Your cooperation was greatly appreciated.
Thanks to all who assisted over the weekend.
Andrew, Barry, Bob, Glenn and Patricia, Graham, Henrick, Karen Mark, Myles and Steve.
We were initially asked at Shahzada 2018 if we were interested in covering this ride.Major planning began after the March ride at Mountain Lagoon (reported in earlier Smoke Signals).
Many concerns arose after obtaining info re the planned event, two rides (160 km and 80 km), courses and times.
The 160 km ride was to start at 0000 hrs Sunday morning over 5 legs and hopefully conclude by 2400 that evening.
The 80 km ride to start 4 hours later at 0400 hrs over 2 legs and hopefully conclude by mid to late afternoon.
Both rides included the usual compulsory rest periods between legs.
The real worry began on receiving info re the actual ride courses, checkpoints and proposed/predicted times through these checkpoints.
The 80 km ride was not too bad but the 160 km ride would have the same competitors on different legs passing through the same checkpoint several times.
The ride course was familiar as being the regular Shahzada legs but the second leg of the 80 km leg caused some logistic concerns taking place in a totally different location in the St Albans valley to the 160 km ride.
After a considerable period of thought the decision was made to identify checkpoints by their location names rather than alphabetical and to provide numerically ordered checkpoint tally sheets with 2 or 5 columns (80 km and 160 km ride respectively).
I believe this organisation helped checkpoint operators keep track of competitors as (mentioned above) on several occasions the same rider had to pass through the same checkpoint at different times.
Sounds confusing ?? Have a look at the Ride/Checkpoint/Time sheet elsewhere in this report.
Another problem, considering the duration (up to 16 hours) some checkpoints would have to be “manned” ) was the allowance for “comfort periods” for the operators.
Fortunately, as the day progressed, “roving operators” could be freed from early checkpoints to provide “relief” for operators on the longer duration checkpoints.
The Operation itself.
Friday, several operators arrived at Camp Wollomi about midday to set up the base equipment and install the repeater mid afternoon at the top of Blue Hill.
Saturday, some time was spent in final preparations of campsites etc. at the operations base.
By early afternoon most of the operators had arrived and a briefing session was held about 1400 hrs mainly to describe the complexities of the event and how the tally sheets were to be used to avoid possible confusion. The checkpoint log sheets were “stock standard” requiring very little explanation.
Following the briefing some operators left to camp out overnight at their assigned checkpoints in preparation for the midnight start.
One operator travelling in unfamiliar territory and in the dark could not locate his checkpoint and urgently called base. Fortunately he was able to provide his present location from his GPS unit. Strict instructions were given for him to remain at his present location while we at base converted the given Lat.long. data to a grid reference on our map.
He was on course but about 9 km short of his destination.
Other operators (those having later checkpoints) departed early in the morning (NB before Sunrise) to man their checkpoints.
Sunday, the day arrived but actually about 30 minutes early due to several alarm clocks sounding off about 2330 hrs disturbing a period of rather fitful sleep on the couches.
After several cups of coffee, calls were placed to check if the early checkpoint operators were alert and ready for “traffic”.
0000 hrs all was well and the group of 40 180 km riders left camp. The early checkpoint operators were all ready.
0400 hrs all 47 of the 80 km riders left camp.
As the early hours of the morning progressed it became apparent the competitors were travelling more slowly than anticipated leading to some anxiety about covering the later checkpoints with operators.
Here the roving operators proved their worth covering some of the checkpoints until the designated operators finished earlier checkpoints.
All operators cooperated fully in the event even allowing some of the early start operators to lie down and get some necessary sleep. On waking they proved to be much happier and more alert.
The later legs of the 160 km ride appeared to progress at a greatly improved rate the reduced leg distances and natural attrition such as “vet outs” etc. being significant factors. The ride progress felt more relaxed by mid afternoon giving one the relieved feeling that all riders would be back in camp well before midnight.
In fact the last rider was followed into camp by 2145.
Some operators left almost immediately for home
The base was quickly closed down allowing this scribe to “hit the sack” by 2220.
Monday, woke up at 0720 to find several operators had already arisen, packed and left camp on their homeward trek.
After breakfast a trek up Blue Hill to retrieve the repeater ( about 35 Ah used over the three days), a little track clearing (last bit to the repeater site) for Shahzada and return to base.
A repack of the vehicles and finalisation of the pull down operation of the base allowed the longed for departure home.
I believe most operators had arrived at their residences by 1400 hrs or so.
Thanks folks, was a pleasant weekend and great feeling to be finished, except for the necessary after ride paperwork.
Final comment re our repeater. (Red Face Department)
Initially the repeater performed well and up to expectations.
However as the ride progressed, more and more noise appeared on the repeater.
Sometimes the noise level necessitated some traffic to be repeated.
The following week the repeater was handed over to Don (ZCZ) for checking.
The problem was identified as a faulty antenna.
Two antennae were contained in the repeater equipment but I, unknowingly, chose the faulty unit to install (good trick !).
Thanks Don for your analysis.
More care needs to be exercised transporting the repeater as two switches were damaged when returned “home”. Did the repeater unit itself move and hit something or did something come loose and hit the repeater???