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Rogue24 race report – by Pierre Francois, Team No Detour 3.

April 25th-26th 2015
https://www.facebook.com/NoDetourAdventureTeam

The story
Two years ago I lined up with my French friend Eric (who sadly returned to live in France now) at the
Rogue24 (sometimes called Rouge24, don’t ask me why, I don’t understand). This race had everything so
I ticked it long time ago. Ok the logistic adds a little bit of complexity because it is held in Queensland (so
airfare, bike box, family style rental cars …). But for only 90 dollars fees, you get a 24 hours rogaine on
foot, kayak, bike and a mystery discipline. Basically, a Rogaine is a race where all checkpoints are
optional and that is the big difference with classic adventure races. If during the journey you feel that a
checkpoint is not worth the pain, you can drop it and still be ranked at the end as long as you reach the
finish without assistance. How good is that? Pretty unique format as far as I know where the strategy
pays off.
This time I teamed up with Ross, for what is supposed to be his last race before retiring  Too many
recurrent injuries seemed to have forced his decision. The last worry showed up less than a month
before the race with recurrent shin splint pain. Quite bad for him who already had to withdraw for the
Rogue 2013 in similar conditions. But this year I had no back up option so we decided the week before
the event that we will not run but just walk and see how it goes on the kayak and bike. And obviously
that changed our best expectations from being top 10 to just being finishers.

Our journey to Brisbane starts by a hint of stress with our Qantas flight cancelled on Friday. We
managed to get on an earlier flight which in the end was not that bad. Indeed it took us ages to get the
keys of our Kia Carnival, courtesy of Thrifty, the traffic to Kilcoy where we’ll spend the night was crap
and we exploded a tube on Ross bike at the servo while pumping the wheels. But the good thing is that
we are going for a rogaine, so you get the maps on the morning of the race only. It means you don’t
have to spend the night on route choices, map contacting and preparation of gear boxes. You just have
to relax in the local pub, listen live country music and sleep like a baby. That is what we did.

Hearty food, Ross’s shaved leg, wives for the night …

The Kia Carnival was perfect to fit all our gear
We got our map at 9am, and I have to say I was
impressed how quick Liam’s squad managed to
hand out the maps to 51 teams that quickly.
Well done guys. We had seven stages in that
order: Kayak, Trek, Bike, Abseil, Trek, Bike and
then to finish kayak on the dam. That’s 46km on
foot, 44km on kayak and 101km on mountain
bike …. a total of 191km… hmmmm All
checkpoints are optional but we can’t mix the
discipline. That means a checkpoint ditched in
the first Kayak leg can’t be collected later on
through the trek… Since we are not sure about
our running capability, we decided to do as
much as we can on the kayak and bike legs and
see how it goes on the trekking legs. That was
our rough plan.

Ross planning

At the start line

Fat ass or wide angle on the GoPro .. you decide 

The race kicked off at 12pm with a short stroll to CP1 where a massive congestion was expected.
(Imagine 100 people going like crazy to one checkpoint, one punch!) We chose to not run that one and
obviously got caught in the traffic but it didn’t matter.

The kayak to follow spread out everyone. Despite my paddle technique which was always questioned by
Ross we had a good paddle I think, collecting 6 out 7 checkpoints on the river below the dam.

I realize just now why sometimes the kayak was not moving … Ross was taking some shots. Good
thinking…

Running to CP4

CP4

We did that leg in 3 hours and gathered 280 points. No stream current, no wind, just 51 kayaks enjoying
their time in sunny qld. Gold. Oh and the last part of the paddle involved a short portage to the kayak
trailer, for about 400m, slightly uphill. We were told before the event that having a trolley would be a
great idea. We had one, courtesy of Ross father and indeed the teams without one seemed to have a
hard time carrying the heavy kayaks. I think they are 30kg or something close and we were lucky to have
one …

Leg 1 : Kayak. CP7 was out from our plan

At TA8 before the first trek.

Leg 2 was a trek which we decided to do clockwise. Checkpoint 18 (80points) was not part of our plan.
We pretty much nailed all checkpoints till dark, doing 9, 12, 15, 16 then 17 in a reasonable time, taking
into consideration that we just hiked. From there Ross started to be concerned by his shin splint injury
so we decided to preserve him and skip 19 and 20, worth 110 points in total. From CP17, our new route
became CP13 then CP14 from its northern watercourse, and like I said all at night. Whereas CP13 was
easy, we had a failed attempt to CP14 which luckily brought us back to the main track. For 30 points, I
took the decision to skip that one as well and keep moving to the next one, CP11 (60points), and
adopted a safe approach to it from the sealed road. We entered the creek from the road where the out
of bounds area was and quickly got caught in 2 meters high long grass. The progress was very slow and I
was just gambling, monitoring the compass needle. Our night navigation was obviously not at its best. I
have to say we’ve been very lucky to find that one. Being guided by other lights saved us I would say.
It was time to stop the night navigation disaster. We ditched CP10 as well, only 10 points and reached
the TA to prep for the bike leg. We finished the leg in 4h30, with 380points out of 610 available, and 150
points behind our best scenario (total of 21km) Now I am writing down this story, I’d like to say despite
the spear grass which still hurts me; I found the open area fairly easy during daylight. But doing it at

night has been a real challenge. It was so open with few contour lines that caused us troubles. Now I’ve
seen the terrain I think that teams which did anti clock wise loop made the right choice since the
southern part was more challenging, so better to do it during daylight.

