The Nitty Gritty

This is the detailed "what/where/when" - rules of the game - maps and cards - and safety. We date each section and note when there are updates. Right down the bottom is the minimum gear list for all teams.

 

WHAT IS IT

Initial 2017 version

The event is a "rogaine" as defined below under "Rules of the game". Course planners Mark Malone and Geoff Ferry have set out 50-odd controls including 10 close ones that will suit family groups. So there's something for everyone.

You have 3, 6 or 9 hours to maximise your score by visiting control points. Visits are confirmed by successfully answering a simple question. This is usually a man-made feature or an orange ribbon with a code-word on it. The post-race meal will be the traditional barbeque, augmented with some other goodies mainly so we can serve it up faster. We hope for a benign summer evening so you can lounge around the base and swap tales.

Belmont Regional Park is a mixture of farmland and bush with bike tracks, streams, bunkers, airstrip, views of Transmission Gully highway construction, and a number of other unexpected features. The park is about 70% far, 30% bush, but to score well here, you'll need to be prepared to go bush and follow some slow tracks (and off-tracks). You'll also need to be prepared to climb up and down a few hills - there are very few flat areas.

The park has multiple access points and access into the farm area is pretty good, but if you get injured and stuck in the bush, it could take a while to get you out, so you'll need to be prepared to hunker down for a while. There's a compulsory gear list, come prepared, and if not needed, all teams are "in the same boat".

 

WHERE

Initial 2017 version

There are lots of farm tracks, and travel is possible off track over most of the farm area.

In the bush, there are quite a few well formed and used tracks, some old disused tracks, and a lot of possum bait lines that are not necessarily obvious from the main tracks - a few of these are surprisingly well formed but most are tricky and slow to follow, and can be quite steep. And then there is off track - there could be quite some time saving if you are prepared to try some short cuts in the bush (or you could get completely stuck). Most streams are passable, and a lot of the flatter areas might be OK, but no guarantees. Steeper bush areas will generally need a track to get through, though.

The start is at the Woolshed at the end of Stratton St in Normandale. There will be plenty of parking and a couple of toilets, and the woolshed has water and power.

To get there from Wellington, take SH2 to the Dowse Interchange, and head up Dowse Drive for about 4km. Turn left into Stratton St, and then left again to stay on Stratton St, and drive to the end. Parking will be marked.

If you're from out of town or doing the night option, you can camp there ($6 per person per night) with full use of the facilities. 

 

WHEN

Initial 2017 version

The main date is Sunday 3 Dec 2017. 

The Optional night section is on Saturday 2 Dec 2017. If you are doing the 6 or 9hr event, you can choose to do 3 of your hours in the dark on the Saturday night. You'll get a 20% bonus for any points you score during the night section (after penalties) but you'll lose 10pts/minute if you're back after midnight. 

  • Saturday 8pm: Rego/Maps available for Optional Night section
  • 8:50pm: Briefing, Submit "flight plans"
  • 9pm: Start night section
  • Midnight: Finish night section, hand in score sheet, then jump in tent or go home until day section.
  •  
  • Sunday 7am: Rego/Maps available for 9hr section
  • 7:50am: Briefing, Submit "Flight Plans"
  • 8am: Start 9hr rogaine
  • 10am: Rego/Maps available for 6hr section (and 9hr teams who have done 3hrs already)
  • 10:50am: Briefing, Submit "Flight Plans"
  • 11am: Start 6hr rogaine (or re-start as applicable)
  • 12 noon: Rego/Maps available for 3hr section
  • 12:50pm: Briefing, Submit "Flight Plans"
  • 1pm: Start 3hr rogaine
  • 4pm: Finish 3hr rogaine
  • 5pm: Finish 6/9hr rogaines
  • Food available from 4pm

At registration we will want to check that (a) your team is there, (b) the people on yoru entry form are present and (c) you have the mobile phone you quoted.

 

RULES OF THE GAME

Initial 2017 version Actually this is the same as last year and the year before. Pretty much the norm for OHV rogaines.

If you haven't done a rogaine before, its a navigation contest for teams. You score points by visiting points marked on a map, choosing your own route so as to finish before the time limit. Big-time rogaines are run in rural terrain and last up to 24 hours. Getting started rogaines are run close to home from one hour long. Either way you choose the points to visit and the route to suit your inclinations - competition or recreation. Rogaines always have both sorts of people.

The BigTrig Rogaine is a medium-sized rogaine with some of the labour-saving features which have enabled Orienteering Hutt Valley to run more rogaines than anyone else in New Zealand. Here are the rules as they apply to the BigTrig. Read the full NZ Rogaining Rules here.

