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Monday, 30 November 2009

Orienteering Achievement of 2009

It's time to vote for what you think was the greatest orienteering achievement of 2009. Follow the link below to vote for your favourite, and be in the draw for a few prizes.

Somehow The Fornicator was omitted from the list of finalists unfortunately.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Toi's Challenge

James, Greta, Rebecca and I headed out to Toi's Challenge in Whakatane on the Sunday of the MTBO Champs. Toi's is an 18km trail run from Whakatane over to Ohope and back. It is also the first race of the 2009 North Island Mountain Running Triple Crown. We picked up our numbers and discovered Denis de Monchy was also running so a good crew of orienteers in the race. The race has a road bash to begin then the steepest climb up from the center of town. Includes stairs and some steep bits of trail. In my usual style I took off fast. Once on the steps I started drifting backwards and was impressed when Denis passed me to take 6th or 7th place. He was flying up the hill! The trail from here ducks and dives down to a bay, before climbing again after a little rock dodging. As a popped onto Ohope Beach I could see Denis in the distance and set about catching him. James was doing the same behind me. I managed to get past Denis on the next climb and set about finding a good rhythm for my failing legs. Meanwhile James was starting to take splits on the gap between the two of us. It hovered around a minute for the rest of the course. I came in 10th just over 90 mins with James 40 sec back in 12th. Denis held on to 15th about 2mins down on James. Rebecca ran a solid race and was held back at the end by some stitch. Not going to be drinking water before the last hill next time I think. She was a little disappointed to be 6th, but it was a classy field. Ex-mountain biker Annika Smail took the win in a very impressive fashion. Greta was pleased to finish and be alive. After competing in her first two MTBO races yesterday she was on the start pretty tired. Finishing in just over 2 hours was a good start to her month of running races. We're all looking forward to the Kauri Run next week (except James who is running the Kerikeri Half). Would be cool to have heaps of the national squad at the races, would be some very interesting battles.

NZ MTBO Champs 2009

Anyone worth their salt in New Zealand mountain biking knows all about Rotorua. Whaka forest is one of New Zealand's best mountain biking locations. Trails like Corners, Huckleberry Hound, Split Enz or Tahuroto Ariki. A dry day on Rotorua trails is like a day in heaven for me. Saturday was one such dry day. The trails were dry without being dusty and we had a full day of mountain biking to enjoy it. I have neglected MTBO a little of late. An event last month at Rob and Marquita's was the first time I had ridden with a mapboard (not in an adventure race) for quite a while. The nature of the navigation means that it doesn't take too long to get back into it. I was very rusty at the start of the middle but got into in time for the sprint. The Whaka forest map has the added challenge of unidirectional tracks. The caught out a few people leading to big punishment for lapses of concentration. Saturday began with the middle. Starting up past Waipa Mill we had a course with not too much climb but plenty of route choice. In this race one bad route choice wouldn't ruin your race but it would cost you time. I was loving the trails and lifted my pace through the course. The race was looking close at the 3/4 mark with only 20seconds between me and Andrew Bott. The duel to the finish didn't eventuate with Andrew losing time on a a leg with a taped route option that also caught out Jamie. Marquita showed her absolute class and easily rode away with the women's race. Marquita in the middle. I couldn't resist the call of the forest so went and rode some of my favourite trails between the middle and the sprint. The forest was the best i've seen it for ages. The sprint was up near the old haro trail. This area has a really intricate track network, with heaps of junctions and lots of unidirectional portions. It was interesting to note the weaknesses and strengths of various riders. Nick Mead was quick through the singletrack but nav mistakes cost him a good result. Andrew Bott was the same. Jamie was looking good to challenge for the win only to make a mistake on number 8, a control that caught lots of people. I managed to get 8 right and pick the fast routes on the last loop to get a win. It turned out in the sprint that the longer road routes were faster, just too many corners and intersections on the trails to be able to keep enough speed. Marquita once again won, a big margin showing fast bike speed and spot on nav. I didn't race the long on sunday, I was racing Toi's Challenge. Andrew Bott grabbed the win in mens and Marquita made it three from three. Greg doing some sweet skids

Monday, 16 November 2009

Hawkes Bay Training Weekend

Now that I've just about recovered from the stressfest that is the end of the university year, thought it was about time to give Tane a bit of a break and start contributing to the blog again.

So a week ago, the Wellington o-gang ventured up to Hawkes Bay for a weekend of adventure, sun-tanning, training, and in general to make the hb crew jealous of our awesome little training group and amazing skills. Todd Oates, Michael Wood and Jamie Stewart set up some exercises for a fun filled day of training on Smedley on the Saturday. (well, Todd and Jamie set their's on the day, but we'll forgive them so long as they bring amazing food to the next potluck). First up was Jamie's exercise, aiming at reading all the detail on the map, but keeping moving the entire time. After half an hour practically canyoning we got to Jamie's start (we could have taken the road around the gorge but where's the fun in that?) Every control in the exercise was a distinctive tree...on a hill side covered in literally 100's of mapped distinctive trees, and a fair few unmapped! Personally i found the exercis good, although i did hear a few grumbles about the multitude of trees. But reading the contours and other non-arboreal features it was possible to determine when you were at the right tree!

