Monday 23 July 2012

A weekend of racing at the Vegas Vindaloo

On 14, 15 July I rode in three amazing mountain bike orienteering races at the Vegas Vindaloo held in Rotorua and organised by Orienteering Bay of Plenty.  On Saturday, Phil, Caleb and I (Georgia had two birthday parties so she stayed behind) headed over for the morning's events in the Whakarewarewa Forest.  We had a choice of a long (25km), medium, short (10km) or fun (3km) course.  Phil and Caleb decided on the short course while I opted for the long.  Sorry, there's no photos because we were all riding.

The long course took me through some lovely single track bushy areas alongside streams, some in amongst the pine plantations and some winding through recently felled and replanted blocks.  These were odd, because I can recall riding through there with all the massively tall pines and now it looks so different.  Just as well for the map with the contours.  My route choices also took me over a bunch of forestry tracks, some with a steep climb.  But where there's an up, there's always a down.  I avoided the dotted (slow going or overgrown) apparently shorter uphill track (should've done the same on Sunday!) for the longer route by road and open single track.  Afterwards it sounded like that was a good option after hearing of others' escapades up that track.

All in all, it was a fantastic ride on some awesome tracks. Thanks Pete for setting the course.  I finished in 2hr 4 mins.  A great training ride, and awesome to do some navigation.

Saturday afternoon was a fun sprint (all over in 15 minutes or so) through the flat 'dog walking' area near the Redwoods Visitor Centre.  It's all go in these, with no time to waste.  Quick navigating is the key.  I made a few mistakes which are far more noticeable in the overall time on a sprint than a longer race.  This event was fantastic and perfect for kids - a flat course and not too long. Thanks Grant for setting the course.

Sunday's 2 hour rogaine (get as many controls in any order over a set time period) was in constant rain.  Lots of people braved the elements anyway.  I had a few route choice challenges. Now I fully understand that this mapper's small dotty track symbols = unrideable! :)  Unlike normal orienteering events, we were allowed off our bikes to go to a few controls by foot - and some we had to do just that, because there was no track to the control. Consequently I came away with evidence of having run through cutty grass and tree stumps. Great fun! I only started to get cold in the rain when heading downhill on the exposed side of the mountain.  I squeezed in a couple of last controls and came into the finish 15 seconds before the 2 hours was up and from which time penalty points begin.  For an extra 20 points we could eat some hot curry. While the curry was spicy hot, it was a welcome feast of warm food at the end of a wet ride, especially since I was feeling so cold by then.  I spent 15 minutes warming my feet up on the car heater before venturing onto the state highway, since I couldn't feel the foot pedals!  Thanks Aiden for setting the course; and a great big thanks to Erin for organising the event!

I came away with more chilli too. As the Chilli Challenge womens winner, one of my prizes was a container of chilli flakes - nice!  Will save that til after the Worlds. :)

Caleb and Phil had fun on their course. They found a great roller coaster-type downhill and intentionally were distracted from their course to enjoy the track!

This was a good test for my newly acquired Miry mapboard from Mapsport.  My mapboard to date, has been probably about 'model H' of our DIY (do-it-yourself) mapboard.  It has functioned exceedingly well, the only reason for the upgrade is the weight issue really.  Caleb even has a great wee mapboard made by Dad out of old plastic containers and lids. I even saw a wooden mapboard at this event.  So there's nothing stopping anyone having a go.
Here's a photo of Caleb's mapboard
Caleb's (age 7) homemade mapboard

Thank you to Russell for the loan of his Jamis bike.  It performed much better than my old bike, and the shocks were a delight on the bumpy terrain.

Check out the Vegas Vindaloo results and further events at

No comments:

Post a Comment