The Xcite Team (Fiona and I) had a crack at the Qld 24hr rogaine championships last weekend at Ironpot, lovely cattle grazing country about 1hr west of Kingaroy. Along for the ride was Adam Woods, who usually races with the ROAR team. Unfortunately for Adam, but fortunately for us, his likely team mate had to pull out, so we joined forces in what was our first 24 hr race. Adam has a fair bit of experience in this type of racing, so we were very lucky to have him along. The race is a 24hr rogaine format, which allows you to go for 24 hours straight OR come back to camp, have a beer/wine, some dinner, a nice sleep, wake up and go again in the morning. We preferred the second option.
Map hand out was at 9.30 with start time at 12. Compared to our debacle at the MOJO adventure race, we were much better prepared, although a little bit apprehensive about what lay ahead. After looking at the map, we decided the best course would be a clockwise journey on the western side of the map, and stay at the base of the large hills (that would be the Great Dividing Range!, hence the race name “Dodge the Divide“). We figured that should take us about 10 hours, and something like 30 to 35km. The last 4 hrs or so would be in the dark. After coming back to camp, we would then have a snooze and head out for another 5 hours to pick up as many CPs on the eastern side (about another 20km).
As luck (good planning) would have it, we covered the course as planned almost to perfection. The ground surface was relatively flat, which made for easy trekking but navigating a bit tricky, and was heavily reliant on compass bearings rather than terrain and tracks. Adam was providing some good guidance and we were ticking along at a nice pace. All CPs were picked up with only a few minutes lost looking for some CPs.
Towards the end of the day, we started to live up to our Veterans category. Adam was getting a bit sore in his back, Fiona had her “old lady’s knee”, and I had some pain through my heels. I also managed to backhand a prickly pear, which is rather painful. Navigating at night was fun, although we did overshoot CP65. The added bonus for missing the CP was Fi spotting a koala in a tree. We all looked up and spotted it, however I don’t think he was too happy getting spotlighted by three powerful headlamps. After regathering our bearings, we headed off up the correct gully and found the CP through some persistent navigating.
On the way back to HQ we headed off to pick up CP66, but found ourselves in the wrong gully as there was no dam to be seen. The bearing back to HQ would take us past the dam and then onto CP66. On the way, we nearly stepped on a little gathering of some ground loving birds, who all took off right in front of us. That gave us a hell of a fright, and suddenly I thought there was a 12 year old girl with us (not sure whose squeal that was, but I am going to say it was Adam because I am writing this). Good navving got us right on top of CP66, then it was back to HQ for some food, beer, wine and a sleep.
A good night’s sleep, some bacon and eggs for brekky (weat bix for the vego) and we were off again. This time to the eastern side to try and pick up as many CPs as possible. Some amazingly large washouts made for some climbing up and down dry river beds. Not long into the morning we were starting to really curse the wire fence crossings. Between all our ailments, the gaps between the fences seemed to be getting smaller and smaller. We all hope not to have to cross another wire fence for a long time.
We ended up with 1480 pts, which put us in mid field overall; top 10 for the 24hr race; and second in the mixed veterans category. Overall we competed about 55km with about 1,000 m of climbing. The winning 24hr team did a staggering 103km in 21 hours to clear the course. Well done to Paul and Bevan.
Thanks to Adam for joining us on our maiden 24hr race. Our thanks go to the organisers of the event (Errol and Dan), race volunteers, Qld Rogaine Association, all the landholders, and the Ironpot Community Hall Group for feeding us.