Photo: Simon Faulkner

Mixed teams placed both first and second in the 12-hour Heights of Winter rogaine, held near Waikari in North Canterbury on 14 June. But the other remarkable thing is that both these teams, and the top men, were separated by only 20 points!

Photo: Stacy Squires
In front by a bare 10 points was the Wellington team of Al Cross, Jerry Sheppard and Jill Westenra, from the Christchurch due of Keith and Andrea Murray. Both teams have an extensive background in multisport and adventure racing. And 10 points behind were the leading men, Chris Forne and Joe Jagusch, also from Christchurch. Or maybe they were the leading women, taking to the course in netball skirts!

Check out the results here, or read on for planner Stuart Payne's analysis. With close rivals often separated by the width of the map for much of the day it is difficult to describe a rogaine as it unfolds, but Stuart's story sets a new standard in rogaine reporting. Stuart, I think there's a job waiting for you at "Virtual Spectator"...

Ideally you'll need the map beside you as you read this. If you weren't at the event, click on the snippet below. Maps don't print very well off the web, so we recommend you "back" and "forward" between the map and the text.

Photo: Stacy Squires. More pictures below.
HEIGHTS OF WINTER “Alexander the Great” Waikari
12 Hour Rogaine Saturday 14 June 2003
Peninsula and Plains Orienteers

One of the intriguing things with rogaines is that teams can be toiling away to their utmost, never see their opponents and yet be locked in an absorbing contest that goes right down to the “12th hour”. Such was the case with this year’s Heights of Winter, where the first three teams finished within 20 points of each other and only fifteen minutes apart. Keith & Andrea Murray (Murrays) went north from the start to 38 and on to 47, reaching it at 8:55. Al Cross, Jerry Sheppard and Jill Westenra (Team 67) also started with 38 but then incorporated a physically demanding NW loop, reaching 47 at 9:35.

The Murrays 38, …………. 47   [70 points]
Team 67	38, 58, 72, 57, 47  [240]  a lead of 170 and only 40 minutes behind.
Both teams then had identical game plans (intentions maps)
Murrays [ 70 points] 27, 48, 29, 49, 81, 32, 31, 60, 100 [490] time 11:10
Team 67 [240 points] 27, 48, 29, 49, 81, 32, 31, 60, 100 [660] time 11:45
On to 51, with neither team deviating from their game plan until the Murrays left 41 and decided they could zip down and back up “matagouri” spur and get 70 as well. Team 67’s plan, however, did not include checkpoint 20.
Murrays [490 points] 80, 45, 50, 34, 61, 90, 20, 62, 41, 70, 51 [1,080] time 2:53
Team 67 [660 points] 80, 45, 50, 34, 61, 90,   , 62, 41, 70, 51 [1,230] time 3:45
The Murrays now trailled by 150 and in spite of including no.20 had stopped conceding ground. Was their opening fast, but hard, NW loop beginning to tell on Team 67? The teams now went down, up, down, up, down and along to no.42 beside a pond.
Murrays [1,080 points] 54, 63, 91, 64, 23, 53, 55, 65, 42 [1,560] time 5:55
Team 67 [1,230 points] 54, 63, 91, 64, 23, 53, 55, 65, 42 [1,710] time 7:00
Team 67 now, for the first time in the day, depart from their game plan and pass up 44, taking a safer nighttime option to go straight up to Castle Hill (71). They reach it at 7:33, the Murrays don’t get there until 7:55. This is because they too have made a game plan switch. At 42 they realise time is still on their side and they head for 56 at the Quarry, intending to then loop through three more checkpoints en route to Castle Hill. With it now being dark, this is a good decision because the route to 56, being along McRaes Road, can be done fast and easy. At 71 they might be 22 minutes in arrears but they have now amassed more points.
Murrays [1,560 points] 56, 43, 36, 44, 71 [1,790] time 7:55
Team 67 [1,710 points]                 71 [1,780] time 7:33
The Murrays now head for no. 35 and home. Team 67, ahead of them, has also gone to 35 but reaching it at 7:50, they decide they have time to do one more. For only the second time in the day, they deviate from their plan and sweep down the long westward gully from 35, across a creek and up and around to 24. Then home. It proves to be a crucial decision.
Murrays [1,790 points] 35,   , F  time 8:30 [1,820 points] 2nd
Team 67 [1,780 points] 35, 24, F  time 8:16 [1,830 points] 1st

