Monday, May 19, 2008

May 18 event in Schenck Forest

It was one of those days when calendar is too full of entries and every minute counts. Orienteering started at noon, Michael had a soccer game at 2 PM, then he and Tanya were going to the Vertical Edge club to do belaying on a birthday party while I had to be in the airport at 4 PM. So coming to the event we agreed not to spend more than an hour of our courses, which suited me well. Michael went on Yellow, Tanya on Brown and I had chosen Green.

The event was also a significant milestone for me, as the map used there was the one I was working on for the last 6 months. If you read this blog before, you probably saw my posts about mapping in Schenck Forest. So yes, it was all done specifically for this event.

Anyway, back to the course. Tanya and Michael started, but I was still looking at the course. Despite overabundance of trails and other features on the map, Ron was able to set pretty challenging green course, there were indeed several legs to think about carefully. Especially 6-7 and 14-16 ones.

I finally started and made my first mistake right there. I don't know what was it: over-confidence or something else, but I missed the correct re-entrant and overshoot good 60-70 yards until I realized what was going on. Returned back and actually met Tanya right at the control. I think I lost about 2 minutes there.

OK. Control #2 wasn't that hard, but I missed it too! I was running on the trail looking on my left for the re-entrant to appear and apparently missed it. Corrected myself at the small creek crossing, went over the creek, back and took the control. Not a big deal, but I also realized that despite me knowing the map so well, I still better be due-diligent about my orienteering and should treat the course seriously. There were no more mistakes after that (at least I think I have good excuses for other "curves").

In case of #3, #4 and #5 I knew exactly where the controls were going to be, so I was simply making some trade offs between the straight lines, terrain and forest density. Got a bit of a dog leg between #3 and #4. I didn't remember #6, but it was very easy to take from the trail. I met Tanya there again.

Then came the biggest leg on the course. I was already somewhat tired, so from that point on I was trying to avoid any extra elevation and hard forest. I crossed the creek and then avoided using the big re-entrant and went for the hill instead. The reason was that I remembered a lot of fallen trees in that re-entrant, so I took advantage of that knowledge. I ran up the hill, used one of the trails for a little bit, then took compass bearing to the left of the control and ran as straight as I could without paying attention to other trails. It worked out quite well, I hit the fence and went to the right to take the control.

#10 proved somewhat difficult for me to find. I was watching both terrain and trails while getting there but couldn't find the actual control quickly as it was very well hidden in the green.

Went to #11 using the creek as a handrail. Not sure it was the best choice, but at least I avoided climbing up a steep slope, which was a priority for me.

#12 was an easy find from the trail as well as #13. I used trails both times and I didn't go straight. I think it was a right decision. I wonder if anyone of you went straight there?

I knew where #14 was going to be, but nevertheless it took a while to get there. Underbrush was quite dense in that part of the forest. Then I decided to go straight #16. I took compass bearing, but it didn't help much. Underbrush was so thick that I lost a direction and exited it way to the west of the control. Quickly corrected myself, took #16, climbed out of the pit from the second attempt (brrr...) and ran to the finish.

Ended up spending 59.44 - perfect timing :-)

Michael already finished, but Tanya was still in the forest, so I had some time to talk to other runners. Josef, Ken and Terese were talking about possible set of sprint events for this summer. That would be awesome! If there are no issues with getting parks permissions let's do it!

Here is my route. Click on the image to enlarge.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Girl Scout Orienteering Event in Umstead

A few weeks ago Artem, Tanya and I volunteered to organize an orienteering event for Girl Scouts on May 4. As the date approached Artem designed a yellow course and coordinated all the logistics. There were really no work for me and Tanya until the actual event day.

On May 4th, we left the home early, picked up the maps from Joseph's porch and met Artem at the Girl Scout's camp parking lot in the North Umstead. Splitted the controls between three of us and set them quickly. Then Artem teached the class. It was hard. Imagine 19 nine years old girls and 4 parents, girls loosing attention all the time and parents trying to keep the discipline and at the same time listen to Artem. The hardest part was alignment of the map and compass - I don't think many students got it... At least not in the group I went with after the class.

Anyway, the class was over and off we went. I decided to go with the group #4, as a lady who chaperoned this group was really struggling with the concepts. She was visibly relieved when I told her that I'll stick with them :-)

Much to my surprise the girls got the idea pretty quick, but it was also clear that they enjoyed rocks and streams more than controls :-) Also half of the girls were always running ahead, while another half lagging behind along with the lady. Speaking about different temperaments!

After control #5 where we had to cross a creek the group started to fell apart. Some of the girls as well as the chaperon lady got tired, while others were trying to push ahead. The only uniting factor were occasional dogs on the trails. Every dog we met was thoroughly petted by the whole group. Girls, what can I say!

But, apparently, there were not enough dogs on the course... By the time we reached control #6, the tired part of the group became very tired and wanted to go back to the camp. It was a pity, as other girls wouldn't mind to finish the course. Fortunately, we also caught up with the group #3 and were able to re-group: girls who wanted to proceed went with that group and I walked the tired ones up to the hill and to the camp.

Artem and Tanya were already there and 45 minutes later everybody has finished. It looks like they liked the activity. And a tortoise they found on the course made the day!

Who knows, it might be the same one I saw sitting on top of the ribbon a month ago during the April event.