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My first cycle rogaine

ACT cycle rogaine, 6th May 2007
Jason Lee, posted on 9th May 2007

The first germ of the idea to take part in this event came when I was looking for partners for the 6 hour rogaine back in March. I had been casually asking around to see if anyone wanted to do that one with me. My friend Helen told me that she didn't run, but if ever a cycle rogaine came up, she would be interested.

So, I found other partners for that event but as the date for the cycle rogaine approached, I again began thinking about entering. But there was a problem. I don't own a mountain bike! I asked Helen again and she said that if I could get hold of a mountain bike, she would do it (and she had never done a cycle rogaine before either). I don't think Helen thought I'd be successful in borrowing a bike but I was! I got hold of a Giant Rincon in my size which by Giant's definition was definitely not a 'competition' or 'trail' bike, but a 'sport' or 'recreation' bike. But a bike was a bike and we entered.

I had never ridden single track before. My only other experience of 'mountain bikes' were clunky commuters on wide fire trails... So the week before the event, Helen took me out to Sparrow Hill for my first experience with single track and my first ride on the borrowed Rincon. I didn't come off and I had fun in the 2 hours we spent there. So it boded well for the weekend to come.

I built my own map board out of a plastic clipboard I picked up at K-mart for four bucks attached to the bike with zip ties. Cheap! And very simple and functional, when I saw some of the high-tech contraptions that some other competitiors were using.

We were 15 minutes late in starting because of some fumbling with gear and route planning. But we finally started. Our original plan was to take in all the checkpoints at Sparrow Hill first. Then, to cross the highway and get all the points worth 70 or more in the eastern half of the map. Big plans. In reality...

We made comfortable progress in our course through Sparrow Hill and were reviewing our progress before heading off across the highway when I noticed that we had missed the second checkpoint we had planned! Checkpoint 80! Do we go back for it or cross the highway? We went back for it. By the time we crossed the highway, the time was 1330. Only two hours left. Decision time.

We decided we would try to get the furthest two checkpoints in the North-East corner of the map, 101 and 93. Legs feeling like jelly after every climb, we finally reached 101. And Helen had to walk up several hills. We should have cut our losses then and headed for the Hash House, but no... We were gluttons for punishment. We weren't that far from 93. There was still some time. The control description promised 'views'. So we pushed on to 93. We only had a quick glimpse of the great 'views' but a glance of the clock showed that we didn't have much time to get back.

So came the frantic rush back to the Hash House. More hills to climb, more hills to walk up. More heavy lifting of bikes across gates. When we made it back, we were 16 minutes late!

Ah well... At least we had a tremendously fun time. Congrats to all the organisers and volunteers!

I must buy a mountain bike soon...

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