September 20, 2009

National Orienteering Day: Sun and Shade

It was a gorgeous day for a park meet, especially National Orienteering Day. The sun was out, breeze was light, and the controls were hung on the distinct trees with care. We thought a more curious member of the Society (SCA for those in the know) next to us might be inclined to find out what all these flags were about, but quite probably their clothing would be problematic. We greeted a fine mix of guests new to orienteering, various inquires from passers-by, and gave our experienced attendees a heady challenge that kept them running hard.

There were three groups who found some excitement on the "easy" (aka beginner) course, a nice loop around the zoo. Kelly Carlen came with his son last year; this year he brought several scouts with him as our event jived nicely with their orienteering work in the troop. They were out early and back first; I thought they might try intermediate but lunch must have been too interesting this time! Then Barry and Greta came on Dondi's invite (they happen to be our next door neighbors), as they were in the park riding the swans. Greta did well spotting controls along the way, and Barry could fall back on his piloting experience if necessary. Hope they try a course again! David Bergset also arrived with Neva and her son Sebastian, and set out together on beginner with Sebastian leading the way, and handily won the category.

On Harder (intermediate), which provided some very interesting route choices and stretched into BSU, the first eager takers were the Hall family, who have seen our stuff a couple times before. They came in breathless in a string of finishers, no worse for the wear. Peter Beckner and son took on the course not far behind them and shaved off a few minutes; they snagged a new watch from Shu's to watch the time even more closely in future meets. Then David Bryd solo'd a run through the course and settled into first, maybe being set for an advanced course next time?

Yet another three took on the Score challenge on the Hardest (advanced) course - a variant we haven't had in a long time on this map, it seemed - and all found the 30 minute time limit to collect as many controls as possible quite challenging. (There was 5 minutes to plan before starting.) All of them, however, picked up the 20 pointers! Jay Morgan matched wits closely with Michael Tobin (his first meet on this map), and edged out ahead, helped a bit more by Michael realizing he mispunched a box after he finished. (And Michael thought he was out for a nice easy Saturday jog!) Jeff Decker went out a little later and turned in a very respectable score given more judicious selection of controls.

Easy: 1.46km, 8 controls
1. Sebastian, Neva, and David: 21:47
2. Barry and Greta: 28:36
3. Carlen scout group: 34:00

Harder: 3.03km, 10 controls
1. David Byrd: 33:45
2. Beckner family: 42:42
3. Hall family: 57:32

Hardest: Score, 25 controls (5, 10, or 20 points each), 30 minutes
1. Jay Morgan: 235 (29:55)
2. Michael Tobin: 220 (29:16) (MP #18)
3. Jeff Decker: 180 (28:00)

Special thanks goes to Andy Hill, the indirect director who assembled the courses, maps, and gear in advance by my house on Friday. (Hope those tomatoes made it worthwhile!) Lee Scott and Jeff Decker were also vital co-directors in helping setup the start area, handle the many guests we had, and helped pick up controls (as well as pack my car while I got a few more).

Next month Jeff D. is planning something even beyond our fairly regular fall Night-O - stay tuned, and gather some garlic and headlamps! That will be Saturday, October 17th, at 6pm. See you then.

Jeff Black

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