Once everyone had regrouped we progressed onto Todd's exercise, with the aim of being 'smooth'. Having found our way back across the gorge to Todd's start, the exercise then took us in a loop across a spur, and then through a series of controls back across the gorge again! The final leg of the exercise was a meaty route choice, although having been through the gorge a fair few times already, it was apparent that biting the bullet and taking the climb rather than the gorge option was optimal. Undeterred by this, i took up Rita's challenge of trying out the different route choices. This resulted in her beating me to the finish by 10 minutes whilst i tried to bush bash and rock climb my way out of the gorge!

After lunch we moved on to Michael's exercise. going in pairs, the leader would navigate a leg by memory, whilst their partner ran along behind with the map, memorising the next leg. As Michael intended, it was apparent from this just how much faster you can run when you have your route memorised and arent constantly checking the map! A real valuable exercise i thought, even if my legs were shot by the time we did it!

On the Sunday we ran the HBOC OY event on 'the Slump'. A few of us were a little apprehensive of the stroppy cows on this map, given previous experiences, however we all managed to escape unscathed. Despite all feeling rather tired from the full days training the day before, it's fair to say the wellington o-gang dominated the red-long and medium courses. Jamie Stewart and Penny Kane took out the Red Long wins whilst Nick Hann and Laura Robertson showed up the locals, winning Red-Medium.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, hope there are more to come, and bring on wellington champs next weekend!

(I'll attach a map of the training when i find it...)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

An attempt at writing something Interesting about TONIC 09...

Its over a week since TONIC...thought maybe some of the North Islanders would be keen to write something up about it...but its exam time and Jamie apparently has a lot less free time these here is a brief attempt by me to give a run down of the weekend.

Friday night, myself, Matt and Lara took the afternoon off work and flew up to Auckland to arrive in time to the Mini-multi-sprint event. Three intense short races in quick succession. First race was trickier than it looked and you were forced to orienteer straight from the word go. No easing our way into it, just blam, control, control control, finish. Next race was Mt Albert itself. Steep, short and a big(?) scale...which caught a few out. The third was probably a more traditional type of sprint race, lots of buildings fast running and quick decisions with a little longer to sort yourself out. Darren dominated winning by 20 seconds over three races, I was second and local boy Gene Beveridge showing out in 3rd place. The women's grade was cleaned up by three speedy juniors, Angela Simpson, Laura Robertson and Kate Morrison in that order.

Then after buying some over priced Albany apples it was off to Woodhill for day two. Middle distance race with no tracks on the map...not sure what the planner was up to here but it wasnt too hard to switch of the tracks in my mind as well as the map. Jamie showed that he still had it in him and finished in second (Smithson was unofficial due to doing the 1st 3 controls of course two before starting...) Darren dominated again and James Bradshaw jumped into the mix. Lara Prince with lots of orienteering under her belt in the previous few weeks showed the North Islanders how to navigate in their there own forest. Lizzie Ingham was second and Rebecca Smith third.

The evening was preceded by a meal at a Muriwai Golf course with some rather stressed and under prepared kitchen staff running around pulling their hair out...what was there tasted good anyway... Then the big race the Halloween special night event. I believe Duncan Morrison was victorious beating Greg Flynn who decided half way through to start taking it seriously...Batman had all the light in the world but lots of trouble seeing through his mask...

Finally the weekend was wrapped up with the Long Distance race in and around the infamous Maze area at Woodhill. A varied course with some interesting sand dune features and some mysterious areas was once again dominated by Darren, Second was James with Myself making up the "best of the rest" in third. The W21E grade was just a complete reverse of the top three from the day before!

Some nice orienteering in a nice area...think I'm starting to get a hang of these sand dunes....or else I'm just beginning to get like everyone in Auckland and Im starting to get to know the area quite well....Stand out performer in the weekend was Gene Beveridge, keeping the current crop of elites on their toes!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Seven kinds of Prickly

Orienteering at Labour Weekend this year was held down in the deep South...and although some of those pansy North Islanders (Mark Lawson excluded!) decided it was too far to come down and had their own crappy OY's in cutty grass filled sand dunes... the 3 awesome events went off without a hitch.

Saturday Afternoon, Otago University/Polytechnic. Fast, Intense urban sprint. Carsten blasted around the course to win the M21E grade, only to be beaten unofficially by the mapper (yours truly....) by 3 seconds. 4th Place getter from JWOC 2008, Anna Forsberg from Sweden took out the women's grade.

After a feast of a few slices of pizza on Saturday night it was off down to Gabriels Gully in the small town of Lawrence. Carsten had finished this map just in time for this event, and the map didnt disappoint. It was a really cool little area except for the massive ammounts of green shit. There was just about every type of green prickly stuff you could think of excluding matagouri, cutty grass and Spaniards. I ran first and got very frustrated blazing a trail through the sticky prickly bush and ended up at the head of the pack a few seconds in front of Matt Scott. Mark Lawson was just a few seconds behind that. Anna again took out the womens grade just ahead of Lara Prince. It was the kind of map that Chris Forne would just eat for breakfast! Very frustrating but very fun...especially when you win!

The end of the good weather came on Monday at Cuttance Block, opposite the airport in Dunedin. The map has recently had an extension and the addition has just made this awesome map ten times better. Carsten was dominant in the wet and steep conditions, with Matt finishing close behind. Anna completed a clean sweep of the weekend beating everyone on course two including the M20 winner by 20 seconds.

Overall an excellent weekend of Orienteering down in the South. Would have been better had there been a good number of elites turn up but obviously it was bad timing with exams for most of the juniors falling in and around the same time of the year....but such is life!