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Le "cache" Mans


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Nice - when we did the Bodacious Bloemfontein and Back Cache Dash it was a huge amount of fun. I am sure you will break the record quite easily as Team Phantom who did 111 started at midnight and ended at the event a good 4 hours before midnight! Also they cache outside Bloem and had to travel as well. If you have not found any in Bloem you will easily get 111 in 24 hours - well it may not be easy but it is doable


I heard about this madness at the event cache in CT yesterday. Since there were only 2 Capetonians on the last effort I am sure some will be keen - its just a schleppy 12 hours to get to Bloem and another schlep of 12 hours to get back - if not a little bit longer.


However I could have my rubber arm twisted if anyone in Cape Town with a 7 seater **COUGH-CapeDoc-COUGH** is going to make the trip. Or even if there is seat in sedan to make up numbers. 4 in a car makes driving easily shared and there might be chance to catch 40 winks in the car. Other wise vodka and red bull will likely be the order of the day..........


What I do know and Team Phantom can corroborate - doing it ion a team is the way to go - driver, navigator, and general team member or two!


And just ask Gerhard and iNokia just how tough it was being by themselves.


If I don't get to make it have an awesome event and 24 hour challenge.



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Thinking we might sacrifice some time "numbers" to ensure that a group photo (maybe by each group, if more than one group participates) is taken at each cache GZ. This can be added to the cache page. Do not wanna have the scenario where a cacher sits in the car and "misses" a cache or two because it is a Q&E find.


Well at least there is some time to think about it.



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Thinking we might sacrifice some time "numbers" to ensure that a group photo (maybe by each group, if more than one group participates) is taken at each cache GZ. This can be added to the cache page. Do not wanna have the scenario where a cacher sits in the car and "misses" a cache or two because it is a Q&E find.


Well at least there is some time to think about it.


I have a different view, which could be wrong to some but I need to share this with you, as you have to think and plan around this one. Some guys will try to fry me but we do it different and that will stay like it is. I am doing it my way.


Your idea is noble but there is a practical side to it. I was doing the caches alone in Bloemfontein and I have a tiny weenie experience of the caches that side. I had to select off-road on the GPS then back to on road, then back to the route and go for the next cache, just to repeat the whole story again. It was getting irritating at one stage. Make sure you have two GPS’s with you, one with the complete route and one with only off-road that you will use to find the cache. A better way is to break the route in 4 parts. It is easy to manage. Set the target at 120 caches. That will give you 30 caches per route. It will then help you to keep focus. You have 6 hours to complete one route. You start at 00h00 and at 06h00 you must have one route of 30 caches under you belt. If you want you can break it down to 3-hour routes of about 15 caches. Keep a tally chart with you to mark the progress.


You could loose a starter on your motor if you do your way. Some of the caches are so quick that there is not even time to kill the engine. On the other hand you would not like to keep your motor running with the keys in the ignition while you are 20 meters away from the vehicle. If you do 112 caches you will have to start the engine 112 times. In short words this will indicate that you will have to start the motor every 12.8 minutes. If you are disciplined and you have the go you could go down to 10.8 minutes per cache but you have to move and allow no time for playing around. Would you enjoy starting your motor every 10 minutes? If you analyse this further you could be heading for 120 to 130 caches for the 24 hours that you are planning for. I am not gunning you – I am only trying to explain the reality you face with this situation and to prepare you mentally for this record. To find the caches is not the one you have to conquer but the mental block you will face.


My team name is gerhardoosMPsa but we are three members in the team. Does this mean that I must be present with the whole team to log a find anywhere? Nope it will not do and I refuse to apply this rule. I found probably about 85% of the caches on my own. The rest of my team was not even close to the location but they share the find. Most cachers do it this way not only here but everywhere.


In Bloemfontein we will do it thus different and my team will do it my way. I have about 88 caches to be found in Bloemfontein. There is no record for me; just finds to push me pass the 1900 finds mark. As a team we will do the cache hunts on our own and not part of your group but with different rules. My wife will drive and my daughter will write the log and keep notes, I will find the cache and the engine will be kept running. My wife the driver will not hunt the caches unless I struggle then my team will join me for the find but then the motor is off and the key is with us. Hopefully this will not be needed too many times. If we get to this mark then we stop and we go for a sleep.


I hope you all the best and I hope this helped you to understand that to find the caches is the easiest part of the hunt. But there is more to this then the obvious and you have to think about this. Again, you will break the record but you have to plan for this carefully. Please remember that Trix who is a long distance marathon athlete set the record with his team and he is fit and endurance is his middle name. You will have to counter this with something else. Gerhard

Edited by gerhardoosMPsa
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Hi Gerhard


Hope you are well.


