Posted on 23/05/2016 by Chris Stevenson

The Autumngaine at Tarlo river found me partnerless, so I tried our partner finding service. I first tried hooking up with Mal. Mal subsequently jilted me, preferring instead to recover from the flu, which he contracted after agreeing to partner, so I went back to the partner finding services for another go.

The second attempt yielded Danny. Danny was rated himself as an 8 /10, which is pretty much how I would rate myself. (Anyone who knows me will know for certain that the 8/10 is for rogaining ability, not looks.)

Danny and I agreed to spend Friday night together, on a property close to the event to which he has access, and then drive home together after the event.

Having agreed logistics with Danny, it occurred to me that I had just agreed to spend a bit over 24 hours with a person I have never met, in a very out of the way location. If Danny was an axe murderer as well as a rogainer (not that there’s a frequent correlation between the two) I was in deep trouble.

As it turned out Danny was not an axe murderer, he was worse than that. Rather than the pain associated with a quick death inflicted by an axe, he tortured me over 6 hours. You see, it turns out that Danny is significantly fitter than me. Danny is used to rogaining with his, now 11 year old son, and was keen to see how he would go with someone of similar ability (which I wasn’t).

Things started out okay, we more of less jogged the first couple of controls (31, 32) and then headed downhill towards 54, 55 and 61, 70 and 100. By this stage it was clear that Danny was significantly quicker than me up hill and quicker downhill as well.

From 100 we went to 50 and then climbed up the hill from 50 to the fire trail. This hill was 130+ metres and by this stage I was fully focused on survival. That is, climbing the hill as quickly as I could without doing so much damage that I could not continue for the next 3+ hours. To his credit, Danny was very patient. It was clear to me that these hills presented little challenge to him, at least not at my pace. We kept going and relatively quickly got 80, 51, 71, 72, 62 and then climbed to 63 and over the ridge to 48 and 47. My next physical challenge was the climb from 47 to the fire trail near 56.

By this stage I was having significant cramping in both quads, which I attribute to having spent the last few hours traversing across scree slopes. I confess that 2/3 the way up the hill from 47, I had to sit down for a couple of minutes to try and work the lactic acid from the legs. This rest was refreshing and I managed to get to the top of the hill and then down again to 56 and 45. From 45 we began the long 180m climb towards the finish via 33 and 20. Because the event was nearing its end we were joined on this tortuous climb by a number of other teams heading back and I was pleased to see a number of other teams moving as slowly as I was. Once at the top we could see the Hash House and even jogged a bit to make sure we would arrive back within time.

The net result of my torture was 2nd in the men’s veterans and 9th overall, which made all the pain seem worthwhile and my torturer Danny now a trusted companion, even if he is more like a 9/10.

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