly contorted rocky outcrops and extensive rock platforms, many with castellated like paving and every which way you look magnificent scenery. Add the weather and all the smiling people we pass – heaven.

    The obvious way onto {CP 33, north side of rock outcrop}, is to take the bush track rather than chance the tar Patonga road again. And a pleasant way to go it is. Only a short walk to {CP 42, a knoll}. I need to explained the nomenclature of rogaining:- when a location is a feature shown on the map it is referred to as “the”, knoll, summit, watercourse, etc., if a feature can be inferred from the map (by a canny reader) it is referred to as “a” whatever. As I’m pointing out “the” knoll and the probable “a” knoll to Eowyn I see the orange and yellow control flag fluttering in the breeze, well that’s easy then :-).

    We wander on along this easy walking gently undulating trail to a track junction, where we will go one way for {CP 71, the watercourse, to cool your feet}, or the other for {CP100, the summit}. On the way we passed a man, dressed in an all black running suit, he does not look in a good way and seems partly delirious, but he just keeps going. It seems that there is a 100km and 100 mile race on the Great North Walk today going from Teralba down to Patonga.

    The track junction with handy tall shady trees make a great spot to stop and re-energise, and chat to the passing throng. While munching Mars Bars Eowyn was studying the map and suggested a change of plan for more points. Follow the spur from here to CP 100 then return the same way before picking up CP 71 and going on for CP 51 and 70. Great idea well do that.

    Relatively easy walking on the spur directly to {CP 100, the summit}, is a large rock platform offering great views all round but particularly to the ocean in the east. A large party of competitors was taking the opportunity to sit and enjoy the view and the breeze. I did take a quick look around to see if I could recognise any aboriginal rock engravings, this would be an obvious place. If they were there I couldn’t recognise them. Other areas in Brisbane Waters National Park have extensive areas of aboriginal activities. CP 71 was a nice little rocky creek enough water for a drink from a small pool, but I would have only been able to cool the soles of my feet, bit at a time :-). Then the short hop, back to the main track and then north to where the spur to CP51 and CP 70 starts.

    Eowyn thinks that may be an easy way and I think there may even be some sort of track to link with the track shown further up. We glance at the shortest way up to {CP 51, the spur} as we pass, but the steepness, combined with the thick prickly scrub easily dissuades us wimps. There is a marked trail up the spur orange surveyors tape, but the scrub is relatively easy on the top of these ridges and spurs, anyway. Not sure how much actual navigation we did going up here, but I had just stopped momentarily to read the map when Eowyn “here it is”. I suppose you don’t really need to concentrate following along a line feature. The landscape along this ridge top very pleasing, extensive rock platforms of interesting rock formations, low coastal scrub of fascinating variety with lots of flowers. As with most of the course magnificent views in all directions. {CP 70, the saddle}, is just round a dog leg in the ridge, again we were just walking rather than navigating and again I had just stopped to interrogate the map when “here it is” from Eowyn :-).

    Dug enjoys CP 100, the summit.

    Just a short section of bush track from here down a steeper spur into the urban area below. All street walking from now on. {CP 36, which bus route goes up the Rampart (st.)?} Easy the utilities pole at the top of the street has the sign, we briefly thought of taking a short cut but the steep terrain deterred us and we went the long easy way (wimps). CP 25, 24 and 23, aren’t much of a challenge and we register back in at 3:27, three minutes to spare.

    All to do now total up our score, get someone to check our addition, hand in and then get into the welcome food and drink at the Hash House. Very pleasant to chat with all the smiling people, while we munched on salad and sausage sandwiches, sipping juice, or tea, or coffee, as was your taste.

    A very pleasing day, thank you Eowyn for making it so. Congratulations to Eowyn the score of 810 points very credible for a first timer, dragging a stumbley old codger around as a handicap. Thank you and congratulations to the organisers and course setters for a brilliant event in a very picturesque location. Till next time. © Copy Right Dug Floyd November 2012.

    [back]