Live Wire 24 Hour Winter Rogaine Report

It seems the bigger an event is, the longer it takes me to get around to writing about it. Seems like the way life goes. Anyway...

The camping/hash house area. So beautiful down there.

My first 24 hour rogaine was quite interesting. Both Shan and I were quite confident since our last exploits in the 12 hour rogaine and our walk of madness. We rocked up to a farm just out of Lowden, which is east of Donnybrook, on the Friday night before the start. Set our tent up and tuckered in for a nice little sleep. It got down to -5 C that night. For all those reading this from the Eastern States, see, it does get cold here sometimes!

After slumber came waking up, always an ominous sign. Maps were corralled and courses were plot. When I say plot, I really mean we spent the whole 4 hours discussing where the hell we were going to go, and what the hell we were going to do. We set quite an ambitious course, which you can see below (still coming). It looks a bit like a bat. Or a killer wombat, if you squint hard enough.

So at 12 noon on the Saturday, we were off. We had an incredible start; we completely missed the first control. So much for the following the crowd theory. We followed them to the second control though, so it wasn't too bad. Shortly after, Shan got stuck climbing a barb-wired fence, which also happened to be electric. I would have helped sooner, but laughter was slowing me down.

 The lovely vineyards of the Ferguson Valley, and some punter that got in the road of the camera.

PDCC - North Dandalup Handicap

This would be my first handicap race. I didn't really know what to expect. I had a bit of an idea how it works in theory, but not really in practice. It would be an interesting course; a 200m climb right of the bat, then a general saw-toothiness up to the turn around point just out of Dwellingup. I found out at registration that the organisers had put my in with the A-graders. Hmm. I wonder how this was going to go.

We all lined up for the race. Each group went off with a few minutes in between. Turns out I was in the last group, with, I assume, was all the A-graders. So after a long wait we were off. My gameplan was to stick with the group as long as possible and try to finish with them. Had a nice roll through going for the first few kms until we hit the big climb. I found myself at the front of the group doing my turn, but as I went to pull off, everyone followed. Hmmm. Fair enough. I was feeling pretty good, so I just sat at the front for a while. A couple of minutes later I looked behind, and there was only two other guys behind me. After another couple of minutes, it was just me and another guy, Wade Longworth. We both started taking turns at the front, and to my astonishment we started passing people that had left before us. We were setting a pretty cracking pace, no one had yet jumped on the back of us two. One guy managed to jump to just before we passed Dave, but we dropped him at the next major hill.

PDCC - Serpentine/Karnet Race Report

A lovely overcast day in the farmland on the outskirts of Serpentine provided a dramatic backdrop for the second of my forays into the PDCC racing events. I was joined by Toby and Dave in cat B. After all the pre-race formalities, we were off and going in a group of about 15. The first lap and a bit (of seven) was reasonably sedate, we even had a nice bit of rain to cool us down. Someone started to push hard at the front, and before we knew it we were pedalling along in the low 40s. The group lost a few of its members off the back. Toby and I tried to cool the pace a little to allow Dave to jump back on, but the rest of the bunch were having none of it.

After another lap or two, the rider in the blue kit started attacking. Toby was keeping a very close eye on Blue man and followed each and every of his attack. I was a little bit slower, but managed to find Toby's wheel most times. These attacks kept going on, but none were successful. The rest of the bunch seemed keen to not let anyone get away, but no one looked particularly enthusiastic about launching an attack themselves.

On the last lap, I found myself at the front of the bunch with about 3 km to go. Blue man was behind me, so I thought he might be keen for a bit of a quick breakaway before for the finish. So I took off expecting him to be on my wheel, and Toby right behind him. After a little bit, I looked behind to make sure everyone was still there. No one was. Thats a bit peculiar I thought. For a second or two I thought of waiting up for the others, but then I decided I might as well have a bit of a go at it myself and took off again. Toby told me later that the bunch were fighting a bit about who was going to chase me down. They looked at him, and he said no way. Thanks Toby :) I hit the final straight, looked over and saw two riders after me; Blue man and his accomplice. One of them dropped off after a little bit, but the other powered on. He was slowly catching, but I managed to cross the line with a good 100ish meters to spare. Managed to grab first place again. Toby came in 3rd (or 2nd according to the official results, I'm not sure). What a fine day of racing!

Highlight: Winning!
Lowlight: Umm, not much. I did run off the road once, but I do that normally anyway.

PDCC - Casuarina Race Report

I've been meaning to go to a PDCC road race for a number of weeks now, so I thought it was about time to get off my ass and actually go. This weeks was a lovely seven laps of a 9ish km course in Casuarina. Lovely weather for it too. I decided to chuck myself into B grade, cos thats where all the cool kids were hanging out.

With 15 of us setting out, the first few laps were pretty tame. A couple of attacks here and there, nothing too threatening. We dropped a couple of riders somewhere along the line. The action started just after crossing the start/finish to commence the 4th lap. The pace was right up and someone in the middle of the bunch decided to start going a little bit off vertical (tyre rub?). I don't really know what happened next, it all went by really fast. I think the first guy knocked someone else over and it went from there, domino style. Dave has a lot better write-up of the incident than this! Unfortunately someones handlebars got lodged in his nice new rear wheel. Luckily neither he or the bike was badly damaged.

