Golden Road Rogaine

The boss at Ultimate Direction NZ doesn’t like Rogaine’s, however he doesn’t stop the minions from taking part in them, nor does it stop the minions for talking about his lack of interest as they pass the hours while trying not to get lost.

So with the demise of Heights of Winter due to flooding, Marty came down to Dunedin and Team Ultimately No Direction took on what seemed like the rest of Canterbury in what turned out to be a very competitive event. Bob Cunningham has been putting on more traditional Rogaine’s as opposed to my entry-level easy efforts for a number of years. He, along with Laurie Kennedy planned and mapped the last New Zealand Champs in 2012. This time they used some land adjacent to the 2009 Nationals and after a couple of false starts we finally got a run on what turned out to be a stunning day.

Planning was simple; draw a series of 4 loops around the entire map, a quick check with Matt Scott confirmed it was around 50km in a straight line. So even with Greig Hamilton saying they were just out for a walk, once the gun went there was going to be some pride on the line. Greig after all is now the 3 time NZ Champion and there is no way he would want to lose to me.

5 minutes before the start we discovered it was now an 11 hour event and not 13. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to planning. With 4 loops the field filed scattered a bit. Lara Prince and Katie Bolt took what we termed loop 3, Matt and Greig started on Loop 4 and we along with several others went on Loop 1 or a general anti clockwise direction.

I mistake early meant that Georgia and Tim quickly lead us by 5 minutes, however we turned that around and in passing figured they were doing exactly the same as we were, or almost. They passed us again on loop two with far superior planning that saw them collect a set of 8 controls around 15 minutes quicker than we did.

While the mapping left a bit to the imagination, the controls with their highly visible tape were generally easy to locate still within the circle and on a feature more or less as described. 55 being the only one that was completely awry, as can be seen on the GPS plot from Greig and I. On dark and short on time we couldn’t locate 22, neither could Tim and Georgia, Greig reckoned it was easy, but his GPS says we were looking in a different place to where we were. “Matagouri, Head of Gully” and my (red) GPS track runs up and down the gully and Greig’s doesn’t go near it. Oh well.

The day moved on, I wanted Marty to carry my pack up a hill but he was having a rough day so I did the only thing I could to help, and took the pen and paper of him to save weight. I got some amusement at an electric fence with a big jolt before crossing it, only to look back and see Marty frantically pacing back and forth like a forgotten puppy trying to cross the fence.

StoneYards MtTrotter

Map with Routes. Red is Mine, starting in the middle and going to 31, 90, 25 and continuing anti clockwise. Greig and Matt (Green) started with 11, 57 and continued in the opposite. The significant point of difference is the South West Corner where Georgia and Tim followed the green line and it proved to be much faster.

GoldenRoad

Another minor planning error and Tim skipping a control (24) saw them pass us again. Upon catching up we discussed where we needed to be over the next 2 hours to make it home in time. Sweeping the course still looked possible for us at least with all but one control on out route home. We both met the goal of being on Mt Trotter at 6pm, but the time wasted at 22 trying too hard to get it, saw Marty and I 3-4 minutes back from Tim and Georgia and the possibility of being late and/or them collecting the extra 20 points they were behind.

I figured if we ran hard I could take the shameful option of skipping 26 and making sure I got in the door before Tim and claim the win on time. In the end, with around 1500m to run Tim departed 11 about a minute in front of me with both teams looking like being late and getting penalties. So with the prospect that gamesmanship had been undertaken and that our scores we actually tied I ran hard to beat Tim to the door. This seemed to be confirmed when I passed him only for him to up the ante and literally beat me inside by a single step. And for the purists who like to make sure that teams are always together. Of course they were right on our heels, ;-)

As I write I’m not sure of the final result. Matt and Greig cleared the course with 30-40 minutes to spare. They ran the same distance and gained the same height as us, 59-60km and ~3200m of climb. Greig also made a few errors as can be seen on his plot. We left only 3 controls, Tim and Georgia 4, then I think maybe Lara Prince and Katie Bolt followed by Tane, Hillary and Dave. With Tane’s review here tanecambridge.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/golden-road-rogaine/

I find it enjoyable going back over them and seeing where improvements can be made. On this map, with nothing being flat, more time should have been spent looking at the contours. We’d had a look at the European Champs from earlier in July and both plotted 140-142km routes there, that map had only 500m of TOTAL elevation gain, so contours were of little importance.

Good fun day, some really interesting places to visit.

edit#1: Was disappointed that Phil and Robert only ran the 6 hour, so I’ll claim the cigars/beer/wine that Phil wanted to race for at HOW. Thanks Phil.

edit#2: I think that NZ will be well represented in South Dakota at next months World Championships. Tim and Georgia already have a Junior title and I think they’re in good enough shape as are Lara and Katie to podium in the Open Mixed and Womens respectively. Matt and Greig will threaten in the highly competitive Open Mens and if Phil’s Ankle is good enough I’d expect Robert to make his 3rd appearance in the top 10 overall, which in turn will put them near the top of Vet Mens. All the best.

