Monday, 29 June 2015

Bush orienteering - a lovely long leg

Our orienteering calendar has a variety of events. The beginning of the year is dominated by the Urban Series, a collection of 10 events that are held on urban terrain - places like university campuses, large school properties, city parks, botanical gardens and golf courses.

With winter comes the start of the Bush events, which are my favourite-favourite. Here the navigation is more technical and the terrain more challenging, especially up here on the highveld were we have rocks and grasses and bushes and wag-n-bietjie thorny trees and rocks and rocks...

My club hosted the Bush orienteering event at Hennops Farm yesterday. This was the second event of the Bush Series; there are eight in total from now until mid-October. Margaret did the controlling with Pascale learning from Margaret and trying her hand at assisting with planning.

I ran the brown course - and what a superb course it was!

For the most part my navigation was more than spot-on and I thoroughly enjoyed this terrain that really allowed us to move 'as-the-crow-flies'. There was little restriction to our movements due to vegetation and so for the most part I avoided the paths and played with straight-line navigation.

There was one leg of particular mention - between Control 2 and Control 3. Heading to #1 and #2 I'd folded my map and leaving 2 I unfolded my map to reveal the next leg.

"Oooohhh weee!" I shrieked with glee as I started running towards my destination.

There were two options here...

  1. Head back the way I'd come (a gate in the uncrossable fence) and run on the trails heading for Control 3 (yellow line)
  2. Go cross-country (pink line)

Let's take a look.

I didn't go totally straight-line from 2 to the fence corner to avoid dipping-into and climbing-out-of the valley. That's why I took the track along the fence, which made for easy, no-brainer running.

Most went for 1 (yellow). Margaret seemed to think that 2 (pink), which I went for, was actually faster because you don't drop and then climb up again - the gradient is more pleasant. Mmm... I'm not sure.

I wasn't particularly racing and I stopped to chat to Celliers for a bit near the fence and then I overshot 3. The road continued a bit further than indicated and I actually went off the map, which I realised immediately and backtracked - but I lost time anyway as I was a bit uncertain how far I'd overshot. So my split for this leg really won't be representative of the potential of this route.

Assuming two orienteers of similar speed and ability take on each route, which do you think would work out better?

Overall this was a very, very enjoyable course with great direction change and spot-on control placement. I really loved that I could go straight-line for most of the controls. Gauteng Champs are on this next weekend in Hilton, KZN and the next Bush event is on 19 July at Big Red Barn, also presented by AR Club.

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