Saturday, October 5, 2013

A report from Alberta Champs

Alberta Champs were held this year in and around Calgary. It was uncertain for a while if they were going to happen as there had been extensive flooding in Calgary and area in the spring. This caused areas that were to be used for the events to be closed and damage to roadways that will take a long time to clean up. However, with a team of very dedicated volunteers, new locations were found and the weekend turned out to be wonderful! A big Thank you to all of those numerous people who put a lot of effort in with short notice and made this weekend so great!

The weekend started off with a sprint at the University of Calgary. For me, who had not been on a map since the spring, it was a good wakeup call with some fast paced decisions and a reminder of how I need to do more intensity! Super fast and fun race! 

The second event was the middle on the new Connop Creek map near Bragg Creek. As previously mentioned I had been unable to do any orienteering over the summer so my goal was to take it slow enough that I would stay in contact with the map and not have a large error. It worked for all the legs but two... and those legs didn’t go so well... one was particularly bad. We were warned before the race to make sure we knew the symbol for ‘rough open with scattered trees’ as some areas had been recently clear cut. This was very good advice, some areas had so many fallen logs it took nearly all my concentration to move, faster than a walk, through them without falling! (not that I can blame my navigational errors on the logs, in fact I would have been faster on a particular leg if I had walked…!)  It was a good learning day (as messing up in orienteering always is!) And as I had volunteered for control pick up, I got to head back to the area I had trouble with in the race, for more learning! 

The Sunday brought us the long event which was a gruelling 310meters of climb on a 6.3km course. Oh boy did I feel my legs after this weekend! After my abysmal control the day before my plan for the long was simple. Choose simple rout choices (taking into account elevation) and stick to them. It worked well. I wasn’t the fastest out there but I wasn’t the slowest. I even got to visit some of the hillier sections again with control pick up! Below are the links to the maps on Rout Gaget for your viewing pleasure!

One thing that I am going to take away from this event in preparation for Canadians is that to always remember that in Orienteering anything can happen. As proved to me in my sprint and middle, just because you have made a mistake does not mean others are having clean races and you are out of the running. Always race the whole race and get back in the game after a mistake, no matter how big or small! Hope everyone is as excited as me for Canadian Champs (although I think that part of that excitement for me is that I get to go a week without having to work a night shift!)
Happy Running!

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