Monday, May 19, 2008

Sage Stomp 2008

This past weekend, Kim and I headed up to Kamloops with the Lay family to get in some nice open forest orienteering that surrounds the area. This would be my second time at Sage Stomp and it will definitely not be my last.

We had our first camping trip of the year and it was a great one. We stayed a Lac Le Jeune Provincial Park which is just adjacent to the Stake Lake cross country ski area where the sprint and middle distance events would be held. The weather was overcast on Saturday but it was still very warm with enough UV getting through to give a good tan. Here's how it all went for me.

Sprint Distance:
Course: 2.5 km (straight line)

Chris Koch Sprinting out of the control

I started out doing well but once I hit an area of the map that was a little confusing, I got out of the map, relocated myself as quickly as I could, and then found the control. While it wasn't a huge mistake as far as mistakes can go, I did lose about two minutes here which is a huge loss in a sprint distance event. The rest of the course went well although the next two controls after the mistake cost me time since my confidence was down and I started to hesitate moving into the next controls. There is a certain amount of gumption that you gain while orienteering and any mistake will lower this. If you make too many of them, or if your mistake is large, this can lead to a downward spiral of mistakes and a complete loss of gumption. In the end, I came in at 18:16 which was good enough for 5th place. Had I not made the one mistake, I would taken at least 3rd or close to 2nd. Thomas Nippen cleaned up the course in around 15:00 to take 1st.

Eric Bone working the sprint course

Middle Distance:
Course: 5.1 km (straight line)

Benoit re-orienting himself in the middle distance
The middle distance start was right in the same area as the sprint which made the logistics easy and made for some good socializing. I didn't start this course as well as the sprint and ended up making some mistakes in the same area that I had trouble with in the Sprint. After talking with several people after the event (with some who had big mistakes) it was confirmed that the area in question needed some reworking on the map since not all of the features were mapped; or the ones that were needed some reworking. I definitely had a loss of gumption in that area and took awhile to regain it. The main section of the course involved some detailed orienteering in some good open runnable forest. It was also very easy to get out fo the map. I did ok in this section but did have some bobbles which cost me some time in the end. Close to the end, I choose a straight line bushwack over a longer trail run which was a mistake due to the density of the bush that I had to go through. I finished with a time of 47:40 which again put me in 5th place.

Long Distance:
Course: 13.2 km (straight line)
This was the longest course that I have ever done! It was also the course setters longest ever designed course which says a lot since he has done many many course in his time. The map that we were on was in Grasslands Provincial Park which is a combination of open grasslands and nice open forests. Sweet!

Kim and Rima naving together through some nice forest

I knew that the area was highly detailed with many subtle features so I started out on the slower side and also tried to pace myself as I was in for a good ~15km run with lots of elevation. The first two controls went fairly smooth but then everything fell apart at the 3rd control. My control description that I had on my armband showed that the control was supposed to be at the top of a knoll (small hill feature). I naved very well right into the feature, got to the top, looked around, and could see nothing. From here I proceeded to check every other knoll in the area. Again, no control! I relocated to a distinct boulder, naved in again and ended up on the same knoll that I was originally on! F!%$! I eventually stumbled on the control which was in a small reentrant. At this time, my gumption was about gone to the point that I almost quit. I later found out that the control had been changed and that the control description that was printed on the map was in fact the correct one (my control description on my forearm was incorrect). While this sucked as it screwed up my race and added a good 6 minutes to my time, I'm glad that I kept going.

They need to make the control stands taller for me!
The rest of the race went well with only small mistakes being made here and there. Orienteering is really a sport that is impossible to perfect; you could always have done better. That being said, the more you do it, the smaller and smaller the mistakes become and the easier it is to relocate yourself. I've made it to the point now where I'll still make small mistakes but can now recover quickly by a quick relocation to get me back on track.

While I had the issue with control #3, I was still able to take 5th place in a time of 2:04:10.

For those of you who missed out, you'll have to wait till next year! It was a great weekend and the events were great. Thanks to everyone who helped in making the events happen!

On another note, the Sage Orienteering Club is going to be putting on a 24 hour Rogaine either in July or September. This is going to be an absolutely amazing event and held in a similar area to Grasslands Provincial Park. For those of you who have never done a Rogaine, I would highly recommend it! The format is one where you do as much as you want so you can take an extended break at the hash house, or push through the night to get as many controls as possible. This is also a great intro to those looking to do a longer adventure race as it puts you into the night and is much easier to do (limited gear required and a low price point). I will keep people updated on this. Please let me know if any of you are interested.


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