We got to the event as most people were finishing but well before the organisers wanted to pack up. Jonty started first as I wanted to fuss around with my brand new heart rate monitor and make sure it was set up right. I'll return to that subject in later posts. The map itself was farmland with fences omitted. The terrain was not dissimilar to what we would expect from Katoa Po in the dark in a few hours time so it was a good opportunity to tune in to the map and terrain. In particular, the mapping of the watercourses and gullies needed my attention as they are quite unlike anything we get in Woodhill.
The first control was fairly straightforward as it was just a matter of keeping the large deep gully to my right and counting off the features. My route choice to Control 3 was not the quickest as I chose to contour around rather than go straight over the hill. The leg to Control 4 was the first big test of the course. Once back across the big gully it was over a fence to be confronted with a seemingly featureless expanse of farmland. I tried counting off the watercourses but wasn't too successful and soon I had no idea where I was exactly on the map. As I got further south I was able to use the obvious tree and the more distant green and white features to determine that I had gone too far. I turned around, climbed back over a fence that I had previously climbed only seconds before and there, hidden by a fold in the ground, was the control. I was then able to use the vegetation features to navigate to Control 5 or at least to where Control 5 chould have been - it wasn't there. I quickly ran to a high spot and scanned around, spotting Nick running down on me from the north. Figuring he was likely to be coming from the control I headed up that way and found the control about 30m northwest of where I thought it should be.
The next couple of legs held no terrors and I caught up with Nick at Control 7. I asked him whether he thought Control 5 was misplaced and he assured me it wasn't, pointing out the watercourse I had been standing in was mapped correctly (it is probably obscured by my route track in the map above). We then had a discussion about the difference between watercourses, gullies and reentrants in the context of the map which lasted the entire leg to Control 8 and which got Nick so engrossed that he failed to notice that we were running at slightly different angles and so he missed the control completely.
For the long leg from 9 to 10 I chose to run slghtly right and counted off the distinctive trees along the way. This worked well and I spiked the control. From Control 10, Control 11, while not visible, was obvious and I was feeling pretty confident. Of course, that meant that the leg to Control 12 brought me back to reality. I was probably guilty of getting scale wrong as I interpreted small features on the ground to be big features on the map. I was walking most of the way and eventually it all clicked and I was able to run the last 20 or 30 metres to the control.
For the last long leg to Control 13 I chose to aim for the distinctive tree just over half way to the control and then use the watercourse as a handrail. Jonty and others chose instead to use the big gully to the right of the straight line route as an attack point. I think the left hand route that I took was probably a bit quicker. The obvious left hand kink in my route was caused by a detour to cross a couple of fences at a gate at their junction rather than cross both of them individually.
One last fence to cross after the last control and then it was a sprint down a farm track to the finish, pausing only to trip iver a rock a couple of metres before the finish control. Duncan promptly informed me that Jonty had tripped over the same rock.
Links and Results
All events this year: Jonty 9, Steve 7
All events since blog began: Steve 13, Jonty 10