Tarawera for Tina

I have next to no experience of running the Tarawera 60k course and didn’t even get to the boring as bat shit 40k road part of the 100k course. But I was asked for advice so this is it.
“Only the 60k” – yeah whatever, that’s further than Kerry Suter is running. Everyone has their own reasons for doing the different distances. I absolutely hate with a passion 100km and it would take a very special course for me to try one again. There’s more chance of me running circles on a track for a day than there is of me lining up in the 100k at Tarawera. So I too, am “only” running the 60k and for me it is “only” a training run. Your reasons are yours, and that’s what makes you happy.

The Course – As pointed out, my experience on the course could be written on the back of a small postage stamp with a marker pen. But I can read a profile. Re-read what I wrote about the Kepler on BCR. It still holds true. “If it feels comfortable and easy, stick with that.”

I think the start in the dark will help people settle down and take it easy for the first hour, as will the fact there’s 700+ starters. It will be slow, be happy and accepting of that. The goal is to be able to run well from Okataina/Humprey’s to the finish and mow down all those people who had piss poor race plans. Remember to suck the life out of them as you go past feeling righteous about how well you’ve done.

Tarawera has a bit more climb than the Kepler, but the Kepler has 80% of its climb in one go in the first quarter. vTUM60 has its vert spread over the entire 60k in shorter blocks, they are more run-able and as a result could possible lead to the unprepared blowing it. So back to the “If it feels comfortable……..” Rumour has it, from Okataina to the Outlet is the best part of the whole event. Hope I get to see it.

vTUMmidday
JacketGate - I never knew there were so many idiots out there, professing to be trail runners who clearly have no idea or experience of being outside in even moderately challenging conditions. If the conditions play out and a “Cyclone” is going to hit the Bay of Plenty sometime on Saturday. THERE WILL BE NO RACE for a variety of reasons.
a) emergency and rescue services will have higher priorities than a running race
b) volunteers will have higher priorities than a running race
c) there are clearly a bunch of muppets who lack the gear skills and experience to be out in those conditions.

I type this knowing that Paul is making a decision on compulsory gear in the next hour or so, not a decision on the race. Probably not a very clever thing for me to write and could stir trouble. But it’s my opinion.

So the jacket thingy. I think most people don;t know what a Waterproof Jacket actually does. It certainly doesn’t keep you dry for very long. What it does do though, is keep you warm. It minimizes new, cooler water coming in, and minimizes the cooling effect of wind/evaporation. A polypro top doesn;t do that in the same way. They are open weave. WIND + RAIN = COLD
Saturday’s conditions are likely to result in far more people requiring medical attention than heat/dehydration/hyponatremia. Cold and Wet robs people (who are already compromised) of the ability to make sensible decisions. Being hot will slow you down, being cold will kill you.

Chafing – stole this bit from my BCR piece
3B or Vaseline, there are others but 3B is my go to for 24 hour races. Vaseline is good if the chafe has already started. Use liberally before the start and get it right into those places that you don’t want to mention. WASH YOUR HANDS. Boys – the race can get exciting so tape your nipples. Lycra – learn to love it. Unless you are very experienced, if it rains and your shorts get wet, they will lose all their softness. The stitching in the seams swells with water and rubs hell out of your inner-thighs. Vaseline will not fix that problem. For ball chafing, use a sanitary pad. No I am not kidding; I’ve done it several times. If you run far enough, you learn to leave your ego behind and do whatever it takes to keep going (editors note- we don’t advise leading out your “lube” of choice)

Here’s the BCR piece  - I’d better do some work now.

http://backcountryrunner.co.nz/2013/11/29/the-kepler-challenge-my-way/

Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon

“You asshole”

Anyone who thinks that just because you’re not making the podium you aren’t competitive is living in lala land. I took the above statement as the compliment it was meant to be. I had a good run, and it was given by a highly respected bloke in good shape who felt (with a large degree of validity) that he’d probably give me a better run for my money than it turned out to be. Old Buggers are competitive.

I don’t need to wax too lyrical about the actual course, there are plenty of photo’s floating around. Some people love it, some people hate it for a variety of reasons. I like it, it suits me. I like the terrain, the history and the camping at Moke Lake. I am very grateful to the Foster family for allowing us to share their property, one that they are clearly very proud of. It’s a station steeped in history, with gold discovered in the valleys in 1862 and upwards of 3000 people living there. There are various parts of the run where you go past relics of that era. Scheelite (for Tungsten) was mined in the area from 1880′s as well. With the boom period being around the World Wars as it was used for hardening steel.

But back to the race itself, or more specifically the Old Mans race, after all it’s once you hit 40 that it gets competitive. A look around those at the start was sufficient to realise a few young blokes were going to get a lesson. John Fitch, Roland Meyer, Jake Roberts, Phil Wood and debatably Nathan Peterson. I say debatably, because that’s what we did, debate whether he was an old man or not. There are some very strong resumes on that list and a lot can be learned from talking to them.

So off we trot and what I was told later was like a rocket, but in my mind was comfortable as plenty were in front. My regular battle with another vet, Malcolm Mcleod began in earnest, with Nick Kensington and Phil Wood tucked in just behind. Unbeknown to us at the time, Jake Roberts was in the lead group of 6 or so along with Nathan Peterson.

