MTBO, urban, Devon & Wales
Events review: 25 June - 2 July
Graham Hartley climbed into top position in the Bristol urban series Green course. A trio of members took part in the mountain bike orienteering on Haddon Hill. Meanwhile, Jeff Pakes got in practice for the Scottish 6 Days in South Wales, on the dunes and on the moors.
Mountain bike orienteering, Haddon Hill
Richard Sansbury, Chris Philip and Pete Shirvington ventured down to the hill overlooking Wimbleball Lake from the south. Richard finished in the top 10 out of the 25 cyclists. Pete and Chris also attained respectable scores. The event is a the latest in a series from South West England Mountain Bike Orienteering club (SWEMBO), founded by former QO member Will Kromhaut.
The next SWEMBO event locally is on the Quantocks on Sunday 20 August. Before then, there's national championships in the Forest of Dean on the weekend of 22/23 July. Entries close 15 July.
Graham wins again and leads table
Graham Hartley has timed his run to perfection. By winning Bristol OK's latest summer urban race, at Keynsham on Wednesday (28 June), he crept into pole position on the Green series table for the first time this season. Although his latest summer series win was not as emphatic as last week's in the 30 degree heat, he was still almost three minutes ahead of runner-up Jackie Hallett of Bristol OK. There's still some way to go, as to secure the title, Graham needs at least a couple of more wins or a no-show from BOK's Alison Simmons.
Haldon Forest, Devon, Sunday 25 June
While forty of us where heading northwards to the Bristol relays last Sunday, Bill Vigar, Sue Gard and Tony Hext slipped under the radar to South Devon for a league event at Haldon Forest. All did well on Green, with Tony and Sue getting within 20 minutes of the winner, who took just over 50 minutes.
Preparing for Scotland...in Wales
Partly in a drive to get in practice and fitness for the Scottish 6 Days, I've put together a run of five events in nine days. Two of these were midweek evening events in nearby Wales. First, the burrows of Kenfig Nature Reserve near Port Talbot on the Wednesday (28 June) and the next day the high moorland of Mynydd Llangatwg (or Llangattock) overlooking the Brecon Beacons immediately to the north.
Swansea Bay OC's Kenfig North area was first used for Croeso (the Welsh 6 Days) last year and is technical and a beautiful area to run in, full of wild flowers and the air perfumed with the lovely smell vegetation gives off after it rains.
South Wales OC's Llangattock area was used as a training area for the JK in 2014. It has few paths, and flattish terrain and rock features. The North arrows are repeatedly broken on the map to show the large number of pits and depressions properly.
Mercifully, the rain and mist held off for both events and so the visibility was good, which those at the JK 2014 will testify helps a lot on the moors especially. Registration and download for each event was run from a car, as is the norm for both these small clubs and maps were bagged not waterproof. Which lent itself not so much to thumbing the map as fumbling it...Still I got on well and rediscovered my "orienteering head" after having some dodgy runs recently.
Kenfig was really well planned, a nice series of long legs to test concentration (see map excerpt shown). There were only 12 controls on the longest course (Green), with several of those in a zig zag at the end. Prominent features such as isolated trees, edges of woods and the more distinct marshes all helped nagivation.
At the aptly titled "Score on the Moor" at Llangattock the next evening, I was led into the first few controls by a train of twenty or so who forged ahead of me at the mass start. I then repaid the compliment by leading runners into three of the more difficult controls on the moor, which gave me a buzz! Interesting to see SWOC marketed the evening to fell runners, also offering a fell race to the Chartist Cave, the cave forming the outermost control. Sadly, they didn't get any takers.
- Jeff Pakes