Sunday, November 16, 2008

November 16 event in the Umstead Park (Whispering Pines)

Yet another great day for orienteering. No rain, and the temperature was just right.

We arrived at early (at 11.30) as Michael and I volunteered to help with the start and registration. So, naturally, we worked during the first hour until Nadya and Charles released us. And Tanya was watching two little girls our friends left with us for the weekend. With 40 girl scouts we had a lot of people attending the event, many newcomers too, which is always good to see. The only bad thing was the download box not working (again!). I really see it as a problem now. We should either test it a day before or get a spare one (which I guess is expensive...). Artem and Ken kept doing some manipulations with the box and at the end they were able to fix it somehow, but many runners left without the printed results.

Initially we planned that all three of us will run and watch after the girls in turns, but we ended up only with me and Tanya running. Michael decided to stay at the start.

Tanya ran the Orange course and I did Green. Well, actually, I did my usual "1 hour" run, which turned to be Green this time. I liked the course. It wasn't very difficult, but Nadya and Charles hidden the controls pretty well (as usual :-)). It added to the challenge. Also there were a lot of steep hills on the route, which I couldn't avoid and had to walk up quite a bit. Anyway, here is how I ran:

#1: went to the left, crossed the re-entrant and walked uphill; then when I saw cabins on the left, turned and went down to the control.
#2: walked uphill, then ran north until the slope started to go down. There I stood for a few seconds and located the stony ground on the other side of the re-entrant (I wouldn't be able to use this trick in summer time!). Then just ran straight to that stony ground and up to the control.
#3: walked up the hill, ran down aiming to the bend of a re-entrant, crossed it and walked up another hill (I told you, a lot of uphills walks...), crossed the re-entrant and ran along the slope will the control.
#4: straight to the road and them took compass bearing to the control. Missed it and reached the open ground far to the left. Corrected the mistake and took the control. Met Ken and Terese there and we ran together back to the road.
#5: used the road to get there, attacked from the road's turn, watched and counted gullies and dry-ditches without crossing them; then turned to the cluster of dry-ditches with the control.
#6: thought about using the road again, but decided against it; crossed the first re-entrant in its higher part, then went down into the second one and ran along the slope to the re-entrant with the control.
#7: walked up to the road and ran till it started to curve; met Bill there; ran by the big re-entrant and crossed to the small re-entrant I was looking for; unfortunately, didn't notice it and reached another branch (eastern) of the same re-entrant; looked for the control there, didn't find it, looked at the compass and realized the mistake; went west and got the control.
#8: ran north-north-west over the hill and down the slope (but not straight down!), then cut through the green to the trail; the green area was bad, I could have probably been better off running all the way down that hill and then turning west, but I really wanted to reach that trail; after I got to the trail the control was very easy to find.
#9: used the road to get there, that was a mistake: the road went up, so I spent a lot of effort; I should have used the lower ground to get to the creek instead. Once at the creek, the control was easy to get.
I looked at the clock at #9 and realized that I spent 35 minutes to get that far. I wanted not to exceed 1 hour, so I had to turn back now, which meant finishing on Green.
#13: walked all the way up to the road, then ran east crossing and counting upper parts of re-entrants, reached the hill and followed it to the saddle.
#14: ran south-west using the high ground, then went down to the re-entrant and reached the road; used the road to get all the way to the control and walked up crossing gullies till I found it.
#15: back to the road, across the bridge; ran by the shore till the first re-entrant, but it was very slippery on the dry leaves in that area, so I decided to get away from the shore asap; went over the hill to the middle of the second re-entrant, crossed it, went up another hill to the beginning of the third re-entrant and aimed to the control from there; unfortunately missed and realized the mistake only when I saw that familiar stony ground ahead; turned back and took the control.
#16: was too tired to attempt the straight run, so used the re-entrant to get almost to the lake, then went up the control's re-entrant; it was easy to find this way.
Then barely managed to crawl up to the camp - the slope was very steep and slippery...

Ended up spending exactly 1 hour on the course.

Huge thanks to Nadya and Charles for organizing the event, it was fun!

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

From Orienteering

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