Race report: Don’t Get Lost X-League Orienteering Race – Breithaupt Park

This week I headed to Breithaupt Park in Kitchener, Ontario for my 2nd ever orienteering race, a weeknight race that is part of the Don’t Get Lost X-League Series (very low key, $5/race). Looking at the list of people who had confirmed their attendance, I could see that it would be a smaller group than my first race a couple of weeks ago.

It was a 20 degree Celsius sunny November day (yes, November!), with the evening temperature a bit cooler but perfect.

I arrived at the park with my required compass, watch, headlamp and whistle, and this time, chose to carry a water bottle, because last time I got pretty thirsty and wished I’d had it with me.

Since I got there early, I had a few minutes to explore the park’s trails before things got going.

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Checking out the trails before the race…as happens when the women’s washroom is closed.

Just before 7 PM, there was a short pre-race briefing, during which we learned that we would have to find the 4 “easy” controls first, come back to the race start/finish, check in quickly with Meghan, then head out to find as many of the others as we could. This park is quite a bit smaller than Kerncliff Park, so Meghan felt that I would have more success than my first time out, when I found just 2 controls.

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Race map pre-race.

I had had time to study the map, so I planned to find #2 then #4 then #3 then #1, and if I still had time left, go for #6 (at the intersection of two trails).

And just like that, the race began! I started running in the same direction as several others, but cut into the parking lot with another woman. We quickly realized that there was a small fence around it and we were trapped! What a start!

We backtracked and headed for the trail again, which wasn’t hard to find despite it being pitch dark, because 1) we were wearing headlamps and 2) it was a wide gravel path. I did not need my compass for the first two controls, only the map, because I just needed to follows the paths. The next one was not far from my pre-race path exploration, so it too was easy to find. And then I headed for #1, which should have been easy, but I overshot it, somehow running right past it without seeing it, then taking a path I shouldn’t have, and finally running way further than I need to. I’m still learning to judge the distance on the map, though this time I remembered to look at the map scale (1:5000, so 1 cm = 50 metres). I went forward and back, thinking that I knew where I was on the map, then realizing I couldn’t be where I thought I was. The fact that no one was around me (no headlamps in the dark!) convinced me that I wasn’t where I should have been. One spot looked like a path to a cul-de-sac outside the park, but when I ran down it to confirm, it was a street not a cul-de-sac. I looked at my watch and realized that I had spent at least 10 minutes trying to find this control! It wasn’t until two kids came along and I asked if I was close to #1 that I found out how close it was to the start/finish point! I found it, then headed back to the finish. I wouldn’t have time to look for any other controls.

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Proof that I found controls 1-4 (hole punches dangle from the controls, which you use to prove that you were there).

 

Despite taking far too long on #1, I did manage to find 4 controls in 28:44, which is double the number of controls I found my first race. I also earned 3.3 times as many points, since I earned 25 for each control, and didn’t go over the allotted 30 minutes, so I didn’t have any time penalties. My final score was 100 points. You can see the results here.

Each time I go out I learn a little bit more – it’s great. This week I also got to try out my new headlamp, the Black Diamond Storm. So far, so good! I look forward to my next race, Raid the Hammer 1/2 in just over a week!

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4 Responses to Race report: Don’t Get Lost X-League Orienteering Race – Breithaupt Park

  1. Sounds like more fun then a day at McMaster

    Like

  2. razkristi says:

    Oh I hate those fence traps! Urban sprints are particularly tricky with those. Isn’t it amazing how you can think you know exactly where you are only to find out you aren’t even close? Great work! I’ve been doing this for two years and still learn something every single time!

    Liked by 1 person

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