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.
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.
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.
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!