Thursday 10 May 2018

Mountain Designs Wild Women Race Rogue Raid

The Rogue Raid Samsonvale 2018 set the record for the biggest field in a 24hr Adventure Race in Australia, partly because it is now a part of the Adventure 1 Series in Australia, but mostly because of the quality Rogue events that Liam St Pierre has been staging for the past 10 years.
With so many top teams lined up for the event, it was set to be a thrilling race for the dot watchers, at home and out on course, as all of the Adventure 1 four-person teams were carrying trackers. This provides everyone who’s not racing with the opportunity to follow the teams as they move through the course, and this also means that any navigational mistake or blunder is out there for the world to see over and over again….. Carrying a tracker even helps the team out on course, because we can be thinking at times….. ‘I wonder what our dot is doing right now’….and after the event we can go back to the website and view our course and look at what routes other teams chose. This type of feedback can be really valuable as a learning tool for future races, so it certainly adds value to the sport of adventure racing.
About the Mountain Designs Wild Women Team for Rogue Raid 2018
Kim Beckinsale – feeling fresh and recovered following…. Red Bull Defiance, Coast to Coast, XPD and the Scatter Raid; Kim the team captain and lead navigator was very excited that we had such a strong team and was looking forward to really giving the teams at the pointy end of the field a bit of healthy competition from the girls!

Cass Kimlin – absolutely on fire following Red Bull Defiance, XPD and TRE-X; Cass supports Kim in the navigation and is super strong on the bike….the powerhouse!

Ali Wright – the little ‘pocket rocket’ was on fire leading up to this event; Ali had not raced for a while was super excited to finally be pulling on the Wild Women Gear again after having to withdraw from Wildside in October 2017 following some gymnastics move that went wrong! Glad to have you back in action Ali 😊

Elizabeth Dornom – ‘the new girl in town’ Liz travelling all the way from Melbourne, needs no introduction really….. Liz finished in the Top 10 elite women in Coast to Coast and was a member of the Tri Adventure Antelopes who were the winners of XPD Tasmania 2018. She was looking forward to doing a bit of navigation especially on the bike and paddle as well as providing a bit of light entertainment for the team.
While I was making sure I was getting that final bike ride and final paddle in leading up to the race, Liz, down in Melbourne, had other ideas…..she was working on her singing (I’m so excited……and I just can’t fight it) and dancing skills (footloose) in preparation for an all-nighter with the Wild Women and had Cass and Ali hooked on Messenger for the next couple of days wondering what would be next! Liz arrives at Noosa and soon there is a jam session on our balcony……drums and guitar……I thought wow…. this is a fun way to prepare for an adventure race!

Race Day – Rogue Raid – Lake Samsonvale
We arrived just as the sun was rising over the lake and the fog was lifting so it looked like we were set for a perfect day…. plenty of time to get all our gear sorted and to go around to chat to all the other teams prior to registrations and map handout. Interestingly all of my former Mountain Designs Team (Gary, Sloshy and Leo ) were racing but none of us in the same team, wow this would certainly bring on a bit of friendly competition – not that the girls really would have a chance against the mixed teams but I thought it will be heaps of fun mixing it with them out there! The course was revealed - 7 stages -  all optional, and leg 6 and 7 can be done in any order.
7. Paddle

At this point all of the top teams basically try to clear the course, however for an all-women’s team it is unlikely that this would be a wise strategy for us, so for me this is probably the most challenging part of the event….course planning! We knew the bike would be hilly and hard, however this was one of our strengths, and the points in Trek 3 looked like they were better value than trek 1 & 2. So we decided to go for CP 1 on Leg 1; to clear Leg 2 MTB; drop 8 on the paddle Leg 3; not get sucked in on Trek leg 4 and really look at our time most likely dropping CP 19 & 20; but maybe even 17 and 18 as well; then get back on the bikes and try to almost clear Leg 5 MTB; however we knew there were plenty of points on Leg 6 Trek (roughly planned to go anticlockwise via CP 48  ) and Leg 7 Paddle (roughly planned to get the big points on the paddle CP 49 -100;  CP57  80 and CP 54 70) however we would really just need to wait and see, as the bike looked pretty epic and we had been warned of the hills.

