Saturday, November 15, 2008

Up North Orienteer's Club championships

Today I went to the Up North Orienteer's (UNO) club championships in Hollis, NH. I haven't done an Orienteering meet since June, but this timed out well with my training and fitness level.

I started Orienteering in 1992. I had qualified for the Olympic trials for the marathon and the questionaire asked if you were interested in learning Orienteering (O, or O-ing). I remembered using map and compass in the Boy Scouts and thought it would be fun. I was teamed up with Steve Tarry (and experienced Orienteer) and I found I really enjoyed it.

Peter Anderson a top local O-er, trained with me for many years in the early 90's. Note I'm wearing one of my many Alarm t-shirts and I've got my ankles taped.

The object is to use a map to navigate as quickly as possible through a course, typically in the woods. You have to go to various locations called "controls" and punch a card to prove you visited the control. It is a great mix of thinking and running. There are many versions of O-meet, including bike-o, trail-o, XC ski-o, canoe-o, pretty much anything you can think of.

Over the years I've competed in over 200 O-meets with distances from a 2Km sprint to a 24 hour race and everything in between. I've also been a meet director at over 25 meets. Cath and I were founding members of the UNO club in the mid-90's. We don't compete as much as we'd like to, but every once in a while we get out in the woods and challenge ourselves.

Note the Nike Elite classic's that I'm wearing! Picture Circa 1994

So, today I headed to Hollis for the club championships. There was a full menu of courses and I chose the Red course, which was the championship distance for my age category. I headed out for an easy mile to warm up then off to the start.

The run went relatively smoothly. I didn't make any major mistakes but I spent a lot of time on the rocky hillside descents. It was very wet in the woods, and raining off and on. I had to be very careful not to twist an ankle. I had some trouble with one control and was about to bail and head for a trail to figure out exactly where I was. Just as I did so I saw the control!

Pete Bundschu shows how wet and dirty you can get in the woods! Pete made the original hand drawn map of Beaver brook MANY years ago.
The meet directors did a great job setting some interesting courses. I was one of the early finishers (you can start any time from 10-1), so I don't know how I did.

Here I am kicking in to the finish.

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