Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Local race in the rain


The local O' season began yesterday with a rainy course at Blue and Gray. The park gets a lot of use from horse riders. The rain was a mixed blessing. It kept the riders away for the day, but it made the trails slick and muddy.

Running on the trails was tricky. When you pushed off, you foot would slide a bit. When you landed, your foot would slide a bit. It felt like a harder effort wouldn't necessarily lead to moving faster. Maybe that is what it is like to ski cross country with bad wax.

A few years ago an ice storm hit the park. In places you still see evidence of the storm. I came across a few spots with a lot of downed trees. But, the most visible damage is that a lot of the trails have been changed just a little bit. When the storm knocked a tree down over a trail, it was common that the riders just moved the trail a bit to avoid the tree. Years later, the original trail is gone, but the re-routed trail is so close that you might not notice the difference. When you run trails at Blue and Gray, you need to keep that in mind and pay attention more than you might otherwise.

From what I've written, a good strategy might seem to be to avoid the trails. But, that wouldn't be right - the forest in the park is thick. And, while the vegetation isn't at summer-levels, the vegetation hasn't yet gone back to winter levels.

I like this kind of course setting for this kind of event. The controls locations were simple. But you faced some route choice problems. Too often, local course setters pick interesting, tricky control locations, but problems with the map (or with hanging the markers) make those locations weak.

Dinner? I put together a baked goat cheese salad with pears and almonds. Yum.

posted by Michael | 9:01 AM


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