G'day Rogainers,

NSW Rogaining eNewsletter, 30th April 2021

Click here to view this email in your browser.


12/6-hour Autumngaine, Saturday 8th May - " S poilt for Choice" in Belanglo. Entries Close Monday at Midnight

Our Autumngaine is in the Belanglo State Forest, primarily in native forest, less than two hours drive from the Sydney or Canberra CBD’s. This area is one of the few unaffected by the 2020 fires, and plant and animal life is rejuvenating after the heavy rains this last summer. The Wingecarribee River is flowing, butterflies are numerous, and gang gang cockatoos are boisterous.

Course setters Rick & Tassia confirm you will be Spoilt for Choice. How so? “Well, we can’t give everything away,” they say, “but we:

  1. have provided a silly number (>70) of checkpoints (controls) to choose from,
  2. tried to set flags in clear locations associated with obvious features (e.g., cliff edge),
  3. set many controls at good viewing points,
  4. maximized the extent of native forest and minimized use of the ‘manicured’ pine forest,
  5. incorporated some fun types of checkpoints,
  6. marked-off 100m lengths at the Hash House particularly for novices to ‘calibrate’ their striding distance,
  7. obtained some local goodies (including wine) as prizes.”

There’s more about Rick and Tassia later in this Newsletter, including further observations about Belanglo and the pending Autumngaine.

24/8-hour Australian Championships, Weekend 29-30th May at Burra, South Australia. Entries Close Soon, 9th May at Midnight

ARC 2021 News Bulletin #2

The setting and vetting team have completed their final tweaks to the map, and everything is ready to go. This land is good, fast, travelling land, IF you’re a decent navigator. For those who don’t have finely honed navigation skills, then travel fast with care. There are lots of sneaky gully and spur lines ready to lead you astray.

And if the navigation sounds a trifle intimidating, there’s always food and warmth at the Hash House to fall back on.

The caterers are favourites of SA Rogaining – the Peterborough Historical Society. They put on a great spread – good, hot food is always welcome after many hours out in the scrub. Those doing the 8-hour event have it the best, as they’re assured of being at the Hash House for dinner, unlike the die-hard 24-hour rogainers, who don’t come in for that nourishing, energy-providing banquet. (Hmmm, I’m beginning to rethink staying out for 24 hours…)

For those of you who are not just FIFO, but are wanting a bit of a holiday, check out the following sites:

The above locations are close to the event site. Of course, you can head further north (away from Adelaide) and enjoy all the Flinders Ranges can offer:

But for those of you who are FIFO, we will have buses collecting people from the airport and bus station. We can’t tell you the times yet, as flights are still somewhat covid-19 haphazard, but as the event approaches, we’ll look at times flights arrive and optimise the pick-up times. We promise not to leave anyone behind.

Bruce Greenhalgh has written an enlightening article on why you should enter the Australian Rogaining Championships and experience “some crepuscular times in deceptive lands.” Check out Bruce’s article here.

Regular news items will be posted on the ARC site https://sarogaining.com.au/event/arc2021/#news so keep an eye out for updates.


Wollongong 6-hour Metrogaine, Sunday 28th March – Results and Map

About 250 people savoured a beautiful, autumn day while exploring the coast, parks, suburbia and mountains of Wollongong. It was a huge course that offered too many options in the course planning stage. Many teams sensibly chose to avoid the 500 metre climb up to Mounts Kembla and Keira, choosing the coastline and cafés instead, and at least one team, long-time rogainers Peter & Paul Wherry, tried the on-tap refreshment at Mt Kembla Pub.

