So much fun!!
When Roger was planning our trip to Italy, the original plan was to go first to Naples for a week, and then to Rome for a week. But, when we looked to see what orienteering events might be near either city, the only one scheduled was near Rome, on the first Sunday, March 18. After making contact with the organizers of ENEA to make sure the event was taking place, we reversed the locations, starting in Rome first. Besides being able to orienteer in Italy, I was also happy about this, since I think Rome will be even busier next week, as more people arrive for Easter on April 1. We are departing for home on March 29, after leaving Naples on the 28th...
Each year, from about October to March, ENEA Casaccia Orienteering puts on the Trofeo ENEA, a series of 7-9 events. From reviewing past results, I knew that the event have two courses: Corto (Short) – 2.5 km, 125 m climb, 9 controls and Lungo (Long) – 4.3 km, 210 m, 11 controls. I was prepared to tackle the Long, and I hoped to complete it in less than two hours.
It was tough getting out of the door to the event because Roger was still feeling weak, but he was feeling better this morning. But then there was the rain. I kept Roger telling that it was always better in the woods, and I told myself that I didn’t come all this way not to go orienteering. So, off we went, with just a little bit of a driving adventure getting out of Rome, Porta Pia area.
We arrived early, around 9:15, and no one else had arrived yet. However, on the way, we saw this sign, so we encouraged that the event would take place.
And, I was not concerned because I was told that it was to be a small event, and people would arrive just before 10 to set up. We parked and waiting in the parking area above the “arena” and when cars started going by around 9:45, we drove down the hill and parked near the tent.
I was welcomed by Vincenzo, who was the organizer.
Then, we watched as the first competitor started.
Vincenzo told me that it was muddy and slippery, and that the green was impossible to penetrate, so taking the trails was better, even though they were slippery. He also inquired if I was expert, which I translated as experienced. I assured him, and another woman later, that I was, and that I would return safely before the courses closed. Being an organizer at home, I appreciated that there is concern when unknown people show up at an event, and then they do a course which is too difficult for them. I didn’t want them to be too concerned about me.
The temperature was around 50 F (10 C) and intermittent rain. I paid my 5 euro, received a punch card, and picked a start time of 10:10. I did not take the separate control descriptions, which were in symbol format, which would be important later, perhaps.
While Roger entertained himself by taking pictures of “herbs”…
I went back to the car to finish getting ready. On bottom, I wore ¾ pants, long socks, ankle braces, and Icebug shoes. On top, I wore a rain jacket over a short sleeve shirt. I carried a small waist pack with a small camera and a small water bottle.
I was still in the car at 10:10 on the event clock, 10:08 on my watch. Oops. So, I hurried and got to the Start,
and I was handed a map...
I was pointed in the correct direction and off I went up the trail at 10:12, instead of 10:10. No problem.
Trail to #1 – muddy. Careful, careful, I do not to fall so soon!
Along the ravine.
Then don’t really notice that the control is up high, but some people are up there, and I read my map and see that is where I need to go also.
Thank you for the steps on the right. I don’t think I could have made it up on the trail to the left.
Control #1 – oggetto particolare
When punching the first control, I notice that the map has descriptions in Italian, not symbols. OK, I will just need to read the map for what is in the center of the circle.
From 1-2, I have a bit of a problem with the extra trails through the green, but I manage it without too much problem. Muddy and wet in this area – so much fun!
Control #2 – radura, bordo sed-est
Some fine mud and other organic material coming from #2
Execute route to #3 cleanly, as another orienteer takes a less than optimal route.
Control #3 – radura
For 3-4, I go right along the bigger track, and along the way, I startle this guy and his friend, which likely explains the extra tracks in the area…
Control #4 – albero isolato
The straight line to #5 is very short, and it is tempting to cut through the green. However, going through the little bit of light green out of #5 confirmed that going around was the best way.
Control #5 – masso
The route to #6 is the straightest line of the day.
Control #6 – albero isolato, il piu a sud-ovest
Stop to enjoy the view from Control 6-7.
I make the first of two errors from 6-7, getting twisted around in the green area, exploring some extra tracks and not listening to my compass. Finally, I go the correct direction and am very happy to see the control.
Control #7 – sella poco evidente
Control 7-8 is fairly straight, but I am distracted by others, and I do not take a picture.
Control # 8 – piccolo cima colle (no photograph)
Before control #2, I have taken my jacket off because I was overheating, and I was not happy that I had to carry it around the rest of the course. BUT, then on the way to control #9, the weather turned bad...first rain, and then freezing rain or hail.
I was happy to put my jacket back on, and to pull the hood up over my head. There were 4-5 people passing me through this area, and it was a very steep climb, and I had to stop and rest along the way.
I was on a good line, but then I drift to the west, and I was a little distracted by the person I was near to control #3, and I trash around in the area of tracks too far up the hill, because I do not notice the contour lines. I see the control, but I do not believe it is mine, but he heads down there, and doesn’t come back. I go down too, but very carefully, because it is steep and slippery. I sit on my bottom and ride down a long way in the mud. Wee!! So much fun, especially since I didn’t hit any rocks on the way down!!
Control #9 – piazzola (no photograph)
It is still quite steep and slippery from control 9-10, so I take my time, cutting some corners, when I am able to. Finally get down the hillside, which is very loose dirt in parts.
Control #10 – paretina di roccia, la piu au est
Picture from the control…
Simple navigation to the final control, #11 – oggetto particolare
Another competitor coming in the final control…
Off to the Finish, where Roger waits to take my picture.
Wet, muddy, and happy! Finish time, after adjusting my start time, was 1.33.40, and I placed 15/17. Win/Win.
After I finished, I talked to some people, gave out the QOC buffs, I had brought with me, and then changed into dry clothes, and Roger and I headed back to the hotel for a nap.
The event turned out to be everything I expected. It was small, inexpensive, low-key, and, yes, pin punching was used, which was quite OK. Everyone was very friendly, and I believe they were happy to have a non-Italian come and compete at their event. The maps were not overly complicated, and were pre-printed. There were extra trails in some places, but I knew this and concentrated on the contours. The controls were in the correct locations, which is always appreciated.
I finished the course in less than two hours, I didn’t get hurt, and I wasn’t last. The slippery mud made it an adventure, going both up and downhill. Those of you, who know me, know that I love mud, and so that did not bother me at all. Even the hail was an unexpected bonus – the icing on the cake!
I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for my first time orienteering in Italy.
Map with tracks. [After fiddling with the watch, it wasn’t actually started until on the way to 1…]
Club’s webpage: http://www.eneaorientering.it/index.php
Event page: http://www.eneaorientering.it/calendario-2017-18.h...