Sunday, 6 June 2010

Weekend of O

What a fun weekend this has been with MTB orienteering on Saturday and the longer distance colour-coded orienteering today.

I've also been messing with a little gadget called i-gotU. It's a GPS logger; it records your tracks only and does not display any coordinate information - it doesn't have a screen. It just logs where you're going, at what speed and altitude. A number of orienteerers have brought them back from overseas; they're soon to be available here. I took it to MTB O on Sat and foot O today. It downloads by USB to your computer - its own software - where your track is superimposed on Google Earth. More on this in another posting - there are a few functions I still want to try. I've only used it for track logging, with 100% success thus far.

About the Foot O today... I haven't done a colour-coded event since some time last year. Yeah, that's a long time. I missed the first event of the Series, which started end April. And then I skipped Gauteng Champs to go to Mnweni. Yes, as I stood in the starting block I had butterflies.

The event was out at Laurentia Farm - Tarlton area, off the N14. I've never been to Laurentia Farm although I've been on similar terrain in the area. I was 98% happy with my navigation today as despite some tricky controls, I walked on to all of them - no hunting. But, I did feel slow over the terrain, which is nasty underfoot with tons of rocks and long grass - not my favourite.

The one thing about orienteering is that even when happy with navigation, there are always tweaks and improvements to be made. These are mine from today's run (from i-gotU tracking)...

The big picture. S is start. E is end.
Distance 7.99km (interestingly, on O map, distance CP to CP as crow flies was 7.03km)

Control 1 to Control 2

Pink is the route I took; yellow would have been a better route, across this field. That said, it's harder work running across rough ground than running on the track, which I did. Yellow was another option but may not necessarily have scored me that much more time.

Control 2 to Control 3

X marks the location on Control 2. Route from the fence corner to Control 2 was pretty straight line. May have been faster to skirt along the fence... I was in long grass and blackjacks (lovely!). Anyway... the yellow line show a better route because I climbed through two fences on pink route at this point; faster to only have to climb through one fence... I wasn't reading the map carefully enough.

Around Control 11

I walked all the way around the tree at Control 11... silly. Eugene and Michael were off messing in the bushes way to the left. I knew they were wrong and I was right. On my O map I was within the circle. I got to the boulder cluster with tree and should have just looked to my right and I would have seen the control. I wasn't reading properly because I was distracted by the guys approaching. I said to them, "It must be right here" and as I came around the tree they saw it and I saw it. I should have hit the Control without walking around the tree.

Heading for the finish

I took the pink route from the top of the image to the bottom. I could have taken the tellow route. Only the road leading off my road (very nice, wide, open) and road on the side of the field was on the map - not the path through the field. I looked across and the field looked bushy so I decided to stick with the road. Cindy was with me and she decided to take the road along the bottom of the field. As she was running she noticed the path and took it, cutting the corner of the field. Better route, but you'd only know about the path if you'd chosen the road, which, without the path, would have probably been same-same.

So, these were the errors I could have improved on. For the rest, I'm pretty content.

Next O event is Mohales Gate on 20 June (near Maropeng). It's one of my favourite areas; sure, there will be long grass and rocks - this is the highveld! - but I like the place anyway and I haven't been there for at least two years. Info and event calendar at

1 comment:

N said...

You can import your GPS route (via GPX format) onto freeware software called 'QuickRoute' ( where you can superimpose it on your scanned orienteering map and do some general speed analyses.