Aurelian Penneman & Roman Charles were clear leaders, despite incurring a 180-point penalty for being late. Quite a few teams were late, tempted by the large course perhaps. It’s great to see the diversity of people who compete in rogaines, as exhibited in the top five teams:-

  1. 2150pts Aurelien Penneman, Roman Charles (Open Men)
  2. 1970 Xanda Kolesnikow, Ivan Koudashev (U/23 Men)
  3. 1830 Gill Fowler, Phil Whitten (Veteran Mixed)
  4. 1770 Phil Mann, Geoffrey Barnes (Superveteran Men)
  5. 1750 Sam Parkinson, Annica Ren (U/23 Mixed)

Steve, Kitty & Glen Harrison confirmed their visit at #103, the 360degree lookout.

Ronnie Taib (teamed with Mike Hotchkis and Tristan White, 11th place with 1570 points) reported that the Metrogaine “was a fantastic way to (re-)discover the Illawarra. We opted for the bush and made for the escarpment as soon as possible, taking in the breathtaking views South, East and North as we progressed from Mt Kembla to Mt Keira. The dirt bike track in the middle disturbed the general peace and Zen of our trajectory, but it was easily forgotten as we looked for that elusive Red Cedar tree. Hiding this control behind the tree, and another one atop a playground spider web climber added some picante to the event. I got to see the beach section by collecting some flags post-event, and the coast would have been a second highlight of the course. Overall, I had a lovely day in the bush and only wish I had brought my racket for an impromptu tennis game on that old, lost court on the mountain slope.”

Ted Woodley watches while Julian Ledger descends from #49, the climbing apparatus

Many thanks to the organisers and course setters: Trevor Gollan, Ian Almond, Vivien de Remy de Courcelles, Paul & Bronwyn Batten, Kerrie Hammond, Jo Daly, and Stephen & Eva Thompson. On the day: Bob & Pam Montgomery, Ted & Keo Booth, Bronwyn Wilson, and Ronnie Taib.

“Abercrombie Rivergaine” ACT Championships, Weekend 17-18th April – Results & Map Here

It’s only three years since the Abercrombie River National Park, south-west of Oberon, was used for a 24-hour championship. There are inevitable similarities between the two events: the same Hash House site, the big hills, open bush, and the same winning team. This year David Williams and Ronnie Taib just pipped Julie Quinn and David Baldwin by 40 points – in 2018 Dave and Ronnie were 60 points ahead of Mike Hotchkis and Tristan White.
Here are the top five teams:

  1. 3510pts Ronnie Taib, David Williams (Open Men)
  2. 3470 Julie Quinn, David Baldwin (Mixed Veterans)
  3. 3340 Ivan Koudashev, Tristan White (Open Men)
  4. 3050 Antoniya Bachvarova, Andrew Smith (Mixed Veterans)
  5. 2870 Armands Teteris, Tim Cochrane (Veteran Men)

On their latest exploit, according to Williams, they had a “near-perfect rogaine in terms of both planning and execution, except for a minor distance calculation error of 10km during planning … good thing we had four hours planning time!” They had planned to clear the course but with an estimated distance of 86km were expecting to drop some controls.

Williams compared the two events - 2018 NSW Champs vs 2021 ACT Champs – saying that “the course bounds were fairly similar with the 2018 course having controls spread over a larger area. The setting was quite different though. Planning for the 2018 course was more challenging with isolated controls that were difficult to connect in a topographically efficient manner (i.e. without lots of up and down, or back and forth!). There were also fewer easy pickings from the road and numerous low scoring controls that were not at all trivial. We planned a more conservative course in 2018 at 75km but ended up adding an extra six controls, so similar in the end to this year in terms of distance. This year's course had clearer route choices in the eastern half, but less so in the 8hr area west of Retreat River. Both courses were excellent.”

Ronnie Taib noted the “5m contours were a bit off-putting at first and sometimes difficult to read at night, but they also proved useful. I found the actual steepness of the slopes was also harder to estimate for short but very steep slopes. I'm thrilled we spotted emus, emu eggs and gang gang cockatoos. However, we missed the greater gliders that many teams repeatedly saw. The setters placed some controls well away from tracks and we didn't have many road bashes until the last two hours. On the downside, most of the east side was an obvious loop with only few planning choices.”

