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Aussie Rogaine Champs – Kiwis win vets category
By Christo Peters - Thu 15 Dec 2022 10:55pm

A bit of a story about a Rogaine adventure, particularly for map sport enthusiasts.

In October Rolf Boswell competed in the 2022 Australiasian Rogaine Championships which doubled up as the 2022 Australian Rogaine Championships.  The traditional Rogaine championship event is a 24 hour endurance challenge.  It starts with a shout of ‘GO!’ at noon on Saturday and it is a massive wilderness treasure hunt until noon Sunday. Here is Rolf’s account of the event:

I have long wanted to compete in an Australian Rogaine which is the ‘home’ of Rogaining. My long suffering team mate, Jason, was up for the challenge. We were to find out that Australian Rogaines are a highly organised affair!

We jumped on the bus in Melbourne on Friday afternoon with other keen Aussie Rogainers for the 2.5 hour trip north to the Pyrenees State forest. The bus drove to the end of a dirt road and we were offloaded into the bush in front of a tent city. As well as all the campers tents in all directions, there were event registration tents, catering tents and even a dining hall tent!

It had been raining heavily in the preceding days and the event center paddock was a puddle. Apparently earlier that day, the organisers had made a quick event center relocation into the bush!

After finding a semi-dry spot to setup camp, the organisers magically produced a fabulous meal including desert! We are keen for an early night so we crawl into our tents promptly. Of course, us Kiwi’s are terrified of roaming snakes and these massive man-eating ants, so there was lots of checking of tent zips!

At 7:00am the next morning a huge breakfast magically appeared in the ‘dining tent’. It is great to chat with other competitors and they are all nice to us even though we are from NZ. Race maps are given out at 9:00am and we spend the next couple of hours devising a brilliant (hopefully) plan!  Time goes very fast and soon someone important says GO and the race begins.

Our plan was to bank as many points as possible before dark (8pm) then expect to slow a lot over night before giving ourselves a range of options at the end depending on how we felt.   

So what happened?

The terrain was often steep and sometimes brutal.   Many of the controls were very challenging and required precise navigation and good contour reading skills. The good news for us was that our planning allowed for slow going.  We did get behind our intended time targets but had given ourselves options to ‘drop’ controls and get back on track. Our navigation was usually ‘spot-on’ with only two mistakes worth noting. The biggest issues was our inability to find control #84 in the dark. It is a tricky proposition to drop off a broad spur onto a small side spur. However, we could not think of a better way to execute the leg. Once we arrived in the general area, we could see headlights all over the place so we were not the only ones struggling. After a bit of effort we decided to cut out loses and continues on towards the next control

Eventually, the endless climbing and the clambering through overgrown gullies started to have an impact. After 16 hours (at 4am) even Jason was buggered and we needed to stop. We ignored a 40 pt control close to the road and made for a shelter marked on the map. Pleasingly it was deserted and we found two wooden benches tucked out of the cold wind that would suffice as beds. I think we were both asleep within seconds and the 30min sleep was just what we needed. A short time later, dawn arrived and this gave us a new burst of enthusiasm. The Cockatoos make a hell of a noise once they wake up but mostly they just seem to laugh at us!

We made a decision about what controls to get (and not get) and then made for ‘home’ to finish with 20minutes to spare.

We had time for a clean up and a change of clothes before yet another bush banquet courtesy of the Victorian Rogaining Association. The Volunteer army at the event was super impressive. I am sure there was a lot of hard work in the background, but it seemed like a well oiled machine and we were grateful for their efforts.
Jason and I had no idea of our chances in the competition. I assumed the field would be packed with gun Aussie Rogainers and we should be pleased if we finished in the top half of the Vet Mens grade (40+).

To our absolute astonishment we were announced as winners of the Veteran Mens grade and we were handed this very heavy trophy which we are allowed to take back to NZ for a while.  I think this makes us Australian champions and Australasian champions!

Final result was:
Mens Vet 1st (out of 23 teams)
Overall 12th (out of 101 teams)

For those map geeks who have read this far, you can see the results and our route at https://www.rogaine-results.com/…/australasian-champs/24hr

Perhaps my sporting career has now peaked! 

Thanks to Jason for joining me.  He had an unbelievable 4 day mission.  Fly to Melbourne Friday, walk for 24 hours … then fly home Monday! We work well together at the navigation. If we agree, then we are onto a winner. If he questions my intentions then my alarm bells go off.  He patiently waits for me at the top of the biggest hills although I noticed there were no offers to carry my pack this time!

Do I want to do another Rogaine in Australia?  Yip.  It was an awesome adventure.

#rogaine #rogaining #mapsport #rogainechamps

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