So how did it all pan out???
Mountain Designs Wild Women finished the race in 6th place overall on 2410 points spending 23hrs and 23minutes on the course. Mixed teams rounded out the top 4 places (Thought Sports 3080; Rogue 2840; Wild Earth 2810) and all-male team (Peaky Blinders 2770) in 5th. Our rival women’s team finished 53rd overall on 880 points, however definitely worth a mention is the women’s pair (Jordan Hougan & Michelle Houston) who completed the 24hr in 35th overall on 1540 points.
You could say we had a great day out and a successful one at that, so….. What are some of our secrets to success? What went well? What did not?  What did we find challenging? What is it about the Rogue that has girls like us think is great and why do we keep coming back? What do we look forward to most after finishing a race like this?
Firstly, why not have a look at our tracker!  Team 19
I made a blunder on the way to the very first CP….yep made the silly mistake of just following the crowd….thinking we were all going for CP1, didn’t even think that the teams trying to clear the course would do CP2 first. Eventually got it…. but felt a bit stupid! Making a mistake early is not always a bad thing as it settles you down and makes you think relax….and don’t get too excited!
The next part of the race went really well, we were on fire on the MTB, and worked extrememly well as a team! Cass, Liz and I all had map boards on so were all taking turns on the front and this helped us to keep our speed up. Then when we hit the hills it was hike a bike time, I reverted to the throw your bike over your shoulders and just carry it up the hill! I personally find this much easier than pushing a bike.

The kayak portage was certainly a challenge, but wow….Liz was so  so strong! Going to the front and carrying two boats while Cass and I held on to the back. The straps worked well, but it was still quite difficult to carry the load ….and of course the ‘all women’s teams’ had the heavier Cabos! This made the actual paddle feel quite easy, so we opted to clear the course….and make the most of the effort put in to the portage!
Careful navigation was paramount on the second trek, so when we were off track we took it steady! We were pretty excited to find an old mine shaft / cave structure as we headed down to Enoggera Creek from CP13 to 14. We also wrote on our map don’t get sucked in so we had to weigh up whether to do the creek walk….we took a chance as we were making good time and spent a bit of time chatting to the Peaky Blinders. We were losing light, so I upped the pace a bit on the trails…….little did I know that Ali was suffering way too much….sorry Ali but great communication at this point was key!

Transitions provide a great opportunity to refuel, recover a bit and prepare for the next leg, Ali got a chance for a little extra rest while Cass and I rode the skills track for a bonus 20 points…allowing Liz a bit of time to get some extra video footage.  Yes, having a video camera on the team can be a great motivator at times…. thanks Liz!
The bike back to the TA was the most challenging part of the event, as not only were some of the CP’s really hard to navigate to (CP 39, CP 29 and 33 in particular), it was a tough ride. Team work and sharing the load here was a key strategy….Ali was not 100% so Liz carried her pack, I pushed up the fire trails, and Cass towed on the road…..teamwork at its best. This was also the most fun part of the event as there was so much single track to ride….so the fact that we could all ride the single track with map boards was a bonus….( all those MTBO skills come in very handy). Liz sang the Peanut Song which was really funny, so through the early hours of the night, a bit of light entertainment never goes astray! I found it hard to see the map (probably need glasses) however, having 3 sets of eyes on the map helps….especially when your navigator rides straight past CP 37….! Oh no…. it’s the witching hour…..a signal to eat something sugary…..out came the golden lollies….and I passed them around….sharing is caring for your teammates, as your food can give them a lift too! Then we had to ride past a a private property where we were warned of an aggressive man ready to let his dogs out to attack anyone who went past! I am not sure what was in those golden lollies, but for some reason we were not phased and just rode as quietly yet as fast as we could to CP36, and our alternate route out proved better anyway! Phew.

It was still dark when we got back to HQ, so we opted to trek, however because we had spent so much time on our legs, we were not travelling as fast as we had anticipated, so strategically we decided to drop 6 CP’s on the run and instead go for 7 CP’s on the paddle….and it worked! We had fun on the paddle as Liz was entertaining us with the Goat Song and some problem-solving riddles. My brain was not quite smart enough to concentrate on cryptic clues navigation, so I asked the girls what they most looking forward to eating after a big event like this. Liz wanted something fresh, Ali a cup of Tea, Cass…. well I can’t remember, and me well it was a toss-up between Steak & Chips or a whole chicken…..the thought of yummy food gave us a bit of extra energy to power through the last few CP’s we planned for the paddle. We finished the Rogue with just over 40 minutes up our sleeve, very contented with our race, our strategy and our team work.