I started giving lip to Malcolm almost as soon as we started, I then fell, followed by passing him for the first time in the exact same spot as last year. And that is how the entire run unfolded, we too and fro’d with each pass being within a few meters of where they occurred last year. So neither of us really pushed the pace, or at least it never felt that way. We both knew he would pull away on the regular uphills, I would slowly drag that back on the flatter sections and make a gap on the downhills. So depending on the balance of ups and downs the gap between us varied +/- 3 minutes, with Malcolm having his biggest lead at he first significant uphill when he walked away to a 3 minute gap. About that time I could also hear (and see) a noisy Phil Wood just behind me. That would have given him a lot of confidence that I’d gone out too hard and he was about to give me a piece of humble pie.

Malcolm and I discussed who the other old buggers were around, no one was able to tell us who the two unknowns (Jake and Nathan) were in front of us. GTG, Blake Hose and Ben Duffus were known and long gone. I knew Matty Abel was there but the other two were a mystery. We eventually worked out Nathan was up there and debated his age. Regardless, he was having a good run. Unfortunately Jake wasn’t and was eventually passed on the long final ridge. SMMM isn’t a race you run hard without some sort of preparation. Hopefully he comes back and teaches the young boys a lesson.

Up the final climb I came upon Matty Abel cramping. I quietly hoped he would just lie there and die. He didn’t, so instead of running me down with just meters to go like last year, he had the entire last 8k to run away from me. Bastard. But I go to the top just seconds ahead of Malcolm has he had closed the 2 minute gap as expected. Just like last year, and again I managed to slowly extend the gap on him during the run home.

It was great to be able to run a full race with no niggles again. It would be great if that continues  because Malcolm and I enjoy our battles, unfortunately I’ve been quitting on them too often. It would be nice to see how out true abilities differ on different courses.

Nathan finished about 15 minutes in front and that augurs well for the biggest event of the year. Heights of Winter where brains meet brawn and the old men battle in teams.

Sorry No Pretty pictures. It was a race.

postscript
It’s a great family weekend. Ollie was 2nd overall in the 5k, 1st Male, Samantha was 1st little girl in the 5k, Ann managed 2nd old ducky in the 10k, and yes I managed 2nd old git and 6th overall in the Marathon. It also turns out that the Aussie boys can run hills. Who bloody knew.

How not to Navigate

If there was anyone who thought I knew something about navigating (me included) you need to reassess your opinion. This is a story eating a big chunk of dry crumbly humble pie and having to swallow it without water.

Most will know that I like Rogaines, have planned a few and have been moderately successful/competitive on the local scene and Robert Jarvis and I did pretty well at a couple of World Championships. Not content with that, I wanted to get better at the navigation side of things so that we could do even better. So I joined the Dunedin Club and jumped in at the deep end running Red courses when available. I make mistakes, some maps/terrain suit better than others, but generally I can get around the course and not be too far behind some quite skilled individuals.

This past weekend was the Canterbury Orienteering Champs. We skipped the middle distance on Friday and opted for the Sprint in amongst the boulders at  Castle Hill/Kura Tawhiti and then the Long course at Acheron/Mt Barker Forest near Lake Coleridge.

Sprint – Fun, exceptionally technical and a great day. I got lost a few times, missed punched in the morning and ran OK in the afternoon. I think I was last (in M40) most of the time. But this isn’t a story about the Sprint course.

20131116_163743~2

As far as I’m concerned, the best way to learn something is to jump in the deep and hope like hell you can at least doggy paddle back to the side. So for a couple of reasons, I opted not to tun the shorter M40 course. I wanted to see what it was like a against the best navigators, knowing full well I wouldn’t have any chance of matching them for skill or speed. I did however have what I thought were realistic goals of getting around the course, not making too many mistakes and finishing before the 2 hour 30 minute cut off. Why would I think that????? Mostly because I had a terrible run at the Otago Champs on my 3rd long red, I was now a veteran of 5 Long reds. Spur/Gully forest I thought suited me better than flat land and rocks where I had done OK (time wise) against Nick Hann who would eventually come 2nd to Chris Forne.

Start to Control #1

Start to #1

Start to #1

I’d had a quick chat with one of the organiser prior to the start, she had pointed out the bare ground features and said they might be difficult. The map had a scale of 1:10,000, the piece of bare ground I was aiming for was about 15x5m. I took a good line directly towards it, across the open ground that had trees, and then onto the broken ground that had a lot more trees. I didn’t recognize any bare patches so moved slowly forwards, I think I went through the small gap or just to the left. Part way to the taller thicker trees, I turned and retraced my steps. noticed a one of the better navigators coming out and took a line to where they came from. Found my control, already lost 6 minutes. Ooops, I only missed it by about 20 meters the on both passes.

I ran hard towards #2
route1_2I made a small error by not going along the main track to the lake, instead I opted for the water tank as it would along me to go down the spur which i was comfortable with. I didn’t quite get it right so headed straight back up to the hill top/lake, I could have just put myself in the gully, but wanted to make sure. Matt Scott came past as I was heading down. I’d just rolled my ankle and had no interest in following anyone. I wan’t to do this myself. I found it easily this time, again having missed the control by a small margin on my 1st pass. The ankle now meant going even slower. I navigated slowly but well to 3-4-5-6. Reading the features and hitting the points I wanted.

