Monday, September 30, 2013

Night Orienteering in the Yukon

Tonight was our last orienteering event of the year - Night Orienteering!  Personally, my highlight of our local season. 


Now for those who haven't thought about it too much, one might ask "what is so special about that, isn't it always dark up north?"

Think a bit harder....

When is orienteering season for us?  When there is no snow!

When is there no snow?  Summer!  Does it ever get dark in the summer in the north?  NO!  Remember, we are known as the Land of the Midnight Sun.

So, darkness and no snow is a very precious window for us, and so over the last few years we've tried to squeak in a night orienteering event when it starts getting dark, but before the snow comes.  Actually, our first night-O event four years ago (at Yukon College map, thanks Bob for starting this up!) did have snow, but we've had lucky late-Septembers since then.

This year we squeaked in one last event.  The meet organizers figured it would only be the "hard-core" orienteers that might come out, so the decided to plan the race down on the Lorne Mountain map, about 40km south of Whitehorse.  This is the same map area that Yukon Orienteering hosted the 2011 Canadian Sprint Orienteering Championships if anyone remembers.  Typically, this map is "too far out of town" for our mainstream members, so we don't get a lot of use of it.    So this made it a double-treat: night orienteering on a super sweet, high-speed open forest map we don't get to run on very often.

Here's how it went down:

Waiting around for it to get dark.  Note Afan's washing machine drum-mobile fire pit - a life saver on a late September Yukon night!
The Boys are Back in Town - Caelen and Leif!

Leif figured mounting a car light on his head was a good idea.  Unfortunately, he forgot to fully charge it before the race.
Loading up control descriptions and getting ready to go!
Excellent - Sprint map in the nice stuff!  Parts of the Robinson Roadhouse map used for the 2011 COC Sprint.

Ah, this is what we are looking for - the night time flash of the control.
In reality, with a narrow-beam super headlamp this is what it looks like.  See the flash and run like heck towards it.
Afterwords, looking happy to have made it back.  A close race, everyone in the 20's minute range!  Ross, Erik and Caelen.

Figurin' where the race was won and lost afterwords.  Katherine and new baby in background.

Pretty darn fun!  Thanks Afan for being the event planner - a fun end to the season!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Wrapping up the season

As my orienteering season up here comes to an end I have a choice to make. This was my last year as a junior on the national team. Next year I will officially be a senior if I continue to orienteering. After I got back from JWOC I had a meeting with Brent to go over my races. After we talked about the races he asked me a very interesting question. He asked me, “ So now that you have been to JWOC and this also you last year as a junior do you think you will keep orienteering?” That thought had not crossed my mind. Am I done competing or doing I want to continue training and aim for WOC?

I feel like that is a big decision that every junior goes through when they are going to move up. It is not a question to take lightly. For the pass 2 years I have been traveling, working and training and I am now at that point in my life were I want to make a change. I have respect for all the orienteers who go to school, work and train their butts off.

I feel like for me it would be very hard to go to school, train for a big competition and also have a part-time job because you also have to take a moment to breathe. I feel that I have taken a long enough break form school and I am ready to go back. That helped me with my decision about if I want to keep orienteering. I decided Yes I do want to keep orienteering but I want to take a few years to get better first before I try for WOC or any of the other big events.

When I was thinking it over I kept thinking I love this sport and I don’t want to stop but I will have to slow down a little. I love all the opportunities I have had. I have met all lot of new people, made new friends and been to some amazing place just because I like to orienteering and it drives me to have these wonderful experiences. When it comes time for you to decide if you want to keep orienteering or not don’t make a snap decision, think it over long and hard!