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Event Reports and Stories

I Love Rogaining

ACT 6 hour Paddy Pallin, 6th Apr 2008
Jason Lee, posted on 11th Apr 2008

I really enjoy rogaining. Since I did my first rogaine a few years back Iíve been hooked on it. I often face a problem though, that of finding teammates. I wonder if other rogainers have this problem too. Too often Iíve looked at the rogaining calender and taken note of the many events on offer. Usually, I want to do every event within a reasonable traveling distance from where Iím living. Living in Canberra, this often means every event organised by the ACT rogaining association and many events organised by the NSW rogaining association! For most of the events Iíve wanted to do for the last couple of years, Iíve had intentions of racing them several months in advance. However, despite weeks of numerous posts on forums and asking many people I know or meet, I often donít get a team until sometimes a few days before the event.

Iíve given some thought to this and had a look at the participant lists for these events and have come to the following conclusion: Most rogaining teams are regular teams consisting of the same people event after event. Somehow or another, most of these teams will not give a thought of including someone like me whom they donít know or havenít raced with. Thatís fair enough. I wish I had my own regular team. Iíve put in a little bit of effort into building my own regular team but the best that can be shown for this effort is John Saldin, who has done three events with me. However, John has been injured since the last event I did with him in October last year. So, for the ACT Paddy Pallin 6hr, I had to look for a new team.

I put my usual feelers out and this time I got several expressions of interest. Thatís a change! I decided to do the event with Peta Haesler, whom I know through the Bilbys triathlon club. Petaís a pretty fit girl, but it was her first event, so we had a rather conservative race plan. We plotted a short 18km loop through the northern part of the course, which I thought we could comfortably walk with a few short stretches of jogging. If we completed that planned course, we would score 780 points. Not ambitious at all. There were also other options that could be tagged on to increase our score if we were traveling well, and options to delete if we werenít.

At the race start, something happened that has never happened to me before in a rogaine: Someone tried to take my control card from the clothesline! Unbelievable! Mind you, my control card had been coloured in, cut down in size, properly heat-laminated, and attached to a triathlon race belt. I could see why someone would want to steal that... if their own control card was a plain Jane affair... Must have been a novice rogainer. Doesnít he realise that every control card has a different number? Anyway, I had to chase the guy down before he ran away with my card, ďHey! Hey! Thatís my control card dude! Why are you taking it?Ē

Anyway, Peta and I had a good start (notwithstanding the control card incident) and were hitting our first few controls spot on and in good time. Peta had a few goes at lead navigating with me checking her. She was not too bad for a first timer, except for once when she was about to make a 180 degree error. Peta had also been having some chest pains recently which werenít bothering her at exercise, only at rest. It was a little bit of concern, but she seemed to brush it off confidently. (She just went to a doctor to have it looked at. Diagnosed as muscle not heart pain. So, sheís fine, thanks for asking.)

There was another little incident near the beginning of the race just after Peta had taken off some of the warm clothes she had started with. She had no gaiters on. At that point she was wearing T-shirt and shorts... when... I heard a rustle of twigs, a crash, and a yelp behind me, ďOw!Ē I turned around to see Peta lying flat on her back in a bed of blackberries! Now, that must hurt. I had to carefully lift her out of the blackberries without dropping her back in or falling in myself. That was a little tricky!

Anyway, we chugged along at a slow, comfy pace, and Peta was taking a number of photos, that you can see hereabouts on this site:


Traveling from control 62 to 21, we decided that we were ahead of schedule and adjusted our route to take in controls 51 and 32 as well. At the water point control 21, we took a rather long rest. There I found that Peta had only one energy bar as her food. I gave her a slice of bread and since I had brought three bananas, three slices of bread and two bags of jelly beans on the course with me, I offered her a bag of jelly beans. Anyway, we were still taking it easy as we took in controls 81, 91, 52, 82, 66 in succession. Somehow, we had made a decision not to take the controls north of these.

We had been doing very well at a comfortable pace up to control 55, then I made a very silly navigational error. I stuffed up what should have been a very easy leg between control 55 and 64. We stuffed around for ages, not finding control 64. I made another mistake of not cutting our losses and moving on, but fluffing around for ages. In retrospect, I should have found it easily. Not finding the control in half an hour I should have cut our losses. But life is too short to second guess yourself... Anyway, we had stuffed around for too long and thought that we wouldnít make it back to the hash house in time. So, we just picked up control 35 on our way back to the hash house. Again, in retrospect, the postmortem shows that even with our stuffing up of finding control 64, we could have picked up 54 and 31 and still gotten back in time. Ah well, everything looks clearer with hindsight.

We got back to the finish with lots of time to spare. Peta got into the finish queue while I got into the food queue. Now, that was a good decision in hindsight as I heard that they ran out of vegie burgers and I might have gotten one of the last ones for Peta. We also decided to stay for the AGM and the spot prizes, which was another good decision. Lots of people had decided to leave early, so during the drawing of names the calls of ďNot here!Ē and ďGone home!Ē occurred plenty of times and got louder and louder. In fact, Petaís name was the first novice name called who was actually present. She scored a nice red Macpac fleece jumper. There werenít many non-novices who stayed as well. My name was eventually called and I scored a nice SIGG aluminum water bottle.

So, all in all, we had a really fun Sunday out in the bush.

As I write this, I really want to do the NSW 24hr rogaine champs down at Bendalong on the south coast just north of Batemanís Bay next weekend the 19th to 20th of April. Iíve been looking for a team from about six weeks ago. But, as of today, I still havenít found a team. Early bird rego closes today. Rego proper closes on Monday. Aargh! Again! The stress of trying to find a team...

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