The last time I was brave enough to do a Rogaine with Chris Forne was quite some time ago. I was still at university and I didn’t have a car so the only way I was going to make it out to the Rogaine on time while still fulfilling my afternoon lab was on my bike and it just so happened it was across town… around about 15km’s. So as per usual it was always a rush to get out of the lab (and finish it properly) rush home grab my gear and jump on my bike. And as per usual I had to bike fast to get there on time too. Already quite tired from my ride out there I set out with Chris and a tag along Dennis who proceeded to teach me a lesson as I died quietly after about an hour. The next 2 hours took a lifetime and I went through a lifetime of suffering as Chris and Dennis bounded about all over the place. As it turned out these two later teamed up and won the World Rogaine Champs later that year…. and I gained an appreciation for how much more fitness and strength there was for me to gain. Fast forward to last weekend, and I was back doing a Rogaine with Chris, something I was pretty excited about and a good chance to learn or pick up a few bits and pieces.
From the outset it looked like we could get all the controls, quite easily on paper anyway and I think a few other thought the same. Chris did the majority of the planning, well pretty much all of it with some collusion from me on a few bits and pieces. Tim had planned a fairly interesting course which required some thinking to link the controls together to make the most of distance and time.
The mass start around the little insert section was fast and exciting, with Chris and myself sprinting ahead right from the get go. Early on it quickly became apparent that my water bladder was leaking and for a course with no water this was not good. It was doubly bad as I had in my infinite wisdom decided to go with putting electrolytes straight into it and it gradually soaked its way down my back. We had decided to do a short out and back to about the 3rd control on our plan which was a bit of a commitment to get them all at such an early stage in the race but we figured it was the best way to pick that particular control up. So up the driveway we went and into a small paddock with a confused looking horse we went. There was some dogs barking and I just figured it was a farm and they were probably just sheep dogs chained up….but as it turned out the barking was quite loud and pretty damn close so i took a glance back and realised that there was a rather large angry looking dog about 3-4 meters away and coming straight for me! I turned back and ran hard, luckily for some reason the dogs owner was there or thereabouts and managed to call the dogs back but it was enough excitement for my heart rate to sky rocket so early in the race.
The next section of the race lead us on a mind numbing road bash, where there was a hint of Chris struggling a bit, but it must have mainly been due to the boredom of it all cause once we were back on the wide open pastures… well wide open patches of rough and matagouri ridden hill country he was back on form. I felt pretty comfortable for the first while until we had to go back up hill and Chris just casually powered up while I dropped back a bit. Once on some even terrain we were level pegging again.
The next hour or so was probably the most demoralising part of the race, lots of horrible undergrowth, blackberry, bracken, matagouri, some rosehip and a control circle in the wrong place had our spirits at an all time low. By this stage the leaking of my bladder had reached maximum extent with the entire backs of my legs saturated… We past the halfway mark still in good time, although Chris was checking out the penalty points equation on the back of the map.
We climbed out of the horribleness and felt like we were starting to make progress again. We had a profitable next section and we just flying around the course. This bit for me was definitely the most enjoyable and most exciting part of the race. The role that we were on started to fade a little as we both ran out of water about 2 hours before the end. There was hope that we could get some water in one of the streams around but they were all looking pretty schungy. At the far point of the map the dryness gave into to the lack of cleanliness and we found a patch that didn’t look too bad to drink from. It was just enough to get us through the next hour and a half or so we hoped.
It was great to have such a nice winters day in the hot sun but the late evening didn’t bring us any respite from the lack of water and both of us felt quite light headed going up the final two hills. I was in a pretty bad state by this point and Chris got out of sight a couple of times as we traversed around the ridge. I suffered for about 20mins until we got a bit confused in the forest near the end with a control which looking back on the GPS seems to be not quite in the centre of the circle. With both of us in extreme dehydration mode a little break in the shade while trying to figure out what was going on was just enough to get me back on track and eventually Chris found the control just as we were starting to panic a little as there was only 30mins left on the clock.
Once this was out of the way we knew we had cracked it, but still there was a lot of flat running to go so the urgency never faded. We honed in on the last few controls and gingerly slowed down to cross the low dairy fences which if we were feeling fresh both of us would have jumped over no problem. The sight of the finish and the sight of some water go us over the line with just over 12mins to spare! In the download area we raided the water supplies, and unfortunately holding up the download queue a little bit (Sorry about that!).
Both of us were pretty happy to clear the course as we set out to do, and I think even Tim was pretty excited by what we were able to achieve. I had an awesome day out and really inspired to see how fast you could race around a rogaine course if you had a good combination of Speed, planning, cunning and navigational skills. I was pretty happy too that we were relatively well matched for speed, I think Chris still had the edge up the hills though!