I must say the only thing that I was not fussed on about this race was the food at the end. Yes, I know that the thought of Pizza & Garlic Bread is quite appealing to many, however I am definitely not a fan of ‘Fast Food’ and as a HPE Teacher I am even more concerned about Fast Food associations with major sporting events as it sets a precedent that it’s ok to eat crap because you have just done something epic, when the reality is there is not a lot of good quality protein in most fast food products and they are often full of artificial colours and flavours….probably the last thing adventure racers really need. I am much more in favour of a simple BBQ (Burger and healthy salad) served up by the local scouts or community organisation, no subliminal advertising and the costs go to a worthy cause!
So that’s what I thought of the Rogue 2018… is what the girls wanted to add:
My favourite thing about the Rogue is getting to see the other teams so often out on the course and the fantastic maps. Best leg was the bike legs with the single track. Most challenging part was the night time foot navigation, as we had to really concentrate to find those vague gullies. I love the teamwork in our team and being able to share the navigation. I learnt 2 new songs about goats and peanuts. I had a great race gals! Thanks for making it special!
Greetings from the cloudy coast! Back in my civvy clothes sitting at a desk. I did remember to button up my shirt properly today though. Bonus! Seem to have pulled up pretty well too which is particularly impressive given I spent a bit of time on Struggle Street in the first half! Thanks for the help getting through that. I love the format of the Rogue, with multiple disciplines and rogaine style racing - always tops my annual list of adventure races. Liam does such a great job. My least favourite leg was the frantic first one. Never been a fan of kayak portages either and have two nice bruises on both outer legs from boat bashing, haha. As for favourite legs, I really did enjoy the single-track MTB too, getting tired legs from the run up a wee hill or two was a challenge for me this time! All women’s team racing: I love challenging the status quo and flying in the face of convention! Thanks everyone - I didn't expect 6th overall - fantastic
Liz (Liz had to travel back to Melbourne that night)
Wow, well I think the plane had started taxiing but I am definitely sure I was asleep before I took off last night. I was happy as got some lovely fresh salads and soup at the airport first, then some crisps and juice for the flight just so I didn't have to eat my race food if I got hungry. Even more amazing is that I have somehow survived a full manic day at work and even did all my notes and admin. Probably means I am going to crash later in the week but feeling pretty good at the moment.
I loved the strategy required for a course that was not just linear. It certainly was exciting seeing lots of team’s multiple times throughout the race and the fact that you had to keep going for the whole 24hours, no sense getting into cruise mode to cross the finish line because you actually had no idea where you were in the points standings. My least favourite leg was the first leg, a bit too short and not great having other teams riding and trying to pass. Most challenging part for me was also at the start as I had to concentrate really hard on who was actually in my team as I have raced with a fair number of other people in the race and so didn't want to get caught following the wrong team!!! Favourite leg was probably the last kayak - pretty special conditions (and we were off our feet) but I also really loved the single track on the MTB. I also learned that next race I will pack some corn chips as they were an absolute winner for race food……and sudocream is still the best thing ever!!! I thought the team dynamics were great and the fact that none of you complained about my tone-deaf singing and husky voice which I am amazed lasted as well as it did.
Here is the link to the video that Liz created ……we hope this may inspire more women to have a go at Adventure Racing and or Rogaining.
Thanks to our sponsors Mountain Designs, Ay UP Lighting Systems and Tri Adventure. Thanks to Venture Cycles for keeping our @trekbikes in great working order, and finally thanks to kayak Noosa for supplying some of the extra kayaks for the race….I know the Cabo’s were heavy but they did keep us much drier than the Spirit CTR’s.

……and that’s a wrap for Rogue Raid 2018 next up #GeoquestAR at Diamond Beach where we will baptise two new ‘Wild Women’ – Kelly-Anne Speight and Amie Munson.

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