Rogaining race (Poolburn Rogaine) 6:12:00  ** 43.0 km (8:39 / km) +780m7:56 / km shoes: Giant XTC Advanced SL 29er
Not sure whether to log this as a rogaine or MTBO given the last MTB rogaine I logged as the latter but since that one was entirely on tracks and this one was almost entirely off them, well I'll opt for an actual rogaine.
Wasn't looking forward to this event on the morning of it because it had been raining since 8pm the previous evening and didn't look like stopping anytime soon so Joel and I faffed around not setting a course, then we had to make the drive to the start (novel, the start/finish was ~9km from the rego area). Thankfully the rain stopped right before our start and it never rained again for the whole event.
We kind of just plodded our way around without any specific plan and I feel looking at the results afterwards that if we'd bothered to draw something remotely resembling a course that perhaps we may have finished a few places higher, if not on top. Of course we had no idea of the rideability of the area beforehand and were only going on the word of the organisers that it would actually be rideable (they noted at the start that it was set for the foot competitors and we kind of just made up the numbers) but it was surprisingly rideable out there other than a couple of locations.
The 20m contours didn't help our cause but we made very few navigational errors although the 10cm x 5cm bits of paper we were trying to find (there were no highly visible orienteering markers) with codes written on them got the best of us on occasion, particularly with descriptions like 'Balance rock', 'Prominent rock' or 'Matagouri' (most of the course was covered in rocks of some description and the Matagouri was everywhere).
We finished a bit late when trying to get some 'easy' controls along the road to the finish but didn't manage to find them so lost some points and ended up midfield in the MO division (we would have won M40-54 if Joel had been a few years older).
Fun day out and the second time I've done a rogaine on my birthday after the effort down near Margaret River on my 30th, eleven years ago now (2007). I've had some ups and downs in recent birthdays, being sick on the day last year and got a flat on the roadie the previous year. I raced MTBO trials in Vic in both 2012 and 2013 on the day, qualifying for the team in both years. I was contemplating life in 2010 after ripping open the hole in my leg and being laid up for weeks afterwards (until XPD commenced) and in 2009 I was doing a Keen race!
My hopes were dashed on the way to the first control when I rode past the top of the gully that the CP was in, decided it wasn't my gully (I could have ridden a short distance to check) and promptly rode two gullies over before deciding I'd gone too far and went back, finding the CP in the first gully I thought of (for reference, today's map was entirely yellow and you could ride *anywhere* so it was an asset if you had good foot orienteering or rogaining skills, which I thought I did have but sadly I did not). I was so far off line for #2 that I could have been in a different postcode.
Manage to reign in the ride of horror for the next two then took an extremely terrible route choice to #5 that meant I had to get off the bike to walk down into the steep sided valley I found myself in although I did hit the control cleanly. #6 I did everything right except went into the parallel gully only 20m south of the one the CP was in (I hadn't noticed there were two on the map and promptly stopped and looked confused before rechecking the map after I'd already ridden 100m on from where the CP was).
6-7-8-9 were all fine then I totally lost map contact on the way to #10, stopped for a good couple of minutes looking decidedly lost as NZers went riding past me in all directions, relocated visually off a farm property that was about 500m away, turned 180 degrees and saw my control in the gully behind me only 100m away. That just made my day.
Found 11 & 12 easily enough then nearly nailed the long leg to 13 but it was another near miss when I ended up in the gully just south of the one I wanted and I stopped and looked confused for a bit longer, then nailed the next three controls before losing 5 minutes on the last when I hadn't a clue where either I or it was and ended up riding around in circles hoping for the best (fortunately I stumbled across the CP at some point). By that stage I didn't even have enough enthusiasm for a sprint finish and the only reason I beat anyone in the finish split was because Joel's rear axle fell out.
Surprisingly a couple of people got relegated in the results after receiving "assistance" from other riders (i.e. 'Can you tell me where I am?'). I would have been better off receiving assistance in the form of one of the W14s riding my course for me (W14 was won in a time of 19:50 but then their course was a rather lowly 3km in length, which amazingly was shorter than the ride to the start). Even I could have foreseen that result.
So a major disappointment that really capped off a week when my events went from good to worse - I spiked every control at the model event (proving once more after my non-competitive runs in Tas that I have my best efforts when it really doesn't matter), had an okay sprint (16% over the winner, ironic given sprints are normally my worst event), an average long distance (34%) and an absolutely awful middle distance (58%), losing once more by a half hour but to a different rider - MOpen had three different winners across the three days.