Those not involved in the crash waited for a little bit to see if anyone was going to jump back into the race. I thought I saw Dave making a dramatic comeback, but it turned out to be a Cat C or D rider. Anyway the pack (now at 8 riders) was back together and off we went. The next 2 laps were reasonably docile, I know I was a bit worried about a repeat of the crash.

Things started to heat up on the last lap. The pace increased a bit. Toby told me to keep an eye out for Jelly Belly man (there were jelly beans on his jersey) as he was looking pretty strong. Halfway around the lap another rider was dropped. Soon after the guy in the pinkish jersey and his mate had a crack at breaking away from the rest of us, but to no avail. I found myself at the front of the pack with Toby and I thought, if it comes down to a bunch sprint I'm not going to do too well (with my little legs). A little hill was coming up so I thought I'd give it a crack and break away up the hill, and then somehow make it to the line before everyone else. So I took off up the hill and down the other side. After a few hundred meters I saw the pack was gaining on me, so I got up out of the seat and had a bit more of a go at it. I reached the last corner and almost clipped some traffic furniture going around it. Got up out of the seat again to get down the finishing straight. I had a look around me and the bunch had backed off a little. I was pretty sure I had it in the bag then. I didn't let up though just to make sure. Crossed the line to grab first place! YAY! Toby outmatched everyone in the sprint to grab second. 1st and 2nd for SPR, pretty nifty!

Highlight: Looking around on the finishing straight and knowing that they weren't going to catch me.
Lowlight: The crash. I was pretty lucky to avoid it.

Timelapse of the Windmill on Rottnest Island

If there's one thing I love more than cycling and hiking, its has to be windmills. I bloody love 'em. So pretty. Anyway. I was recently on Rottnest Island for some R&R and thought I'd be a little creative.

The song is called "Improvisation no53" by Kyle Landry.

Live Wire 24 Hour Winter Rogaine

My first 24 hour rogaine is coming up soon. It'll be on the weekend before my birthday, so hopefully there'll be a surprise cake at the end. Can you put in requests at the hash house? Anyway, I digress. The rogaine will be held in lovely countryside/bush/snake-infested-death-pits east of Donnybrook. Now, you may be thinking, what does live wire have to do with any of this? Its a very good question, and I commend the reading for asking it. You see, some of the terrain we will be on is on farmland. Farms tend to have fences. Some farms push electrons through these fences... Now don't get me wrong. I like jumping fences Indiana Jones style with a perfectly executed ninja roll upon landing, but the threat of electrocution, it.. it somehow just doesn't really take my fancy. On the other hand, maybe I could HTFU and add an extra cup of concrete to my breakfast that morning. Or, you know, wear gloves.

 Yeah, something like that. Spot the 10 things wrong with this photo! Best one wins a prize!

I'll be partnering again with Shannan again in this one (do I smell a rogaine themed cake coming up soon?). This time I'm going to be taking a thin mattress to sleep on, thermarests just don't cut it after that much walking. We've also learnt how to navigate properly since the last one, which should make things interesting. I'm current working on making a high powered torch out of an old one I have. If it works, which is highly unlikely, I'll put it a how-to up on this site. I also want to have another stab at video recording the rogaine, like my failed attempt on the walk of madness, which I still have to work out how to do now that my phone is thoroughly dead.

Walk of Madness Report

The walk of madness (all so known in some circles as the trek of stupidity) began pleasantly enough at the Northern Terminus of the Bibbulmun track in Kalamunda with Shan having a good old power yack. And welcome to this post's first pro-tip.

Pro-tip 1: Don't consume copious amounts of roset the night before a 24 hour hike.

The three of us set off at 12:30pm, after delaying a few hours to allow the weather to ease (and for a sleep in, I had a couple glasses myself). The third member of our party of ineptitude was Dylan, who had been in a couple of 24 hour rogaines, but never managed to stay out for the whole time. The first section was very nice; through the abandoned golf course, up and down a nice little (read big) gully. Thats when the rain started. Of course, after some amount of time we reached the first hut, but only after navigating up the treacherous Bibbulmun river.

Dardanup Open C grade Report

What an incredible race this was. It was a lovely day down in Dardanup, one of those little one pub towns just out of Bunbury. It was nice and overcast, so my ranga skin wouldn't burn, but didn't threaten with any rain and a nice stiff breeze blowing in from some direction (north maybe). SPR was well represented in C grade, with 7 of the 30ish riders.

In the SPR jerseys: (left to right) Ashley, some guy (Chris?), me, Carlos's head,  Daniel (spoiler: he got 3rd)

The start was very relaxed and the first 20km were pretty civil. Most of the SPR guys were sitting up towards the front of the group for this period. I found myself falling off the front a couple of times before a nice gentleman from Collie CC informed me of what I was doing.

