Sunday, 8 July 2012

Plenty River

Pat and I drive half an hour north to Plenty River for this week's MelBushO event. Yesterday morning, I'd scraped frost of the car windscreen, so we are in no rush today. At least a dozen kangaroos greet us as we drive in to the carpark, but the morning remains cool.

 Pat decides that the time is right for her Australian orienteering debut and registers for the short course, while I opt for something slightly more muscular.  I am getting to know one or two people now. One kind lady offers me home-grown rhubarb from her garden, gratefully accepted and already consumed as I write.

I set off on my course and enjoy the easy running, conveniently overlooking the fact that the first five legs are all downhill. What goes down, of course . . . .  The first half goes well and I reach control 8 inside 25 minutes. Something is sure to go wrong. I don't have to wait long. I overshoot number 9 and have to retrace my steps back to the path to relocate. This costs me about 6 minutes. I should have pace-counted from the attack point, but complacency knew better.

Kangaroos are everywhere. I must have seen several dozen by now. They glare at me suspiciously and it occurs to me that they may have heard about my meal last night. Perhaps it's the same ones following me. I slip away unmolested, but promise myself to leave kangaroo off the menu in future. Calm is restored and I press on.

Nearly at the end now. 13 looks easy. Hang on - I've passed it, surely. I turn south to search, but in vain. After 7 minutes of relocating, I find it on the correct path further to the north. I'd been on the wrong path. Getting tired now, I slog uphill to the finish and receive a time of 68 minutes. It could have been so much better.

Pat greets me and shows me her result. She won! My result puts me in 8th, so we go home happy, having enjoyed a great area and an excellent event. The organiser even managed to get Pat and I in the same photo while on our separate courses! What are the chances of that happening?

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