Sadly for Aus, Joel had an even worse time out on course than me, which made us both wonder what either of us is doing representing Australia later in the year but then we'll have no team if we don't turn up and the terrain will be completely different (we are both strong performers in Aus when the terrain is all tracks and you are able to read the map whilst riding). Yesterday's course was amazingly technical whereas today's was amazingly contoury and neither of us was totally shit in the sprint. I did pass Joel on course (12mins) after he had an awful time at #11 but he beat me into the finish with my blowout at #17 so I only got him by 10mins in the end.
Aus got smashed in the A/NZ Challenge, winning just 1 in 7 classes again today although this time it was the M40s that got up (one of our M70s didn't turn up). Overall we lost the Challenge by 3-18, our worst defeat since the Challenge was incepted.
Mountain bike warm up/down 48:17 18.14 km (22.5 kph) +44m ahr:120 max:150 shoes: Giant XTC Advanced SL 29er
I forced myself as punishment to ride back to Alexandra from Chatto Creek in the drizzle via the rail trail, detouring along the way to ride some of the single track from the sprint event. Weather was brilliant for all four events (it only started drizzling at the end of the prize giving and the forecast did say 2pm showers so unlike in Australia, it was almost spot on), meaning a nice change from the past two times I've been to NZ for MTBO where it decided to bucket down during some events in the summer months.
I'm not doing a very good job of purchasing flavoured milk in NZ. We bought a choc milk on 24 April that was best before 25 April (I only just noticed it when I finished it off a few minutes ago) and I just purchased a strawberry milk today that is best before tomorrow. These Kiwis are not only price gougers (as our two restaurant visits in Alexandra have so far proven) but they like to get the most out of their milk shelf lives too.
Also they don't have 'specials', they only have discounts if you are a Club Card member (it says it accepts FlyBuys but sadly this does not extend to the Aussie equivalent, unless the attendant feels sorry for you when your card doesn't work like what happened yesterday - I didn't attempt it today in case I got registered as a serial offender).
I recalled from the last time I rode this map that it was tough. The only difference today was that it was around 20 degrees cooler but it was still tough. Given that 90% of the riding was on rocky single track, it was difficult, if not impossible, for me to set any decent route or generally know which junction I was at so I spent a fair amount of time stopped to make sure I wasn't going the wrong way. I know I ballsed up a few routes although the biggest one was at #14 where I not only stuffed up the route but also went the wrong way (Joel made a similar error here but corrected quicker than I did). Spent a fair amount of time off the bike, both up and down hill. There was very little flat riding here. Sometimes I'd choose a route based purely on whether there was a big hill immediately in front of me on one of the options. I definitely got tired by the end because I made dumb route choices or misread the map from 13-14, 14-15, 15-16, 16-17, 18-19 and 20-Fin.
Got smashed by Chris Forne by over half an hour. I'm used to being beaten by half an hour in MTBO but that tends to be at WOC. Joel beat me by a minute thanks to my error at 14 although he made errors too. At least the Aussies are consistent and we only got beaten by five of the seven New Zealanders today. A/NZ Challenge is all but over with consecutive days of 1-6 defeats (M70 won their category again today but we lost the rest).
On a positive note, I beat my last time here by 36 minutes.
As a side note, they were very particular on where you went on this course. Out of #1 there was an option on several courses to leg it back up the main road (which we rode on to the start) that the organisers hadn't considered but the map showed only one legal route (at the cattle grate) to cross the fence. At download you were asked where you went out of the start and if you said you rode up the road, the next question was 'Where did you cross the fence?' and if you responded with anything other than 'at the cattle grid' then you were automatically DQed even though the map showed the single track further along as running right next to the road (it was pale yellow rather than full yellow) and the fence I don't believe was clearly shown there but it was otherwise illegal to cross - I didn't take the chance as it didn't look allowable. Regardless, the people who took the single track towards my #1 beat me to the junction I had been aiming for off from the cattle grid (I lost a few seconds picking the correct crossing point).
