Toronto O Cup #3
Erindale Park, University of Toronto - Mississauga
Official race time was 38:16 but I'm using GPS time here.
This is an interesting place for orienteering with a mix of forest, steep slopes and a university campus. We ran directly from the start into the first of two O Cup boxes and everyone had to descend a steep, slippery slope to reach the open flats by the Credit River. Because we'd been told the pre-race briefing would be held indoors before the start, I'd decided not to wear spikes. That was a mistake; it was a perfect Snowcross day. After some skidding through snow and mud on the first steep slope, I decided to toboggan down part of it on my bum. It worked.
There were lots of large burrs in the first O Cup box but I think the orienteers have got it all cleared out for U of T now. After visiting B and A, I scrambled back up the slope where there were 7 mandatory controls around the university buildings and open spaces. I like campus sprints and this part went well until I couldn't see #6 where I expected it. Then KingIsak dashed in toward the control, which was blocked from my view by a tree. I punched right behind him, then we headed in opposite directions to get around a wide building to reach #7. I got there first by a few meters and he called out, "Left was better!" Then we headed opposite directions into the 2nd O Cup box and the race was ON.
I ran almost half a kilometre in the snow beside an icy trail on my way to control "a", then descended a steep slope to the flag. I especially regretted my footwear choice in this section! When I scrambled back up the hill, I saw two runners through the trees heading right to the place where I expected control "b" to be. Perfect, I wouldn't even need to look at the map again! But when the runners emerged from the trees, they turned out to be deer. To their credit, they *did* run right past the control.
Then there were just 3 more campus sprint controls, two of them in snow off-trail. I had been waking up the controls so I knew I was in the lead but there was a 400 m run to the finish on pavement after the last control so anything could happen. I heard footsteps behind and didn't dare look back - just ran as fast as I could. I made it with KingIsak just a few seconds behind saying, "I've never seen you run that fast!" It was fun to be pushed that hard. Based on his handicap, he could have dropped more controls so he could have won easily.
Great fun - thank you, TOC!