The idea of taking a photo at GZ of every cache is exactly that only an idea and is by no means a rule or a requirement. As you know my username is ScottScott and we are also three in a team. (Wife, daughter and myself) The rest of my team will not be able to join me in Bloemfontein so I never expected that every member of a team needs to be present in the Photo. You do however raise a very valid point regarding the starting and stopping of the vehicle every +/- 10min.


Breaking the trip up into routes is also the way we are going to approach the endurance race and we have identified 4 different routes. We will be using a Nuvi in the car with the routes loaded and the caching GPS’r for the finding bit at GZ.


Well this is what will make the trip so interesting. Every cachers will have their own methods and ideas. The nice thing is that we can all have a chat about it at the event a good 3 hours before the midnight starting point.


Can’t wait for it to start.


See you in Bloem. :rolleyes:



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Hi Gerhard


We will be using a Nuvi in the car with the routes loaded and the caching GPS’r for the finding bit at GZ.


See you in Bloem. :rolleyes:


All Le Mans peeps -


At this stage it is myself (definite)and Nordic Gal (95%) in this. As above. I will be using the 276C with the on-road routes,and the Oregon 550 as an off-road GPS to find the cache. The old and trusty GPS V in off-road mode will be the backup.


Fortunately the Landy has a dual battery system (and can even go to triple battery if required, and then I can chuck the solar panel on the roof rack as well), so the engine starts every 10 min should be handled OK.


What I am not looking forward to is the many U-turns that will be required as the LR has the turning circle of a full span of oxen. :)



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Hi ScotScot,

Glad you accepted my comment well. Luckily we know each other.


Now for another one. The question of U turns. This was a problem the last time. Please do not mention U turns in front of Trix and his team – they do get nervous when they hear that word. In the middle of their record attempt they were nearly wiped out by a U turn done by a certain Terrano. I have no idea who he is. Sorry for the bad U turn, misjudged myself with the speed so early in the morning.


I had a good plan until I started to hunt the caches. Suddenly I realised that there are too many U turns and I had to adapt the search and in this process I got confused and skipped a couple of caches.


There is a good macro called “CacheRoute.gsk”. Look for it on the macro page on the GSAK website. Only trick is that you can select a maximum of 24 caches. With this macro you have two options. Select a round trip or a one-way trip. I normally select a one-way trip. My mind works in a straight direction so it suits me the best. Luckily our caches are more or less in a line for the ones that this team need to get to. With my previous trip I followed the straight-line approach. Straight into a direction and straight into another direction. But this is where you need to work on your route and the choices you made will predict your measurement of success.


You can also go fancy. Run the macro called “Density”. This macro will give you the area with the highest concentration of caches. While you are fresh and ready to rock just maybe you need to get them fast and quickly. Do the less dense ones when you are tired but then you have the maximum amount of caches in the bag. When you have the areas with the highest density you could set your user flag for your selection and do the route. Export it to Map Source and set it for simulation and drive the route on the Pc first to check if the route is correctly selected. Just remember to up the speed of the different routes to get a quick simulation.


There is a third technique. A little bit nasty with a twitch. First you download all Bloem caches into Map Source. Now for the nasty trick - go to the previous record breaker cache finds as they have done it. Download their cache finds - they did mark as they found it and they have numbered it. They done a lot of planning and all you need to do are to fine-tune their effort to suit. More or less like the Chinese is doing. They copy the vehicles and they change it to something better or that is what they think they are doing. You now go back to Map Source and you plot their route exactly as they have done it. Look at the route and run a simulation on their route and fine tune their route to make sure that U turns are gone. The next step is to add all caches not done by them such as new caches on your route in the proper way. You will beat the record this way. In short – you use the previous record breakers attempt as a baseline and you fine tune.


I wonder how many times I am going to cross paths with your group. Gerhard

Edited by gerhardoosMPsa
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As jy so stil begin raak dan begin ek te vrees. Dit lyk asof Bakgat die caches uit sy kop wil leer. Met die laaste event het hy my verbaas met sy kennis van die Bloemfontein caches. Dit lyk asof hy baie ernstig is.


My vrou lief het baie lank gedink oor 24 ure en toe blaas sy die aftog. Ek is nie lus vir die alleen cache met 24 ure in die sak nie. So as ek welkom is dan wil ek graag saam met julle groep cache. Ek neem aan dat ons mekaar by die event gaan kry.


Hoe gaan dit met die beplanning? Ek neem aan die eerste cache is naby die event. As jy kan stuur my die route wat jy beplan na my e-mail toe.


Wazat waar pas jy in by hierdie groep van 24 ure? Cache jy saam met Tinkerbell of cache jy saam met die groep?


Sien julle later.


