It would be difficult to over-emphasise the appalling weather we set off into. I was wearing at least three layers of clothing, top and bottom, gloves and beanie and I was still soaked through within half an hour of starting. Rob and I decided on a clockwise loop around the south west of the map and headed first for 23 then 34, finding both easily. We then commenced the climb up the Wainuiomata hill to 51, choosing to interpret the "out of bounds major road" as not applying to the track beside it. Control 51 was supposedly at the top of a knoll; the knoll itself turned out to be a fair size hill covered in dense vegetation. Dense, wet vegetation. My warm polyprop gloves transformed themselves on first contact with the vegetation into wet, cool polyprop gloves. The control was found and we continued up to 80.
We were one of three groups together as we searched for control 80. This was a ribbon control and, given my difficulties with finding ribbon controls during the last Wellington rogaine I attended, I was pleased to have several experts looking for it for me. It was duly found and we left the vicinity of the road for the 4WD track that continued up the ridge. We were getting into quite an exposed area now but conditions were improving. Although the rain never stopped, the wind had died away and the clouds had lifted, giving us a reasonable view of the lights of Lower Hutt to the left and Wainuiomata to the right.
We reached the track junction with 25 to our left and 52 to our right. We stopped and discussed our options. Unfortunately neither of us noticed the little side track joining the two tracks near 44 so we decided our best option was to go 25, 52, 44 rather than what in retrospect would have been the better option of 52, 25, 44. We found 25 and 52 without problems and headed off on the lower track to 44. This was a mountain bike single track and so was narrow and contained far too many small ascents and descents so beloved of mountain bikers. This, along with the inevitable mud, made holding a decent running pace impossible. It was also extremely difficult to keep in touch with the map and figure out just when we reached the "hairpin bend" that the ribbon control was 5m uphill from. There were a myriad of bends that might or might not be termed "hairpin" so, once we felt we were in the general area of the control, we stopped at each one, clambered up and around and went searching for it. We never did find it and to this day have no idea whether we missed the appropriate bend or whether we found the right bend but failed to notice the ribbon hidden under a leaf somewhere.
Eventually it became obvious the control must be behind us somewhere. Neither of us had any desire to retrace our steps and waste more time searching so we decided to run on to the next track junction and replan the rest of our race there. We seemed to keep running for ages before we finally reached the junction and by then the planning had taken care of itself: we needed to get back down to the finish quickly. We descended by way of the 4WD past control 50 but didn't take the time to deviate and find the inevitable ribbon control. Notice that between 50 and 70 the track has a number of small side loops. When we got to the first one we ran straight ahead, only to find ourselves descending a steep, apparently vertical, slippery rock face. We took a long time to descend this safely and there after took the side track every time.
This tactic did increase our chances of making it down in one piece but meant that we took longer than we had anticipated and so we had to run past first 71 and then 40 without making the side trips to collect them. Control 41 was on a water tank on the track so we got that one easily. The track improved markedly once past the water tank and we quickly descended to the valley floor. The weather had not finished with us, however, and after nailing 21 we discovered that the track east of it that we were using to return to the event centre was under ten to twenty centimetres of water. We sloshed our way out, arriving back at the event centre some seven minutes late.
The pizza provided at the finish was delightful, as was the fifteen minutes I spent soaking in the spa once Rob had dropped me back at Rydges Wellington where I was staying.