This beautiful autumn (summer?) Sunday saw the second of the Rogaine Series take place on the brutal Turkey Ridge map near Parakai. A yearly run on this map reminds me that I am getting stronger and stronger, as today I only found myself walking only a few of the steepest hills. I was also very relieved that my left Achilles help up. I have only cycled this week and a good beating from Warren at Sportslab led to me feeling no discomfort at all for the past 2 days.
This rogaine was much harder to plan than last weeks and big time was at stake for taking on too many hills. I fell into this trap more than once – straight was not always great today. Here is my biggest blunder where I thought that running straight would be faster than the flatter route shown in blue. I was very wrong and I lost at least a minute, maybe 2, on this occasion. I was also a bit too far right coming over that last hill losing even more time.
I planned my route pretty well but in hind sight should have put more weighting on the amount of climb I was committing too on certain legs. Instead I was spending more effort on minimising the straight line distance. You can see my entire GPS route here. Also check out the other New Zealand DOMA users.
From the first control of today’s race I was by myself so there was no team work/blatant following to help me keep my pace high. I could see Matt Goodall behind me on the way to our fourth control but I chose to get 38 and then 39 while he went straight to 39. I pushed hard to catch him from 39 to 59 but my stupid route choice meant I was never going to get close. I saw him going into the forest towards 58 but I was still over a minute behind.
These next 4 controls in the forest were very nice, especially 57 and 58 as they gave the feeling of real orienteering. This was also the area that we used for some very cool training 2 weeks ago. The next 15 minutes were spent racing flat out across the flattest part of the map and I got to my 21st control 8 minutes ahead of my estimated schedule. I was confident at this stage that I would get all 30 controls in time but I had severely underestimated the amount of climb I had committed to in the last third of the race. Hauling my body up to 43 and then to 52 took 5 minutes longer than expected. I dropped another 2 minutes on my estimate getting to 47. By now I knew I had to be fast to get all the points in time.
This was not to be, as I lost about 3 minutes bashing around in some very thick manuka forest with starting buddy Matt Goodall and Cam de ‘Isle. The mapping was a bit strange but I realised my mistake, relocated and then got the control smoothly. At this stage I only had 6 minutes remaining and I chose to miss out control 36 to minimise my late penalties. I pushed very hard to 32, 53 and 42 and then to the finish and finished only 8 seconds over time, getting me and 20 point penalty.
I ran the last 1km in 4:26 and thanks to the downhill finish I smashed the last 600m at 3:20 pace! This was pretty sketchy at times but I didn’t break any ankles so it was super fun!
I didn’t get the perfect 1200 points I was after but 1150 was enough to narrowly win over last week’s winner, Cam Tier who took a very different route to mine.
The terrain really did earn my respect in the last half hour and I look forward to the next time I can challenge this map again. Plus check out this view from prize giving!