Sunday, 28 June 2009

MTB Oh-so-fabulous

This morning was the second of the MTB orienteering events this year - totally fun and enjoyable. This time the event went a bit urban, using roads to link Albert's Farm and Emmarentia.

Yesterday I attended my second Parkour session; my first was 18-months ago. Despite my interest in and enjoyment of the sport it seems to have been a matter of waiting for a gap and the right time to go again. Dane Grant, the guy who heads up Parkour in South Africa, has been in the UK for the last six years. Now that he is back momentum is gathering, powered by structured month-end training sessions.

After the session we were chatting and I asked Dane whether he had a mountain bike. His answer was affirmative so I invited him to join me at MTB O. He was totally keen. How cool! I'd landed myself a buddy for this morning's event.

I woke up with shoulders a little stiff from yesterday's Parkour session and feeling my quads a little from 'precision jumps'. Many parkour moves are explosive, like plyometrics - and they demand balance and control. Fortunately I wasn't stiff like 18-months ago when I couldn't sit up in bed the next morning - I had to roll to get up! So the signs were good.

This morning we were blessed with a beautiful clear blue sky and an icy wind - typical highveld winter's day. We registered and I gave Dane the low-down on how orienteering works, about the maps etc. And then we started. The early part of the route involved LOTS of hill climbing and going to #4 I requested a quick walk - arrggghhh... Parkour jumps and hill climbing don't go well together. My quads felt better later on after warming up completely.

We met up with Heidi and Craig (riding solo) at a piece of open ground where there 'should' have been a control. I thought the open land had come up a little too soon after the bend, but wasn't overly concerned. We thought the control may have been swiped so we took a photo of the four of us. Craig spotted two riders popping out on to the road just below us - there was another strip of open land! The first one wasn't on the map. Doh!

Fortunately the second half of the route was on flatter territory around Emmarentia dam and the suburb.

Zip-zip-zip we were back to the finish after a super morning (2hrs) on our bikes. Piers won the long course in about 1h14. MTB O navigation is easier than foot O, especially when roads are also used. This makes for a nice, smooth course.

Dane was a super O buddy, with natural navigation ability. Over terrain, on foot, where we have to scramble over rocks and logs and low fences he would roast most of us; we'd clamber ungainly and he'd fly over the obstacles Parkour-style. The sports have good synergy. Well done Dane.

Alex, Dylan and Nathan presented a really lovely event this morning - thank you guys.

The third (of five) MTB O events will be on Sunday, 4 October in the Hennops Valley area, presented by Adventure Racing Club.

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