Sunday 18th April 2010
Mountain Bike Orienteering
Round 4 of the BMBO MBO National League
The Foxley Estate is a sporting estate comprising a wide wooded ridge around 3 sides of a farmed valley renowned for its pheasant ,deer and bluebells. The forest provided the massive oak beam which replaced the one destroyed in the recent fire in York Cathedral. There is no access to the public as there are no public footpaths or bridleways, and offtrack riding was permitted on the event.
The map was based on the Terry Foxton map previously used on the 1994 JK, and last used for a 3 hour MBO score event in 1997. It was good to see some of the competitors from that event including Paul Graetz and Nick Dallimore returning to ride in 2010. The map was updated by Rodney Archard, with the path / track layout revised for bike O. Final scale was 1:10,000 and the map was double sided to avoid the need for folding.
A complex path and grass ride network together with core stoned access tracks provides the planner with plenty of options for route choice, although the characteristics of the paths change rapidly depending on the activity of the gamekeepers and foresters who can change a grassy green ride, or narrow path into a wide trail in a matter of days.
The courses comprised a mixture of fixed sequence and free order controls to optimise the use of the map, however, the main planning challenge here is weather related.
When the final planning was completed over Easter weekend, many of the track were glutinous and only rideable with extreme difficulty. It was therefore necessary to plan both wet and dry courses - with a final decision over which to print to be made a week before the event. Fortunately the weather remained dry for a fortnight prior to the event leaving very fast riding conditions, so that the winning time of 86.45 on the A course was close to the original estimate of 90 minutes, although the climb of 770m did mean that some competitors were out for close to 3 hours.
The B and C courses were based on the A course, but excluded some of the loops, reducing the climb to 400m and 250m respectively. Winning times here were also slightly faster than anticipated. In addition a D course was offered as a come & try it option.
Thanks to David Davenport, the estate owner for the use of the area, to Rodney Archard for the OCAD work, to Mike Farrington for handling the Sport Ident and to Martin Johnson for looking after the start.
Well be back.