Sleepy Hollow Rogaine 2014

Dad and I recently met up in southern Ohio to compete in the Sleepy Hollow 12-hour rogaine. It was Dad’s first rogaine, and my third. A perfectly named sport for a bald guy and a soon-to-be-bald guy.

Pre-race briefing

Pre-race briefing

We picked up the maps around 8:00 am, and spent a couple hours plotting our route. After looking at a few different options, we decided to start the day with a long northern loop followed by a smaller southern loop. The event started at 10:00 am and ended at 10:00 pm, giving us about 7.5 hours of daylight and 4.5 hours of night navigation.

10:00 am start

10:00 am start

From the start area, we jogged southwest down a road and around Stewart Lake to control #31. So nine minutes into the rogaine, we already had 30 points (point value for each control = first digit x 10). From there, we continued southwest up a steep hill, then jogged west down another road in the direction of #83. This was the first of two controls throughout the day that gave us trouble. We wasted 5-10 minutes exploring a handful of small re-entrants before finally spotting the orange flag further north than we’d expected. We continued north up another road, before veering off into the woods and descending a large hill toward #43.

Control #43

Control #43

Exactly one hour had passed when we reached control #43. Despite the minor setback, we were making pretty good progress. We hiked/jogged another mile or so north on the road, then cut through the woods to grab #33 and #64. This was followed by a 300 ft uphill climb and a short break for food and water.

Approaching control #64

Approaching control #64

Controls #30 and #40 were only a short distance off the trail, so we knocked them out in no time. Unfortunately, Dad twisted his knee pretty badly right as we were approached #40. He had a painful looking limp, and it was only 12:25 pm…so I honestly wasn’t very optimistic about our chances of finishing the full 12 hours. Dad gritted it out for another 10 hours, though, and it actually didn’t even slow our pace too much. (For reference, this is the guy who once stitched up a gash in his eyebrow – in the bathroom mirror – without lidocaine – so we wouldn’t have to be late for one of my middle school basketball games.)

Near control #80

Near control #80

From control #40, we headed north to make a several-mile loop of controls #50, #70, #80, and #60. The navigation went smoothly, but we did lose a little time tangled up in a nasty thicket of thorn-bushes.

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Matt at control #54 (center-left)

We next decided to make a long, sweeping loop of controls #73, #54, #32, #84, and #53. We probably could have gotten a few more points by continuing southward from control #32, but our route allowed us to stop back by the start/finish area for a food break. It also allowed us to say that we completely swept the northern half of the course. A no-brainer, really. The sun began to set shortly after leaving #32, and we were in complete darkness by the time we stumbled back onto the Buckeye Trail after bagging #84.

Overlook near control #84

Overlook near control #84

We followed trails and roads for a little over a mile before cutting back into the woods for #53. This turned out to be the second control of the day to give us trouble. We knew that the flag would be posted in a re-entrant…but unfortunately, there were at least 6 or 7 re-entrants clustered together on the same slope. We spent at least 15-20 minutes crashing through thorns and underbrush, working our way up and down each re-entrant. Finally I caught a reflection with my headlamp, and we punched in at #53 at 6:40 pm.

Control #56

Control #56

We took a 20 minute break at the start/finish area for some hot chili & potato soup, then set off again for another 2.5-hour loop. This took us in a southward direction and netted us another 190 points (controls #44, #65, #56, and #41). Luckily we didn’t get lost in the dark.

Our last control of the day: #41

Our last control of the day: #41

We made it back to the start/finish area at 9:42 pm with a total of 1040 points. Our team (“The Donner Party”) finished 8th place out of 18 teams. Including the solo competitors, we finished 12th place out of 28 overall. [link to results]

I’d estimate that we covered somewhere between 24-28 miles, with maybe 5000-6000 feet of elevation change. About 70% roads/trails and 30% bushwhacking.

Our route

Our route

It was a great rogaine, and a great course. Definitely hoping to do it again next year…maybe when I’m not coming off a 30 hour shift in the hospital.

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Published in: on November 16, 2014 at 7:39 pm  Comments (2)