Controls 6 to 7
route6_76 to 7 was long (for me) with no obvious route, my 1st goal was to hit the major track and reassess from there. But I was clumsy in that plan and didn’t pay much attention to where I went. I wasted several minutes by getting pushed very low when originally I’d thought I’d go past the pond. Onto the track, I quickly got the Corner/Rock, read the patch of Gorse/Broom, hit the knoll with a control on it as planned, read the next patch of Broom/Gorse and hit control #12 perfectly and that all lead me nicely to 7. Slowly, but I was pleased I managed no major errors on what was a potentially difficult leg for me.

Controls 7-8-9-10-11
I again got knocked of course not paying attention as my basic plan was hit the stream and go from there. I was too far East, but ran upstream and read the two boulders (I thought), but then didn’t run far enough upstream. Nor did I read the direction of the stream, oh well. I was confident in my read of the clearing I found myself in, and ran quickly to 8 then 9, 10 was off line but I read the scrubby clearing well so 10 and 11 were simple.

route11_12
Controls 11-12
I’m not really sure what went wrong, note the going from 6-7 I had already accurately navigated to this control. The best I can do is show (Blue Circles/Line) the places that I know I was at. The dashed circles/line are the places I think I was at. The circle in the stream was my first attempt to relocate, there was a control here, and I had been here on the way to control 8 previously. I hindsight I may have been wrong as I couldn’t get to 12 from there. On 3 occasions between 12 and 13 I passed someone’s clue sheet, I picked it up after I had eventually been to 12. I found 13 at one stage, it was a relief as for the 1st time in a long time I was 100% sure about where I was. We had a drinks and a map change here. I debated quitting, I looked at the 2nd map and knew I couldn’t finish the course. So at this point I was determined to at least finish the 1st map. So knowing exactly where I was I should have been OK, but I still couldn’t make the straight line to 12. A discussion later suggested a good route from 13 for me would have been the stream/gully to the west as a good handrail directly towards the sharp re-entrant and down the spur to 12. I agree, but I was quite flustered and backed my skill to follow a bearing. I can actually do it.

Eventually I came across two others going to the opposite direction, also looking for the control. They were unsure of their exact location. A few minutes later we also found another who thought they knew where they were but as soon as they described what they were seeing I knew I was on the saddle immediately North of #7. For the 2nd time in 60 minutes, I knew where I was and ran straight to #12 and then #13. I wandered/jogged back across to the main track, snuck up the stream to the final control, #30, punched it and jogged to the finish in 2 hours 55 minutes. Very Deflated, it was a quiet drive home.

What did I learn?
Chris Forne is actually a freak, but that when he first started “Fornicator was pretty fucking useless”.
Technically I am quite poor at navigating. The very best spend a lot of time, practising, thinking about it, talking about it, playing it and doing it.
I have run 6 or 7 Red courses, what should have I expected on what it turns out is one of the more difficult maps.
Jumping in the deep end and barely being able to doggy paddle to the edge, while sad, is still quite satisfying and has left me with an even greater desire to succeed (get better is probably more apt) on that map and at that level.

Thanks to those I asked, spoke to,  or offered advice.

Here is the full map, I’ve added the controls from the 2nd map to show their location.

AllControls

Results http://obasen.orientering.se/winsplits/online/en/default.asp?page=classes&databaseId=28597
Click on M21E – I wasn’t last.

We had a great weekend
20131116_195105_1~2

One final word – I forgot to bloody punch #13

edit: Fornicator won in 81 minutes. At this years Heights of Winter Marty and I were just in front of the team of Forne/Scott/Hamilton at around the halfway mark. If only I could have managed that, I might have finished this. 

Drugs in Sport – this time it’s me

It’s well-known I hate drug cheats. It’s come up a couple of times and was one of my earlier posts,

http://runlongergeek.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/drugs-in-sport-epo/

Recent developments now mean get to have a taste of what steroids might be capable of. Many will be aware that last Friday I had a preliminary diagnosis of a Tumor in my head. I had a loss of sensation on the left side of my face, loss of function, dribbling, slurred speech, headaches. Generally symptoms that could be ascribed to a Stroke, a Palsy or a Tumor. I’d had the symptoms or some of them for maybe as long as a year but most for just the last two weeks. It was no surprise to have a Tumor diagnosed.

Both Ann and I have varied science backgrounds with combined degrees in Chemistry, Statistics, Biology and a Masters in Ecology. Ann’s job is liasing with all the 1st year health science students  (our doctors). So the words Tumor to us aren’t a death sentence, more evidence and consultation would be required for that. However, Brain Tumor was about #2 on my list of what was wrong even before the initial diagnosis.