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Hoe gaan dit met die beplanning? Ek neem aan die eerste cache is naby die event. As jy kan stuur my die route wat jy beplan na my e-mail toe.



Gerhard - I am busy tweaking / fine tuning the routes SS and I generated on Tuesday evening. First I have dumped all the archived caches that were in SS's data, and then added the new ones. As I type, I am about halfway through recreating the routes and will send to you (I have your email) as soon as it is done. May only be Monday, but hopefully before then.


If anyone else wants the plan, just yell.


I needed to draw some GE paths as some of the roads / tracks are not on Garmap or T4A.


Byt vas 'n bietjie, ek is amper daar :-)



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Ek neem aan die eerste cache is naby die event.


Waar die event gehou word is daar 'n cache en tb hotel. Oorkant die pad van die event is 'n cache, om die hoek nog 3.... You get the drift :rolleyes: In die areas rondom die event is die meeste Bloem caches, as jul die roetes daar rondom goed beplan sal jul die meerderheid baie vinnig daar kafdraf. Laat weet as jul 'n opinie wil he op die roete as dit beplan is mbt die logistieke hier.


Geniet dit


Edited by Witelse
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I am reporting back - perhaps everyone else is still catching up with their beauty sleep. :grin:


The 24-hr team consisted of (in no particular order) Technonut, Bakgat and ScottScott in TN's vehicle, and GerhardoosMPa, Wazat, Tinkerbelle and Scmeirei in the other vehicle. Both vehicles traveled together for the entire 24 hours.


After logging the event cache a few seconds into the new day, the first cache (Louwtjies TB hotel) was found and logged. Then we were off and on our way.


A number of routes had been planned in Mapsource by TN and SS, totalling about 180 caches. SS did a lot of google streetview work to try and pinpoint possible cache hiding places - this proved invaluable as it led us straight to the cache on a number of occasions.


Louwtjie had advised that certain urban caches should not be done between midnight and daybreak because of security issues. So the routes were adjusted to take this into account and a bit of doubling back was done to pick these up after dawn.


We did not restrict ourselves to only the easy traditionals - a number of multis and mystery caches were also tackled, as well as a number of high d/t combinations and some koppie climbs and bush walks. I will post a list after I have caught up with my logs.


General modus operandi was to arrive at GZ, fan out and find the cache. As soon as the cache was found a team member was delegated to log it while everyone went back to the vehicles to prepare for the next cache. As soon as the cache was replaced by the finder, we were off to the next one.


In our vehicle we had a Nuvi and a GPS276C for street navigation, as well as a laptop running Mapsource. Then a Dakota, Oregon 550 and HTC Smartphone for the hunt itself. We had printed the page for each cache and these were in the vehicle, in route folders, in travel order for each Mapsource route. As we found each cache, the page was noted, numbered and filed.


There were only three DNFs for the day - much of this low figure was due to Louwtjie getting out and maintaining his caches in readiness for our visit - this was really appreciated! Naturally having seven sets of eyes looking for the cache didn't give any of the caches much chance. :)


Food and convenience stops were kept to a minimum - this caused a bit of grumbling among some members, but they saw the value of this in the end.


We had set a target of 6 caches per hour, and hoped to get to 150 for the day. We kept a running score as to where we were against this baseline, so were able to slacken the pace a bit as we built up a time 'credit' (90 minutes at one stage). These credits came in handy when we tackled the koppie caches, wanted to grab a pie and coke, or do the bush walks.


The 112th cache (and the new record) was Bloemfontein Waterfront (GC21WJF) at about 17h20, after which we had a photo session, and then retired to the nearest emporium that sold cold beer for a quick celebration - then back onto the chase.


As midnight approached we quickened the pace again, logging the final cache at Rest Awhile (GC222F1) with about 30 seconds to go. This was at a highway fuel stop and was cache number 144 for the day. Then into the Wimpy for a good feed before heading to bed.


In the morning, SS, BG, Gerhard and myself quickly did "All the Ones", "All the Fives" and three other Bfn caches before taking the long road home.


Thanks to every single team member - this was a day to be remembered. Everyone pulled their weight and participated fully. They did not mind trousers and shoes soaking wet from the dew, the lack of sleep, jumping in and out of a vehicle at least 144 times, or the blackjacks, thorns and klitsgras. :)


Thanks also to Oom Louwtjie for the effort he put into maintaining his caches especially for our visit. Finding his caches were invariably highlights of the day - we were all surprised, shocked and delighted by the astonishing variety and ingenuity of his hides. I really learned something about caching and cache placement from this Legend of Bloemfontein. Thanks also to all the other Bloemfontein COs whose caches were found by the Le Mans team.


All in all, an occasion and a day to remember for a very long time.