  • You must take part in a team of 2-5 people.
  • The objective is to maximise your score. The control points are marked on the map with a circle and a number. Control points are worth the "tens" digit of the number multiplied by 10. That is, number 25 is worth 20 points, control 101 is worth 100. We may also use numbers 1-9 which are worth 5 points. We sometimes make up artificial numbers, eg after we get to 39, we go on to 3A, 3B etc which are also in the "30's" group. The start/finish is shown with a triangle.
  • There's a penalty for returning late: 10 points per minute or part thereof. Highest score wins, in the event of a tie the earlier team to finish is placed in front.
  • You prove your visit to each control point by answering a simple question about the landmark and writing it on your control sheet which must be named and handed in at the finish. Swapping information such as the answers to questions , or guessing, is cheating. Obviously we can't police it, we rely on you to play fair. Take a pencil and a spare. Actually an "Inkjoy" pen is cheap and works in the wet!
  • Sometimes there isn't a suitable landmark, we also use bright orange ribbons and the question will be "what is the code word on the ribbon?". Sample at the start. If the question is not crystal clear when you are at the landmark, don't spend more than 5min puzzling. Write down something unique about the place and carry on. Talk to us at the end, we want to credit you with all controls you have visited. This is not a championship!
  • Except in the case of emergency, team members must stay together, especially when visiting control points. You are not allowed to send the fittest team member up the hill to get the answer! If a team member has to drop out for any reason during the event you must tell us back at base; and from that time you are a new team starting with a score of zero.
  • You must travel on foot.
  • You must use the map we provide to navigate by. Navigation by GPS is not allowed. No objection to you carrying your GPS in tracking mode for later analysis (that's how we improve the maps) but it's not part of the game.
  • No dogs. Leave any gates as you found them, both on the course and the access roads. If you open a gate do not leave responsibility for closing it to anyone else. You open, you close.

 

MAPS AND CARDS

Initial 2017 version

The main map is A3, probably at a scale of 1:25,000, in other words enlarged a lot compared to the standard topo map. Contours are 10m. If you are used to an orienteering map it will be steeper than the contours you are used to. If you are used to a topo map it may be flatter than you think! Here's a little snippet from the 2013 map of Belmont Regional Park. You can download it here, if you print it to fit A4 you will see lots of detail but it will be 4X the normal scale!

The bush is mapped as medium green and rogainers would not expect us to show fast and slow. But we have shown a little bit of very passable bush as light green. And when we discover some awful stuff on a logical route choice, we have used a very dark green. The message is that the majority is middle green and its quite variable. Of course we haven't traversed it all!

Open land - lots of farmland here. Really smooth stuff like the camping and picnic area is bright yellow, most of it is rough stuff in pale yellow. Yellow with green spots is in between bush and open, and we've used it for areas of logged forest which is being left to regenerate. It's nasty.

Out of bounds is shown in a couple of ways. Private land that we don't have permission for (areas outside the park, residential areas etc) is gray. There are areas that we SOMETIMES use but not this time. These are covered with purple stripes and you can't even use the tracks through them.

Fences are generally not shown on our rogaine maps (there aren't many anyway, and the topo ones are sooo out of date). We do have most of the tracks mapped. The shorter the dash the rougher the track.

We have a special "indistinct track" symbol. They could be be possum bait lines shown by small brightly coloured squares on trees, or routes marked with old less visible markers on trees. Bait lines don't necessarily follow good features like ridges. You should be able to follow a trail when you are on it. They would be very easy to miss if you are coming at it from 90 degrees.

Control visits in this rogaine are claimed by answering a simple question, on the back of the map. You write the answers on a separate answer sheet. This way your map and questions can stay warm and dry inside a plastic bag (if you're careful). Name and number your card and take a plastic bag for that too (supplied). Don't forget a pen or pencil and a spare.

When you return you MUST report to the finish desk and give us your team name and number. We'll record you as "finished"; this is vital for safety. We'll also write the time on your scorecard and hand it back to you for adding up. Hand your completed card in WITHIN 10 MINUTES at the result display. No card no result.

 

SAFETY

Initial 2017 version

This is a rugged area and sensible precautions are required.

  • We expect all participants to read the "Nitty Gritty" section of the website within the last week before the event; to read any last-minute warning signs at the event; and to attend the briefing.
  • Advise us of all changes to your team composition before you start; your team sticks together unless help is required in an emergency; and you report in at the finish. If you're not back, we'll generally start preparations for a search within 30min of the finish time.
  • Take at least one mobile phone with you - the one you confirmed at check-in. Cellphone coverage is patchy over some of the course (including the start/finish area) but if you have an incident you should try and get to high ground where there may be coverage and get a message to us. A text is more likely to get through than a call. If you are expecting to be more than 15min late then likewise tell us as soon as you can. For major safety issues of course try to phone 111 direct. Help other teams in trouble.
  • If you need to attract attention eg call another team in to help with an incident, the whistle signal is not set down in any rogaine or orienteering rule. The general NZ outdoor code (from the Mountain Safety Council) is three of whatever you have at hand - shouts, gunshots, or blasts on your whistle. But never mind the number, several short blasts, then a long pause, then repeat.
  • Give us a "flight plan" before you start. This is a B/W copy of the map on which you sketch your intended route. Don't forget to name it, and don't forget some direction arrows! You will probably modify your route but it may help in an emergency.
  • We cannot guarantee the hot sunny weather that we obviously hope for. You must be prepared with the normal bad-weather gear. There's a list below which is compulsory for all teams. Yes on a nice day it may seem like overkill but let me tell you about an immobilising injury we had not too far away from here. The patient couldn't walk, the helicopter couldn't drop a line, the wheelie stretcher couldn't wheel, in the end the patient just HAD to struggle out with a helper each side. Prepare! 
  • If it is very HOT then take extra water with you. The risk of giardia is present in many NZ streams and we are not going to give you any assurances. You may replenish water from facilities identified on the map.

A site-specific hazard register will be posted here shorly.

Here's the minimum gear list. It is per person unless otherwise stated.

  • Thermal top
  • Parka
  • Long pants (thermal or over-trou)
  • Hat and gloves
  • Whistle, compass
  • Survival blanket or bag
  • Torch
  • Food and water appropriate for the distance.
  • Simple first aid kit per team
  • A cellphone per team is compulsory, it may not work in some locations but it is so useful if it does.
  • Obviously you'll need a pack to carry this in.

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