Monday, September 1, 2014

Orienteering at Queeny–Farsta race

You know how washing your car guarantees it’s going to rain? Well apparently scheduling an orienteering race means it’s going to be hot.  In July we couldn’t believe how cool it was until the day of the Forest Park race and then the heat and humidity returned (and stayed while we attended the Muny afterwards).  We had another gorgeous string of days until the temps just went higher and higher.  The day of the Queeny Park race the temps and humidity made it feel like 113 F, and that was before noon!

We decided that today would be about practicing skills over any real racing.  My Schnickelfritz was in control of the map and made all the decisions.  I would advise if he asked but mostly served as encourager to persevere and reminder to take sips of water from our camelbaks. 

We were introduced to a variation on the standard orienteering race—the Farsta (I’m assuming it’s named after a district in Sweden since orienteering originated in that country.  The course is made of two or more overlapping loops and there is a mass start.  Everyone is given the same map that shows all the controls, but the clue sheets that show the order in which you must visit the controls are all different.

Here’s our map.

Notice how all the odd numbered controls have two choices.  We visited one on the first trip around and one on the second time around.  Where we went to 1B first someone else was sent to 1A.  Everyone visited the even numbered controls on both laps but we’d approach them from slightly different angles depending on which control we were coming from.  We used e-punches to verify that everyone went in the order they were assigned.  In the end, everyone covered the same distance and it was just a matter of who finished fastest.

Except we weren’t racing remember, it was too hot.  I had to remind my son every time he muttered we were going to finish last.  In the end we didn’t finish last.  Another team got confused and had to backtrack to the 1A control they had missed.   Fritz got a lot of practice making course decisions.  For example, getting from 2 to 3D: the gold color indicates this is open land and should be easy running but we learned from our first lap that the field was filled with chest high weeds (although none seemed to be thorny).  Fritz had to decide if we would make better time forcing our way through the weeds or altering our course to the road which would mean a longer distance but easier to travel.  He opted for the road.  Perhaps he remembered a similar issue to a race last year (or perhaps he’s still picking burrs out of his jacket like I’ve been).

Next race is Fritz’s favorite Night-O.  We’ll report back soon.

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