The last rogaine of the year (rogaining is long distance orienteering; 6-24 h usually). Designed as an event to attract people that wouldn't normally venture out into the bush to navigate off the tracks, the Socialgaine was held around Sydney's lower North Shore, taking in fab harbour views and offering plenty of opportunities to pause for a latte, if that was your cup of proverbial tea.
For a change of scenery, I did this event with rogaining virgin (but gene expression maestro) Merlin, while Jacqui (looking to the future) took the opportunity to trial a new rogaining partner in Louise (a friend met through our running club, Sydney Striders).

Compared to the usual rogaine in the bush, the course was laden with checkpoints - you came across them every 10 min or so, rather than every 30 min like you would in the bush. This was good - kept it interesting, given that there was not much in the way of navigation to worry about. The course extended from Willoughby in the north to the Harbour Bridge and Kirribilli in the south and east, and to Longueville in the west (although i don't think anyone really got over that way).

Merlin and I had a great time - i think he really enjoyed it (perhaps up until the last 30 min or so - we had been walking hard for 5.5 h by that stage and the weather had been pretty warm...). We visited plenty of checkpoints and found a few tricky shortcuts through the suburbs.

But Jacqui and Louise were the real champions - they blitzed the women's section of the event and took away a bushwalking book each for their efforts!

[Click the thumbnail for a larger version and a caption.]
Our first vista for the day - but definitely not the last! (53,050 bytes) The intrepid rogainer is oblivious to frippery such as panoramic harbour views - too busy calculating points per km and taking into account altitude changes... (37,660 bytes) ...but has enough time to pause for a snap of his good side. (40,151 bytes)
Hmmm - now where are those palm trees it mentions on the clue sheet? (28,346 bytes) Just another harbour view. (50,977 bytes) Yes, yes - we've all seen the Opera House before... (46,414 bytes)
Merlin rejects the idea of using one of the speed boats to get around to some of the trickier ones. (29,940 bytes) Jacqui and Louise go up to collect their prize - there actually *is* a crowd - they are just out of shot... (31,727 bytes) And there they are - the winners! (see - you can see the crowd now...) (41,675 bytes)