Our Health system works well when you’re in trouble. Within an hour of the initial consultation a Neurologist (Associate Professor Graham Hammond-Tooke) had ordered an extensive list of bloods to be taken. I assume the results came back on Monday, as mid-morning I was called for a 2pm appointment. A further hour of tests resulted in a diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell’s_palsy). Bell’s Palsy is a diagnosis by elimination, by that I mean it’s what’s left if other obvious things don’t fit. essentially I am missing several symptoms of both a stroke and tumor. Lopsided smile broke out, much like the photo on wiki. The doctor appeared dissappointed that it wasn’t a tumor, he admitted he was as he would then know what he was dealing with. So there is still some degree of uncertainty, but there is no rush for an MRI, that will happen sometime in the future. For now, I am an experiment in Steroids in sports.

I am on a solid dose of common garden variety Prednisone which is a corticosteroid. They have a variety of uses, but in a sporting sense they are used to reduce inflammation. As such they are banned under the “Prohibited  In-Competition” section S9 of the WADA code/list.  The same rules Dirty Lance used when he was busted at the Tour of California one year and got a back dated therapeutic use exemption once they’d made up a bullshit story about saddle sores. The relevant WADA documents are attached.

http://www.wada-ama.org/Documents/World_Anti-Doping_Program/WADP-Prohibited-list/2014/WADA-prohibited-list-2014-EN.pdf

http://www.wada-ama.org/Documents/World_Anti-Doping_Program/WADP-IS-TUE/2011/WADA_TUE_Guidelines_V6.0_EN.pdf
I’ve now had two 60mg doses and my experiment of 1 suggests it helps. Not on my gammy face just yet. But on all the other aches, pains and niggles that I’ve been suffering from. I’ve had one run on drugs, my 4th run in a row. Saturday, Sunday and Monday were all quite pathetic. But now.
Rib Pain – GONE, Ankle Pain – mostly gone, Hip – GONE, Hammy – mostly gone. Mentally I feel like I want to run harder for the 1st time in quite a while. So bring on Waihi 60k this weekend. I’ll be glowing like a Dennis DeMonchy head torch on the start line last year.

I’ve written to the team at Total Sport to let them know the situation. I could start the process of getting a TUE but can’t be bothered in the short time available. What I have asked is to just be allowed to run but excluded from any merit awards. I’m really only interested in having some fun, telling some lies, mostly getting laughed at and exploring new terrain. If they’d prefer me not to run, then I’m fine with that as well. It just means I’ll go on course with Dazzler and yell abuse at people. In the long run, if I’m on an extended course of drugs I’ll get the TUE.

But until I do. To paraphrase K Day, “Dirty fucking drug cheat.” I’ll take that, as it sure beats Brain Tumor.

One more thing, the guy in the photo on the Bell’s Palsy link. Quite accurate.

Hamel’s Haunts III – Results

I am sorry the results have taken so long.
I am sorry the soup was watery.
I am sorry I left a team out in the dark and went home.
I am sorry there was confusion over the registration.
I am sorry one of the controls got pinched.

All those things are my fault and a result of just trying to keep things simple, maybe a bit too simple this time. The soup was disappointing, but twice as many people turned up as expected. Maybe next time I’ll revert to cooking sausages.

Things I’m not sorry about.
I’m not sorry that some of you were bleeding. You went the wrong way.
I’m not sorry that “D”, “S” and “W” were difficult.
I’m not sorry there are tired legs.

It was great to see a number of Families out enjoying the day, in fact it was great to see everyone come back looking as though they’d had a good time. Thanks to Charles for finding Ann’s scissors and a huge thanks to Spring Chicks who on Wednesday, after dumping their kids at school, rode from Mosgiel and collected all but 3 controls and made it back in time to collect their clans at 3pm.

So the actual results. I tried something a little different with the scoring. Again it was born of me being lazy and not wanting to assign a value to each control. After the last world championship in the Czech Republic a table was posted that calculated the number of points/kilometre teams got. Ie a measure of efficiency and somewhat of a handicap system as the strongest teams eventually run out of “easy” controls to collect and have to go further afield. So I wondered if by having no time limit and just counting the number of controls what that would do to the results in a rogaine.

Score is the number of minutes:seconds for each control, the lower the value the more efficient you were.

Team

Score

Controls

Dominic Elder

0:13:56

14

Tony Ross

0:14:00

9

JB & Rei

0:15:34

14

Weak at the Knees

0:17:09

7

Eyles Bro

0:19:24

10

Awesome C&B

0:20:06

10

Kev & Tony

0:20:15

8

Tough Mudders

0:20:16

11

Al and Lou

0:20:17

7

Two Peters

0:20:24

10

Malc & Mace

0:22:15

8

Davies-Jones

0:22:15

8

Karen, Audrey, Kerry

0:22:30

8

Lyn Wheeler

0:22:53

9

Taiter

0:23:30

4

Spring Chicks

0:23:40

6

Amazing

0:24:00

5

Amie Manning

0:24:00

5

Croydon

0:24:15

8

Summer Streakers

0:24:34

7

Craig & Wanphen

0:24:43

7

Jess Stewart

0:25:12

5

Team Wilden

0:27:26

7

Tim’s Trio

0:28:00

6

Sprint Chickens

0:28:12

5

Cara & James

0:28:24

5

Cam & Lex

0:29:10

6

Outrageous Misfortunes

0:30:00

6

Sally

0:30:00

5

Sophie, Emma, Ash

0:30:50

6

Webbs Wanderers

0:32:00

6

Graham Family

0:32:48

5

Charles McLaughlin

0:36:40

3

Sarah Tiong

0:38:40

3

 Diane & Jane

my fault

lots

So it turns out that the more aggressive/competitive people who collect the most controls still end up near the top. Dom did a combination of riding then running and I think Tony’s team just rode. They were separated by 4s/control. JB and Rei purely ran. Weak at The Knees were the first mixed team and Tough Mudders were the First all Womens team.

