MUni orienteering

I don’t know how many of you have tried this but over the last few years there have been quite a few MTB orienteering events springing up. I believe it’s quite popular in the UK? Anyway, after meaning to do one for years I finally entered one today (on a MUni of course). Although I did a fair bit of orienteering back in college (ie high school) before mountainbiking took over my life, this was new to me.

I picked the medium-level 16km course. For those that haven’t done orienteering what basically happens is that you go around with a map and a clipcard looking for all these controls. Each control has a stapler thingee with a specific pattern that you clip onto your clipcard. I had about 8 controls to get and it was in mainly pine forest.

We set off at 2min intervals and it was straight into a river crossing :angry: . It’s pretty trendy in NZ to throw in a river crossing or two into your MTB race, just because they happen to be there. In fact I have yet to do a race this year that did not have a river crossing, which I find a tad irritating. Not that I mind river crossings, it’s just that my race shoes are now soggy and I have a duathlon tomorrow :angry: Oh well (sigh). There was no way around it so I ploughed straight into the river and up into the pine forest. I had no problem finding the first two markers. But the organisers had hidden the third one under a tree in a hole :angry: . I spent half an hour looking for that. But it gave me a chance to use a line I had saved up:

“Hey, you’ve lost a wheel (teeheehee)”
"Yep, and I’ve also lost myself :thinking: "

Had another problem with control#5 which took another half hour and a lot of expletives in order to locate. I got to the finish in just over 2hrs, which was probably last place except for some 8yr old kids. Anyway, I don’t think I would have done it any faster on a bike.

In terms of navigation you have a slight advantage on a MUni because you have your hands free to hold onto your map (My map desintegrated in a faceplant into a bog). All the top finishers were orienteers whearas the top mountainbikers seem to have gone very fast in the wrong direction.

Overall, I prefer orienteering on foot and mountainbike racing on a MTB or MUni. This was quite frustrating but I guess I’ll be back for another one :roll_eyes:


Gosh, look at all those :angry: I put in. I don’t mean it to sound that bad. I guess I’m a bit grumpy about getting lost.

:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:

There, that should make up for it.

You are pioneering down under, Ken!

Perhaps a resealable baggie over the map would keep it from the bog demons.

I did a MTB orienteering race at Woodhill at year. It was quite a fun event. The controls were easy enough to find without being too obvious. I guess it depends on how sadistic the orienteering organisers are as to how hard the controls are to find. I had no problems. The map provided was very accurate - it had been drawn up only a few months before.

I kinda misinterpreted the rules of the race and went to the controls in the most convienent order, rather than the numerical order that they should have been visited in. Oooops! :thinking: :roll_eyes:


Here’s an idea for parents…

I think this summer I’m going to place home made plastic puzzle pieces to key rings and attach them to trees all around my son’s favorite Muni trail. l’ll give him a map and a carabineer to attach the pieces he finds. I might even teach him to use a compass and give him some directions that way. He can Muni all over the place looking for all the pieces to complete the puzzle. It should be great fun.



I’m sure its obvious to you as a good parent but getting the slightest bit disoriented as a kid in the woods can be terrifying. It depends on how independent they are and how much freedom they are used to.

Sounds like a great idea! Perhaps we should try that this summer in our new club. hmmmmmmmm…

Hmmm… So they don’t let you use a GPS. I don’t know if I could find my way around with just a compass. That’s like doing math with a sliderule.

Those resealable bags are definitely a good idea. Will try it at the next event!

We should consider getting a team together for some of the longer events (Rogaining I think they are called).

How about MUni geocaching? That would be a cool sport!
I’ve just added a GPS on my list of must have toys.


Re: MUni orienteering

For those of you that did not know, orienteering is one of the earliest forms of MUni as we know it today. Duncan Castling, the guy who came up with “muni” was noted for his early exploits (on a 20") in the Polaris Challenge. I think the first year they did this was 1994 but not sure.

There were also big orienteering events at UNICON VIII and IX, with probably over 100 competitors in each. Those were fun, though I am definitely not good at it… :slight_smile:

The polaris style thing at UNICON VII was tremendous fun. MUniers rushing through the woods in all directions. I’d love to do something like that again.