Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Dark&White MTB Orienteering Winter Series Rnd 3 Buxton

After last month's debacle where Deb & I had not really gave it our best efforts by being a bit complacent
and not organising ourselves better, also as we drove through Bakewell they were shutting the roads for the Remembrance Sunday Parade which meant us having to detour through all the surrounding villages to get to the start in Matlock, which ended up with us arriving half an hour after the 10.30 starting cut off time and by the time we had got ourselves and the bikes ready we were starting an hour late, so we made sure we arrived in plenty of time this time.

The control HQ for round 3 in Buxton was at the Derbyshire University site at Harpur Hill on the south western fringe of the town. This is a bit closer to us from where we live than the first two rounds which were deeper into the Peak District National Park, about 45 min-1 hr, so no excuses this time. One of the tips for this orienteering malarkey is to start as late as possible so you can use the other riders to help you with your navigation, not to follow the other riders mind you but just to give you clue's as to your direction of travel, so turning up a bit late is to your advantage and a tactic that as novice's Deb & I are happy to employ.

After finding a place to park we wasted no time and unloaded the bikes and fitted the wheels and got ourselves togged up. At the HQ you sign in, get your dibbers, little plastic keys that go round your wrist for clocking in to the little electronic clocking device's at the checkpoint's, and make your way outside where you collect your maps and control clue's and dib you dibbers. From then on the clock's ticking, so you have quickly try and come up with a route that isn't going to be beyond your capabilities. I like to think that I'm OK at navigation/map reading which I have been doing since I learnt the basics in my teens whilst in the Army Cadets and so far we haven't gone too far wrong with our plan of going for the nearest to the start and then the nearest to that one and so on, then when we have an hour left we start to head back and if we can pick any up on the way then it's a bonus.

I decided to try and stay away from the Hollinsclough area where some of the bridleway tracks are serious descent's/climbs strewn with baby's head sized and bigger rocks making them unrideable unless you possess the skills of Danny Macaskill. Also to the north west of Buxton towards Three Shires Head it's pretty much the same so we headed South, and judging by how many riders that we were coming across at gates and crossing points we weren't the only ones.

We managed to get 8 controls which was 2 more than we got on round one and would give us 110 points, and covered 30 km and nearly 600m of elevation gain so we were did OK, but we made a stupid rookie mistake at the start and didn't make note of what time we started so we had to best guess what our start time was. I made a couple of wrong turns but quickly realised and backtracked, but these couple of little errors and not knowing the exact time we started had us arriving 3:10:9 after we started meaning we were 11 Min's late and cost us 20 points.

In hindsight I would of done the route the opposite way round as we had a 28 min uphill slog from our last control to the finish which was at the top of a hill, so we would of been climbing whatever way we came back but it would of been a bit more gentle. Deb would of probably managed without it but I gave her little helping push some of the way up the climb, but I was amazed and really proud of her the way she dug in and pulled herself inside out to try and get back in time, chapeau to Debs because if it wasn't for the way she gave her all we would of ended up losing all our points as I was close to throwing  the towel in on that last climb. Also we wasted far too much time again as our Strava's showed a moving time of 2:25 which we could of maybe got another two but at least one more control.

It was a bit gutting to know we could of avoided losing the points but all in all it was a successful day for us and thoroughly enjoyed by us and everybody there judging by all the smiling but flushed faces at the finish, my heart goes out to the unlucky few who lost all their points for lateness penalty's and some had high scores too so must of covered some serious ground, hope they were philosophical about it which is how I would hope to be.

Bring on round four in the New Year.