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December Dash
Saturday, December 9th, 2006


Now that the event is over I can start to get my life and vineyard back into some kind of order before Christmas!

I commend you all on your efforts on a day of extremely adverse weather conditions. Unfortunately sunny Hawke's Bay did not live up to its reputation and put on one of the worst days we have ever had for an event. While a cold day does not matter much, I know many of you found the squally and heavy rain along with the 3 hailstorms a real trial. There was a real risk of hypothermia and the hot water urn got a real hammering at the end of the day.

The setting of the course was deliberately planned to make it difficult to see a natural route. Judging by the mixture of routes it was clear that many found the planning a tricky exercise. One of the main aspects of the map is the significant amount of climb it offers in the way of many small climbs. It was easy to ignore the amount of contour on the map as much of it was rolling or gorged with climbs of only 100 – 150 metres.

The country to the north of the start finish was more difficult than the open farmland to the south, but few of you planned routes that would take you south. The balance of points was fairly even to all points of the compass and the N – S split was based on the Otakowai Stream which forms the boundary between Eland and Trelinnoe Stations. The most logical route to me seemed to be one that would include 37, 43, 80, 75, 49, 57, 53, 47, 52, 64, 34, 81, 60, 46, 40, 71, 33, 54, 91, 30, 48, 51, 82, 73, 41, 38 as it avoided the most severe country. A small loop up to the north was also able to be included that could have taken in 65, 56, 62 and 72 ( or more). I had thought that maybe 1500 to 1700 would be a winning score for the 12 hour, and I think given that the weather was so inclement and none of the recognised top men's rogaine teams attended that we weren't that far off that sort of score.

Thanks to Pamela Morrison, I have an analysis of which controls you each visited, and at least 2 teams visited each control, with C38, 42. 47, 49, 52 and 75 the most popular. The average number of visits per control was 9.6. I was really surprised at the number of you who eschewed the lucrative route of 37, 43, 80, 75, 57, 49 at either the start or finish of your courses. Some teams went considerable distances (up to 6 km) and time (3 hours by one report) without punching a control.

I was also surprised at the frequency with which I heard the words “I know you said not to go there but…” resulting in teams that were bluffed out, trapped in deep gorges or in dead end routes forcing them to double back.

Very few teams were back more than half an hour before the finish time. Only 32 of the 50 teams managed to finish on time and eight were disqualified.

I heard some great stories on Saturday night, and I am sure I will hear a few more as time goes by. Thanks for coming, and I hope we see you back in Hawke's Bay for another rogaine some day.