Saturday, September 22, 2012

Oops I Did It Again

I started the orienteering without getting into the zone for the 10,000 map scale. Control two was my downfall. A mere 250m from control one it took me over fifteen minutes to locate - aaahhhh. Talk about a massive overshoot. I faffed like a novice - oh, yeah, I am a novice but to all intents and purposes, it was game over. With 17 controls still to find I would be lucky to make it home before dark. Looking on the bright side, my Chepstow Harriers coloured dibber looked impressive - stop, it.

But I'm getting ahead of things. It was the Standish Wood orienteering. The first of the league season - not that I'm in the league me being unhinged and all, I mean unattached. Got there early. Had a quick chat with Pat W before getting under way. Right, I've set the scene now back to the report. Today's post seems to have a slight surreal tone - must have been the low oxygen levels afforded by the high altitudes of Standish Wood.

So back to the report. After eventually finding control two I was onto control three pretty well although I was a bit hesitant, not wanting to overshoot again - there's nothing worse than someone overshooting too often, or so I'm told...

Four was another bad one. My tactics were iffy. Not coming into it from a know point presented my with the problem as I switched to headless chicken mode - not recommended. Eventually I came to my senses and found it. So having taken over half an hour to locate the first four controls and having only travelled a theoretical 1.1km - I say theoretical because I probably ran three times that - I was starting to give thought to finding a suitable campsite to bed down for the night.

From there, however, things did improve as I began to become one with the map and all thought of the campsite evaporated in the hazy afternoon sun. Controls five through fifteen were pretty spot on. I even managed to use the symbols correctly to locate the correct feature from the multiples on offer. Sixteen wasn't great but seventeen was a disgrace. I totally misread the meaning of the high resolution orienteering map and rather than running the bearing across the open land ran to what I thought was the copse on the map - only it wasn't. Resorting to 'let's see were everyone else is running to' technique I finally found it before picking off eighteen correctly and then a longish run in to nineteen, again collected without problem before finally reaching the finish.

I fully expect to come last. If I had acclimatised to the map at the start I reckon I could have notched up well inside the hour. As it was I completed in a rather pathetic 1:17:55. OK, when I say rather pathetic what I really mean is down right appalling. You'd have to try really hard to clock a slower time than that. I did, however, find all the controls - but not necessarily in the right order. Seriously though, they were all in the right order - so perhaps I might not come dead last...

Anyway, here for your amusement is my estimated route - and before you say it, no a spider didn't crawl across the page... (and in reality the squiggles for one to two and three to four were probably far more spider like than shown). Despite another poor showing it was still a highly enjoyable little jaunt. These woodland orienteering courses will be the death of me though. Why can't there be more courses set amongst the mountains, home turf so to speak.

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