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.