In summary, Williams reported, “it's a great area for rogaining if you don't mind the hills. The ridges are almost entirely clear and the features well defined (especially with 5m contours), making for fast, free flowing nav with minimal bearing work.”

Rick Cavicchiolo and Tassia Kolesnikow also did the 24-hour, placing 15th with 1770 points. According to Rick, “the event was terrific and I know we ended up in areas we had done before. We were a bit amazed that only us, with Jean Douglass and Ron Simpson remained Sunday night – they stayed to pick up flags the next day. After a 24-hour event, and given end of school holidays, it was a long drive back to homes. We know of three cars with flat tyres (including us) – some of the gravel road was rough. There was more water than in 2018 which made for nice soggy feet when crossing the creeks. I did see some teams taking off their shoes to cross – shame on them! We saw the largest flock of gang gangs we’d ever seen – 30 or so, and they happily ‘buzzed’ us from the trees above. We came across three emu eggs – very white – which we learned later were from long-term sun exposure and bleaching (perhaps one year?) and no longer viable – I was amazed they hadn’t been eaten. Night time saw lots of eyes in trees, owls through to possums, and fog in the late hours and early morning made for extra special nav challenges. My GPS told me we walked 57 km and 2500 vertical metres which was virtually identical to the 24-hr ACT event last year – some kind of transposed deja vu?”

Credit to the organisers: Keira & Tom Banks, Greg Hosking, Andrew Rowe

Meet Rick Cavicchioli & Tassia Kolesnikow

Rick and Tassia are the course setters for the pending 12/6-hr Autumngaine, to be held 8th May at Belanglo State Forest. Tristan White recently interviewed Rick & Tassia:-

TW/ What do you do with your lives when you are not rogaining?

R&T/ We are both microbiologists (Antarctic and medical) by profession and active environmentalists. Bushwalking has always been in our blood, and we have a special soft spot for the outback. One of us is a talented violinist (and it’s not Rick).

TW/ When did you do your first rogaine (and which event) and what is it that has kept bringing you back?

R&T/ John and Sue McKinnon introduced us to the 2016 Autumgaine at Tarlo River Gorge. Trevor Gollan organised this event and it made a big impression on us – the physical and mental challenge and achievement, the types of people who go to rogaines, the wicked blackberry bushes and terror of night navigation, the ever-special rogaine mug and bottle of local olive oil, the long lasting vivid memories. We have now done 30 NSW or ACT events, including a Nav workshop. Rick started as a family team with Xanda, who now at the age of 21 literally runs rings around us. At 59, Rick is looking forward to Tassia turning 55 in October this year so we have a period in Mixed Supervet, beyond the reach of Gill, Joel, Toni, Smithy and others, at least for a while … a rare, good thing about getting older.

We love the adventure, expanding our skills and ‘comfort zone’, and really appreciate rogaining being a wholesome, non-overtly OHS-driven mire, that encourages self-driven individuals to prance around the bush feeling over-the-moon for finding a bit of orange material hanging from a tree, and feeling most rewarded by navigating smoothly to yet another bit of orange material hanging from a tree, while savouring the prospect of returning back up all those hills to arrive at the HH all scratched and footsore to imbibe warm soup and veggie patties, and culminate the experience applauding the handing out of the world’s best mugs to this amateur sports, most clever!

TW/ What made you want to set a rogaine, how has setting a course deepened your appreciation for the sport, and what have you learned by taking on this challenge??