Mountain bike warm up/down 27:45 9.04 km (19.5 kph) +66m ahr:119 max:152 shoes: Giant XTC Advanced SL 29er
Rode back to accomms via a detour through yesterday's sprint map just so I could say I rode something without getting off the bike. Got frustrated on the way down the hill with two vehicles passing me just before the descent started and then I got stuck behind both of them.
I've also become accustomed to the bike lane in the main street which isn't actually a bike lane - despite the painting of a bicycle on the road - but a lane that a car might pull into in front of you at any given moment (which has happened to me three times in the past three days now).
Otago rail trail to Clyde & Clutha River trail back to Alexandra before the Anzac service in town. Rail trail was about as bland as you'd expect from a rail trail but the river trail had a bit more variety although not wearing the glasses was a mistake with the high number of bugs I got in my eyes. Passed around 15 other cyclists on the river trail, many of them with panniers (I think they were hire bikes given all the panniers I saw were identical).
Mountain bike warm up/down 15:22 4.72 km (18.4 kph) +20m ahr:134 max:224 shoes: Giant XTC Advanced SL 29er
Warm up ride to the start plus some short sprints for all the good they'd do me. I figured it'd be more about map reading than speed although looking back now it probably required both.
NZ Sprint Champs (I think the measured distance of 4.9km must have been straight line because I didn't screw up that badly)
Complex kind of a map. Not really sure what to say other than I really enjoyed it but would have preferred a 1:5000 scale (all other courses had this whereas we had 1:7500 due to someone complaining a couple of weeks ago that we'd need to refold it). The 1:5000 definitely easier to read on the go whereas I had to constantly stop to check where I was and where I was going.
Made a few dumb mistakes, the first one on the way to #5 where I thought I'd overshot my junction whereas I hadn't reached it yet so lost time going back but my route choice there in the first place wasn't the best - I took a convoluted route rather than riding (i.e. walking) up the difficult to ride hill in front of me that would have gone straight there. I think what I realised far too late that the best option was the straighest option and to hell with the track grades (which was exactly the opposite problem to the Linger and Die map back in 2012, where I constantly took the straightest route possible). Didn't read the terrain carefully enough on the way to #11 and pulled up short of the track I wanted, wasting a bit of time.
No major errors though, just a lot of dawdling but got creamed by the bulk of the NZers (5th out of 8 riders, which included one MP - Joel in 7th). Bad start for the A/NZ Challenge with NZ winning 6 of the 7 contested categories. I can't imagine we'd have any hope of making that back up - Rob Garden MPed in M50 and they still won it.
Mountain bike warm up/down 10:29 2.51 km (14.4 kph) +45m ahr:98 max:130 shoes: Giant XTC Advanced SL 29er
Orienteering (MTB) (Chatto Creek North) 22:58** 5.3 km (13.8 kph) +71m ahr:152 max:177 spiked:20/20c shoes: Giant XTC Advanced SL 29er
MTBO model event north of Alexandra on a map that will be not dissimilar to Friday's MDC event of which I am quite happy about. This event was basically follow your compass and read the contours across the paddocks so if you could do that you were home free. I did spot a few people riding in random directions and at least two off the south end of the map searching for CP 14. I had no such issues as I wasn't really riding fast enough to lose my way or make silly decisions. I'll save that for the next three days.
One NZ rider came a cropper at CP 17 and had done something to her ankle. I felt guilty riding in, punching (SI Air mind you) and continuing on but she had more than enough help around her.
I also managed to upset Tash when we got to Alexandra by pointing out which set of hills the long distance event was going to be at the top of. She has already tried to put the area out of her mind and we have yet to ride there (well I rode there in 2012 and that was bad enough).
Boot Hill trail, just on the northern part of Alexandra, plus the ride to and from there.
Thought I should wear in the rear tyre a bit given I only just put a new one on right before the model event - I was getting upset with the rapidly deteriorating quality of the Mavic and thought the NZ events were a high enough priority to warrant the new tyre.
Mountain bike hills 2:03:09 33.96 km (16.5 kph) +967m ahr:121 max:179 shoes: Giant XTC Advanced SL 29er
Ride around Dunedin, after visiting Baldwin St - the world's steepest street - this morning, well I had to ride up it. So I did. Was out of the saddle for the bulk of it. Also did the three streets either side as pre and post steep street ride.
Went up Signal Hill after that and down The Big Easy, the only green trail down the hill (I figured I'd kill myself on any other trail) but it was most definitely green and I encountered more people riding up it than down.