[SUBW-A] Trip Report: Rogaining: 27th-28th April

Richard Wood rwood at Physics.usyd.edu.au
Wed May 8 12:13:55 AEST 2002

This is a bit late, but here's the trip report from the Aus/Uni champs 
rogaining on the previous weekend. There's 3 different perspective from the 
3 different teams, just to keep you entertained for an hour or two...

People: Team 1 (Ben, CJ), Team 2 (Hisako, Liz, Charley), Team 3 (Mitch and 

Ben's Report:
Well, the adventure started when the rogaining bus broke down at
Parramatta... Instead of leaving at 5:45pm, we ended up leaving 5 hours
later because an inebriated local managed to put a crowbar through our
radiator hose and attack a rogainer with a spanner while trying to fix our
broken fanbelt. Anyhow, after the cops took care of him, we managed to
eventually sort out another vehicle to get us down to the rogaine, arriving
at 4am the next morning. A great preparation for a 24 hour rogaine :)

CJ and I awoke the next morning surprisingly awake considering that we'd
only had about 3 hours of quality sleep. Charley kindly offered to deliver
us cups of tea upon hearing us moan about having to get up. However, the
lure of bacon and eggs and pancakes was enough to get me out of bed, despite
my lack of sleep. To our horror, we discovered that there was only cereal
and toast on offer for breakfast, hardly the hearty rogaining breakfast we
were expecting.

There was an exciting atmosphere around the hash house on Saturday morning.
Not only was this the Australian Championships, but the University
Championships were being contested at the same time. I had seen a few of my
friends from UNSWBMC and Mac Uni Bushwalkers on the rogaining bus so I was
secretly hoping to get one up on them, especially since they were all
boasting the night before about how Sydney Uni was the only uni whose Sports
Union hadn't paid for their entries in full. Despite the fact the CJ had
never used a compass until the week before the event, I have to say that I
was impressed by the fact that he was keen to spend the whole night out in
the bush and really give rogaining a go. We decided to pack up our sleeping
bags as a symbolic gesture to remind ourselves that we wouldn't be needing
them that night.

The end of the first 6 hours of the rogaine was marked by night falling.
This was when things began to slide for us, as I realised that I'd never
really had to navigate at night and that blindly following bearings without
consciously trying to pass prominent features probably wasn't a good idea.
We'd only had to miss out on one of our intended controls during daylight,
but that was frustrating enough to make us obsessed with finding a
checkpoint which we never ended up finding, despite figuring out later that
we would have been several hundred metres away from it, having overshot the
large gully marking the ascent to the checkpoint. After wasting time trying
to do this, we finally decided to take a bearing and head out to the road.

At this point, the humour of the situation finally dawned upon us, as we
realised how silly it was that we'd voluntarily come out into the bush on a
freezing night, giving up sleep, hot food and a warm bed to find checkpoints
in the middle of nowhere just for the hell of it. It was at about this time
of the night (9pm) that conversation turned to hot spa baths followed by a
Swedish massage and other things which boys talk about when they're being
boys... Any previous thoughts of actually trying to maximise our points were
probably thrown out the door at this point as we decided to push on instead
of going back to the hash house to get some food to fuel another productive
trip out. Neither of us had done a 24 hour rogaine before, so we thought it
would be an interesting experience to see how well we'd go pushing on even
though it was probably a better idea to get some food seeing as we only
really had muesli bars and lollies and a tuna sandwich to last all night.
Later on I discovered that some friends of mine had brought a pizza and
leftover Hungry Jacks burgers out onto the course!

Being tired and slightly hungry was, of course a recipe for disaster. All my
navigational nightmares came true. I managed to have us walking in totally
the wrong direction at one stage. I also managed to become confused as to
whether I was looking at a valley or a ridge on the map. I think we must
have walked back and forth over the same ridge about 4 times. By 3am, we
were still wandering around on the ridge looking for a checkpoint which we
had started towards well before midnight. We even lost track of time and
managed to both fall asleep for an hour against a rock despite the fact that
we knew it was a bad idea given the temperature that night. Fortunately CJ
was there to take care of me when I woke up, teeth chattering and still
grumbling about not having found the checkpoint

