Thomass 2009 - Glen Haffy

January 19th, 2009
Thomass 2008 - 2009
GHO Racing

Host: Various

Date: January 18, 2009

Type: Sprint Orienteering / Snowshoe

Team: Brent Hysop, Frank Job

Thomass Extreme Winter Adventure Running 2009
Thomass (4) - Glen Haffy Conservation Area Jan 18,2009 - Franks Race Report

Hosted by Caledon Navigators

OK. I’ve got the hang of it now. Follow the crowd to CP#1. Hang on thru CP#2. By then most everyone except those at my own skill level will have disappeared. That’s my plan. Not much but I’m just a beginner.

I had plotted the bearing from CP#2 to CP#3. At that point I would be treading water. But, usually, with no one around, I take some time and manage to figure it out.

The start:

I was ready as we got the maps a few minutes early. I glanced at the Thomass Box just to get an idea which 3 CPs I would go for. Not too worried about that. It was far into the race and, who knows, might not even come into play!

Some pre-race info was provided. The fella was to-the point. Hate to say it but the lady was kinda long-winded (just jokin’). My toes were starting to freeze up. She mentioned ‘just splash thru the water” and I inwardly chuckled. No-one knows I’m wearing what I lovingly call “dry socks”. Others call them plastic bags. They’re great for up to 2 or 3 hours. As long as I don’t stop. If I sit around, the sweat soaked socks will conduct plenty of cold directly into my feet.

After a fun new years eve style count-down, the crowd started down the hill. I did pretty well there. Heels digging in, I was able to bound, yes bound, thru the snow and take care of CP#1.

Hmmm, only a couple of folk still around me. Not looking good. Got to CP#2 Ok. Turned out some of orienteers with me were doing Novice. I was alone.

Bang. Bang. Bang. Into the box. Did OK. Slow but Ok. Don’t remember where it was, but at one point we ran along a trail thru a man-made forest. All the trees in a row. Very nice. Quiet too. I passed wetware several times. I felt better to see him. It meant I was on the right path, or he was REALLY doing poorly. Either way I win.

Now here’s the deal. I’m watching the Dakar Rally on OLN. The greatest drivers from all over the world make mistakes. I do too.

I got C in the box. Next was CP#7.

Stick with me. Look at the map. Thru fogged glasses, probably the wrong bifocal and inside a map bag. See the correct route? Me neither. I stopped, I leaned on a tree. I ate a gel and drank some water. Nothing worked. I checked my watch. OH Boy. 11:44. I had 15 minutes to get back to the finish. Unlikely. Just working thru the distance calculation made it worse.

I must admit for a couple of minutes I had felt lost. Then I realized that all I had to do was get moving, go South-east and I couldn’t miss the road. Calm reigned.

I couldn’t figure how to get to CP#7. There’s water, there’s out-of-bounds, there’s my long-gone confidence. I could just start along sorta the right direction and hope for the best. That didn’t sound good. And I only had 15 minutes.

So I planned a route back past B using a trail and thru CP#6 to the big path/road. From there it would be a easy jog in. The return route went slowly. Sometimes I was blazing trails thru thigh deep snow. It didn’t feel right to be where no one had gone before but I double-and-triple checked my bearing. I looked around. No-one to confirm my route choice. At a picnic table, I swept off the snow, considered sitting down but in the end, just called in to allay fears. It was 1:30.

The jog in didn’t go so good. The snow-mobiles hadn’t packed the snow well enough. But at least I knew my phone worked. If I needed hand-holding, another call would suffice. As it turns out, wetware came to meet me. I don’t know what he wanted, but he used a codeword on the phone when we were speaking: “Comfortable”. Perhaps that was meant to calm me. He used it twice. Maybe three times. I’ll look into the code. Also, he didn’t say but I’m sure he was embarrassed to have to admit knowing me. And leaving the scene allowed him to feel like he was doing some SAR.

I didn’t need him. I was running along, I guess with my head down, and I almost mowed him down. Adrenalin rush! I took the lead and made it in. LAST! No kidding!

Some good natured ribbing and warm stew were uber-welcome. Seems a bit unfair but I was awarded a DNF! Just now I re-read the web-site and it does mention “enjoy a morning of hiking”. I’ll let it go.

Thanks for hosting. And extra thanks for waiting to the organizers from Caledon navigators (B especially).

