Posted by Editoress on 06/3/09
Riding a mountain bike around a marked course provides plenty of fun and challenge, but the Caledon Navigators upped the ante on May 31 with their Mansfield Mountain Bike Adventure. Thirty-five racers were provided with detailed orienteering maps of the Mansfield Outdoor Centre showing 21 checkpoints that riders needed to visit before returning to the finish line. Using map and compass, racers chose different routes through the intricate trail network, finding a flag and electronic timing unit at each checkpoint location. For racers who chose the optimum route, the Regular Course was about 13 kilometers.
The weather at the event was sunny after a night of rain, and the Mansfield trails were in superb condition. Bob Miller of Unionville, one of Canada's top adventure racers, completed the Regular course in an impressive time of 43:57. Tim Grant of Waterloo, also a leading adventure racer, was almost nine minutes behind in second place after an early error. Miller and Grant were the only riders who qualified for the Advanced Course available to riders who finished the Regular course in less than one hour. The race remained close, and Miller took the overall win, with Grant claiming second. Nick de St. Croix was third overall and took the Masters win. Leanne Mueller, another top adventure racer, was the women's champion.
The sport of Mountain Bike Orienteering is sanctioned through the International Orienteering Federation. World championships are held annually, and almost all participants come from Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The sport is just getting started in North America. It requires not only excellent riding skills, but good map memory and the ability to choose the fastest route between two points, taking into account trail conditions, distance and elevation change. The Canadian Orienteering Federation hopes to work toward a national championship in Canada so that our country can send a national team to the World Championships in future years.
Courtesy Barb Campbell, event director
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