R&T/ We have always appreciated the efforts and unsung many who make events happen. At the end of 2019, Trevor called for assistance for the new-year. We took note and Gill softly and craftily encouraged and mentored us how to proceed, until she kicked us out of the nest. We attended a mapping course that Graham Field ran at Chris Stevenson’s house, and Graham has never stopped receiving email pleas from me ever since. Chris even let us directly input into the website, enabling us to very quickly crash the site … no doubt we have all gained wisdom from this experience. Vetting added an additional dimension to the course setting and we flourish deep bows at Ian, Gareth, Andrew and Mike for agreeing that everything we set was perfect. ☺

Appreciation has indeed been deepened: how enjoyable it is to set a course, how much you can learn from those with skill, experience and knowledge, and also which aspects you most enjoy (setting the course), enjoy but is challenging (mapping), and don’t particularly enjoy (organising – Mike, Gill and Andrew, thank you so much!).

TW/ Tell us about the why you selected Belanglo as the site and what makes it special?

R&T/ It’s a long story, back in Nov 2019 we started eye-balling locations near Tuglow Station, only to realise it should be Tugalong Station, which we then went to in Jan 2020. Obstacles to usage there (ownership and permissions) moved us in Feb 2020 just south to Bangadilly National Park, before different obstacles (river crossings and recreational shooting) led us to settling on Belanglo State Forest. We had the course set for April 2020, only for the event to fall prey to COVID. But as we are all told, everything comes to those who wait, and sure enough it is now all the sweeter with the event about to happen!

We were genuinely surprised to find the majority of Belanglo State Forest to be quite beautiful. Once away from the pine forest and the 4x4 & motorbike footprints, the vegetation, native animals, rocky outcrops, cliff-edge views and variety of other landscape makes for enjoyable walking. The understory is not as clear as areas such as Abercrombie River National Park, but it’s also a big step up from the lawyer vines of the Watagans.

Belanglo State Forest and Bangadilly National Park lie at the heart of the territory of the Gundungurra traditional owners, whose land (~11,000 km2 ) extends from Lithgow to Berrima and Goulburn. The junction of the Wingecarribee and Wollondilly Rivers (to the north of Belanglo) is of great significance in Gundungurra beliefs. The river and other landscape features were created by two creation figures, Gurangatch, a rainbow serpent, and Mirragañ, a quoll.

TW/ Thankyou Rick and Tassia for your efforts thus far. We greatly look forward to finding some of those 70+ controls you’ve set.

What Else in 2021?

Here’s a reminder of the other events we have planned in 2021. Note that the Navigation Workshop in April has been cancelled … we hope to include something similar in conjunction with one of our events later in the year.

  • Sat. 8-May, 12/6-hour Spoilt for Choice Autumngaine at Belanglo
  • 29-30 May, Australian Championships at Burra – run by SA Rogaining Ass’n
  • Sun. 20 Jun, 6-hour Paddy Pallin Rogaine, Blue Mountains
  • 26-27 Jun, Navshield, Tarlo River NP – run by SES Bush Search & Rescue
  • Sat. 3-Jul, 5/3-hour Night Rogaine, Hills Dictrict Sydney
  • Sun. 4-Jul, Winter 4-hr, run by ACT Rogaining Ass’n
  • Sat. 7-Aug, 12/6-hour Lake Macquarie
  • 28-29 Aug, 24/8-hour NSW Championships at Gundabooka NP (Bourke)
  • Sun. 17-Oct, Surprise Event near Newcastle
  • Sat. 20-Nov, 8/4-hour Socialgaine, Lane Cove Rivergaine IV

The complete, up to date list, is on our website here including all events run by the ACT Rogaining Association, and virtual rogaines can be still accessed on MapRunF here.

Catering at Rogaines – Why Bother?

Our Committee has been considering the future of catering at rogaines, and what to do with our aged catering trailer. Richard Sage affirms that we are at something of fork in the road as far as catering at Rogaine events is concerned.

Read his provocative review here, then have your say on the Forum or on our Facebook group.

A future use for the trailer? Mike Hotckis atop the trailer/podium at Cookbundoon 24-hr 1998

Find us on Facebook and Strava here.

Tristan White
on behalf of the NSW Rogaining Committee