Firstly, on behalf of the south east Queensland adventure sports community, thank you Liam St Pierre. For those of us who typically participate in rather than organise races, its hard to appreciate just how much time and effort goes into planning and orchestrating the complex logistical challenges that an event featuring navigation and multiple disciplines inevitably requires. This is the third edition of the Rogue series of events Liam has organised through the Queensland Rogaining Association, not for any kind of financial gain but simply because he is passionate about adventure racing and nurturing the local scene. Of course these events aren't possible without a huge cast of enthusiastic volunteers to hang controls, vet the course, man transition areas, take timings, move kayaks around the course, update the website, feed us all afterwards, offer kind words of encouragement etc etc etc. A huge thank you to all involved!
This time around team Off The Map consisted of myself and Luke Goodfellow after my original teammate, my brother Danno, got nailed in the ribs by a wayward mal while out surfing the week prior. I was rapt to be racing with Luke, besides being a great navigator and physically strong, he is humble and doesn't take AR too seriously.
The race format was a cross between a traditional linear AR and a rogaine. Featuring legs of the three regular disciplines of kayaking, trailrunning and moutainbiking, each of the checkpoints, assigned a point value, were optional within each leg. This style of race makes strategy just as important as navigational ability, fitness and technical skills. After receiving our maps an hour and a half before the start, we did some calculations and planned a route that involved dropping several of the paddling cps and collecting almost all of the running and biking cps, simply because we thought this would be more enjoyable and we are slow paddlers. A word of advice, if you know a race is going feature lots of paddling then do some paddling in the lead up! Despite dropping several cps, we suffered a little and spent too much time on the water. Sandwiched between the two paddling legs however was a fantastic run leg which proved to be the highlight of the race. Liam had obviously set cp8 as a teaser for the teams that thought they may be able to collect every cp. Clearing the course was out of the question for us but we couldn't resist heading out to cp8 and traversing the ridge over Mt Joyce to cp10. Best decision of the day!
The rain, which fell all of the previous night and much of the day, had me feeling a little conflicted about the mountainbiking. Mt Joyce Recreation Park features propose built mountain bike trails which, ordinarily, I would avoid to prevent damage. The trails seemed to be holding up fairly well though and we were excited about having the opportunity to ride on singletrack in an AR.
After some great singletrack riding I gave my bike a swim in the lake in an effort to wash some of the mud out of the drivetrain, which lasted about five minutes. Although my bike suffered from frustrating chain suck and had no brake pads left by the end, several others had much more severe mechanical issues, including my good friend Miyoko from Team Macpac whose chain broke four times! The mud combined with a miscalculation had us taking MUCH longer than anticipated on the bike leg. We rolled into TA39 an hour and a half later than we had planned which meant we only had time to pick up three of the available nine cps before a short ride to the finish line and a huge feed served up by the awesome catering crew! We weren't too disappointed though, we'd had a blast on this course, running, riding and paddling through the bush for 12 hours with a great bunch of friends. Good times!
For photos and results check out: