Toronto Orienteering Club O Cup
Claireville Conservation Area
So nice to have an orienteering event just half an hour from home! And great to see so many friends out practising for the Snowshoe Raid.
Thanks to the quirky weather, there was glare ice on trails, roads and in some flat open areas. The rest was a mix of crusty snow and bare ground. I decided I would put Kahtoola Microspikes on over my spiked Snowcross shoes - heavy artillery. It worked; I had terrific traction on the ice.
I roll my eyes when I read race reports where someone complains about how badly their race went, even though I know they had a good result. I try not to do that but today was a total gong show that somehow finished with a decent result. So let the eye rolling begin!
I was surprised when Oliver called, "Two minutes to start!" I'd been chatting with friends and not looking at my watch. I knew it would take awhile to put on Snowcross with Kahtoolas so I dashed out the door with them. When I heard "30 seconds to go!", I realized that my SI card was still safely stashed indoors so I ran to get it. When I came back out, racers were already running away and I still had to get my Kahtoolas on. I started running while still putting on my gloves, getting an SI card on my finger and getting satellites on my Ambit. I vaguely remembered that I wanted to run away from the parking lot, which some people were doing, so I just followed them without looking at the map while I fussed with my gear. Rookie!
Then I failed to find my first control - F in the O Cup box. When it wasn't where I expected it, I just carried on. I only needed to find one control because of my handicap so I went down the hill looking for E instead. By that time, I'd ended up way too far north so I had to backtrack.
Other than crashing through an icy wetland with bullrushes as tall as I am, things went OK until #6, when I got confused in the trail network. I see now on my GPS track that I was actually on the trail I was aiming for but I was worried so I crashed through some bush to get to the edge of the embankment where #7 was tucked below. The problem was, I didn't know whether to go left or right so I headed over the edge to take a look. Elena Logvina slowed down to look too, and I told her I was untrustworthy right now. She carried on a little farther and pointed out the control to me. Sigh.
We met again at #8 along with Galyna Petrenko. After my mix-up at #7, I didn't want to look like I was following them so I glanced quickly at the map and decided I would cross the big creek right there, without waiting for whatever bridge they were heading for. I broke through the ice, as expected. It was up to my knees and then I fell when I took my next slippery step through the ice. Now I was wet up to my waist and it was *really* cold.
I scrambled back onto the bank and looked at my map. Hey, guess what? Even though the line joining #8 and #9 crossed the winding creek in a few places, #9 was on the same side as #8. Ugh! I started running along the creek.
And then I was on my face and my knee had banged on something. Huh?! Turns out one of the Snowcross gaiters had come unzipped and my left shoelace got tangled in my right Kahtoola Microspike. Basically, I managed to tie my own shoelaces together. I sat on the ground for 60 seconds trying to separate them but I couldn't. In fact, I still haven't. My compass cord got tangled in the MicroSpike too. So I ran the last few controls with my left hand just above my knee holding everything up so I wouldn't trip. When it was time to punch a control, I had to use my opposite hand to pull the SI card up high enough.
Gong show! But I was just happy that I didn't let myself get rattled, even though I can't remember so many things going wrong in 50 minutes. After 14 years of orienteering, I should be able to make it to the start on time, if nothing else, but on the bright side, I was like Monty Python's Black Knight out there! Thanks to my monster handicap, I ended up with a gift certificate as the 3rd woman behind Galyna and Elena. I had to laugh.
Funderstorm arranged a post-race lunch group at Tracks Brewpub in Brampton. Great conversation and 'Bent and I didn't need dinner.