Will I use that system again, yes probably because I think there is a bit more in it for everyone.

Thank you all for having a fun day out.

Spring Challenge
I see in the latest Spring Challenge notice that I will be holding some navigation practice days. Well the Rogaine was it. But I was rung on Monday asking if there would be something else on, and then also asked to run a session down in Balclutha. Sooooo, if there is interest (email or txt) I will put out some controls more in the style of Spring Challenge ie a long way apart and run it as a practice event. Probably September 8th.  Maybe $5.

matt.bixley@agresearch.co.nz
021 0469255

HOW2013 – Woodbury Wander

We won, post the event it has been confirmed that due to malfunctioning controls, the Duckworth Lewis system has been implemented and the results are final as of 5 hours into the event. Take that NavNerds, a couple of wannabe runners showing you how it’s done.

5 Hour Scores

Bixley/Lukes – 1710 (at 87 going to 32)
Forne/Hamilton/Scott – 1710 (at 50 going to 87)
Faavae/Voyce – 1700 (at 50 and passed Forne going to 87)
Cambridge/Svendson/Currie – 1560 (at 77 going to 34 where we had just been)

So at 5 hours, 3 teams were within 10 points and 500m of each other. Just a pity that Marty and I can’t read a map, the rest is possibly what actually happened.

HOW - Map

Heights of Winter made a shift from North to South Canterbury this year, it also made a change from the standard 6/12 combination to a 2.5/6/10. A real shame that we couldn’t get more time at night as that is when the most mistakes happen. The course was certainly big enough for 12 hours, but I believe it was shortened to make for a more sensible time to finish cleaning up. It’s a long day for all the volunteers so I don’t begrudge then that. But with the difficulties of finding people and places to put on a full 24 hour, night nav could become limited.

So what happened? 94 teams lined up for the 10 hour, with an additional 93 in the 6 hour and 30 in the 2 ½ hr. Marty turned up late, after I’d more or less planned a route. We discussed it a bit, made same tweaks and like a couple of other teams set off with a plan to see how much of the course we could complete. I took off for the 1st control, Marty dawdled along struggling with fences allowing Robert and Phil (old bastards competition) along with the Usher/Whitehead foursome to pass while I held the punch for them. First issue of the day was at the 2nd control which didn’t work. On we go, misreading the scrub/bush/forest markings on the map and for one of the few times for the day, they were actually correct.

Nathan and Trevor were taking a variation on the same route that Robert/Phil and Marty/I were taking so we saw them a bit. Phil/Robert were identical to us for the 1st twenty controls (although we didn’t know that). Having spent much time with Robert over the years, both of us know it’s better to separate from a group and do your own thing. So Marty and I pushed quite solidly for the next couple to create a gap. They were quite happy for that and in reality we’d need to do that as they are better at navigating.

First bag carry for Marty came between 72-90 on a 180m steep climb. It’s not that I was moving well, he’s just a hell of a lot stronger up a hill than me. He already had my spare clothes, torch and battery. I’m not convinced that 90 was marked correctly, but Marty saw it from a long way out and we passed a team who followed the line to where it was marked. All good around the course to 75 where we were again lucky that Marty saw it from a distance. Nathan and Trevor had spent a good 10 minutes looking for it. Robert and Phil were supposed to have punched this 15 minutes later, but it’s not showing on their results, so who knows what happened. Makes no difference to the final outcome.

If we were going to be successful it was going to take some luck, good planning and no mistakes. Luck may have been starting to play a part as we passed Nathan and Trevor at the next control which they misread. But Karma is a bitch, while they lost 10 minutes at a miss-placed 75 then another 4 at the next (28) we would lose 30 and then another 15 just trying to get 99.

About here we started thinking about variation to the plan. Nearly 4 hours in and we were an hour behind schedule, so time to start looking more closely at the climbs/points/distances. When we punched 101 in turns out we were leading, call the game off, time to go home. It’s also the point where our route for the next 2 hours became less efficient than the other leading teams. Most notably a long blank section from 50-69 as we’d already collected 41/87. 87 was fun, I cramped for the 1st time ever in a race. I double that up by doing it while glued to bush lawyer. There’s a couple of guys who’d have loved to be there and see that happen. In hindsight it would have been pretty funny to see. By now I was also struggling with food. I’m putting it down to the extra intensity of running with Marty. I was using the same combination of things I’d used with Nick in a 12 hour a month ago. Going along to 69 and 22 we heard that the Forne/Hamilton/Scott combo was just in front. Although that was meaningless as you have no idea where they’ve been or where they’re going. Mart y was confident I’d be moving faster than Greig though, he was probably correct as Greig was on the tow.

