Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Grand Prix, Rogaining and StreetO - Busy Week!

It's been quite a week. Last weekend saw the first race of the Grand Prix season here in Melbourne, and I was able to attend one of the earlier days in the runup to the race itself. It takes six weeks to transform leafy Albert Park in the heart of the city into a screaming petrolhead mecca. This year, the cars have lost their scream. It sounds more like a high-speed lawnmower race.

However, and more importantly, we were able to get out on Sunday and do a six-hour rogaine. This is a long distance navigation race, named after the three originators of the concept. The map was huge and was immediately folded into four, reducing our area of interest to A3 size. Pat and I walked (quickly) together and garnered 27 controls in 5+ hours. The rest of the time was taken up with hourly drink and snackette sessions, which kept us going. We were treated to cheese toasties and melon slices at the end, which were very welcome. The weather was perfect for such a long event, 20 degrees, cloudy and dry. We had some issues with the map, a colour copy of the Melway street guide failing to indicate a high, 1.5km fence bordering the partly-constructed Regional Rail Link. It was the same for everyone, I suppose. I left my gps watch at home, but a piece of string on the map afterwards measured 27km. We were delighted to discover that we had won the Extremely Old section, which will do doubt encourage us to enter another one.

Tuesday is my favourite day at the moment. We were treated to another of Geoff's splendid park/street events, with colour map, electronic punching and barbie. Some friendly controversy arose afterwards, where splits showed that some reprobates went through the 'uncrossable' fence between 10 and 16. I can claim to be squeaky clean in this respect. I did my usual anticlockwise trundle, starting 19,11,17 and finishing 12,4,15. You join the dots. I managed all controls in 48 minutes, my watch recording 7km. Pleased with that.

All bodes well for the upcoming weekend in Beechworth. Highly technical bush orienteering on both days at Rowdy Flat & Kangaroo Crossing. I suspect a reality check may be somewhat overdue. Anyway, it's good to return to 'proper' orienteering after a long, hot summer. I may not be saying that on Monday.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

If It's A Sweaty Thirty Degrees, It Must Be Tuesday.

If it's a sweaty thirty degrees, it must be Tuesday. We head for Deakin University and Geoff's scouts orienteering event. A one-hour score format on a detailed colour map with split starts and electronic timing on a tricky multilevel area. Looking forward to it. High numbers get more points. To build in extra mileage there are some bonus points available. It pays to do high numbers first, low numbers later. A double circle means go up. A lot to remember.

I don't recall parking in a multi-storey carpark for orienteering before. I set off heading for 17 and run into trouble immediately. There are more levels here than I think and it takes me a moment to realise I can go higher. I'm not the only confused person here. I decide on 14, then overshoot 18, then back to 20, which proves to be tricky from the west. I skirt round by the roads to the north. There is a university freshers function going on here, with distracting music and chatter. I have more trouble at 19 which is not there. I tour the area and find it eventually. 

It is now time to head north across the creek. An anticlockwise loop is obvious and straightforward. Finally, I head back to the uni buildings, overshooting again at 15 before visiting all the small numbers, finishing with 7. It is quite hard to work out what I've done and what remains. I get to the finish after 50 minutes with 6.5km travelled. 8mins/km is pretty good for me on a technical multilevel area. I lose time in several places, but others fare worse, allowing me to finish fairly well up. A final score of 264 out of 270 is a pleasant surprise.

The usual good turnout provides a lively atmosphere around the barbie. My brains and legs are suitably frazzled with the high temperatures and many steps to negotiate. I think I would prefer a line event, though. The score format often leads me into brain meltdown. However, with electronic punching, at least I can't lose my control card again.