Leg 2 (black CP) : Trek

Few pic from Leg2 :

The sunset was better than this… trust us!

Leg 3 was a monster leg with 101km bike ride to cover all checkpoints. None of us have ever ridden such
a long distance, as simple as that. Like I said our plan was to cover the most of it, with a highlight to
CP35 where a mystery discipline is waiting for us…. It will be abseiling, at night!

We left the TA at 7.30pm and being the only one doing the nav, I had no choice but doing it right. And it
took me time to adjust to the map scale. 1:40000 was certainly a scale I rarely ride on and we lost about
10 minutes to be sure at 100% where we were riding. Our first CP was 24, on a track covered by grass.
The ride to it was easy but tricky, being on a track covered by grass. Even though it could bring you to a
trap, we guided our choice by the numerous bike tracks on the ground. That was where the map started
to lose its accuracy in my opinion but after few hiccups we finally found our way to CP29. The plan being
to go to the highpoint for abseiling we knew that we will have to push a bike a fair bit. That A-break
track was monstrous with 40% gradient. That’s when you appreciate to have a light bike.
Once at the top, we did an
anti-clockwise loop to collect
CP32 (tricky location) and
then CP34. We ditched CP33
with regrets for me. Then
came the abseiling fun. None
of us had done abseiling and
doing it in the middle of the
night was certainly strange.
The cliff was about 30 meters
high and we had a good time.
Thanks for the crew for
staying up there all night.
Probably one of the many
race highlights. We had the
option to hike to CP36 but

we decided the 20 points were not worth it. On the bike again with
plenty of energy, we finished the loop by a quick in and out to Mt
Byron (no view there, it was still dark) and then CP30 on a
watercourse where we’ve met a snake on the rocks.

On the way back, the last climb to the top of A-break broke me, and I asked Ross to rest of bit for a
refuel. On the other hand the downhill part of the A-break was very well welcome by both of us and I
felt sorry for the 5-6 teams we saw climbing it. Doing this at 3am … it was certainly a long night for them.
A quick stop to put warm clothes, a creek crossing to refresh our toes, we then nailed CP28 and ride on
flat terrain to grab CP25, CP26 (which has been stolen) and CP27. Actually we lost 20 minutes at CP27.
Indeed being overconfident I brought us way too far on the track and explored the long grass area
persuaded we were at the right spot… Totally wrong, we were off map. It was 5 AM, we had been riding
for almost 10 hours, ~81km. Time to refuel and trek!

During the bike leg, Ross mentioned many times that we might have to skip the trek, because his leg was
definitely not well. So once we arrived at TA37 we planned easy with CP39 alongside the main creek
then CP41 with option to stop at the TA if his leg was too painful. But as soon as we started hitting the
track towards CP39, I felt very sleepy and was definitely not at my best. On the other hands Ross was
dragging the team with ease. While we found CP39, we could hear a loud team on the other side of the
river who had to cross it at 6am. Looks like it was Tigers… Good stuff guys. On the way to CP41, I realized
I was f*** up and had to stop for vomiting. On top of everything, while I was in very bad shape I
managed to burst my bladder in the backpack! 2L gone! I still don’t know what happened and why I
didn’t give the tow to Ross who was obviously at his best. I finished the leg radar on just following him
as fast as I could, but still very slow. We did just 9km in 2h15 for 110 points.

Leg 3 (red CP) : Trekking

Once at the TA, I tried to refuel but it seemed too late as I had acid burps and stomach cramps. I
grumble against that coke I had at the last transition. It can’t explain all but I will certainly ban this in the
future (same thing happened at geoquest last year)… Anyway while I was hoping that each vomit will
help me with the stomach issues, and it did for few minutes, they finally burnt my last energy.

In the end, after about 8km on the bike, we made our way to the start of the last leg, a 21km paddle on
the dam. I wasn’t at my best, far from that, but I wanted to push as far as I could because that leg was
part of our race plan, with lots of high points to grab.

Bike leg to TA44, start of the last kayak

But once there, we have been warned that the conditions were very poor with strong winds. So even
though Ross asked me ten times if I really wanted to try this I said yes and we started to paddle…. Soon I
realized that was a mistake and I told Ross that I didn’t have the strength to paddle in such conditions…

We decided to turn back and ditch the kayak
leg. Instead we grabbed our bike and ride 3k to
the finish line, with 1690 pts (officially 1600
because we forgot to let them know that we
grabbed the piece of paper at CP26, worth 90
points).
We finished the race around 9h30AM, after 21h30 of non-stop racing.

Overall I am quite happy by our race. Whereas we had hope to enter the top10, 19 th in the
circumstances is not too bad. Certainly we could have had a better finish with more points on the kayak.
Certainly we could have been more ambitious on the bike and cleared the whole leg (2 missing points +
the hike to CP36 at the abseiling). Certainly we could have run in the first trek sections but we wanted to
preserve Ross leg and I was in poor shape for the second one. But it was fun, and we haven’t done many
mistakes. I hope that Ross won’t retire but if he is, well is there anyone reading this keen to race with
me next year? I am all opened. Time for new adventures with second baby on board in one month!

Post race sleep

Thanks Liam and Rogue team for another great event.
Links to race results, other race reports and pictures:
http://www.qldrogaine.asn.au/qraonline/html/results/2015/EV15004_24hr_Results.pdf
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.902428009814571.1073741837.265189220205123&type
=1
http://www.rogueadventure.com/the-rogue-wrap-up-for-2015/

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