Updated: Jan 15, 2019
Just before I begin, for those of you who think you’re getting a story about the ‘100 Club’, which takes place at the end of the iconic Kiwi, Aussie and Saffa’s Europe Van Tour and involves copious amounts of alcohol and crazy haircuts, or how many notches you have on your bedpost, then I’m sorry to disappoint you. This version is a lot healthier than that! If you have no idea what I am talking about, then this link will be able to fill you in.
In the weekend Jacqs, Scott Waterman and I competed in the Heights of Winter Rogaine event at Blythe Downs in Greta Valley, North Canterbury. We had planned on doing the 6-hour, but by the time we got our A into G that event was full, leaving the 12-hour as our only option. So we thought ‘what the heck, why not.’
Leaving in the dark from Christchurch on Saturday morning, we took it easy so as not to become another statistic to hit black ice on the Canterbury roads. Arriving just before eight we had 45 mins to go over our maps and plot a course before the race started at nine. We looked around at other people’s maps decorated with brightly coloured pins and string to help them figure out the best route and distances. We took a much more casual approach and headed back to the car to keep warm, and for Scott to have his first of many sandwiches for the day.
We had two goals for the next 12 hours. Number 1: Jacqs and I wanted to learn how to use a compass properly, and with a very calm and understanding Scott as our tutor (ex-army), it was the perfect opportunity. I feel I have attempted this many times before, but in the past, I tend just to swing my compass in circles and go more for luck and gut instinct than calculated knowledge. Number 2: Get all the four 100-point markers located at each corner of the map. This made for an exciting route plan!
Armed with enough pink buns, chocolate and lollies to make anyone attempting ‘Junk Free June’ to have a minor heart attack (or extremely jealous), we set off for our first checkpoint, an easy 20 points to begin with. A good group of fellow competitors were around us for the first marker, and from then on we were pretty much on our own for the rest of the day! This may have something to do with our choice of route, but we stuck to our guns and managed to knock off all four 100-point on the map. The last 100-point marker we found in the dark up a dry riverbed, which had extremely steep sides meaning you could only access it by walking up or down. Definitely one of the highlights from the day.
The weather couldn’t have been better. A frost in the morning with clear blue skies that turned to Nor’ West later in the day made it feel anything but winter. With views of the Seaward Kaikoura’s and the Hurunui River on one side and rolling hills and the Pacific Ocean on the other, we really do live in a very special part of this earth. Another reason for getting out and going on these type of adventures is more than worth it.
We passed many people along the way, some running and others having a good old chinwag with their buddies, with the general vibe of the day being really positive. How could it not be! We didn’t run too much of it, instead taking bearings and making sure we were on the right track (which we were, go us!). We only had trouble with one marker, the very last one and it was only worth 20 points! We couldn’t find it so decided to leave it and head for home. The lowest points you can get are worth 20, with the highest worth 100. At the end of the day, your tally is added up, and this gives you your overall score. Every minute over time is a ten-point deduction, with 30 minutes or more after 12 hours resulting in no score.
We definitely didn’t win, but we had a brilliant day with plenty of laughs, a lot of bullshit talked (a common theme), and we ended up covering a solid 45km’s over some fantastic countryside. And not to forget completing our goals of making the ‘hundy club’ and feeling far more confident with the compass.
Rogaines are a great way to do your training without training. They’re pretty much an adult’s version of a treasure hunt, and who doesn’t love treasure hunts?! If you’re keen to give one a crack and based in NZ, then check out the NZ Rogaine website for more info.