So in that period between 5 and 6 hours we slipped off the pace in terms of the score. Marty carried my gear some more, but that just seemed to be an excuse for him to run faster uphill which upset my gut even more. I’d catch him on the downs again, so all was good in the world. Then we screwed up. Marty does most of his navigation based of the map and the terrain, in my fatigued state I neglected to check the compass and we ran down the wrong spur attempting to read the bush and stream features without success. It became apparent that we had absolutely no idea where we were just as we met another pair who pointed to a pretty orange flag and told us that was 44, a full kilometre away from our target of 99. 44-53-99 was the new plan, however 99 wasn’t finished with us yet. The map has a clear and open route directly to 99, that was full of scrub and gorse, the forest just past appeared impenetrable so we backtracked to bash up through the regenerating bush as originally planned.

Now back on track and closing on dark we lit up and carried on for yet more adventure. Some marked banks/cliffs earlier in the day had been gentle and pass-able, between 60 and 26 they were vertical and bound in supplejack, it was even more fun between 35 and 30, again they were vertical and the clear ground immediately across the Waihi was gorse covered. The trouble there cost us a chance at 30 and we ran home, I collapsed. Marty is a bully, we had fun.

Now, the all important progress plot that I get asked for before the results are even out. I’ve done my best to estimate the splits for the missing controls. I’ve left out Phil and Roberts claim of 75, it’s makes no difference to the results.

Play by Play Action

Play by Play Action

HOW is probably my favourite event, always new and interesting places on private land to visit, good people, very competitive and high quality teams. Thanks Marty for a great day.
Greig Hamilton is already quite excited about the 24 Hour Champ in Alexandra. Should be good.

6 Hour

Ann and Ollie smashed out the 6 hour. Ollie had an absolute blast, he was wrecked, but covering 21k, with a 1000m of climb is pretty cool for a 10-year-old. They finished in the middle of both the Open and the Mixed fields. Very impressive. Sounds like Ann’s Navigation was pretty good too, so watch out for the Girls at Spring Challenge.

Full results here http://www.rogaine.org.nz/main/Results/HOW2013Results.htm they differ slightly from mine with all the trouble with the punches not quite being ironed out. No Change in the Open and Old Mens finishing order though.

Ollie77b Ollie61

Ollie77a

Wild Turkey – Good

Vicki Wooley has been waiting for this since about 11am on Saturday morning when I was crawling up the hill to the Lone Road checkpoint and had a wee chat with her. I was high as a kite, pretty much as close to being on P as you can without actually taking it. The southern tip of the Waitakere Range had been showing me some of the coolest trails I’d run on, my legs still felt fresh and now I was getting to see people on their home trails instead of at the finish of some other random event. I was just a little bit excited, but maybe not quite as excited as Vicki was.

Backcountry Runner has the reason why I was going (http://backcountryrunner.co.nz/2013/04/01/wild-turkey-vs-nimbys/), now here’s what unfolded. This was to be a cheap bastards trip, airpoints and standby flights, being shuffled around, fed and lodged by James and Anna down in Bombay. It mostly turned out that way but all good plans usually come apart at some point.

For the run itself I wasn’t sure what plan to have. I pretty much had no idea about the course except that it had 3 climbs and descents with 99% single track. Mal Law reliably informed me that the track would be dry, even after some rain. Mal is lucky he stayed in bed. It turns out Jaffas are all talk, 80+ people had signed up for a fat arse run on the Hillary trail. Of those, only 12 turned up to run the Wild Turkey. Jaffas are also lazy, only 7 were backing up from Tarawera even though they were offered a big discount. There were around 100 all up for the three events, that’s pretty rubbish for a city of 1.4 million people, Dunedin with a population of 110,000 will throw out more than that for the 3 Peaks next weekend.

So 12 of us toed the line for the 2 loop marathon at 7:30am. I got to run with Chris Morrissey and Sam Manson for the 1st time, that lasted for 2 minutes until we started the 1st climb out of Whatipu and up Gibbons Track, it was fun while it lasted but they seemed intent on smashing hell out of each other. I walked. 30-40m back was Nathan Bycroft, he ran, these are his home trails and he made good use of them, quickly catching and passing me prior to the 2nd climb up Buck Taylor to Lone Road. I wondered if I’d see him again or not. I really was pissing around enjoying the varied trail, the views and the Torrential Rain. Poor Marshalls were taking a beating as I’m sure they’d prepared for the forecast fine conditions. They did come later, but in the 1st hour the trails were running like streams.

So not knowing the course and not wearing a watch I was unsure when or where to have a gel. I’d figured a 2:15 lap was sensible, but again had no idea what sort of effort that would require. So I had gels more or less at the bottom of the climb to Lone road, then again at around the Odlins camp, and a final one near the top of the course before the run home. There’s so much variety on the loop that you’re always interested in the surroundings and your effort levels are always changing. Steep technical descents, long flowing open and very fast grades, hands on knees hiking, short rock scrambles, gentle runnable uphills, rutted, rooty, rocky, steps, stream crossings, nikau palms, kauri, scrub. The course has it all in what is a very natural loop up and around Whatipu.

I came into the start/finish at around 2:16, I don’t think I’ve ever been as fresh, it was a strange feeling, but i had been pretty lazy on course. As an added bonus nothing hurt. For some reason I woke up to no back/butt/hammy pain for a change. I still have my bruised foot that doesn’t like the off camber nature of the course, but 150mg of Diclofenac helps. More pissing around drinking, chatting I thought it was worth asking where Nathan was, quietly hoping it was 10+ minutes and I could just wander around the course again. 1-2 was the call. OK, pretty sure I’ll out hike him, could be a sprint finish. Off we go for another lap.

I had a great deal of anticipation for this lap, even before we started. It’s always fun seeing other people out on the trails and this set up meant running with some I’d normally see when we’ve finished. It reminded me of the first time I ran the St James and I finally got to see the great one, Martin Lukes, in full flight after he started an hour late. I digress, so hiking up Gibbons again, legs feel great but the photography team ruin that. Damn it, ugly face on for running uphill. Aaaargh and then another one, haha run whitey run. It flattens off a bit and there’s the tail end charlie and Nathan. Shit that was a quick catch. At Lone Road there was more mucking around, I asked Penny how far Sam was, 5 minutes or 20 minutes. With 20 minutes being the call there was no point chasing, he would need to fall off the track and stay there for me to catch him.

Photo Credits – http://www.heythatsme.co.nz

So on it goes, more fun, more people, high fives here and there, more photo’s in the stream and a sprint finish, followed immediately by Leah Anstis thrusting a cold beer at me. It was quite difficult sitting still, it was one of the most enjoyable trails I’ve run, great bunch of people, all out for a good time and then just hanging around in the sun. The chance to catch up with University mates, run with people on their home turf and see new things was fantastic.

Shaun – thank you for the invitation come, the trails easily exceeded any expectations I may have had. The people of Auckland are lucky to have a guy like you putting on events in cool places.
James & Anna – thank you for running/driving around and making it pretty cheap for me. Great time down at the Lodge, fun going out for a run with your group and climbing trees getting avocado’s.

Post Script
Standby is a rubbish way to fly and I am glad Air New Zealand are removing that temptation. I spent from 10am Sunday morning until 2:30pm Monday at Auckland airport, eventually getting home at 6pm. At 32 hours, it’s nearly as long as it took me to get home from Tarawera last year.

Croydon

No not the town that is now part of Greater London. Croydon Paton, yeah him, the guy that killed a Rabbit in the middle of the night while completing the Northburn 100k a couple of weeks ago. Hard as Nails would be my guess. He’s taken to trail running and long trail running like a duck to water, and most importantly likes to explore.

This post is for him as it’s the best way to answer his question about where I’ve been running. He somehow googled his way to a video I made of a run Frosty and I completed a couple of years ago. So here’s the description. It’s probably not as interesting as you think it was. We had to entertain very fast Roadies for a while. It was 50k long though, Frosty mad us do a short out and back at the finish, something like 2000m of climb. It was fun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMf9a6h1lSA

Frsoty50kvert Frosty50k

Start at Woodhaugh Gardens and go up North Road as if doing Waitats. Turn up the Organ Pipes Track, over Mt Cargill and down Cowans Road, Patmos Ave. and turn right up Leith Valley to the Nichols Creek MTB track.  Up that, turn left and across then down past Ben Rudds Hut, out and down the road towards Whare Flat before turning up the forestry roads (take your pick) Back over Flagstaff and return down to Woodhaugh. Run it properly and you should look like me, not bright and cheerful like Anna.

Quite possibly the best quality long run I’ve had. Two weeks after this Frosty ripped shit out of the TNF50 in San Francisco for the 2nd time and I ran my best Kepler. After one of the runs with the Salomon team Francois D’haene suggested this would be a perfect place to come and train for TNF San Fran.

Frsoty50kvert

I see in the last frames of the video I requested that next time , Salomon should bring their own Film Crew, Helicopter and some Speedcross 3 shoes. I’m pleased to say they delivered on all those things last month.

What I’d like, is to go for an explore in the hills one day with Croydon. I reckon that would be fun.

Wild Turkey

In order to get my BCR Visor back I’ve been sucking up to the team manager.

http://backcountryrunner.co.nz/2013/04/01/wild-turkey-vs-nimbys/

Way way back in some dark and distant memory we actually lived in Auckland for a year. But I only visited for school holiday’s as we were at boarding school in the Wairarapa. My only other running trip to Auckland was fully catered by the Clendons and involved 503 laps of the track at the Millenium Institute. So this weekend I’m off to Auckland courtesy of Airpoints with a one way ticket and whats is likely to be a standby ticket for the return. James Kuegler after more or less demanding that I come up, has kindly offered accommodation and transport. It will be great to explore somewhere new and shock horror will still be loops, just 2 though.

So the main reading is at the BCR link. Having read it I am amazed at how many words are missing and sentence structure has failed even after proof reading it.

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