Sunday, November 2, 2008

November 2 event in the South West Umstead Park

Very interesting orienteering today. No trails, no easy controls, every leg was challenging. In conjunction with perfect weather it made the course very satisfying and enjoyable. Big thanks to Joseph, Ruth and Josef!

There was also an unusual start location. We had to carpool and drive to the Old Reedy Creek road entrance. I've never been there, though, the forest itself was somewhat familiar, as Tanya and I organized an advanced event in these parts a year ago.

But back to the event. We signed up for 9.15 group, arrived on time and carpooled with Nadya and Charles to the start location. Tanya had to be in the Raleigh Little Theater shortly after noon, so we had only 2 hours to run our courses. Tanya and Michael decided to go together on Brown and I was going to tackle the Green course. I decided upfront that I must not run more than one hour (because of my knee), so I was going to watch time and switch to Brown or Red depending on how fast I was going.

Tanya and Michael started and I followed in a few minutes.

#1 was probably the easiest control on the course, but even this one was carefully hidden, so after I found it I told myself that I should expect a difficult course.

#2 proved the statement nicely. I tried to go straight north keeping to the higher ground, but veered to the left and crossed the creek to the west of the spot I was aiming to. Then I saw Tanya, Michael and Larisa even further to the left and ran toward them. That was a mistake. When I met them they appeared to be sufficiently lost and when I looked around I realized that I was rather lost myself. I decided (correctly) that I must had run to far to the west and walked east, then Tanya noticed #17. I ran toward it, checked the number, located it on the map and quickly ran to #2. Lucky.

#3 was a disaster. It took me 10 minutes to find it! Ouch...
I went up the hill and watched the re-entrant on the left. When it ended I turned north-west with an intention to cut north when the hill starts sloping down. The problem with this approach was the fact that the hill proved to be very flat and I simply couldn't distinguish where to turn. Plus I veered to the left again. As a result I reached slopes which were going down to the creek to far to the left (sounds familiar, right?). Several other people were walking in the same area looking for #3 as well. I noticed Eugene and Miles, there was somebody else too. After a few minutes of aimless wandering I decided to find a new attack point, went down to the creek and found the creeks junction. Yes, I was too far to the left, but at least I knew where I was! From the creeks junction I ran along the big creek and took #3. Whew...

I took #4 cleanly. Ran east up the hill, then north-east-east in parallel to the slope, crossed a re-entrant (again rather flat one) and then went up the hill toward the control.

Avoided an area with fallen trees by walking uphill and cutting straight to the road, used the road for about a hundred meters and went down to #5 using northern slope of the re-entrant. I would probably be better off by simply using the re-entrant's bottom, as there were a lot of fallen trees on the slope.

Crossed the re-entrant and walked straight uphill, then ran south-south-west, crossed a small re-entrant with a dry ditch and went south down the spur until I reached the bottom and found #6 a few meters further.

#6 to #7 was the longest leg and I am happy with the way I handled it. First I walked south-south-west over the big hill, then ran keeping the high ground, noticed beginning of the big re-entrant on my left and finally hit the top western branch of another big re-entrant I was running toward. Exactly where I wanted. From that point it was easy: down to the bottom, then south and looked for the pit across the second western branch.

I chose the slope running to get to #8. I think I would had been better of walking uphill and running there instead. The slope was cluttered with fallen trees and there were quite a few dry ditches too, not an easy run.

#8 was very close to the finish and I had already spent 42 minutes and was tired. So I decided to cut the course short and finish on Brown. The funny thing was that if I would simply walk from #8 to the finish it would be Brown! But I thought Brown also included #9, 10, 18 - 20... Which in reality was Green. So I ended up running Green thinking I was running Brown.

I lost time on #9. I was tired and walked up the hill. I ended up too close to the road and couldn't see the control which was about a hundred meters to the east. Finally I realized what was going on, went east and saw the control from far away.

At #9 I also parted with Eugene. We happened to run with similar speed from #3 till #9. Some controls I took faster, others - Eugene, but the end result was that we saw each other on all these controls. At #9 Eugene got a headway, as he didn't wandered to the west as I did, but apparently he lost a lot of time getting to #10, so I took it earlier and proceed with the rest of the Green course.

#10 was easy to find, but hard to get to as I was very tired. I went down to the re-entrant and further east to the big creeks junction. Then walked up the hill, crossed another re-entrant in its higher part and proceeded to the small re-entrants with the control from the top. When I reached them, simply ran down to take #10.

Walked back uphill, then west till I reached the familiar re-entrant, went up and to the top western branch to take #18.

Walked south uphill, then continued south, noticing the beginning of the second western branch and avoiding the green area. Then down to the control (#19).

Remembering the hard northern slope and crossed the creek and took souther slope. Well, it wasn't any easier... Still the control (#20) was easy to find by going along the slope and then up toward the road.

Ran further toward the road and then to the finish. Finish time: 68:09.
The time was an "OK one", #2 and #3 added minutes...
But I really enjoyed the course, and that's what counts, right?

Here is my route. Click on the image to enlarge. Blue - mostly running, yellow-brown - mostly walking.

From Orienteering

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