By Peter and Robyn Tuft.
We have cycled regularly on Bruny because we live nearby, and every time we rode through some part of North Bruny we couldn’t help thinking how perfect it seemed for rogaining because of its undulating terrain divided between pasture and delightfully open forest. As all competitors now know it is indeed ideal for a rogaine, with the added bonus of the glorious eastern coastline.
Setting a rogaine has many interesting challenges, one of which is deciding on the length of the course. Ideally the setters want to tempt elite teams to collect every checkpoint, but to put that target just out of reach. Setting more checkpoints than anyone can reach is just wasted effort. In this case we almost got that right - one team did get the lot, but only one. Congratulations to John McComb and Ian Parker for cleaning-up by travelling 66kms in just 10 hours 25 mins. Also congratulations to Oskar Bucirde and Joseph Dickinson who won the 6-hr.
In a way we were “helped” in getting the course length about right by Parks & Wildlife, who for Phytophthora reasons eventually declined access to the Bruny Island Game Reserve south of Murrayfield. We had been keen to include some of this because of the very different terrain, vegetation and scenery, including the beautiful Miles Beach down towards Cape Queen Elizabeth, but sadly it was not to be.
One of us (Peter) actually finds course setting more enjoyable than competing. You get to explore interesting places and practice very precise navigation without the pressure of competition. And setters’ navigation has to be extra-precise because there isn’t a nice white and orange marker to confirm when you are in the right place. Yes, yes, I know we could use GPS, but only for recording the location after we have decided on it. It would not be fair to competitors if GPS was necessary to find the spot.
Robyn found choosing the location and scoring of the checkpoints to be quite an art. A good course is one that can appeal to both the competitive and more casual teams and reward effort based on skill and not just distance travelled. To this end, we tried to have a blend of nice locations, easy and difficult navigation and some hard yakka. Point allocation tried to take into account navigational difficulty, effort from the last checkpoint and some deliberate tweaking to create route dilemmas.