Pound Bend Park lies on a bend of the Yarra River, notable for the 145 metre-long tunnel which was dug out by 19th Century miners to divert the flow of the river, making the whole of the river bend more accessible for gold panning. Like so many schemes of the time, the pickings barely paid back the expenditure.
The park is quite small and has limited technical challenge, but is made extremely attractive by its location only ten minutes from our house. I hadn't been there before, but I will certainly return. Planner Ruth took the view that it would not sustain a viable orienteering event every year, but since this series is aimed at newcomers (or which there were many) I'm not so sure.
We looked after Claudia and Max while their parents ventured out on their courses. We collected sticks, counted ducks on the fast-flowing river, played hide-and-seek in the bushes, all the while looking out for the parental return. Both came back in three-quarters of an hour, in time for us to change and prepare for our own efforts. I decided on the Big Boys course again and Pat registered for the C course.
I legged it along the path to the first control, overtaking Pat on the way, and pushed it along to the second one. Nice and easy. Later splits examination showed I was barely in the top 30 at this stage. Maybe I will catch up later. Or maybe not. I lose a small amount of time at control 6 when I run past the flag, but find a good route down the steep slope to 8, only to then stagger back up the hill to the next control. This was as good as it got, with another small miss at control 14 before chasing a kangaroo (who clearly had not followed instructions) round the hill. I finished just inside the hour, well down the order, but ahead of some of my contemporaries. Scanning the results, I could see no-one ahead of me of similar vintage, which is my usual rule-of-thumb.
I enjoyed an event which had changes of vegetation, although the climbing was challenging. I calculated 145 metres of climb (most of it late on), with the course – nominally 5.6km – taking me 6.9km. Adjusting for the climb, that's 7.2 minutes/km. At my time of life, I'll settle for that.