Monday, February 13, 2012

Night-O at Bond Park (Feb 2012)

Night-O is among my favorite events and is probably the most anticipated one. We only do it once a year after all. So, yeah, I've been counting days :)

Also Mihai somehow always manages to add extra twist to the event, whether it is a flood or, in this case, bitter cold and wind. Seriously, it was the first and only really cold evening during the whole winter! After the finish, having crossed creeks a few times, I realized that my pants and shoes were covered in a thin layer of ice! Now, this hadn't happened to me before - even during winter orienteering back in Belarus.

I am not going into too much details about my route - you can see it below, but here are a few highlights:

1. I left the western part of the map for the end because I knew that I was bound to get wet there and I really really didn't want to run the whole course with wet feet in such cold weather. Also I wasn't particularly looking forward getting into thorns which were abundant on that side - and wanted to postpone it as much as I could.

2. I went for 46 right from the start, even though, I knew it was a good finishing control. Still it was on my way, so why not take it right away. I caught up with Brian on the very next control, so it was a right choice.

3. Despite not taking ideal routes from 57 to 58 and 58 to 62, I was able to keep up with Brian. We met at every control up until 56 where he went east and I continued north. I was at 17 mins mark there and figured that there was a high probability of taking all the controls, so naturally I was looking for a route which would include all of them.

4. And I got into trouble on the very next control! Couldn't find it from above, went down to the creek, met Tanya, figured the control got to be higher and more to the west and indeed it was there. Lost a minute or so there.

5. Next two controls also proved to be challenging. First I missed re-entrant with 55 and had to come back. Then I couldn't spot 61 on the hill. Kiwi helped me there! She ran to me and then back to Joseph who was at the control. I simply followed her :)

6. Met Tanya again at 42, then took the trail around the visitors center. Was running and thinking that I should have gone straight instead of going around (but looking at the map now, I could see that the trail was a good option).

7. Reached 44 at 33 min mark - plenty of time left, though, I rightly suspected that it'd be harder in the west part. It was.

8. Crossed the knee deep creek between 54 and 59, tried to climb steep bank on the other side, fell, eventually climbed the bank, ran to the control and realized that I lost the map! Oh, no! I thought it was all over and my map was flowing down the creek... Went back to the bank where I fell and to my great relief found the map - it was hanging on one of those thorny vines.

9. Crossed the creek again between 59 and 66 - being already wet I didn't care anymore :)

10. Couldn't find 68 for a while. It's a tough place without good attack points. I turned into the green a bit too early, but eventually found the control by walking east.

11. Crossed the creek between 65 and 52 and got seriously stuck on some thorny vines. Got scratched all over and managed to make a deep cut on my left thumb, so it started to drip blood to the flashlight handle and the map quite profusely.

12. I had 5 mins left at 51 - just enough to take the last control and finish on time!

All the controls in the bag and final time: 59.52 - couldn't have been better!

Huge thank you to Mihai for yet another great Night-O!