Clare (a good friend of my partner Jessie from growing up in NZ) asked Jessie and I if we would like to compete in the Qld Champs with her and her partner Greig this year. I agreed to join Greig in a team, vaguely aware he was very keen on adventure sports and rogaining, but not realising that he had won the last two NZ Champs and had come 4th in the World Champs last year! I was in for some punishment.
I promised myself I would train hard for the event and be ready to do my best to keep up with Greig. The first weekend of training did not go well - I was mountain biking at Mt Joyce, and managed to launch myself head first into a gully, injuring my face, knee and chest. Not what I needed! It was another week before I could run at all, and then there were only a couple more weeks until the event.
I tried to find an alternative victim to take my place on Greig’s team, but failing in that effort, I decided to at least invite Tony to share the pain. The key consideration here was that there would be two of us to out-vote any proposed increases in speed or effort. I did not anticipate at that time the effectiveness of Greig’s “divide and conquer” tactics.
Greig and Clare arrived on the Wednesday morning before the event, and enjoyed a few days of sunshine and relative warmth after recent snowstorms in Christchurch. My sister gave birth to her first child on the Tuesday night, and I resolved to remind myself how much more pain she must have gone through than anything a little rogaine could throw at us.
Arriving at the Hash on Saturday morning, we found relative calm at the Admin tent, despite some whispers about wayward controls and Liam still out on the course with some last-minute adjustments. All would be well! Greig looked on disdainfully as both of his teammates put up tents. We tried to assure him it was for emergency use only (not so sure of that in reality!). We collected our maps and spent quite a while admiring them individually in silence, counting contours and worrying about the implications. I was concerned about the forestry areas, guessing that some tracks would be difficult to follow at night. Eventually Greig proposed a grand circuit in the anticlockwise direction, collecting almost everything along the way (I had feared such a plan!). I suggested a modified version which was more of an inverted “W”, mainly so that we could visit the soup kitchen at a useful time in the early morning. It still involved picking up almost the whole set of controls. The total distance looked manageable, but would be tough with those hills. I attempted to write in our estimated location at each hour but fell about 1 hour short of completing the course - not a good start!
The start soon approached and we wished Clare and Jessie well, quite sure they would have an easier time of it than us and return to the Hash for good food and the warm fire. Event start!
We were very chuffed to hear the results and proud of our nice round total of 3000 points. We soon learned that Jessie and Clare had not had a particularly easy time after all, staying out on the course for over 22 hours! An impressive effort given that Jessie's first rogaine was the Toohey Forest Tear 3 hour event earlier in the year. Although I found it somewhat difficult to walk by this time I did manage to soak my wounded feet in the dam near the Hash and tuck into some of the great food on offer. Many thanks to all of the organisers, admin assistants, course setters and vetters and Hash House providers for a fantastic event, which we all enjoyed despite some periods of pain and discomfort! Thanks also to the very accommodating landholders, and special thanks to Liam Town who put an enormous amount of time and effort into the event.