Dardanup Open

The Dardanup open is on this Sunday morning. This will be the 3rd road race I've been in, the others being the Peter Clarke memorial up in Carabooda and the Tom Lowry memorial in Collie. Got 7th and 12thish in those races. I'm hoping for a top 5 in this one, that would be pretty sweet. Sounds like there's going to be a pretty big field for this one, with a lot SPR riders (I think we make up around a quarter of the entrants across all grades.. sweet hey). Hopefully there will be a lot less crashes than the Collie race. There were 3 in C grade/under 17s (they put us together for some reason, made for a confusing race), one of them was a dog running into the middle of the bunch. Took out 5 or so riders ala Marcus Burghardt.

Anyway, now is as good of time as any to introduce my trusty steed (his name is Francesco, long story.. well it isn't really, he's a poncy try-hard Italian bike.. of Taiwanese ancestry). Say hello Francesco!

Errrmmm... ciao!

The South Coast Track, Tasmania

Tasmania is breathtakingly beautiful. When I first visited in December 08 I vowed to come back and hike. So in february 09 I planned a month long hiking adventure with the Overland Track as a warm up to the South Coast Track. I'd been warned of the dangers of hiking in Tassie and spent a lot of time making sure I had everything I needed...I would recomend anyone considering a first time hike in Tassie to seek out local advice and check out this great forum Bushwalk- Tasmania

Here is my (somewhat longwinded!) account of my first 'proper camping' hike in Tasmania

The South Coast Track
Starting a Melauca in the west and finishing at Cockle creek in the East the South Coast track is one of Tasmania's most famous walks. The 85km long track winds it's way through the mountain, plains and coastal areas of the wild south west. While relatively tame by Tasmanian's standards this drought adjusted West Australian hiker still hasn't gotten over the mud!
The mud..oh the mud!
Day 1 Hobart-Melauca- Coxbight
I start my journey in Hobart, having enlisted Jonas, a young and keen German backpacker, as a walking companion . To get to the start of the South West track we must fly in to Mellauca, an old alluvial tin mine with no access roads. We arrive at the Par Avion airport on the outskirts of Hobart, I’m limping a bit having badly sprained my ankle on Cradle Mountain a few weeks prior. In the airport’s small waiting terminal it soon become apparent that we are the only two setting out on a hike today, everyone else are daytrippers. The pilot explains where we’ll be flying over. He talks about the South West track and glancing sideways at us comments that day 3 is the hardest “at least 8hrs to get over the Ironbournd range, and there’s no turning back after that”. Jonas looks at me slightly horrified; maybe I neglected to tell him about that part…

Walk of Madness

So the next rogaine is on the 26-27th of June. Its a 24 hour one, which I suppose means its going to be a tad more demanding than the 12 hour one we did a couple of weeks ago. Now that we've got the navigation down pat (hahahaha.. lies!) we thought we'd see if, you know, we can actually walk for 24 hours. How are we going to do this, you may ask? Well good sir/ma'am, but conducting the inaugural Walk of Madness (the italics are supposed to make it look more impressive than it is)! Well what is that? one may respond. And I would say, hold your horses, I was getting to that.

You see, the team who came first in the Carolless rogaine managed 69km in the 12 hours. We managed about 32km. Suffice to say those guys are some sort of mutant human/horse/google earth creature, but if we can manage the same distance in 24 hours, I'd reckon we'd be doing pretty well. So the plan is to try walking 70ish km in 24 hours. So where could one walk 70km, thats close to perth, without the need for much navigation (cos you know, we kick ass at that). If you said the bib track, you would be correct! If you said anything else, then you're obviously wrong. From the northern terminus in Kalamunda to Brookton Hwy is 69.7km (we might have to walk in a circle for a bit to make up the extra 300m). It passes through 7 huts, so we don't have to carry to much water, and also has some spectacular views, most of which we'll be passing in the nighttime. We're planning to start around 10am on a Saturday and plan to be finished around 6am on the Sunday, which is an average of 3.5km/h including rests. The extra four hours is a bit of buffer for tiredness, injury, mind loss or death resulting from arguments.

Hi, my name is Wagul, and I'll be your guide for this evening

Can we make it? Only time and stupidity will tell. And by we, I mean Shan and me. If anyone wants to come along for a section, you're more than welcome!

Commute Time Lapse

This will probably be the first in a series of shameless plugs for my other hobby, timelapse, err, movies, photography. Timelapse art. Yeah, there we go. This is my commute to uni as shown from the point of view of the handlebars.

The Carolless 12 hour Autumn Rogaine Report

Well I was finally convinced to delve into the world of rogaining. I'm a big fan of hiking, but somehow I thought that all that navigation would take away from the enjoyment of it all. But I think, in hindsight, it kept things interesting.

My partner for the event was Shannan, who I've hiked with many times before, and I can safely say is crazier than I (she did the end to end on the bib track in one go, by herself.. I know, bonkers..). We drove up to the hash house/camping area bit with a few other friends that were participating. For some reason I had it in my head that everyone there would be hardcore, lightweight hiking types. But what lavishness I saw! Caravans, spot lights, the odd generator or three. Wow. I spose it must be to compensate for the harshness of the rogaining. We took a tent and some thermarests to sleep on. Yeah. Next time it'll be mattresses!