Join the dots

But the race was not just a two-horse affair. Heading essentially in the opposite direction to Cross, Sheppard, Westenra and the Murrays and covering the ground at a faster pace was Team 62, Chris Forne and Joe Jagusch. Unfortunately things were to go badly wrong.

Their problems, in my opinion, began when, true to their name, Goal Attack, they linked up all 54 circles. This was never achievable and by trying to adhere to its core design, even after they had to begin passing up checkpoints, it led to extra climb and unnecessary effort.

Team 62	35, 71, 44, 36, 43, 56, 42, 65, 55, 53, 23, 64, 91, 53 
[first compromise – skip 52, 22, 28], thus 54, 51 [time 12:12], 41, 59, 40, 
[back up to main ridge for second time!] 62, 20, 70, 21, 39, 90, 61, 34, 50, 
45, 80, 100, 60 [I believe clockwise was the better way do these last three], 
on to 31, 81   [time 6:25]
And then with two hours left, albeit dark, things came woefully unstuck. Eighty minutes later Chris & Joe reached 47 but had not collected 49, 29, 48 or 27. They then bagged 38 and finished at 8:15 with 1,810 points and 3rd place. If they had picked up just the cabbage tree (29) and the airstrip bunker (27) they could have won. So what went wrong?

Attention to detail for one thing. Not only did Chris not check his watch at the Start but at 81 he got it into his head that the Finish was at 8pm. They panicked, thinking they might finish late. They were at the airstrip with other teams but did not go to the bunker and in the end finished with 20 minutes to spare. A big bungle, or what?

Most popular place

Not surprisingly, in the year marking the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest, the most popular control site was on top of Mt Alexander (748m). Seventy-one teams visited No.51.

Least visited site was No.59, which was where a manuka grove came down to a creek just before it flowed into a small gorge. No. 100 had 31 visits, while 90 & 91 had 57 and 67 respectively.

Photo: Stacy Squires

Photo: Stacy Squires

What to do with a drunken rogainer

Homer Simpson probably has the most apt advice for planners re Drink Stations. “You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is don’t even try.” OK, miserably is overstating it by some way, but it’s almost impossible to get this right.

Boring bit about the map

For the 4th World Rogaine Champs and the recent Roxburgh Rogaine, Pete Squires has had the map digitally printed. Both times, however, he has complained that printers still have a bit to learn about getting the colours right. Pete suggested I didn’t go for this option.

Plan B was a commercial laser print from a CD-Rom. Unfortunately this had three problems: 1) the CD-Rom didn’t have the latest editions of the maps, 2) it had inconsistent colours across the two topomaps that it incorporated and 3) the print resolution wasn’t good enough for subsequent photocopying.

Plan C, Grant Hunter’s suggestion, was cut’n’paste. I bought the two latest editions of the topomaps, cut them up and stuck them down. I was excited that one of the maps was a 2002 edition, naively thinking that the discontinuous overhead power line would now be shown. Yet while Terralink’s fieldwork is now almost non-existent, their map printing is first class.

I was determined that you would have a first generation copy of my master, so this meant I only had one crack at drawing on the circles and numbers. I had to handwrite the numbers because as one supplier told me, “No one sells Letraset now, it’s all done on computer.” Of course, how silly of me to think otherwise.

So, as Bill K spotted there were a couple of circles off-centre, but I was very pleased with the clarity and readability of the map (on 120gsm paper) that I gave you.

This page was assembled by Michael Wood from the result commentary written by Stuart Payne and photos by Simon Faulkner and Stacy Squires, installed 5 July 03 and updated 8 July