Thomass 2009 - Sunnybrook

January 4th, 2009
Thomass 2008 - 2009
GHO Racing

Host: Various

Date: January 4, 2009

Type: Sprint Orienteering

Team: Brent Hysop, Frank Job, Doug Begbie

Thomass Extreme Winter Adventure Running 2009
Thomass (3) – Toronto (Sunnybrook Park) Jan 4,2009 - Franks Race Report

Hosted by Toronto Orienteering Club

The schedule:
Night before: get all items from O’ checklist ready – felt optimistic. Didn’t do
05:30 up
07:00 got dressed and packed Ok
07:30 depart
07:45 McDonalds coffee and muffin, no newspaper
08:25 arrive at wrong parking lot
09:00 move to correct lot and register
09:30 idle chatter with mates
10:00 Start – NO WARNING BELL!!!

From AttackPoint Posting:

Big News!!! The first O’ event that I have ever completed! Yep. Using my super handicap of 3, I got all CPs required. Took 1:45 A big day for me. Celebrations will be held all week at lunch time whenever I can get someone else to buy.

I knew this was my day. Up at 5:30 cause that’s what set on my alarm during the week. Fiddled about for a while, then got dressed, filled my pack, and over to the drive-thru. Yes, McDonalds. Got the blueberry muffin today for the high-glycemic stuff.

Arrived at Sunnybrook Park way early and went to a distant parking lot. The wrong one as it turns out but I was able to rest my eyes and prepare myself mentally for the event. A lot of people out running, walking dogs and several groups of old-timers (that means older-than-me) doing their walk-abouts.

Drove to the correct parking lot and met up with the other roving members of Team Novarobot. Checked in, changed like superman in my small car and shivered a bit.

Got our maps, and GOGOGO! Right away. Jeeps. I like a bit of relax time. I positioned myself squarely at the end and followed. I even made a pretense of looking at my map. Somehow, today, I couldn’t see it clearly. Maybe it was printed faint. maybe my glasses were dirty.

So forget that. Picked it up and passed a couple of folk even slower than me. Follow the leader right to the CP.

This map was easy. More my style. Most CPs just off trails. Close enough so I didn’t get tired out running. I practised pace counting. Worked well. Practised sliding on my bum downhills. Worked well except for once or twice where I went off the trail and there were no trees to grab. OhOH! better than falling anyway.

The box was easy for me since I could drop 3. Just made a sweep thru and continued on. A couple of wrong route choices cost me about 10 minutes.

After 8, I saw that 9 was across the river which we had been forbidden to cross. I was going to just forget it, but I saw that on the way to the finish there was a bridge and 9 wasn’t far back so I got it too. Good thinkin’.

Ran home, got my printout and hot cider.

Thanks to the Toronto Orienteering Club for setting this one up. And anonymous thanks to the lady who offered us some cold coffee at the start. If I’d known I wouldn’t have bought one on the way.

Now the rest-of-the-story. The first half-hour, my hands and toes were frozen. After that, I was sweating like a pig. Gonna give my clothes some more thought. I need to be able to shed or unzip a bit without taking off my pack. Glasses were fogging up. Even my compass got fogged. I think I might have breathed on it. A happy note: my dry socks worked perfectly. I would have been happy to run across the creek if we had gotten the go-ahead. Just to show-off.

And this time I had no regard for propriety. I was following footpaths. I watched where people in front of me went. If I saw someone in the distance, I made a mental note. I even felt a bit of pride when I noticed others making wrong turns when I didn’t. Sorry. Even Columbus stood on the shoulders of those who sailed before him.

Some of the hills were what I would term “killers”. I missed a path or two and had to go up the sides. Clutching at straws would have been more useful. Some ladies had mercy (or pity) on me when they saw me scaling a steep side. They called down that always-helpful phrase “You OK?”.

I of course said “Sure. Just gonna take some time”. They had followed a nice trail to the top. They weren’t even puffing. Well, I was sure happy to put some of my gym-bunny training into effect by grabbing trees and just hauling my carcass up.

The two bum-slides that went bad were scary. One would have ended up in the river and the other had no clear finish except the city of pain.

Good course set up in the heart of Toronto. When I told my mother I was going to run in the forest near Eglinton/Leslie, she had a difficult time envisioning a “forest”. Altho she remembers when it was all bush there, in her mind it has changed. I’ll call her to tell her I survived.