By the time we made it out onto the road at 6am, having been unproductive
for most of the night, the only thing we could think of was food. We took
our time, admiring the beautiful sunrise over the frosted mountain tops.
Although I was green with envy when I saw some friends roll out of their
tents after their beauty sleep, I think both CJ and I were just happy to be
able to sit in front of the fire and calmly devour everything on the hash
house menu. That's probably the last time for a while I'll be able to eat
pancakes, toasties, spaghetti bolognese, pumpkin soup and chocolate cake for
breakfast without feeling throughly ill.
I think we both had a great time and there was great company at this
rogaine. Although we ended up staying out all night and having a ball,
there's plenty of fun to be had at rogaines for everyone whatever your
attitude is and I haven't met anyone yet who didn't want to come back after
doing their first rogaine.

Liz's Report
this was my first rogaine. it was harder than i expected (trust) but a great
experience at the same time. it took it out of me, even though i spent 11 of
the 24 hours asleep...
i need to learn how to navigate. i found it a little tricky.
on the way home i devoured ben's packet of gummi fruits to take the pain
away. thanks!
PS: when it is cold at night and your toes are frozen, constant wiggling
doesn't help at all. also, if you have to expose your head because you get
sick of breathing in sleeping-bag air, use your hair to form a protective
shield from the cold.

and my view of the events...
Our trip started to a visit to our local campus outdoor store to pick up a 
petzl battery, which, instead of the boring old Duracell batteries, had an 
exciting "Wonder" battery, with an assurance by Gav it was just as good...

Anyway, a couple of (expected and unexpected/sudden) stops on the way down 
saw us beat the bus by an easy 6 hours or so...
the morning saw us get our maps, thus we wipped out the highlighter, and 
promptly set about highlighting anything we could find, justifying it by 
calling it a "wish list" of checkpoints to visit...thus with more pink than 
green on the map, we set off for the fast section of the course, which in 
reality wasn't that fast...

By dark, we were going pretty well, a bit behind time, but not too bad. 
After dark, it started getting colder, and colder, and ... so after ducking 
out for a couple of checkpoints in the clearings, we retreated to the 
comparative warmth of the forest. It was about this time, we realised that 
Mitch's batteries in his torch were getting low...and he'd also forgotten 
to bring a) spares, and b) his spare torch...thus one light was turned off 
for most walking..
A few more checkpoints, with legs by now becoming pretty raw from the 
scrub, and we had finished the 'outward' bit..about 11pm i think..

It was now that the true "wonder" of the Wonder battery came into effect, 
as only after a couple of hours of use, it decided to 'wonderfully' 
suddenly go dead. Taking about 2 sec to go from fairly bright to absolute 
zip...a position in the front of my shirt to see if warming it would help 
had no effect, and thus, we were left with the light of the moon and a dim 
glow of Mitch's torch to get us the 6 hours back..

At about 5am, after spending about an hour fruitlessly looking for a 
checkpoint that must have fallen off the cliff, we were sleep walking the 
home straight, so far asleep, that we couldn't be bothered leaving the road 
to get the last 2 checkpoints on the route, even though getting them would 
have been a shorter distance...We made it back just before the sun rose, 
and I dove straight into the sleeping bag, Mitch heading straight for food. 
20 mins later, and Mitch woke me up (definitely jipping me of the last 10 
mins of the 30mins sleep owed to me). then it was his turn to sleep, and 
mine to eat (luckily they had pancakes now). another (full) 30 mins, then 
we were packing up to head out again, fairly refreshed after such a lengthy 

The next 5 hours entailed more of the same as the previous day, just with 
sorer, and sorer legs. After a late bit of extra energy in attempting to 
get another checkpoint, we gave up on it, and made the road bash back to 
the has house...finally reaching it with 6 mins to go.

the next part of our trip, and probably the most challenging section of 
walking, was the 500m between parking our car and the fish and chip shop in 
Goulburn. Taking about 1/2 hour to do this section, whilst attempting to 
impart the least pain possible to our legs, especially when attempting to 
straighten them whilst getting out of the car, was quite a challenge, and 
must have been a spectacle for the locals.

did you make it through the whole report? congrats.. There is a 6 hour 
rogaine in june i think, and on the 6-7 of July is the NavShield - the 
Bushwalkers Search and Rescue Rogaine - groups of 4, and i'd say the best 
rogaine, let us know if you are interested in forming a team for this.

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