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.
Some lovely vineyards mucked up our straight line technique, so we had to the old 'listen to your feet' method and follow features. I'm just glad it was still daylight at this stage. After that we had a lovely section where we could follow gravel roads. Night settled in at toward the end of the road stint. We had a little trouble finding finding the first nighttime control, but eventually managed to locate it. From this control, it was a pretty straight line up a spur to get to the next. We came across a road. We thought it was the road marked on the map after the control, so we thought we'd walked right past another one. We had to take this road to the next one, but as we started walking, the corners and directions didn't make sense. So we back tracked to where we had originally came out on the road and went a little distance in the other direction. That didn't make any sense either.
Shan started to get worried we were lost. I thought we weren't lost, we just didn't know where we were. The road we were on wasn't making any sense at all. It looked major enough to be on the map, but then again it didn't look like the road we should have came out on (we'd crossed it previously, it was more main roady looking). So we walked up and down again in case we'd gotten something wrong. Also it was cold, so walking kept us warm. I started getting worried too. Then I was convinced we were going to freeze to death. Just then we saw some head torches coming from the bush. They seemed as perplexed as us about the situation. The decided just to cross the road and keep going. They were right. It was only a few hundred meters off the road. That didn't exist on the map. Stupid road.
Pro-tip 1: Never trust roads or lack thereof on the maps.
Anyway. The next few controls were pretty easy. Then it was a big stint of bush bashing. I was starting to tire. I should have had some no doze or food or something to lift my spirits, but I was just getting really down. The controls were getting hard to find. I was being much help either. I'd have a quick look then sit down. I was fine physically, mentally I couldn't cope. I didn't have any idea it would be this exhausting. Granted getting lost on the non-existent road was probably the tipping point and I should have done something about it then. But know I know for next. Its amazing how much of a battle it is mentally.
Pro-tip 2: Look after your brain.
We got back to the hash house around 1:30am. Grabbed some food and chowed down on that. It was awesome. I think Shan was eager to keep going. But I just couldn't deal with it. So we went to bed. And had a sleep-in in the morning.
I learned a lot from this and I think the next time I will be a lot more prepared.
We also got first place in the intervarsity division which was pretty cool. We got some pretty patches to sew onto our packs to strike fear into the hearts of our competitors.
I won't be around for the next 24 hour, which is a bit sucky. But I'll gallivanting around Vienna at that point, so I don't mind too much :) I think we have a good shot at getting into the top 20 (30 at least) in the one after that (a 12 hour one).
I wonder whose ugly mug that is?
Higlight: Getting outdoors for a hike. It was lovely country and there wasn't too much rain. Also the win was pretty good!
Lowlight: Mental exhaustion.