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Well done to the 7 new record holders, hope you've recovered! :) I have not kept track of cache growth, didn't realise that there were so many to find now without needing to go outside Bloem area. Can't believe you had so few DNFs, quite impressive.


BTW, how did you communicate between the 2 vehicles? Did you swop drivers or did Red Bull do the thing? :lol:

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BTW, how did you communicate between the 2 vehicles? Did you swop drivers or did Red Bull do the thing? :lol:




Just started getting my energy level back.


The one vehicle followed the other one the whole time - 24 hours. We never slip up. We did every cache together, so we could chat at each cache.

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BTW, how did you communicate between the 2 vehicles? Did you swop drivers or did Red Bull do the thing? :lol:




Just started getting my energy level back.


The one vehicle followed the other one the whole time - 24 hours. We never slip up. We did every cache together, so we could chat at each cache.


We never changed drivers during this trip. It took me about two days to recover fully. This is not easy at all. You are on the move for the full 24 hours. Gerhard

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Truly a wonderful experience, when I went into this I was not sure what to expect. I generally like to cache alone or at the most 3 cachers together. Now it was suddenly with 6 others, Of which I really only know two really well that been Tinks and Gerhard. So getting to interact with the others was quite something. Scott Scott I have done a few caches with so we have a general feel for each others caching sense, this too with Bakgat. However it was fun to get to know Scmeirei and TechnoNut. Both I had met before but never went out caching with them. So this was a great opportunity to learn their style. How they approach caches etc... We can learn a lot from others.


I enjoyed the fact that we could tackle a lot more than urban caches and throw in a few hills. It made my life a bit easier. I steered the group off course for two hilly caches and made the most of the opportunity to get my car stiff legs a bit of exercise. Although my feet were arguing with me due to the swimming pools my boots had become. So while the team stopped at the bottom of the hill and were on their way I had to put on my wet socks and boots and make a dash up the hill.... (Why my mother had to phone me while I was running up the hill, Lord knows). After a muscle injury in my back a week and a half prior to the event, I was happy to be able to be agile enough to get up the hills... A big worry with back injuries. Two caches quickly found and on our way again...


It was great to see that by Sunrise we had already made a number of 50 finds... although my personal tally was only around 40 by then, as I had already found some of the caches on my visit last year. My initial plan was that the team would be accomodating and take me out to all the ones so I could get my 1111th cache on this one, as I had reached 555 finds on all the 5's last year. But it was not to be... Which I could understand as it is quite some distance away.


As the day wore on I became more and more irritated by the wet boots and I was actually still wearing the same clothes... more so was Tinks still in her work outfit and high heels... and yes she cached like that...


A change of clothes about half way through was a welcome break. But no extra shoes had me still running round in wet boots.. not good for the feet.


As the night wore on we ended up been in a bit of confusion. Caches were starting to be either too out of the way or up hills, and at night that becomes a bit more of a challenge, we opted for two at the Univarsity... I guess that they were in a way a mistake, we got caught up in the confusion of how to get out as the one entrance (Way on the other side) was closed. I think at this point agitation set in. We got to T34 and then sat for about 10 minutes while team one worked out the next stop. This was the do or die moment... The suggestion was made then that we do cache and dash. find and move to the next one... no stopping round and discussing things... It was here that the teams began to relay like mad. And withing no time we had done loads of caches in no time at all...


I look back at it directly after cache number 144 and think of where we really could have made a difference, the planning was questionable, but then it is a huge task.... and now that I look at it we did a massive effort, one that required a lot of patience and planning to get right, I think we pulled it off really well. 150 was a good number to chase, but save for the DNF's and a few long hikes, it became quite surprizing that we actually found as many as we did. At one stage even 140 was looking out of reach...


To the team, a big thanks for the adventure, and well done on the 144, one day I too will hope to find that many unique caches in a day... wich can be easy, but when you take into consideration, these are Oom Louwtjie caches, then you realise that these are just not numbers but real searches... there is a difficulty factor beyond what you would normally see on any other caches... that is why a number like this becomes so much more significant....


Thanks to Oom Louwtjie and the other cachers in Bloem for an experience like no other. And thanks to Scott Scott for arranging the event, and to Gerhard for getting us from cache to cache... And the team for the great time.....

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Some statistics from the Record attempt


We had 185 caches in our "possible" database.

We found 144 and had DNFs on 3 (two of these were definitely missing).

We drove past but did not attempt (DNA) another 3 (GZ was closed for the day)

We skipped 30 completely.

We found another 5 on the 27th.


Finds by Hour




D/T Grid
















Octant (from start)




I hope to upload some datalogger stats later, but I am busy preparing for a business trip to Europe.



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