A trip to Beechworth in the far north-east of the state, found us leaving our accommodation at some ungodly hour to make the trip down to the quaintly named town of Eldorado (pop 287) for Yarra Valley OC's event on the Kangaroo Crossing map. My satnav is extremely stupid however, and delivered us to a gated track in the middle of nowhere, such that we were obliged to reverse uphill for several kilometres. I would like to apologise publicly for the abuse which I hurled at the unfortunate navigational device during the next few tense minutes. Eldorado proved to be elusive, and just as we had declared it to be nothing more than a myth, it emerged from the early morning light to pave our way to the event assembly area.
My course, planned by the ever-experienced Ted, provided something of a shock when revealed to me, namely a long first leg diagonally across the map, with no obvious route. Go straight, or maybe round to the left, or round to the right? Hopping from one foot to the other, I eventually plumped for right, using a track and a rock slab to get me to the first control. Twenty minutes later I arrived. A few short legs were a welcome relief and then another long stretch back towards the start point. As before, I headed south-west towards a track but was persuaded by the confident progress of an orienteer ahead to abandon this plan and head up to the top of the spur before control 5. This was a mistake. Hoping to use open areas before my control to lead me into my flag, I became confused here and stopped short. Eventually I decided to go further but several minutes were lost.
6-7 proved to be my downfall. Following a careful bearing across the creek and up the hillside, I somehow got pushed off course and floundered about in low-visibility scrub until my ever-increasing circles technique, perfected over some years, led me to a dried-up gully with a flag in it. It was mine! However, 6 precious minutes had evaporated on what should have been a fairly easy task. How we like to provide problems of our own making!
All went well after, with a long downhill sequence into the finish. 75 minutes for 4.5km seemed profligate, but others suffered similarly and my result looked respectable at the end of the morning. I changed and went to assist the finish team on dibber download, which was a great way to put names to faces. I can report that the best runners all have two arms and legs, just like the rest of us.
A few hours later, we were in the car and heading back to Melbourne. Should you find a satnav in a bin in down-town Eldorado, I don't want it back.