Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kelly Park - Hybrid Course

One week after a disappointing score on the Turkey Burn, team Canyoneros (Hien and Greg) headed out to Kelly Park to improve upon one of our weaker skills--that of orienteering and attacking CPs.  Our other weakness is the paddle, but that's for another day.  Kelly Park has two orienteering courses, one of which Chris Roda and I have done (intermediate) and the other is a beginner course.  I merged the two courses together so we would be collecting twice the CPs with race-pace thinking.  Greg had not yet been to the park, so I let him take lead navigator role.  The more people we can bring up to speed with navigating, the better.

(thinking time)

(hybrid course map)

Our goal was to simulate a leg of a real race.  We started with a 30min map review, where Greg chose the direction we were going to collect CPs.  He chose a very good path, counter-clockwise, with lots of bushwhacking and stuck to it.  "Straight forward is the only way!" he declared.  I knew often times that bushwhacking could be much slower if the trail path wasn't more than three or four times the length of the direct path and that it could also be much more inaccurate, but now is the time to sharpen any skills.

(Canyoneros always choose the straight path when equipped with machetes)

(The start is an intersection of 3 paths.  Greg chose neither but the uncarved path through thick foliage)

Since I had done the intermediate course already, I let Greg find those CPs, and I would help attack the beginner CPs.  I was amazed to see Greg holding a bearing pretty well to CP7 as he found it, despite our history of inaccurate bushwhacking.  CP3 was immediately north with almost no clearcut attack points.  It would be crucial to hold a laser beam path to CP3 if we were to find it.  If not, we could easily overshoot and completely lose track of our position, which is what happened.  Several more minutes of searching, I used my old trick of heading out to the main path east of us, finding the trail intersection, and attacking back in with a bearing to find it.  17min had passed with only two CPs found, 13 more to go.

(sugar sand is much easier to jog through than bike over)

From there on out we didn't really run into much trouble finding any of them.  In fact, Greg found CP6 (intermediate) much faster than the first time I had been to the park.  We became sharper and sharper, always knowing our position, always knowing the turns ahead.  It was almost too easy.  (inspirational music playing in the background when the good guy starts to defeat the bad guy in a movie).  On many CPs, I would find and mark the CP number down, while Greg was plotting and identifying the next path.  It was a great display of growth and we completed it in 70min.

(through thick, razor sharp palmettos to find CP4 (intermediate))

(the aftermath of bushwhacking without long pants)