I don’t do as much orienteering as I’d like, although I’ve done over 200 courses since 1992. Orienteering, for those not familiar, is a sport where you use a map and compass to navigate a course as quickly as possible. When I’m healthy I’m usually road racing and if I’m injured I’m not going to tempt fate with an o-meet, so in the last few years I haven’t been to too many meets. One of my biggest problems at an O-meet is that I can run a lot faster than I can read and process the information on the map. If I slow down a bit (or run a lot prior to the race to get myself tired) I seem to make fewer mistakes. So with a race behind me I figured I’d hit two o-meets this past weekend.
I started the day with a 6 mile run on the Freeman Rail Trail with Petey and D-La. After a short break I drove to Weston and did a three mile run that included the summit of Doublet hill. The conservation land had numerous trails and the summit had a nice view of
After that I zipped over to
and did another 1.5 miles while bagging the top of Feake hill. It was ominously quiet there (it is in a cemetery) and there was a nice view of Waltham Boston and of the Charles River.
Finally I was off to the first o-meet of the day and after another 1.5 miles I was ready to start. The Prospect hill map is a fairly small area, but it has a lot of hills and a big trail network. It’d be hard to mess up too badly without the opportunity to bail to a trail or road and re-focus. I bashed around in the woods and had a fun time. I love the electronic punching system, you get your splits right at the finish and can watch updates on the monitor to see what place you got. I was very surprised to find that I ended up in first place!
4.8k “Green” course
I didn’t stick around very long after finishing at Prospect. Off to
Mine Falls in . My very first orienteering lesson was on the Nashua NH map back in 1992 when Steve Tarry showed me the basics of orienterring. I’ve also done a lot of running at Mine Falls and could probably figure out where most of the controls were without a map or compass. I signed up and then did another mile to loosen up. I was definitely feeling tired now and knew this would be a tough course with a lot of “fast” running. Mine Falls
The distance for any course is the optimum “straight line” distance but often you can’t go the shortest possible way. At
Mine Falls this is especially true with the various uncrossable features (Route 3, canals, , smaller uncrossable streams). I tried to keep an honest effort but felt very sluggish. I only had trouble with one control which was hung near the edge of the circle (it should be in the center), otherwise I felt it went well. The sunny day and warm temps had the park full of people. One guy saw me zip into the woods, punch the control then come crashing out and he said ‘I haven’t seen you guys out here in a while”. I thought that was kind of funny but orienteers with bright uniforms bashing through the woods probably present a memorable moment. Nashua River
I again was surprised to find out I had the fastest time of the day. I’ve run 202 o-meets since June 1992 and the two wins were my 69th, and 70th. I haven’t won back-to-back meets since May of 2002 when I ran four o-meets (and won all four) in two days. Hopefully I’ll be able to get out there a couple of more times this year.
6.8k “Red” course
Four meets in two days